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INTERCOT > News > September 2004

News Archive - September 2004

September 27, 2004

Orlando International Reopens

Orlando International Airport flights resume at noon today, September 27. Passengers can begin arriving at 10 a.m. and are advised to check with their airline for information on the status of their flights before coming to the airport.

MCO Airline Contact Page
MCO Live Flight Information

September 26, 2004

Walt Disney World Parks To Open Monday

All Walt Disney World theme Parks will be open Monday, September 27 with the exception of Typhoon Lagoon. Operational Hours have been amended slightly. Current hours for tomorrow are as follows;

MGM -- 10AM - 8PM
Epcot Future World -- 10AM - 7PM
Epcot World Showcase -- 11AM - 9PM
Magic Kingdom - 9AM - 8PM
Animal Kingdom - 9AM - 5PM
Blizzard Beach - 10AM - 5PM
Typhoon Lagoon - CLOSED
Marketplace - Noon - 11PM
Pleasure Island - 7PM - 2AM
West Side - Noon - 1AM
DisneyQuest - 11:30AM - 11PM
Mini Golf Courses - Noon - 11PM

Due to the damage caused by Hurricane Jeanne, the Living Seas Pavilion, the Coral Reef Restaurant, and the Dolphins in Depth Tour will be closed until Sunday, October 3.

Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground will re-open for guests on Tuesday, September 28.

Disney's Vero Beach Resort will re-open for guests on Saturday, October 2.

Details & Discussion

September 25, 2004

Update 6PM: Walt Disney World Theme Parks & Water Parks Closed Sunday September 26

With Hurricane Jeanne intensifying to a Category 3 storm, Walt Disney World Theme Parks and Water Parks will be Closed Sunday, September 26. Jeanne is expected to come ashore late Saturday or early Sunday.  Based on updated information from the National Weather Service and consultation with emergency preparedness officials, Walt Disney World Resort continues to take steps to ensure the safety of guests staying on property. Guests who have questions should call 407-WDW-INFO.

INTERCOT Discussion Boards
National Hurricane Center
The Weather Channel's Weather.com

Walt Disney World Adjusts Operational Hours for Sept. 25

In preparation for Hurricane Jeanne, Walt Disney World has adjusted the following evening hours of operations for tonight;

Magic Kingdom, Epcot & MGM - Closing at 7PM
SpectroMagic - Cancelled
Wishes - Cancelled
Fantasmic! - Cancelled
IllumiNations - Cancelled

Pleasure Island - Closed
Marketplace, West Side & DisneyQuest - Closing at 7PM
Disney's Miniature Golf Courses - Closing at 7PM
Electric Water Pageant - Cancelled
Wide World of Sports Complex - Closing at 7PM
Cirque du Soleil - All Shows Cancelled
Hoop Dee Doo - 9:30PM Show Cancelled
Spirit of Aloha Polynesian Luau - 8PM Show Cancelled
BoardWalk's ESPN Club  - Closing at 6PM
Jellyrolls & Atlantic Dance Hall - Closed

All events scheduled for Disney's International Distance Triathlon for September 24-26 have been Cancelled.

Details & Discussion

September 24, 2004

Hurricane Update 8PM: Disney Cruise Line Schedule Changes

Disney Cruise Line announced today that its two ships, the Disney Wonder and the Disney Magic, will both depart from Fort Lauderdale’s Port Everglades on Monday, September 27 due to complications created by Hurricane Jeanne. Guests who have questions can call (800) WDW-CRUISE for more information.

Discussion & More Details

Vero Beach and Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground Guests Relocated

All Walt Disney World Resort hotels will remain open throughout the storm, with the exception of Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground and Vero Beach Resort. Guests with reservations at Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground or Vero Beach Resort arriving from September 24 through September 26 are being relocated to other resorts. Guests who have scheduled reservations at either one of these resorts arriving before Monday, September 27 are encouraged to call (407) W-DISNEY.

Details & Discussion

Orlando International Airport Will Be Closing at 6PM on Saturday, September 25

Orlando International Airport will CLOSE at 6:00 PM on Saturday, September 25, and will re-open at approximately 12:00 Noon on Monday, September 27. There will be no incoming or outgoing flights between those times.

