Storm has Passed – Disney World, Universal, MCO Begin Reopening

Disney World Reopening

Latest Update: 9/30/22 8:57 pm EDT – Disney World Theme Parks Return to Normal Operation Saturday

Published: 9/30/22 8:46 am EDT
Previous Update: 9/30/22 12:34 pm EDT – Post-Storm Update: Crowds Return to Parks, Disney World Weekend Weather Forecast


Hurricane Ian is officially clear of Central Florida. All hurricane and tropical storm warnings and watches have been lifted for area counties like Orange County and Osceola County. After a multi-day closure, Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Orlando Resort, and Orlando International Airport begin to reopen to travelers as they continue to assess the damage bestowed on them by the massive, slow-moving storm.

But nothing is even close to being back to normal yet. There is still a gradual nature to these openings, excessive flooding, as well as water and wind damage, persists, leaving the roadways still hazardous.

Let’s go through the current situation one more time. We at Disney Fanatic want to advise all would-be Guests, Cast Members, Team Members, and other employees or travelers: if you do not have to drive anywhere in Central Florida today, please don’t! Stay safe!

Walt Disney World Phased Reopening

Disney World Theme Park Reopening

After closing for two days, Walt Disney World Resort announced that it would reopen its four Theme Parks in phases on Friday.

According to the latest Walt Disney World weather update,

“Walt Disney World theme parks will reopen at the following times on Friday, Sept. 30:

  • Magic Kingdom Park 10:00 a.m.
    • Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party will be offered as scheduled and is sold out at this time
  • EPCOT 11:00 a.m.
  • Disney’s Hollywood Studios 12:00 p.m.
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park 1:00 p.m.

Disney Resort Hotel Guests and Guests staying at other select hotels will receive Early Theme Park Entry prior to the posted times above at each of the Walt Disney World theme parks. Early Theme Park Entry will be available at the following times:

  • Magic Kingdom Park 8:00 a.m.
  • EPCOT 9:00 a.m.
  • Disney’s Hollywood Studios 10:00 a.m.
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park 11:00 a.m.

Please note: Valid theme park ticket or annual pass and a theme park reservation and resort ID are required.”

Genie+ and Lightning Lane are expected to perform normally, as well as Disney World Transportation. Disney World will also continue to waive the cancellation fees for dining and other experiences like Savi’s Workshop and Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique.

Disney World hurricane

Credit: Reddit/ u/MaxOwnage

Disney World also confirmed that Disney Springs will open at 10:30 am today. Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park will remain closed until Sunday, October 2.

Several of the evacuated Resort hotel options, like Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground, remain closed at this time as well. Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser is expected to begin its multi-night experiences again starting Saturday, October 1.

Walt Disney World has also reopened the Theme Park Reservation System for Friday, September 30. However, again, we advise all would-be Guests who are not already on Disney World property to wait until at least Saturday before venturing out onto the roads.

Please visit Disney World’s website for the latest up-to-date information.

Since our last update, there have been no changes to Disney Cruise Line’s plans regarding current and imminent sailings out of Port Canaveral and Miami.

Universal Orlando Resort Phased Reopening


Universal Orlando Resort Photo Credit:

It should be noted that Disney’s Theme Park rival, Universal Orlando Resort, also announced that it would conduct a phased reopening this morning. But unlike Disney World, Universal made it clear that it would only be reopening to its Resort Hotel Guests.

Universal’s statement reads,

“We continue to conduct assessment and recovery efforts across our entire destination with the safety of our guests and team members being our top priority. We expect to begin a phased reopen of portions of our destination for our hotel guests only beginning Friday, Sept. 30. We will update our website and social channels with information on Park hours as conditions allow.”

All would-be Guests should visit Universal’s website for the most up-to-date information regarding their impending reservations.

Orlando International Airport Reopens

Orlando International Airport

Credit: MCO

As we previously reported, Orlando International Airport (MCO) is scheduled to reopen to commercial air travel today at 12 noon. This news came after an announcement that said, due to the ongoing damage assessment, it was unclear when Central Florida’s major airport would reopen.

All of today’s would-be fliers should note that delay, cancellation, and rescheduling of flights in and out of Orlando are ultimately decided by the airlines and not MCO itself. We advise that you reach out to your chosen air carrier or travel agent for the most up-to-date information regarding your itineraries–if they have not contacted you already.

Stay Safe

While life and some elements of fun begin to resume in the Sunshine State, the hazardous driving conditions are no joke. Many areas of Central Florida are still flooded and without power. All Park-bound readers should also remember that Disney World Cast Members and Universal Team Members are also braving the elements in order to help you salvage your day in the Parks.

If the Magic Kingdom is still standing after the events of Wednesday and Thursday, it will be there Saturday–its 51st Birthday–and Sunday.

We at Disney Fanatic will continue to update our readers on Walt Disney World’s post-hurricane reopening as more developments come to light.

Previous Coverage

About T.K. Bosacki

Born and raised in Tampa, Florida, TK Bosacki is a professional writer, amateur adventurer, and lifelong Disney Fanatic. His Disney Park days include Space Mountain, Tower of Terror, Kilimanjaro Safaris, and Nomad Lounge. He believes in starting at the Canada pavilion (IYKYK), and the Monorail is superior to all Ferry Boats.

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