Florida theme parks and tourist attractions: What’s open and closed

Sep 30, 2022, 3:07 PM
FILE - The newly painted Cinderella Castle at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World is seen with t...
FILE - The newly painted Cinderella Castle at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World is seen with the the crest to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the theme park Monday, Aug. 30, 2021, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The idea was presented to Florida lawmakers 55 years ago: Let Disney form its own government and in exchange it would create a futuristic city of tomorrow. That city never materialized, but Walt Disney World became an economic juggernaut, and its government retained unprecedented powers. Five decades later, Gov. Ron DeSantis is asking lawmakers to end Disney’s government in a move that throws a wrench into decades of symbiotic relations between the company and state government.(AP Photo/John Raoux, File)
(AP Photo/John Raoux, File)

(CNN) — As Hurricane Ian came ashore on the South Carolina coast on Friday afternoon, theme parks and other sites of interest to tourists are assessing their situations in hard-hit Florida.

Walt Disney World and a few other places reopened on Friday, and other major spots aim to reopen this weekend.

Here’s a status report of the latest plans of various theme parks, other tourist attractions in Florida and what’s going on with various cruises. The statuses of top tourist attractions in the Carolinas appear near the end of this article:

Walt Disney World (Orlando)

Walt Disney World announced that its four big theme parks are reopening Friday on the following schedule:

• Magic Kingdom Park: 10 a.m.
• EPCOT: 11 a.m.
 Disney’s Hollywood Studios: noon
• Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park: 1 p.m.

Disney Resort hotel guests and guests staying at other select hotels will be allowed to enter two hours earlier than times posted above.

Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf will also reopen at 3 p.m. Friday. ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex will be open from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Typhoon Lagoon water park has a planned reopening of Sunday. (Blizzard Beach is closed for the season.)

Walt Disney World Transportation will begin operating as normal on Friday but is subject to weather protocols, the park said.

Disney Springs, the entertainment, dining and shopping complex, reopened at 10 a.m. Friday.

Click here for more details about the reopenings, including information on hotels and camping sites.

Busch Gardens (Tampa)

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay said on its website that it would be closed through Friday.

That also holds true for other Florida parks held by the SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment company:

• Adventure Island (Tampa)
• SeaWorld Orlando
• Aquatica Orlando
• Discovery Cove (Orlando)

As of 11 a.m. Friday, the company said all of the parks are expected to reopen Saturday.

The company also said Discovery Cove will reschedule or refund reservations booked online or from the call center with no cancellation or change fees. For additional information, call 407-513-4600.

People with a reservation booked through a third-party reseller can rebook visit dates with the specific park, but people wanting a refund will need to contact their reseller partner.

Click here for additional details.

Universal Resort (Orlando)

Universal Orlando Resort, including CityWalk, has had a “phased reopen” on Friday for hotel guests, the resort said in an email to CNN Travel.

Its Halloween Horror Nights event will open at 5 p.m. Friday for all guests with existing tickets. Volcano Bay water park also reopened Friday.

On Saturday, Universal Orlando Resort and the Halloween Horror Nights will reopen to all guests.

Click here for more information and FAQs from Universal.

LEGOLAND (Winter Haven)

LEGOLAND Florida Resort and associated parks will be closed on Friday, according to the resort’s website.

“LEGOLAND Hotel and Pirate Island Hotel will remain open to guests with existing reservations,” the park said.

As of 11 a.m. Friday, the park did not have information for when it would reopen.

Park tickets for Wednesday, September 28, through Sunday, October 2, will be automatically extended through December 31, 2022, LEGOLAND said previously.

People can rebook stays without penalty once the park’s call center reopens on Friday. That number is 888-690-5346. Guests with questions about the resort’s hurricane policy can click here.

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex (Cape Canaveral)

NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex on Merritt Island remains closed on Friday, but the facility plans to reopen from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, according to the center’s website.

Icon Park (Orlando)

The Icon Park entertainment complex reopened Friday, according to the attraction’s website.