MCO's Airline Contact Page
Details & Discussion

With Jeanne's Approach, Disney Waives Cancellation Policy

Disney resorts and theme parks at the Walt Disney World® Resort are open for "Magic" as usual while continuing to monitor the progress of Hurricane Jeanne.  Guests with reservations arriving between Friday, September 24 and Monday, September 27, 2004, may, if they wish, modify or cancel their reservations by calling 407-W-DISNEY.  Any deposit and cancellation fees will be fully refunded (with the exception of airline tickets issued for a WDTC air inclusive package. For airline modifications or changes, guests should contact the airline directly.)  This policy change only applies to guests or Travel Agents who booked their reservation directly through Walt Disney World®. Guests who booked a Walt Disney World® reservation through another intermediary must contact them directly.

Details & Discussion

September 20, 2004

Super Soap Weekend Returns!

More than 30 ABC Daytime stars from "All My Children," "One Life To Live" and "General Hospital" will appear at the 9th Annual ABC Super Soap Weekend at Disney-MGM Studios, November 13-14, 2004. The star-studded event will be headlined by "All My Children" actress Susan Lucci. ABC Super Soap Weekend is the largest soap fan event held anywhere in the country and is included with theme park admission to the Disney-MGM Studios.

Details & Discussion

September 14, 2004

Stitch's Great Escape Previews For Annual Passholders

Although Stitch is not scheduled to make his public debut until mid November; Walt Disney World Annual Passholders will be among the first recruits to experience Stitch's Great Escape on November 5, 6 & 7. Passholders have been advised to put on their booger-proof vests and keep an eye out for drool puddles. Valid Passholder ID is required when attending this preview. Please note that the attraction may experience some downtime during the preview period.

Discussion & Details

September 11, 2004

A Nation & The World Remembers

Please join the staff of INTERCOT and INTERCOT West in remembering all those who perished 3 years ago today in the horrific attack on our country and all of those who have throughout this great nations history, given their lives so that we all may remain free.  This is our Patriot Day.

Discussion & Rememberences

September 9, 2004

Disney Cruise Line to Divert Ships to Port Everglades

The impact of Hurricane Frances has required Disney Cruise Line to make additional changes to some upcoming sailings.

Disney Wonder - Sept. 9 - Three-night Bahamas Cruise
Due to the planned closure of Port Canaveral through Thursday, Sept. 9, clients booked on this sailing of the Disney Wonder will embark from Port Everglades in Ft. Lauderdale.

The Three-night Disney Wonder itinerary is as follows:

Sept. 09
: Embarkation at Port Everglades in Ft. Lauderdale
Sept. 10: Nassau, overnight stay
Sept. 11: Depart Nassau. Day at Sea.
Sept. 12: Disembark at either Port Everglades or Port Canaveral

Disney Magic - Sept. 11 - Seven-night Western Caribbean Cruise Currently, there are no changes planned for this Saturday's sailing out of Port Canaveral. Disney Cruise Line is prepared to make itinerary changes, if necessary, due to weather or other challenges at Port Canaveral.

Discussion & More Details

Vero Beach Remains Closed

Disney's Vero Beach Resort remains closed to allow for a complete assessment of the impact from Hurricane Frances on the property. As a precautionary measure, clients or agents with arrivals through Sept. 30, 2004 are being contacted to either move to a Walt Disney World location, book a future visit, or cancel their reservation.

INTERCOT Discussion Boards

September 7, 2004

Walt Disney World Resort Returns To Normal Operations

Walt Disney World Resort will return to normal operations on Tuesday, September 7, 2004 - with the exception of the Fort Wilderness Dinner Shows, Palm Golf Course and Fantasmic!. Guests who wish to contact friends and family staying at the Walt Disney World Resort should call 407-WDW-INFO.

Cancellations for September 7:

Fantasmic! -- Cancelled
Disney's Palm Golf Course -- Remains Closed
Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue will reopen Wednesday, Sept. 8
Mickey's Backyard BBQ will resume on Thursday, Sept. 9

Discussion & Details

September 6, 2004

Orlando International will Open at Noon Today

Passenger flight service is scheduled to resume at approximately noon September 6, 2004 at Orlando International Airport, following an area "all clear" from weather activity associated with Hurricane Frances. Passengers with scheduled flights should contact their airline for the latest flight information. In addition, airline ticket counters will not open until 10:00 a.m. Please be advised that some airlines will not resume passenger operations until Tuesday, September 7, 2004.

