UPDATED with Universal Orlando & SeaWorld closures, baseball change: Universal Orlando will close at 7 PM on Saturday and remain fully closed Sunday and Monday, with normal operating hours expected to resume Tuesday. SeaWorld Orlando will close Saturday at 5 PM and stay closed Sunday and Monday.
Meanwhile, the Tampa Bay Rays’ home series against the New York Yankees was moved to Citi Field in New York — home of the Mets, MLB said today. The three-game series is Monday-Wednesday, with the Rays serving as the home team.
That decision comes two weeks after the Houston Astros had to move their home series to Tampa Bay’s Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, FL, as Hurricane Harvey hit Texas.
PREVIOUSLY, FRIDAY PM: “The Most Magical Place on Earth” happens to be in the path of the Biggest Storm on Earth — and Mother Nature has won this round. The Walt Disney Company said today that its Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando will close “early” on Saturday and remain shuttered through Monday as Hurricane Irma is expected to punish the entire state of Florida.
No specific closing time for Saturday was given. The theme park’s regularly scheduled hours are 9 AM-11 PM.
“Resort hotels will remain open. We hope to resume normal operations on Tuesday, September 12,” the company said in a release. “We will provide regular updates to our guests on all operational changes.”
The closure announcement is a change from yesterday, when Disney said reports that its Central Florida park would shut down ahead of the storm were “not correct.” But a company spokeswoman seemed to leave to turnstiles open to a policy shift: “We have a wide-ranging hurricane preparedness plan that considers a number of possible impacts this type of storm could have on our property,” she said. “We are taking numerous proactive measures at this time to keep the safety of our Guests and Cast Members top of mind including communicating with them on an ongoing basis, cleaning up and tying down loose materials, determining potential adjustments of park hours and preparing protected areas for animals, if determined to be necessary.”
Here is more from Disney’s statement today:
Walt Disney World theme parks, Disney Springs, water parks, and ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex are making the following operational changes:
Disney’s Blizzard Beach: Closed as of Friday, 9/8 – Monday, 9/11
Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon: Closing early on Saturday 9/9 at 5 PM – Monday, 9/11
ESPN Wide World of Sports: Closed on Saturday, 9/9 – Monday, 9/11
Disney’s Animal Kingdom: Closing early on Saturday, 9/9 at 7 PM – Monday, 9/11
- The Saturday, 9/9 Rivers of Light performance is canceled.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios: Closing early on Saturday, 9/9 at 7 PM – Monday, 9/11
- The Saturday, 9/9 Fantasmic! and Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular performances are canceled.
Epcot: Closing early on Saturday, 9/9 at 9 PM – Monday, 9/11
- The Saturday, 9/9 Illuminations Reflections of Earth performance is canceled.
Magic Kingdom: Closing early on Saturday, 9/9 at 9 PM –Monday, 9/11
- The Saturday, 9/9 Happily Ever After fireworks performance is canceled.
Disney Springs: Closing early on Saturday, 9/9 at 9 PM –Monday, 9/11