Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort parks could be set to close after a state of emergency was declared in Florida as Hurricane Irma continues its path of destruction.
The hurricane has already caused widespread destruction across the Caribbean, leaving at least nine people dead, according to BBC reports.
Tourists and residents are now being evacuated from the Florida Keys, with flights in and out of airports in the state suspended.
[ooyala code=”NoMzhrYzE6DVP7mPhoPStSDzKY7v_yzO” player_id=”5df2ff5a35d24237905833bd032cd5d8″ auto=”true” width=”1280″ height=”720″ pcode=”twa2oyOnjiGwU8-cvdRQbrVTiR2l”]
Universal Orlando Resort is currently operating as normal as the weather is monitored but visitors are able to reschedule or seek refunds, according to spokesman Tom Schroder.
He told Orlando Sentinel :
We have an affirmative, no-questions-asked policy for guests who tell us they want to change plans or seek a refund because of a named storm involving the Orlando area or where they are travelling from.
Walt Disney World Resort policy allows people to reschedule or cancel their holiday packages and most room-only reservations without any fees if a hurricane warning is issued by the National Hurricane Center for the Orlando area or a visitor’s residence within seven days of the traveller’s scheduled arrival, according to Disney’s website.
The policy does not apply to certain special events or dining experiences. Walt Disney Travel Company Magic Your Way vacation package and hotel rooms must be booked directly with Disney.
Disney is in full festival mode with Mickey’s Not-So-Scary-Halloween at Magic Kingdom and the Food and Wine Festival at Epcot. The Halloween events at Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights and at Sea World begin later this month.
If the parks were to shut, it wouldn’t be the first time, most recently, they closed in October last year when Hurricane Matthew temporarily shut them down.
Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine was talking to news station CBS4’s Hank Tester when he called Irma a ‘nuclear hurricane’ following a mandatory evacuation in the area.
We have talked to people in your city who say, ‘we ain’t going’.
To which Mayor Levine replied:
I hate to hear that. I’ll do anything in my power to convince them this is a very serious storm. This is a nuclear hurricane. They should leave the beach, they must leave the beach.
As you know, as of yesterday, I have been telling our residents I strongly urge they please leave Miami Beach. You have friends, you have family – go visit them.
Get out of the barrier island and I am very happy Mayor Gimenez issue the mandatory evacuation early this evening.
Our thoughts are with everybody affected by Hurricane Irma.