Has Hurricane Ian ruined vacation plans in Florida? Here’s a visitor’s guide on how to deal with storm

Are all the theme parks closed? How can I get a refund for park tickets? Where can I shelter? Is my flight being canceled?

Eastbound traffic crowds Interstate 4 as people evacuate in preparation for Hurricane Ian approaches the western side of the state, Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022, in Lake Alfred, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack) (Phelan M. Ebenhack, Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Prepping for hurricanes is not something that is pleasant for residents of Florida, but it is something that people who live in the Sunshine State are accustomed to each fall.

But what about those from out of town who planned a vacation to Florida, and now those plans are being altered or ruined by Hurricane Ian?

Here’s a look at how tourists can best cope in terms of park closures, air travel and evacuation shelters.

Park closures

In particular, the Orlando area is among the most visited spots in the world because of its numerous theme parks.

What are tourists to do now?

It is probably frustrating planning a trip to Disney, Universal Studios, Busch Gardens in Tampa, or any other park, and then having the storm put an end to those plans.

Parks have cancellation policies ready in the event of a hurricane or tropical storm warning that are issued by the National Hurricane Center.

Click or tap here to view a list of parks that are closing, when they will be closed, and their refund policies.

Airport travel

Here is the status of major airports in Florida.

  • Orlando International Airport - The airport announced it will cease operations at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday. Passengers are being urged to check with airlines for availability.
  • Tampa International Airport - Operations were suspended as of 5 p.m. Tuesday. Passengers are being urged to check with airlines for availability.
  • Miami International Airport - As of Tuesday evening, the airport said it was open, but asked passengers to check with their airlines because some flights were delayed or canceled.
  • St. Pete/Clearwater International Airport - The airport closed at 1 p.m. Tuesday and will remain that way until the mandatory evacuation has lifted.
  • Sarasota Bradenton International Airport - The airport closed at 8 p.m. Tuesday.
  • Jacksonville International Airport - The airport as of Wednesday morning remained open and hadn’t announced plans of any closure.

Evacuation shelters

For a list of evacuation shelters by county in Florida, visit this website.

If you are a going to an evacuation shelter, you will likely need the following:

  • Blankets and pillows
  • Snacks
  • Extra clothing
  • Any necessary medications or oxygen supplies
  • Toiletries
  • Flashlight and batteries
  • Electronic devices and charges
  • Diapers and other infant necessities
  • Important documents such as IDs, birth certificates and social security cards.

About the Author:

Keith is a member of Graham Media Group's Digital Content Team, which produces content for all the company's news websites.