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Tourist attractions in Florida and the Carolinas: What’s open and closed

<i>Phelan M. Ebenhack/AP</i><br/>The iconic Universal globe spins outside the entrance to the Universal Studios theme park in Orlando in 2013.
Phelan M. Ebenhack/AP
The iconic Universal globe spins outside the entrance to the Universal Studios theme park in Orlando in 2013.

By Forrest Brown, CNN

In the wake of a devastating Hurricane Ian, theme parks and other sites of interest to tourists worked to reopen in hard-hit Florida as well as the Carolinas.

Here’s a status report of the latest plans of various theme parks and other tourist attractions in Florida along with what’s going on with various cruises. The statuses of top tourist attractions in the Carolinas appear near the end of this article:

Walt Disney World (Orlando)

Walt Disney World’s four big theme parks reopened Friday:

• Magic Kingdom Park
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
• Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park

Click here for Disney’s calendar of Saturday hours.

Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf reopened at 3 p.m. Friday. ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex opened from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Typhoon Lagoon water park has a planned reopening of Sunday. (Blizzard Beach is closed for the season.)

Walt Disney World Transportation began operating as normal on Friday but is subject to weather protocols, the park said.

Disney Springs, the entertainment, dining and shopping complex, has reopened. Check individual hours here.

Click here for more details about the reopenings, including information on hotels and camping sites.

Busch Gardens (Tampa) and associated parks

After being closed Friday, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay said on its website that it would reopen from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday.

That also holds true for other Florida parks held by the SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment company:

• Adventure Island (Tampa): 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday
• SeaWorld Orlando: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday
• Aquatica Orlando: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday
• Discovery Cove (Orlando): 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.

The company also said Discovery Cove will reschedule or refund reservations booked online or from the call center with no cancellation or change fees. For additional information, call 407-513-4600.

People with a reservation booked through a third-party reseller can rebook visit dates with the specific park, but people wanting a refund will need to contact their reseller partner.

Click here for additional details, including special hours for Halloween-themed events.

Universal Resort (Orlando)

On Saturday, Universal Orlando Resort and the Halloween Horror Nights will reopen to all guests, according to its website late Friday afternoon.

Universal Orlando Resort, including CityWalk, had a “phased reopen” on Friday for hotel guests.

Its Halloween Horror Nights event opened at 5 p.m. Friday for all guests with existing tickets. Volcano Bay water park also reopened Friday.

Click here for more information and FAQs from Universal.

LEGOLAND (Winter Haven)

After being closed Friday, LEGOLAND Florida reopened at 10 a.m. Saturday for regular operating hours with Brick-or-Treat Presents Monster Party, the resort told CNN Travel via email Friday afternoon.

Peppa Pig Theme Park will open at noon Saturday. Certain park experiences may not be available. LEGOLAND Hotel and LEGOLAND Pirate Island Hotel have resumed normal operations.

LEGOLAND Water Park and LEGOLAND Beach Retreat will remain closed temporarily.

People can rebook stays without penalty with park’s call center at 888-690-5346. Guests with questions about the resort’s hurricane policy can click here.

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex (Cape Canaveral)

NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex on Merritt Island plans to reopen from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, according to the center’s website.

Icon Park (Orlando)

The Icon Park entertainment complex reopened Friday, according to the attraction’s website.

The Wheel was still closed as of 6 p.m. Friday. “As always, guest safety is our top priority and as soon as our technical team has completed the required inspections, we’ll announce its opening,” the park said.

Crayola Experience (Orlando)

The popular attraction for children reopened on Friday, according to Crayola’s website.

Cruise ships

Florida ports have very active cruise schedules. Here’s the status of some of those ships’ routes:

NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE: The company canceled its 10-day sailing of the Norwegian Getaway, which was scheduled to depart Thursday from Port Canaveral.

The company also changed ports on the eight-day sailing of Norwegian Sky.

