Hurricane Ian: What Florida Theme Parks, Cruise Lines And Sports Are Doing Before It Hits

Zinger Key Points
  • Hurricane Ian is expected to make landfall in Florida on Wednesday or Thursday.
  • Several theme parks have announced closures to prepare for the storm and keep guests safe.
Hurricane Ian: What Florida Theme Parks, Cruise Lines And Sports Are Doing Before It Hits

Florida and other nearby states are bracing for Hurricane Ian, which is expected to make landfall in the U.S. on Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2022.

Here is a look at what theme parks, cruise lines and sports are doing to prepare for the storm.

Hurricane Ian:  Tampa Bay, St Petersburg and the surrounding areas were placed under a hurricane warning on Monday with Hurricane Ian most likely set to land there. Hurricane Ian could be the area's first direct hit since 1921.

Hurricane Ian was upgraded to level Category 3 on Tuesday.

The hurricane hit Cuba already and marked the first Category 3 hurricane to make landfall in the country in 14 years.

One of the biggest worries is the storm surge, which will cause flooding in Tampa Bay/St. Petersburg area, as well as possible tornados. The hurricane will most likely move up to Georgia and South Carolina, where it should have strong winds and rain, with a possibility of flooding. 

Here’s a look at how Florida businesses are preparing for the storm’s impact.

Related Link: 4 Stocks To Watch This Hurricane Season 

Theme Parks: Busch Gardens in Tampa Bay announced it is closing Wednesday and Thursday due to the potential of Hurricane Ian and being in the projected path of the storm.

“Precautions are in place following the park’s comprehensive weather preparedness plan to ensure the safety of our animals and ambassadors during this time,” the park said.

Busch Gardens is owned by SeaWorld Entertainment Inc SEAS.

SeaWorld Entertainment also owns SeaWorld Orlando, which announced it would be closed Wednesday and Thursday.

Walt Disney Co DIS will be one of the biggest companies to monitor during the hurricane. The company’s Disney World theme park is currently open and planning to remain open Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. The company has announced closures for several of its resorts and campgrounds, which could put vacation plans for some visiting the theme park up in the air.

Disney World previously had its first ever closure in 1999 for Hurricane Floyd. The theme park has closed early or opened later due to several hurricanes over the years. The company also saw closures during the COVID-19 pandemic, its first ever closure due to illness.

Universal Resorts, also located in Orlando, is remaining open as of the time of writing. The theme park is owned by Comcast Corporation CMCSA.

Cruise Lines: The path of the hurricane could impact travel for many cruise lines that have left or are leaving port this week.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings NCLH said it changed five ports on the Norwegian Sky ship already. The ship left Miami on Sunday and has shifted its travel route to avoid the current path of Hurricane Ian.

“The safety and security of our guests and crew is always our number one priority,” the company told CNN.

Carnival Corporation CCL has changed the path order for excursion cities for two of its Carnival Cruise line ships. The Carnival Ecstasy and Carnival Glory left on Monday and Sunday, respectively, and will reverse their planned destinations to avoid the path of the storm.

Sports World: Hurricane Ian could have a big impact on the weekend’s college football games and one National Football League contest depending on the path of the storm and the damage done.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are leaving Tampa Tuesday to head to Miami, where the team will prepare at the Miami Dolphins practice facility for its week 4 matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs. The Buccaneers are expected to host the Chiefs on Sunday night in a game that will air on NBC for Sunday Night Football. The NFL has not announced changes to the game at this time.

The Tampa Bay Rays of Major League Baseball are on a road trip that will leave them likely not impacted by the storm.

Outside of Florida, the impact of the storm in Georgia, which could see large rainfall Friday, could impact another MLB team. The Atlanta Braves host the New York Mets in three games Friday, Saturday and Sunday in a series that could determine the winner of the NL East ahead of the MLB Playoffs. The games could be impacted by the weather and force MLB to make changes to the schedule.

The Tampa Bay Lightning of the National Hockey League has postponed its Wednesday and Thursday preseason matchups ahead of the storm.

The college football schedule could be impacted by Hurricane Ian with USA Today citing home contests for the University of Central Florida, Florida State University, the University of South Florida and Florida State University. The University of South Florida is located in Tampa and already announced its campus would close Tuesday through Thursday, but did not announce plans for its Saturday football game against East Carolina.

Photo: Hurricane Ian, Sept. 26, 2022 image, via NOAA

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