INTERCOT Discussion Boards
MCO's Press Release
MCO's Airline Contact Page

Latest News from Disney and Operational Hours for September 6

The Walt Disney World Resort safely withstood Hurricane Frances and maintained power throughout the storm. After a visual inspection of the entire property, only minimal horticultural damage has been found and guest areas have not been affected by the storm.  The Walt Disney World Resort anticipates returning to normal operations in all areas by Tuesday, Sept. 7.

The following Walt Disney World theme parks and locations will open on Monday, Sept. 6:

Magic Kingdom Park - 10:00 a.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Epcot - 10:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Disney-MGM Studios - Closed
Disney's Animal Kingdom - Closed
Blizzard Beach Water Park - Closed
Typhoon Lagoon Water Park - 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Disney's Wide World of Sports - Open for Scheduled Events Downtown Disney Marketplace & West Side - 10 a.m. - 11 p.m.
Pleasure Island - Closed
Walt Disney World Resort hotels - OPEN
Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground - Closed
Golf Courses & Mini Golf  - Closed

INTERCOT Discussion Boards

Disney Cruise Line Update

Given the lengthy, extended duration of the storm, damage assessments which need to occur, the disruption in air travel and ocean wave conditions through Sept. 6, Disney Cruise Line has made the following decisions: The Disney Magic five-day cruise scheduled to depart Monday, Sept. 6 will be pushed to Tuesday, Sept. 7. This will now be a four-day cruise returning on Saturday (this cruise was originally a seven-day cut to five-days). The Disney Wonder three-day cruise (originally a four-day) scheduled to depart Monday, Sept. 6 in the evening has been cancelled. Guests who were scheduled to sail on this cruise will be given the opportunity to transfer over to the Disney Magic.

September 5, 2004

Update 7:00pm - Latest News from Disney and Operational Hours for Sept. 6

After a visual inspection of the entire Disney World property, only  minor roof damage to a single backstage structure and minimal horticultural damage was discovered.  Disney will open the following theme parks and other locations on Monday, September 6:

Magic Kingdom - 9:00 a.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Epcot - 9:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Typhoon Lagoon - 10 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Downtown Disney - 10 a.m. - 11:00 p.m.
Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex - Open for Events
Disney's Animal Kingdom - Closed
Disney-MGM Studios  -  Closed
Blizzard Beach - Closed  
Pleasure Island - Closed

Walt Disney World Resort will return to normal operations in all areas Tuesday, September 7.  Guests who have questions should call 407-WDW-INFO or 407-939-4636.

Update 4:00pm - Statement From Disney World:

"As of this afternoon, all Walt Disney World Guests are well and safely housed in our resort hotels. All areas of the Walt Disney World Resort are safely withstanding the storm and continue to have power.

We anticipate opening our theme parks on Monday, Sept. 6, however we will not open unless it is safe for our Guests and our Cast. We continue to monitor the storm through information from the National Weather Service and consultation with emergency preparedness officials."

Frances Moving In "Slow-Motion" Across Florida - Downgraded to Category 1

Hurricane Frances trudged ashore with 115 mph wind and pelting rain late Saturday, knocking out power to 2 million people and forcing Floridians to endure a frightening night amid roaring gales that shredded roofs and uprooted trees. The storm's slow-motion assault — Frances crawled toward Florida at just 5 mph — came more than a day later than predicted. The western portion of the hurricane's eye crept over parts of the east-central Florida coast Saturday night.

Orlando News Sources on the Hurricane
INTERCOT Discussion Boards
The Orlando Sentinal
Florida Division Of Emergency Management

National News Sources on the Hurricane
National Hurricane Center
The Weather Channel's Weather.com
FEMA Federal Emergency Management Agency

September 4, 2004

Update 5:00pm - Parks Now To Close On Sunday

Because of the slow moving and unpredictable nature of hurricane Frances, Walt Disney World Theme Parks and Water Parks will now be closed Sunday, Sept. 5, 2004. Additional schedule announcements will be made as updated information becomes available.

Discussion & Details 

Update 12:00pm - Parks Likely To Re-Open on Sunday

The Walt Disney World Theme Parks, Water Parks, Recreation Areas, the Boardwalk and Downtown Disney will not operate on Saturday, September 4 based upon forecasts from the National Weather Service and information from emergency preparedness officials.

