Sunday, November 19, 2017
Things To Do

UPDATE: Disney joins Universal, Busch Gardens in closing before Irma nears

RECOMMENDED READING


Theme parks in Florida are closing their gates and canceling special events this weekend because of Hurricane Irma, a decision that will cost them millions even before the first wind gust.

Walt Disney World was set to close early today due to Irma and aims to reopen its theme parks Tuesday at the earliest. It's just the fifth time in Disney's history that the parks have been closed.

SeaWorld Orlando and Busch Gardens in Tampa Bay are planning to close by 5 p.m. today, and will be closed Sunday and Monday.

Universal Orlando will close its theme parks Sunday and Monday and expects to be back in operation Tuesday, the company said.

Aquatica Orlando and Adventure Island will be closed today through Monday. Discovery Cove will be closed Sunday and Monday.

Universal went ahead with Friday's Rock the Universe Christian music concert, but canceled today's show.

Disney canceled today's Night of Joy concert and Sunday's edition of Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. The Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground will be closed and campers were told to have their cars out by 2 p.m. today, the company announced.

It cost Walt Disney World $40 million to close for a day and a half last October when Hurricane Matthew was heading toward Central Florida. Disney CEO Bob Iger told investors the theme park giant suffered little to no damage but turning away customers and canceling Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party had a financial impact of $40 million in lost sales.

Epcot and Magic Kingdom will close at 9 p.m. today; Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios close at 7 p.m. today. Illuminations, Fantasmic!, Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular, and Rivers of Light are all canceled tonight.

For vacationers, Disney's policy is that if a hurricane warning is issued for the Orlando area — or for your residence — within seven days of your scheduled arrival date, you may reschedule or cancel your visit without any fees imposed by Disney. For more details see disneyworld.disney.go.com/faq/hurricane-policy.

Since opening in 1971, the park has only been closed four other times, all in anticipation of hurricanes.

Disney World shuttered its gates on Sept. 15, 1999, for Hurricane Floyd; Sept. 4 and 5, 1999, for Hurricane Frances; Sept. 26, 2004, for Hurricane Jeanne; and Oct. 7, 2016 for Hurricane Matthew. It also evacuated all its parks worldwide after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, but the parks were not closed beforehand.

Contact Sharon Kennedy Wynne at swynne@tampabay.com. Follow @SharonKWn.

Comments

Sunday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYAutosMonster Energy Cup: Ford EcoBoost 4003 p.m.NBCCFLSaskatchewan at Toronto1 p.m.ESPNewsEdmonton at Calgary4:30 p.m.ESPNewsCollege basketballMonmouth at Virginia1 p.m.FSFWomen: Maryland at Connecticut1:30 p.m.ESPNPuerto Rico Tip-Off, fifth pla...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Flo Rida coming to Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg

Flo Rida coming to Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg

In 2016, Flo Rida headlined a free postgame concert for the Tampa Bay Rowdies at Al Lang Stadium.Come January, he'll have the place all to himself.The Carol City hitmaker will top a show at Al Lang on Jan. 14. St. Petersburg. native Macy Kate will al...
Published: 11/18/17
Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Nov. 18

Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Nov. 18

CraftArt Festival: More than 120 fine craft artists from around the country will be on hand for this annual street festival with a children’s activity tent and an artists’ demonstration tent. From ceramic artists throwing on the wheel to glass blowin...
Published: 11/17/17
Updated: 11/18/17

Saturday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYAutosXfinity: Ford EcoBoost 300 qualifying11 a.m.CNBCXfinity: Ford EcoBoost 3003:30 p.m.NBCSNCollege basketballMaryland-Eastern Shore at GeorgetownnoonFox SunBucknell at Maryland8:30 p.m.Big TenGolfPGA Europe: Tour Championship2:30 a.m.GolfPGA: ...
Published: 11/17/17
Christmas in downtown Tampa as Winter Village ice rink opens

Christmas in downtown Tampa as Winter Village ice rink opens

TAMPAWhile her teenage daughter and 6-year-old son glided effortlessly across the outdoor ice rink at Curtis Hixon Park on Friday, Danielle Engram, 35, stood nervously on her rented blades.This would be the lifelong Tampa resident’s first time on the...
Published: 11/17/17
Video: Forget Pizza Rat. Meet St. Petersburg’s Pizza Squirrel

Video: Forget Pizza Rat. Meet St. Petersburg’s Pizza Squirrel

New York, it seems, doesn't have a monopoly on pizza-chomping rodents.Around 2:45 p.m. Friday, the Tampa Bay Times spotted a squirrel digging a nearly entire slice of pizza out of a trash can at 146 Second St. N in St. Petersburg. The squirrel hoppe...
Published: 11/17/17
With Harry Potter’s Christmas, Universal Orlando proves holidays are big business

With Harry Potter’s Christmas, Universal Orlando proves holidays are big business

ORLANDO — Christmas has finally come to Hogwarts at Universal Orlando in a new holiday attraction opening Saturday. In addition, Universal Studios has completely upsized its holiday parade with more Macy’s balloons, stunning floats and snowy effects ...
Published: 11/17/17
How to make a pie from scratch: filling ideas, decorating tips, crust recipes and more

How to make a pie from scratch: filling ideas, decorating tips, crust recipes and more

Perfect your crust. Try new filling recipes. Learn some decorating tricks. And prepare for the biggest pie day of the year: Thanksgiving.   From apple to thyme You’ve got the crust down. Now it’s time to choose a filling for your holid...
Published: 11/17/17
Thanksgiving 101: Everything you need to prepare for the big cooking day

Thanksgiving 101: Everything you need to prepare for the big cooking day

From appetizers to pies and everything in between, we’re here to help you put together a low-stress Thanksgiving spread. Ideas for sidesThese recipes go beyond the traditional, with a corn casserole, Brussels sprout salad and moreSee what our food ed...
Published: 11/17/17

Making it in America, Ybor(w/video)

The first cigar rolled in Tampa’s Ybor city in 1885 marked the beginning of one of Florida’s most famed immigrant enclaves.Since it was founded by a Spaniard who emigrated to Cuba in 1885, Vicente Martinez Ybor, Ybor City has morphed into one of Tamp...
Published: 11/17/17