The Wheel was still closed as of 2:45 p.m. Friday. “As always, guest safety is our top priority and as soon as our technical team has completed the required inspections, we’ll announce its opening,” the park said.

Crayola Experience (Orlando)

The popular attraction for children was set to reopen at noon Friday, according to Crayola’s website.

Cruise ships

Florida ports have very active cruise schedules. Here’s the status of some of those ships’ routes:

NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE: The company canceled its 10-day sailing of the Norwegian Getaway, which was scheduled to depart Thursday from Port Canaveral.

The company also changed ports on the eight-day sailing of Norwegian Sky.

MSC: The company rerouted the MSC Seashore, which was originally scheduled to be in the Western Caribbean, to ports in the Eastern Caribbean.

The MSC Seashore is still set to depart from the Port of Miami on Saturday, according to cruise line. The MSC Divina will also depart on its regularly scheduled cruise from Port Canaveral on Sunday.

CARNIVAL CRUISE LINE: The company has announced changes to its schedule. With the ports of Tampa Bay, Canaveral and Jacksonville affected by Ian, the following sailings have been canceled:

• Carnival Paradise: Four-day cruise from Tampa on Thursday.
• Carnival Elation: Four-day cruise from Jacksonville on Thursday.
• Carnival Liberty: Three-day cruise from Port Canaveral on Friday.

Guests will receive a full refund and a 25% future cruise credit, Carnival said.

Carnival Sunshine, which departed Charleston on Monday, is expected to dock once the Port of Charleston reopens. That’s expected to happen Sunday, Carnival told CNN Travel in an email Friday afternoon. The ship was originally scheduled to return Saturday

The following ships have also had changes in their schedules and ports of calls: Carnival Liberty, Carnival Paradise and Carnival Elation.

Click here to see the specific changes in itinerary for each ship.

National and state parks

As of 11:30 a.m. Friday, Everglades National Park in South Florida was partially reopened, including its Shark Valley and Homestead entrances. Flamingo, Gulf Coast and some park areas remain closed.

Dry Tortugas National Park, on the western end of the Florida Keys in the Gulf of Mexico, remained closed on Friday.

As of late Friday morning, around 100 Florida state parks were closed, including Amelia Island State Park  (Nassau County), Don Pedro Island State Park  (Charlotte County), Lake Manatee State Park (Manatee County) and Rainbow Springs State Park (Marian County).

Check here for a full list of closed state parks as well as camping and cabin closures information.


Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens: The Sanford, Florida, complex is closed through Friday, the zoo’s website said late Friday morning.

ZooTampa at Lowry Park: The attraction resumed regular hours on Friday, the zoo said on its website.

Brevard Zoo: The zoo in Melbourne reopened on Friday, according to its website. Last entry is 3:30 p.m.

Carowinds (North Carolina / South Carolina)

The amusement park south of Charlotte, which straddles the North Carolina-South Carolina border, is closed on Friday because of “inclement weather,” the park said on its website.

Brookgreen Gardens (Georgetown County, South Carolina)

The botanical and statuary gardens are closed on Friday. “Once the storm passes, we can hopefully safely reopen on Saturday,” it said on its website.

South Carolina state parks and historical sites

The following SC state parks and historical sites are closed Friday:

• Charles Towne Landing State Historic Site
• Colonial Dorchester State Historic Site
• Edisto Beach State Park
• Hampton Plantation State Historic Site
• Hunting Island State Park
• Huntington Beach State Park
• Little Pee Dee State Park
• Myrtle Beach State Park

Wright Brothers National Memorial (North Carolina)

The memorial in Kill Devil Hills closed early at 3 p.m. Friday and is expected to reopen on Saturday, the park said on its website Friday afternoon.

Biltmore Estate (North Carolina)

The grand estate nestled in the mountains of the Asheville area is open, according to its website. The estate said it’s keeping a close eye on the weather in case of heavy rainfall.

Be sure to check with any tourist attraction within Ian’s range before you head out, and remember even inland areas can have significant flood damage.

The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

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Florida theme parks and tourist attractions: What’s open and closed