Disney, Universal to Close Orlando Theme Parks as Irma Nears

By Ben FritzFeaturesDow Jones Newswires

Walt Disney Co. and Comcast Corp. are closing their Florida theme parks for at least two days in anticipation of Hurricane Irma, the companies said Friday.

Walt Disney World and Comcast's Universal Orlando Resort are closing most of their Orlando, Fla., theme parks starting at 5 p.m. Saturday. Disney's Blizzard Beach water park was closed on Friday.

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Both companies said they anticipate reopening their theme parks on Tuesday when the Category 4 storm is expected to have passed.

The closures will likely cost Disney and Comcast tens of millions of dollars or more in lost revenue from ticket sales, food and concession sales, and hotel stays.

Orange County, where Orlando is located, hasn't issued evacuation orders, but the central Florida county is expected to encounter severe weather as the hurricane passes through this weekend.

This will be only the fifth time Disney World has shut down for a full day or more in its 46 years, according to a spokeswoman. The most recent closing was in October 2016, for a day-and-a-half due to Hurricane Matthew.

Disney Chief Executive Robert Iger said at a conference Thursday that would-be park visitors were already canceling planned trips to Orlando due to the incoming hurricane. Disney also has canceled three itineraries for its cruise ships and shortened others.

Write to Ben Fritz at ben.fritz@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

September 08, 2017 16:06 ET (20:06 GMT)