Hurricane Season Update – Closures, Cancellations, and Refunds at Florida Parks, Cruises, Flights
Hurricane Irma has ripped through the Caribbean and is projected to make landfall on American soil late Saturday or early Sunday. Here is your hurricane season update with closures, cancellations, and refunds at Florida parks, cruises, and flights. Prepare to have flexible travel plans!
Currently, Irma has been downgraded to a category 4 storm, but that still means dangerous weather and travel conditions. Florida is being evacuated and the state’s Governor, Rick Scott, stated that Hurricane Irma is already “way bigger than Hurricane Andrew.” For those who need a memory jog, Hurricane Andrew was the one of the most destructive hurricanes to hit the state in 1992. As of now, it’s not a question of whether or not Florida will be hit by Irma, but a question of how bad the storm will be.
Closures at Florida Parks
Universal Studios Orlando has announced it’s park closure pans as the ultimate vacation destination braces for Hurricane Irma. Both Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios will close at 7 p.m. on Saturday, September 9, 2017. The parks will stay closed Sunday and Monday with plans to resume normal operating hours on Tuesday, September 12, 2017. All on-site hotels will remain open and function to take care of guests.
Sea World has declared it will be closed as of Saturday at 5 p.m. and will remain closed at least through Sunday and Monday. The park confirmed the news of the closure Friday morning via Twitter.
Disney is also closing their parks at various time frames depending on the park. The company’s website explained, “Based on the latest forecasts for Hurricane Irma and keeping safety top of mind, Walt Disney World Resort will be closing early on Saturday, September 9 and will remain closed through Monday, September 11.” That includes parties like “Night of Joy” and “Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party” scheduled for September 10, 2017.
Many cruises are being re-routed and canceled. Currently, Carnival is allowing passengers to remain on board the ships as flights and rental cars are very hard to come by. Norwegian Cruise line and MSC Cruises are also passengers to stay on the ship. Some passengers weren’t so lucky after being dropped off and reported a lack of communication on the cruise line’s part for informing passengers of the option according to reports on LA Times.
Orlando and Fort Lauderdale have confirmed they will be halting flights as the state tries to empty itself of planes. It’s very important to note that – Unless an airport officially cancels all operations, the decision to cancel flights lies with the airlines. So, if you want to be sure your flight is canceled, always check directly with the carrier.
As of time of publication, Daytona Beach (DAB), Key West (EYW), Fort Lauderdale (FLL), Orlando (MCO), Orlando/Sanford (SFB), Punta Gorda (PGD), St. Petersburg/Clearwater, Sarasota-Bradenton (SRQ), and Tampa (TPA) all have halted flights. Check your carrier for the exact last flights for each airport.
You’ll need to check with each individual flight, park, ticket, airline, hotel, or travel arrangement in regards to refunds. Some airlines and hotels are relaxing their policies as Hurricane Irma makes it’s way to the Florida coast. It never hurts to ask regardless of policies, but be prepared to be flexible. As for travel insurance, it’s too late to purchase it in most cases. Typically, the insurance must be bought before the storms are named with a projection for impact.
As always, please put safety first! Do you have any weather-related travel stories? Share your travel trials and tribulations in the comments area below!