Disney Evacuates Ahead of Potentially ‘Catastrophic’ Hurricane Ian Following Gov. DeSantis Warning

by Alex Falls
Anadolu Agency / Contributor / Getty

As Hurricane Ian barrels towards Florida with potentially deadly results, Disney has evacuated thousands of guests out of Disney World in Orlando. The storm continues to grow in strength as it draws closer to the state. It’s expected to grow into a Category 4 storm by the time it makes landfall in Florida.

Ian has already ravaged through parts of Cuba as Category 3. It’ll likely make landfall near Tampa Bay by late Wednesday or early Thursday.

As the state braces for impact from the storm is evacuating areas of the park already seeing some flooding. However, some parts of the park are remaining open for the time being.

Epcot Center, Animal Kingdom, and Magic Kingdom are currently still open and operating under normal conditions. But the company said they’re monitoring the situation as it develops.

The Disney Springs shopping and entertainment complex also remains open. Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground and the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue will be closed from Wednesday to Friday. As will the Copper Creek Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, Treehouse Villas at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa and the Bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.

Cancellation policies are not being enforced by Disney amidst the potentially historic storm. The resort has already been battered by heavy rain the past few days. But thousands of visitors are still braving the weather to enjoy the parks.

Governor Ron DeSantis Warns Residents About Hurricane Ian

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis held a press conference Tuesday morning from the state Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee. He warned Florida residents of the impending dangers and urged them to follow evacuation procedures.

“We were here 48 hours ago and most of the solutions had it going up the coast — the west coast of Florida,” said DeSantis. “Now most of them have it ramming into the state of Florida and cutting across and so just be prepared for that and understand that that’s something that could be happening.”

He added, “Mother nature is a very fierce adversary, please heed those evacuation warnings. You could see power outages, inland flooding, various types of tree damage from wind so be prepared for that.”

The Florida governor declared a state of emergency for all 67 counties in the state. He’s also called up 7,000 National Guard members ahead of the response effort. More than 2.5 million people are under an evacuation order across the state.

Schools in 26 districts across Florida have announced that they will be closed, with some shutting their doors on Tuesday, and all remaining closed through to Friday.

“Hurricane conditions are expected along the west coast of Florida within the hurricane warning area on Wednesday morning, with tropical storm conditions possibly beginning by late today,” said NHC forecasters. “Tropical storm conditions are expected in the tropical storm warning area along the southwest coast of the Florida peninsula by this evening, and along the west coast north of the Tampa Bay area and along portions of the east coast of Florida on Wednesday.”