Disney World Florida is one of the world’s most iconic holiday destinations. Built in 1971, the park attracts millions of visitors every year. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a Disney fan or an avid thrill-seeker, the park has something for everyone.
Florida, however, has recently hit the news for a darker reason. It was directly in the path of one of the most deadly hurricanes in recent history, Hurricane Irma, and tens of thousands of Floridians were evacuated in order to minimize casualties.
Pictured below is Disney World before it closed for Hurricane Irma. Many precautions were taken inside the park; lights were covered with protective bags and objects were secured down to avoid being thrown around in Irma’s winds.
Hurricane Irma made landfall on Florida on Sunday, destroying a quarter of homes in the Florida Keys, killing at least 12 people, and leaving millions without power. As residents return home, more details of Irma’s destruction are emerging.
Disney World issued the following statement on Thursday, September 7 about its closure for Hurricane Irma:
“Based on the latest forecasts for Hurricane Irma and keeping safety top of mind, Walt Disney World Resort will be closed on Sunday, September 10 and will remain closed through Monday, September 11.”
Disney fans and holidaymakers alike were anxious to see how the famous park fared once the storm had passed, especially as the first photographs taken of the Sunshine State after Hurricane Irma were almost unrecognizable.
This is what “the happiest place on Earth” looks like after Hurricane Irma paid a visit…
Disney World was battered by strong winds and heavy rain and suffered power cuts during the hurricane. Thankfully, however, it escaped the worst of Irma’s wrath. The worst of the damage done to the park was to its many trees and signs. Still, it’s a huge difference from the oh-so merry place we’re used to seeing…
However, not all of the park’s rides escaped unscathed, and many will require repairs before they are reopened. The ‘Jungle Cruise’ will reportedly be out for action for some time, as well as The Walt Disney World railroad and Tom Sawyer’s Island.
Disney World is a magical place, and it hasn’t taken the cast members long to get the majority of the park up and running again. Whilst guests stayed in its hotel during the hurricane, the park didn’t officially reopen until yesterday.
The waterparks in Disney remain shut, but they are expected to reopen later this week.
The only part of the park which appears to have been damaged irrevocably were transformers which exploded during the storm.
Those who visited the park yesterday were able to enjoy much shorter waiting times for its iconic rides. Visitor numbers will likely increase over the coming days. Because Florida’s weather is unpredictable at the best of times, many of the park’s attractions are indoors, which meant that the damage was nowhere near as bad as it could have been.
Now downgraded to a tropical storm, the end of Hurricane Irma is in sight. However, the clean-up operation not only in Florida but elsewhere in the US and Caribbean will take years to complete. Irma has caused an estimated $300 billion worth of damages.
We wish all the best to those affected by this terrible natural disaster.