Disney Plans for Tropical Storm Nicole

The Walt Disney Company continues to monitor the impending weather event, Tropical Storm Nicole. Similarly, the potential hurricane has disrupted airport travel in Central Florida. Here is what you need to know about a Walt Disney World trip this week. 

Update as of November 9th at 11am: As expected, Disney has announced some closure information for its theme parks. Specifically, Walt Disney World theme parks will employ a “phased closure.”

At 5 p.m. EST today, the parks will close early based on the following timeline:

  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom – 5 p.m. 
  • Disney’s Hollywood Studios – 6 p.m.
  • EPCOT – 7 p.m.
  • Magic Kingdom – 7 p.m.

Dining Changes due to Tropical Storm Nicole

Disney has also canceled all nighttime presentations tonight and the fireworks dessert experience as well. Simultaneously, the company has announced several other operational adjustments. Here’s what you need to know.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom stops seating guests for dining reservations at 5:00 p.m. So, those diners will be the last people in the park. Similarly, Hollywood Studios stops hosting guests at 6 p.m. 

If you have reservations for later than that, you should speak with cast members immediately for guidance. Remember that My Disney Experience includes customer support as well. 

Magic Kingdom and EPCOT will take a slightly different approach with their timelines. Monsieur Paul, Space 220 Restaurant, Akershus Royal Banquet Hall, and Garden Grill Restaurant will stop seating guests at 6 p.m. All other EPCOT restaurants will accept guests until 6:30 p.m. 

Disney is taking this approach since those four dining experiences last longer. Seriously, we ate at Space 220 last week, and it took two full hours from check-in to leaving the building. As you’ll see in a moment, Disney needs all park guests to leave before 8 p.m.

Magic Kingdom, Be Our Guest, Liberty Tree Tavern, Diamond Horseshoe, and Cinderella’s Royal Table are the slower experiences. So, they’ll stop seating at 6 p.m. as well. All other Magic Kingdom restaurants will accept guests until 6:30 p.m.

Other Walt Disney World Changes Due to Tropical Storm Nicole

Disney has also decided to close its miniature golf courses at 7 p.m. tonight. Plus, the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser bookings for tomorrow are canceled. 

Airports Close Due to Nicole 

Let’s start with an essential tweet. Here’s Orlando International Airport (MCO) updating status:

Friends, if you’re traveling into MCO today, you need to touch down well before 4 p.m. Otherwise, your flight probably gets canceled. Notably, MCO hasn’t announced anything for tomorrow, which is a touch surprising. 

We’ll discuss the hurricane in a bit. However, the best intel we have suggests that Nicole will arrive in Central Florida early Thursday. 

For this reason, I’m surprised that the airport hasn’t closed flights for then as well. Since they haven’t, we must assume it’ll be business as usual Thursday until MCO officials explicitly state otherwise. 

MCO’s social feed responded to one customer about Thursday. Here’s what we know:

Orlando Sanford International Airport will also close at 4 p.m. tomorrow. That’s also all we know about this airport thus far. 

Other Orlando Closures for Tropical Storm Nicole

While we’re discussing closures, Volcano Bay at Universal Orlando Resort has also closed for today. So, those of you doing a split Disney/Universal stay cannot visit the water park, not that I expected that sort of behavior from you anyway. As a reminder, Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon previously announced a Wednesday closure. 

At 8:30 p.m. last night, Disney decided it shouldn’t host Extended Evening Hours at Magic Kingdom tonight. So, that’s a tough break for DVC members. 

Notably, Disney hasn’t canceled Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party for the scheduled dates of November 10th or 11th yet. That may have something to do with the fact that both events have sold out. 

Coincidentally, Disney announced its fiscal earnings yesterday. One of the reveals was that Hurricane Ian cost the company $65 million. Canceling these parties and refunding the money would be a significant financial setback as well. 

The Latest on Tropical Storm Nicole 

Here’s another vital tweet:

The key takeaway here is that Florida will suffer hurricane-like conditions as early as tonight. We already have tropical storm conditions on Florida’s east coast. The region’s weather will grow more severe throughout the day.

Florida has operated under a state of emergency since Monday. Evacuation orders are in place for several parts of the state. Meanwhile, Nicole likely turns into a hurricane this morning, this afternoon at the latest. 

Meteorologists have issued hurricane warnings for “the coast of Volusia-Flagler county line south to Boca Raton.” Meanwhile, the most current intel places Nicole roughly 200 miles off the coast of West Palm Beach. 

Winds are swirling at 70 miles per hour, which is only four miles per hour short of hurricane status. So, the hurricane declaration is happening, barring something unforeseen.

Hurricane movement patterns remain unpredictable. However, the best guess is that the storm heads due west followed by northwest. That path places Central Florida in the proverbial eye of the storm. 

The belief is that Nicole will touch down as a hurricane tonight, probably in the Treasure Coast area. As a reminder, that’s where Disney’s Vero Beach Resort resides. Visits here over the next 48 hours likely face disruptions as well.

Stay tuned as we keep you updated on additional park-related announcements. Also, please remember to monitor Disney’s Weather Updates & Information page

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