For guests with priority seating for Character Dining in a resort location, meal service will be provided, but characters will not appear.

We anticipate resuming limited operations sometime on Sunday, September 5 after the storm has passed. Updated information will be distributed as soon as it is available.

Discussion & Details 

September 3, 2004

Update 6:00pm - Parks Will Close On Saturday

Based on updated information from the National Weather Service and consultation with emergency preparedness officials, Walt Disney World theme parks and water parks will be closed Saturday, Sept. 4, 2004. Additional schedule announcements will be made as updated information becomes available. Guests who have questions should call (407) WDW-INFO or (407) 939-4636

The Fort Wilderness Campground is being evacuated in anticipation of Hurricane Frances. Those campers who wished to remain in town are being housed at several of the resorts, most at Port Orleans.

In Orlando area news, A number of shelters in Central Florida have stopped accepting new evacuees because they are full.  Counties are ordering mandatory curfews throughout Central Florida as they try to protect hundreds of thousands of homes vacated by evacuees.

Orlando International Airport (MCO) will be closed until 12 p.m. on Monday, September 6. Most flights into and out of Orlando with a scheduled departure/arrival time before 12 p.m. on Monday are canceled.

Discussion & Details 

Update 11:40am - Official Ticket Center Closing

Due to Hurricane Frances Official Ticket Center's office will close at 3:00 p.m. today (9/3), and will remain closed on Saturday, September 4th, and Sunday, September 5th. They will re-open on Monday, September 6th at 8:00 a.m., weather permitting. If there are any changes, we will let you know as soon as possible.

Update 11:20am - Revised Disney Cruise Line Schedules

Disney Cruise Line continues to monitor Hurricane Frances very closely. At this time, it is probable that the storm will impact air travel into the Central Florida area through Sunday. Given this information, the schedules for the Disney Magic and Disney Wonder are being modified.

The Disney Magic scheduled to depart Saturday, Sept. 4 will now sail on Monday, Sept. 6 on a five-night voyage from Port Canaveral at 7 p.m.

The Disney Wonder sailing scheduled to begin on Sunday, Sept. 5 will now sail on Monday, Sept. 6 on a three-night voyage from Port Canaveral at 6 p.m.

Discussion & Details 

Update 10:00am - Frances Now Category 3, Operational Hours, Etc.

NOAA has announced this morning that Hurricane Frances, still making a run for the Florida coast, has been downgraded from a Category 4 to a strong Category 3, with sustained winds down to 120 mph from 145.  Some forecasters do not believe that the eyewall will survive the next cycle, which combined with two high-pressure ridges between Frances and Florida could further weaken the storm overnight.  However, forecasters also warn that this change could be the normal fluctuations that are characteristics of stronger storms.

At this time hurricane preparations are well underway in Orlando.  Remember that the airport will close at noon today and area attractions are running on an abbreviated schedule (see the story below for full details).

INTERCOT will be monitoring the situation throughout the day and will be posting updates as they become available.

Discussion & Details 

September 2, 2004

Update 10:00pm - Operational Hours, Etc.

Walt Disney World theme and water parks will operate on an abbreviated schedule on Friday and officials announced they expect to be closed on Saturday. The resort stopped taking reservations earlier today. On Friday, Magic Kingdom will be open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Epcot from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., MGM Studios from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Animal Kingdom from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon will remain open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Downtown Disney will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Pleasure Island will be closed Friday night and Cirque du Soleil will hold its 6 p.m. show only.

All Walt Disney World Resort hotels will remain open throughout the
storm. Guests staying at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort & Campgroundwill be relocated to other hotels on property.

SeaWorld Orlando said today it will close Friday at 3 p.m. and remain closed Saturday because of Hurricane Frances. The theme park will evaluate conditions on Sunday.

Universal Orlando including Islands of Adventure, Universal Studios and CityWalk will also close Friday at 3 p.m. and remain closed Saturday because of Hurricane Frances. The theme park will evaluate conditions on Sunday.

Update 3:15pm - Priority Seatings Cancelled

There will be no Priority Seating bookings for Walt Disney World Theme Park restaurants on September 4 & 5. In addition; there will be no reservations accepted at any Walt Disney World resort restaurants beginning with dinner on Friday, September 3 through Sunday September 5.

