As Tropical Storm Nicole makes landfall in Central Florida, airports reopen with some attractions still closed
Editor’s note: This post has been updated with new information.
Just a little more than a month after Hurricane Ian devastated parts of Southwest Florida, the area has spent this week bracing for yet another major weather event.
As of Thursday morning, Tropical Storm Nicole continues to barrel through Florida, creating strong winds, storm surge and heavy rains.
Airports are back open
Late afternoon Thursday, Orlando International Airport (MCO) announced they would be reopening at 8 pm tonight for domestic arrivals only. International operations will resume Friday, Nov. 11.
Meanwhile, Melbourne Orlando International Airport (MLB) resumed normal operations at 4 p.m. EST Thursday.
Palm Beach International Airport (PBI) reopened at 8 a.m.
Although neighboring airports, including Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL), Miami International Airport (MIA) and Tampa International Airport (TPA), have stayed open, airport officials have warned travelers of potential flight disruptions.
If you are flying outside of the direct landfall area, travel warnings are likely to come from individual airlines, so be sure to check with yours ahead of scheduled departure. Most of the major airlines have begun issuing notes online of potential disruptions to flights in and out of certain airports, including in neighboring states, like Charleston International Airport (CHS) and Myrtle Beach International Airport (MYR).
Spirit, Southwest, JetBlue and Frontier all have disproportionate parts of their operations touch Florida and Orlando, so their flights are most likely to be affected.
Other closures: Theme parks and cruises
Walt Disney World Resort
Walt Disney World Resort announced Wednesday morning that it would begin a phased closure of its four theme parks beginning with Animal Kingdom at 5 p.m., Hollywood Studios at 6 p.m. and the Magic Kingdom and Epcot at 7 p.m. Wednesday's nighttime spectaculars and extended evening theme park hours were also canceled.
As of 6:30 a.m. on Thursday, Disney plans a phased reopening of its parks with adjusted operating hours:
- Magic Kingdom: 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. (Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party is scheduled from 7 p.m. to 12 a.m.).
- Epcot: 1 p.m. to 9 p.m.
- Animal Kingdom: 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.
- Hollywood Studios: 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. (The Fantasmic! nighttime spectacular will not be performed).
Walt Disney World Resort's Typhoon Lagoon water park and its miniature golf courses will remain closed on Thursday.
Guests staying at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground and the Treehouse Villas at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort were moved to other resorts on Wednesday, but both resorts are planning to reopen Thursday. The Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser voyage scheduled for Thursday has been canceled.
Unused days on multiday tickets affected by Tropical Storm Nicole will be automatically extended through Sept. 30, 2023. Guests who have questions about changes or cancellations to their Walt Disney World Resort vacation can find more information on Disney’s weather update page.
Universal Orlando Resort
Universal Orlando shared around noon on Wednesday that it would close its theme parks and CityWalk area at 5 p.m. that evening. The decision had previously been made to close Volcano Bay water park Thursday. Per the park’s website, Universal's theme parks and Universal CityWalk are open with "limited experiences' to hotel guests only today. They will resume a regular schedule for all guests tomorrow, Friday, Nov. 11.
SeaWorld Orlando and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
In preparation for Tropical Storm Nicole, SeaWorld Orlando made the decision on Tuesday to close its Aquatica Orlando water park through Thursday.
Additionally, SeaWorld Orlando and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay will be closed Thursday, with an anticipated reopening on Friday. All affected date-based tickets have been extended through Dec. 31, 2022, according to the park’s website.
Legoland Florida and Peppa Pig Theme Park
Legoland Florida and the neighboring Peppa Pig Theme Park opened with adjusted hours on Thursday, Nov. 10. Legoland Water Park will remain closed on Thursday, but normal park operations are expected to resume on Friday, Nov. 11.
As of 8 a.m. EST Thursday, Tropical Storm Nicole continues to cross Florida, where National Weather Service officials expect rain conditions to worsen throughout the day and evening.
Additional reporting by Tarah Chieffi.