In a rare move, Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando will close this week in preparation for Hurricane Ian’s landfall, which is expected to make landfall on Florida’s west coast as a major hurricane.
Both Disney World and Universal Orlando say they will close on Wednesday, September 28 and Thursday, September 29 because of Ian, with tentative plans to reopen on September 30. At least some of the hotels operated by the companies will remain open to accommodate travelers staying at the resorts.
“We are monitoring weather conditions so we can make timely decisions for the safety of our cast and guests, including when it is safe for the cast to return to the site to prepare for reopening,” Disney said. Parks in a statement.
It is extremely rare for the theme parks to close.
Most notably, the COVID-19 pandemic kept the Disney and Universal parks closed for months, though they were eventually reopened with reduced capacity later in the summer of 2020. However, hurricanes have occasionally forced closures, with the most recent in 2019 due to Hurricane Dorian.
Even a short shutdown can have a significant impact on bottom line for both companies. Theme parks are seen as a growth area, even amid the current economic turmoil, with demand that exceeds supply.
Shutting down for two days will not only destroy all ticket sales, but also the sale of food and drink, the sale of merchandise and other additional income. Based on previous shutdowns, the impact on sales could be 9 figures.