Disney World dodges major damage from Hurricane Irma

ORLANDO - Walt Disney World and neighboring attractions Universal Orlando and SeaWorld Orlando appear to be on track to reopen Tuesday after missing a major hit from Hurricane Irma.

Disney resort hotels remained open during Irma, but the parks were closed Sunday and Monday. “We hope to resume normal operations on Tuesday, September 12,” advised Disney's site Monday morning. 

Disney has closed the Magic Kingdom only four other times in its history: in 1999 for Hurricane Floyd, 2004 for Hurricane Frances, 2004 for Hurricane Jeanne and last year for Matthew.

Hurricane Irma entered western central Florida Sunday night as a Category 2 hurricane, with expected wind gusts of up to 100 mph, according to the National Weather Service 

The center of the storm passed west of Orlando and at that point it had weakened to a Category 1 hurricane with winds of 85 miles per hour.

The park did not lose power, but was hit with high winds and rain. Many trees were downed across its properties and some buildings had water leaks, according to reports on Twitter. Electric transformers near Disney’s Contemporary Resort reportedly exploded. Disney World did not immediately return comment to USA TODAY.

The park did not lose power, but was hit with high winds and rain. Many trees were downed across its properties and some buildings had water leaks, according to reports on Twitter. Electric transformers near Disney’s Contemporary Resort reportedly exploded. Disney World did not immediately return comment to USA TODAY.

Disney World parking areas had served as a staging ground for electrical repair crews and utility trucks coming to help restore power to the region.

In Orlando, Walt Disney has not only its amusement parks, which include the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios, but also more than 25 resort hotel to house vacationers.

All of these popular attractions are just south of Orlando, with Universal Orlando Resort, which includes The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and SeaWorld Orlando just northeast of Disney.

Universal Orlando on Monday was inspecting its property "across our entire destination in preparation for an anticipated on-time opening tomorrow morning," the park said in a statement to USA TODAY.

SeaWorld Orlando had no significant damage "discovered as of initial checks on Monday morning," according to a statement from the park. "But park teams are still assessing. All facilities have electricity and personnel and animals are safe (there and at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay)."

 

© 2017 USATODAY.COM


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