Discussion & Details

Update 2:25pm - Fantasmic Cancelled

All Fantasmic! shows at MGM Studios have been cancelled for September 3-6.

URGENT Hurricane Frances Update - 12:43pm

Orlando International Airport (MCO) has just released the following statement informing us that the airport will CEASE ALL PASSENGER FLIGHTS AT NOON, FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 3RD.  MCO also asks that all travelers be aware that:

  • Domestic passengers holding reservations for flights prior to noon on Friday, September 3 2004, need to arrive 3 hours prior to their departure.

  • For further information on flight schedules up that time, please contact the airline directly.

  • The Hyatt Hotel at Orlando International Airport is booked and sold out.

If you have any questions about your reservations or your flight, contact your travel agent, hotel or airline.  Contact information will follow this post. 

Disney Specific Updates:
Due to Hurricane Frances, a temporary cancellation and "No Show" policy has been adopted for travel agents who have booked reservations through Walt Disney World or the Walt Disney Travel Company (agents that have booked through another tour operator should contact that company for its specific cancellation policy).

"No Show" penalties will be waived for any Guest arrivals between Wednesday, Sept. 1 and Monday, Sept. 6, 2004.

Additionally Disney has announced the following closings:

  • The Tom Joyner Family Reunion 2004 events scheduled for September 3-6 have been cancelled.

  • The Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue 9:30PM show on Friday, September 3, has been cancelled. All Hoop-Dee-Doo shows scheduled for Saturday, September 4, have been cancelled.

  • All Spirit of Aloha Polynesian Luau performances have been cancelled for Friday & Saturday, September 3 & 4.

  • The Disney Dining Experience scheduled for Friday night, September 3, at the California Grill has been cancelled.

Please stay tuned for further closing information.  As soon as we find out, we will let you know.  Keep an eye on the boards and this space for breaking news.

Discussion & Details
MCO's Press Release
MCO's Airline Contact Page
WDW Resort Contact Information
Information on WDW's No Show Cancellation
Weather.com Tropical Update

Hurricane Frances Update

Hurricane FrancesThe Weather Channel has just confirmed a 6PM Friday closing for Orlando International Airport.  Kennedy Space Center has already closed.  Governor Jeb Bush has already declared a state of emergency for the state of Florida.

Discussion & Details
MCO's Airline Contact Page

September 1, 2004

Hurricane Update

Real Radio 104.1 (WTKS) in Orlando is reporting that the Orlando International Airport will be closing Friday night (9/3) at 5 p.m. in an effort to avoid stranding travelers.  At this point it is not clear whether this means all incoming and outgoing traffic, what flights have been cancelled or how this will affect air travel over the next twenty-four hours. 

Orlando International Airport (MCO), however, has not yet confirmed the closure.  At this time their statement remains, "Orlando International Airport will remain open; however, flight operations will be determined by each individual airline, under the guidance of the FAA.  Therefore, before arriving at the airport, please contact your airline directly to obtain information about specific flights."

Additionally, Gov. Bush is asking that people not travel to the state until the storm has passed.

INTERCOT will follow this news and report further details as they become available.

Discussion & Details
MCO's Airline Contact Page

Central Florida on Hurricane Alert

Still reeling from the devastating effects of Charley, Florida is bracing what looks like another hit from a strong hurricane. If the tracking models hold, Frances could hit the Florida coast Saturday. Florida residents and communities are working feverishly preparing for what seems to be the inevitable.

An Orlando airport insider states, "Keep a close watch because right now it appears Saturday is going be a bear around here. You can figure on there being NO outgoing flights beginning about 4 to 6 hours before the expected arrival of the storm in the area, and incoming flights will likely be either cancelled or diverted starting about 8 hours before.

"Following the storm, figure on a MINIMUM of 24 hours (more likely 36) before the first flights start arriving. After Charley there was a ton of debris on the runways, taxiways and ramps that had to be cleared before they could allow any traffic."

Stay tuned to INTERCOT for breaking developments. As always, if you have plans to visit Orlando or any central or eastern Florida community this weekend, check the news early and often to stay informed. When in doubt, call your travel agent, airline or hotel for further clarification on what you need to be prepared for. Above all, we need to keep our fingers crossed for our Floridian friends still cleaning up after Charley.

Discussion & Details
Weather.com Tropical Update


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