Visitors to Walt Disney World are hoping Hurricane Dorian doesn’t throw a Death Star-size wrench in their plans — especially those looking to visit the newly opened Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge attraction.
The $1 billion attraction opened to massive crowds on Thursday morning, just as Dorian barreled toward the southeastern United States. While it’s currently a Category 2 storm, it could grow to a Category 4 once it reaches land by the afternoon on Labor Day, forecasters say.
“It couldn’t come at a worse time,” Dennis Speigel, president of consulting firm International Theme Park Services — who was scheduled to visit Galaxy’s Edge but canceled his trip — told the Washington Post. “It’s the perfect storm, literally: It’s Galaxy’s Edge, it’s the holiday and it’s just horrible.”
Universal Orlando Resort officials were keeping a close eye on the weather forecasts, but so far “everything is status quo,” spokeswoman Alyson Lundell said.
“At this time our park operations and hours are continuing as normal,” she told the outlet. “We have plans and procedures for serious weather that are time-proven, and we will continue to make operating decisions as we learn more.”
Disney didn’t immediately respond to the outlet’s questions about hurricane plans — but if they do decide to shut down, it wouldn’t be the first time, according to the report. In 2017, parks closed for two days as Hurricane Irma rolled in, as well as the year before for Hurricane Matthew.
Airlines were already allowing fliers to change their tickets to Orlando and other parts of Florida without any penalty Thursday, according to the report.
If the National Hurricane Center issues a hurricane warning for the Orlando area within a week of a visitor’s scheduled arrival date, they are permitted to reschedule or cancel a hotel package or most room reservations for free, according to the report.
Although no hurricane warning is currently in effect, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency.
But Speigel said he expects many of those who have plans to visit Galaxy’s Edge will still make the trip.
“These are people who are there who had these tickets booked a long time ago,” he said. “They had it on their calendar, and come hell or high water — which is probably going to happen — they’re going to be there.”
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