All major theme parks are closed today, although the delayed arrival of the storm into central Florida has allowed Walt Disney World to continue providing food and other services at its resort hotels this morning and into the early afternoon.
The line for Yachtsman Steakhouse lunch pic.twitter.com/thQkqNrTI6— Belle (@FiBelleFi) September 10, 2017
Hurricane-force winds are not expected to hit the Orlando area until later this afternoon or early in the evening. Orange County, which includes Orlando, has issued a curfew starting at 7 tonight. The slowdown in the storm's approach allowed people to enjoy the day at the Disney and Universal parks yesterday with no inclement weather. Crowds were light, as people generally stayed away from the area, either evacuating or completing their storm preparation.
Disney's ride-out crews were preparing the parks, too, taking down construction walls, scrims, stages and temporary structures, while tying down or wrapping everything else that could move or get damaged by the storm's wind and water. Is Disney now the world's largest consumer of plastic cling wrap? It feels like it, seeing photos from the parks.
Frozen star Kristen Bell was among the thousands planning to ride out the storm at the Walt Disney World Resort. She posted her storm prep to Instagram yesterday.
Last run to the store for #irma hurricane holdover prep while bracing down in orlando- we didn't have the option to leave so here we are. Just doing our best and trying to stay positive but cautious, and trying to help those who need help prepping. Every person i passed today was assisting someone else- #neighborshelpingneighbors - it was beautiful to see. Sad that a hurricane has to bring out the best in everyone- but happy that the community will be holding hands through this. Im grateful to Gary and the team at @swandolphin in epcot for helping us feel safe while we get through this together.
Later in the day, she tweeted an appeal for a keyboard and an amp. I guess she found them, because this morning she appeared at a local public school shelter to sing with fans who had evacuated there.
Irma is now a Category 4 storm and will be making its tour up Florida's Gulf coast all day today, reaching the Panhandle tomorrow morning. Because the storm is so large, in addition to being powerful, storm surges are hitting both coasts of the state, with flooding already in Miami as well as in the Keys. All major theme parks — Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, SeaWorld Orlando, Legoland Florida, and Busch Gardens Tampa — are planning to remain closed tomorrow as well as today, though all plan to open as previously scheduled on Tuesday morning.
If you are in Florida, we would continue to love to hear from you. Please post in the comments, or tweet us your photos and video @ThemePark. Everyone in the theme park community continues to send their very best wishes to everyone in the state and along Irma's path.
More storm coverage on Theme Park Insider:
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