TORONTO — Hurricane Idalia is surging towards Florida’s Gulf coast and that has airports including Tampa (TPA) and Orlando (MCO) keeping an eye to the skies.
Florida’s biggest theme parks are also on high alert.
And airlines are making contingency plans for passengers looking to change flights, as Idalia barrels towards Florida with hurricane-force winds expected later today and landfall tomorrow.
As reported yesterday, both Air Canada and WestJet are waiving change fees for impacted passengers. Air Canada passengers travelling in and out of Orlando and Tampa today or tomorrow (Aug. 29 and/or Aug. 30) can make changes to their booking without penalty, space permitting. More information from Air Canada can be found here. WestJet is also making it easier for passengers to change their flights with its Hurricane / Tropical Storm Promise, for travel to/from Orlando, Tampa, Ft. Myers and/or Fort Lauderdale today or tomorrow (Aug. 29 and/or Aug. 30). More details from WestJet are here.
Tampa International Airport shut down commercial operations first thing this morning, at 12:01 a.m. All air traffic ceased by 7 a.m.
On its site, airport officials say TPA will remain closed until it can assess any damages. “The airport anticipates reopening Thursday morning, with damage assessments beginning after the storm passes.”
Orlando International Airport, in central Florida and far from the coast, remains open. At 8:34 a.m. this morning, MCO posted this message: “Our airport is open and operational. We continue to monitor the status of Hurricane Idalia – we do not foresee any significant impact to our operations at this time. If operational changes occur, we’ll post about it. Please check with your airline in regards to your flight.”
THEME PARK UPDATES
Florida’s biggest theme parks are also keeping watch on Idalia.
A statement from Walt Disney World says: “Walt Disney World Resort is currently operating under normal conditions. We are closely monitoring the path of the projected weather as we continue to prioritize the safety of our Guests and Cast Members.”
There are also reports that Disney will waive change and cancellation fees for most guests with check-in dates of Aug. 28, 2023, through Sept. 4, 2023.
A FAQ page for Disney’s hurricane policy can be found here.
Universal Orlando Resort also remains open, for now. “As of now our park operations and hours are continuing as normal. We are closely monitoring the weather. Please check back for updates,” says Universal Studios Orlando.
More details about Universal’s Severe Weather Policy can be found here.
Meanwhile Busch Gardens Tampa Bay has enacted its Named Storm Policy and will close at 3 p.m. today, Aug. 29, and will remain closed tomorrow, Aug. 30. The park plans to reopen Aug. 31. More information is here.