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Hurricane Matthew: Disney World, Orlando theme parks reopen; cruise ships alter itineraries

Walt Disney World
Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom shut early Thursday ahead of Hurricane Matthew’s punishing winds and rainfall. The resort reopened its parks Saturday.
(Gregg Newton/AFP/Getty Images)

Walt Disney World, which shut down Friday for only the fourth time its 45-year history, reopened its parks Saturday. But cruise ships continue to cancel and alter Caribbean itineraries in the wake of Hurricane Matthew.

Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, Disney Springs, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom opened 8 a.m. Saturday, its website says. Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon water parks opened at 10 a.m. The parks had closed early Thursday and all day Friday because of the hurricane.

The ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex remains closed Saturday and is set to reopen Sunday.

Disney World waived hotel cancellation fees and posted reservation change and refund guidelines for visitors whose travel plans were affected by the storm that lashed Florida’s Atlantic coast as it churned northward Thursday and Friday.

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The theme park last closed prior to Hurricane Jean in 2004. It also shut twice in 1999 for Hurricanes Frances and Floyd.

Universal, with the popular Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and SeaWorld also were scheduled to reopen Saturday after closures. 

Cruise ships that sail between Florida and the Caribbean were heavily affected by port closures.

A Disney Fantasy sailing slated to leave Saturday from Port Canaveral was pushed back until Sunday and altered to a six-night Caribbean cruise.

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A Disney Dream cruise that was supposed to leave Port Canaveral on Friday was canceled.

“While we always strive to deliver magical cruise vacations, nothing is more important to us than providing a safe experience for our guests and crew,” the cruise line posted on its website.

Cruise passengers seeking refunds or changes should call (866) 325-3905 or (407) 566-7031 starting Monday.

Royal Caribbean’s Majesty of the Seas canceled a Saturday sailing from Port Canaveral. Call (866) 562-7625 if you need to rebook or request a refund.

Other Royal Caribbean cruises leaving from Miami and Port Everglades, which reopened Saturday, are being delayed to allow passengers more time to arrive.

Carnival Cruise Line reported many disruptions on its website.

The Carnival Ecstasy, slated to sail Saturday from the Charleston, S.C., was expected to be delayed at least a day.

Carnival Elation sailing from Jacksonville, Fla., hopes to sail a four-day itinerary starting Sunday instead of Saturday.

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And the Carnival Pride, which sails Sunday, will now shift to a seven-day cruise of Canada instead of the Caribbean.

Other cruise ship itineraries are affected as well. Passengers who have reservations to travel this week should contact their travel agent or the cruise company.

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