Disney World and Universal Orlando will reopen their resorts in “phased approaches” starting Friday after Hurricane Ian closed on Wednesday and Thursday.
Disney, the first to announce its reopening plan around 2:45 p.m. Thursday, also revealed its reopening times on Friday. At the Magic Kingdom, early entry time is 8:00 a.m. with general admission at 10:00 a.m. The early opening time at Epcot is 9:00 a.m. and the park opens to all guests at 11:00 a.m. 11 a.m., respectively, with general admission opening two hours later.
Disney Springs will be open from 10 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.
“We thank our first responders and community leaders for their courageous efforts in preparing for and managing the impact of the storm. To our cast members in Florida and South Carolina, thank you for selflessly caring for our guests,” Disney said in a statement.
Universal Orlando said it plans to reopen just before 7 p.m. Thursday, after spokespersons said this afternoon the resort was undergoing detailed inspections to assess storm damage.
Universal will only be open to hotel guests at first, according to the station. Further details were not immediately available Thursday evening.
Universal began calling employees back to work that night, according to its employee website. Before publicly announcing the phased reopening on Thursday, Universal told employees scheduled for Friday that they should be ready to return to work.
It was unclear what damage either complex might have sustained in the storm.
Pictures of Universal show a ripped hole in the signs on the side of the building for Jurassic Park River Adventure at the Islands of Adventure theme park, but Universal spokespersons have not commented on this.
Areas near Universal appeared to experience major flooding on Thursday morning as Ian hit the area.
Video taken by Spectrum News 13 reporter Jeff Allen showed standing water several feet deep at the DoubleTree by Hilton hotel near the resort entrance.
Images posted to Twitter by Spectrum reporter Jerry Hume showed the westbound lanes of the I-4 Express flooding at Kirkman Road near Universal around 7:45 a.m.
SeaWorld Orlando, including its Aquatica and Discovery Cove parks, will remain closed Friday with plans to reopen Saturday.
Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, which is also operated by SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, will also remain closed on Friday.
Visitors with tickets to SeaWorld-owned theme parks during the closing dates can use them through December 31.
Those with tickets to the SeaWorld or Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream Halloween events will be permitted to visit on an alternate date until October 31.
Passholders whose passes were due to expire on September 30 and October 2 can now visit until October 16.
Legoland Florida in Winter Haven said it will remain closed until Friday. The resort will allow guests with tickets dated Wednesday, September 28 through Sunday, October 2 to exchange tickets for another date through the end of the year.
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