Walt Disney World is prepared to close its gates early on Tuesday with Hurricane Dorian approaching. The Magic Kingdom and Epcot will shut down at 3 p.m. ET while the other two parks, Disney's Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom, will close at 2 p.m. ET. The decision to shut the parks down was made on Monday as projections became more accurate.
The company also will have water park Blizzard Beach and ESPN's Wide World of Sports, closed for the entire day. All of the Disney World resorts within the gates will remain open, but the campground at Fort Wilderness will be shut down at 3 p.m.
The release has a note from Disney that says, "We are closely monitoring the progress of the storm and making operational adjustments as needed, but nothing is more important than the safety of our Guests and Cast Members."
Disney informed guests that all dining reservations will be honored up until one hour prior to closing. Any reservations that were set for later in the day will have the cancellation fee waived. Anyone who had pre-paid for the special after hours event at Animal Kingdom will also have the choice to exchange the tickets for future events, such as Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party or Mickey's Very Merry Christmas party.
While the four parks will still open, the decision to close early doesn't frequently occur. Since opening in 1971, Disney has only kept its parks shut down seven times. Six of those times were because of hurricanes and the other time was for the 9/11 attack.
Earlier in the day, Disney revealed they had to adjust some of the routes for their Disney Cruise Line ships. It was also reported that they left some cast members at their Castaway Cay property, but noted that they were in safe, sturdy living quarters until the storm passes.
Hurricane Dorian is currently wrecking havoc in the Bahamas and became the second strongest storm to make landfall. The storm has a very slow trajectory and is expected to get close to the Florida coast late Monday evening.