MSC: The company rerouted the MSC Seashore, which was originally scheduled to be in the Western Caribbean, to ports in the Eastern Caribbean.

The MSC Seashore is still set to depart from the Port of Miami on Saturday, according to cruise line. The MSC Divina will also depart on its regularly scheduled cruise from Port Canaveral on Sunday.

CARNIVAL CRUISE LINE: The company has announced changes to its schedule. With the ports of Tampa Bay, Canaveral and Jacksonville affected by Ian, the following sailings have been canceled:

• Carnival Paradise: Four-day cruise from Tampa on Thursday.
• Carnival Elation: Four-day cruise from Jacksonville on Thursday.
• Carnival Liberty: Three-day cruise from Port Canaveral on Friday.

Guests will receive a full refund and a 25% future cruise credit, Carnival said.

Carnival Sunshine, which departed Charleston on Monday, is expected to dock once the Port of Charleston reopens. That’s expected to happen Sunday, Carnival told CNN Travel in an email Saturday morning. The ship was originally scheduled to return Saturday

The following ships have also had changes in their schedules and/or ports of calls: Carnival Legend, Carnival Magic, Carnival Liberty, Carnival Paradise and Carnival Elation.

Click here to see the specific changes in itinerary for each ship.

National and state parks

As of 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Everglades National Park in South Florida was partially reopened, including its Shark Valley and Homestead entrances. Flamingo, Gulf Coast and some park areas remain closed.

Biscayne National Park near Miami is open with regular hours.

Dry Tortugas National Park, on the western end of the Florida Keys in the Gulf of Mexico, remained closed as of 10:30 a.m. Saturday with no opening time announced yet.

As of llate morning Saturday, dozens of Florida state parks were closed, including Amelia Island State Park  (Nassau County), Don Pedro Island State Park  (Charlotte County), Lake Manatee State Park (Manatee County) and Oscar Scherer State Park  (Sarasota County).

Check here for a full list of closed state parks (which is regularly updated) as well as camping and cabin closures information.


Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens: The Sanford, Florida, complex is closed “through further notice,” the zoo’s website said Saturday morning. The zoo said it “hoped to reopen soon.”

ZooTampa at Lowry Park: The attraction resumed regular hours on Friday, the zoo said on its website.

Brevard Zoo: The zoo in Melbourne has reopened, according to its website.

Carowinds (North Carolina / South Carolina)

The amusement park south of Charlotte, which straddles the North Carolina-South Carolina border, was closed on Friday but reopened on Saturday. Gets details on its website.

Brookgreen Gardens (Georgetown County, South Carolina)

The botanical and statuary gardens was closed on Friday and will be closed on Saturday for cleanup. Brookgreen expects to reopen at 9:30 a.m. Sunday, it said on its website late Friday afternoon.

South Carolina state parks and historical sites

The following SC state parks and historical sites were closed as of 10:30 a.m. Saturday:

• Cheraw State Park golf course
Edisto Beach State Park
• Hunting Island State Park
• Huntington Beach State Park
• Little Pee Dee State Park
• Myrtle Beach State Park

Riverbanks Zoo (Columbia)

The popular zoo in South Carolina’s capital city was closed Friday but reopened at 10 a.m. Saturday, the zoo’s website said.

Wright Brothers National Memorial (North Carolina)

The memorial in Kill Devil Hills in the Outer Banks is open, the park said on its website.

Biltmore Estate (North Carolina)

The grand estate nestled in the mountains of the Asheville area is open, according to its website. The estate said it’s keeping a close eye on the weather in case of heavy rainfall.

Be sure to check with any tourist attraction within Ian’s range before you head out, and remember even inland areas far from the coast can have significant flood damage from remnants of hurricanes.

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Top image: The Magic Kingdom’s iconic Cinderella’s Castle. (John Raoux/AP) CNN’s Jamiel Lynch, Frank Pallotta, Amanda Musa and Aya Elamroussi contributed to this report.

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