The Walt Disney Company said today that its Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando will close "early" on Saturday and remain shuttered through Monday as Hurricane Irma is expected to punish the entire state of Florida. Walt Disney World has closed just a handful of times because of a hurricane. It expects to return to normal operating hours on Tuesday, Sept. 12. "We will provide regular updates to our guests on all operational changes", the statement read. "Please continue to check this page for updates".
Epcot and Magic Kingdom will close at 9 p.m. Saturday; Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios close at 7 p.m. Saturday.
USA Today reported that every cruise scheduled to leave Florida on Friday has been canceled. According to Business Insider, that closure cost the company about $40 million. Disney World, Busch Gardens, Sea World and more have announced closures as Irma threatens the entire state.
Orders to evacuate parts of South Florida because of Hurricane Irma have put a rush on hotel rooms in the Orlando area.
Blizzard Beach and ESPN Wide World of Sports will be closed starting Saturday. The National Weather Service has considered Walt Disney World a StormReady Community in the past, making it a safer place than most for any guests who may be forced to ride out the storm at the parks. I'm adding this to the story: Since opening in 1971, the park has only been closed four other times, all in anticipation of hurricanes.