Disney World Closing Attractions, Orlando Declares State Of Emergency Ahead Of Tropical Storm Nicole – Deadline

UPDATED with latest: About 24 hours ahead of the worst impacts of Tropical Storm Nicole on the Orlando area, Walt Disney World began closing some outdoor resort attractions, including all water parks and golf courses. Specifically, Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon water park, Winter Summerland Miniature Golf, Fantasia Gardens and Fairways Miniature Golf have been shuttered for Thursday.

In addition, the City of Orlando declared a state of emergency late Tuesday, according to The Weather Channel, and Orlando International Airport announced that it would “cease commercial operations at 4:00pm on Wednesday, November 9th, until circumstances permit operations resume.”

A statement at the top of the WDW web site reads, “Walt Disney World Resort is currently operating under normal conditions. We are continuing to closely monitor Tropical Storm Nicole and are making necessary operational adjustments to maintain the safety of our Guests and Cast Members.”

But a check of the reservation system late Tuesday indicated no slots available for Thursday or Friday for any of the resort’s four parks. That might be a coincidence, but it seems unlikely given that reservations were still available in the nearer term — on Wednesday and even today — and also for the more popular upcoming weekend days. Walt Disney World did not respond to a request for comment on the parks’ current reservation availability.

Walt Disney World parks reservations as of 5 p.m. Tuesday

On Tuesday, the alert status for the Orlando area was raised from a Tropical Storm Watch to a Tropical Storm Warning. According to NOAA that means tropical storm “conditions are expected whereas a watch means that [those] conditions are possible.”

Nicole is expected to strengthen into a hurricane possibly overnight and while Orlando is under a Tropical Storm Warning, nearby Titusville, is well within the Hurricane Warning region.

The other park in the region, Universal Orlando Resort, has not yet announced any closures.

PREVIOUSLY on Monday: A little more than a month after Walt Disney World Resort and Universal Orlando Resort were forced to close by Hurricane Ian, the Florida resorts have again been placed under a state of emergency due to the threat of wind and rain from what is currently Subtropical Storm Nicole. Hurricane watches are in effect for the state’s Atlantic Coast from Hallandale Beach, north of Miami, to just above of Daytona Beach, and inland to Lake Okeechobee, per the National Hurricane Center.

Governor Ron DeSantis announced a state of emergency this afternoon in 34 of the state’s 67 counties, including Lake, Orange, Oscoloa and Seminole, which are adjacent to, or contain portions of, the Disney and Universal resorts. As a result, Orlando is under a Tropical Storm Watch, according to the National Weather Service in nearby Melbourne.

National Weather Service

The Orlando area faces an elevated risk of moderate flooding rainfall, with one projection seeing precipitation from the storm at over 4 inches. Nearby Seminole County may get up to 7 inches. There is also an elevated risk of tropical storm force winds (from 35-57 mph) and tornadoes hitting the Orlando area, per the NWS.

Hurricane Ian, which was at least a Category 2 storm when it blew across Orlando, threw debris across Walt Disney World, flooded parts of the Universal Resort and damaged its Jurassic Park attraction.

Deadline has reached out to Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort and will add any comment received. Neither park has any note about the potential impacts of the storm on its web site, and both are still selling tickets for this Thursday, when Nicole is expected to blow through the area. Universal’s annual Holiday celebration is due to begin on Saturday.

National Weather Service

On the drought-parched West Coast, coincidentally, Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia will
be closed today due to heavy rain. Park officials say tickets for today will be valid on any other regular day of operation through the end of the year.

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