Walt Disney World to close for Matthew's arrival
The Walt Disney World resort announced on Twitter earlier today that it will be closing all theme parks, water parks, golf courses, Disney Springs and the ESPN sports complex for hurricane Matthew's arrival.
The closure comes as President Obama declared a state of emergency in 28 Florida counties, coastal counties were ordered to evacuate and residents in other counties were advised to be off the streets by 6pm this evening.
The parks will close at 5pm local time today (Thursday) and will not open at all on Friday.
Walt Disney World's decision to close follows similar closures announced by SeaWorld yesterday and Universal earlier this morning.
The category 4 hurricane has already caused devastation in Haiti and barrelled through the Bahamas, and is now forecast to hit Florida's east coast on Thursday night.
Airlines are cancelling flights in and out of Orlando International and it's reported that the majority of flights will be grounded by 7:30pm this evening as the storm intensifies.
Current tracks suggest the storm will have cleared the Florida coastline by Saturday daytime although no decision has yet been reached by any of the theme park operators about re-opening on Saturday.
It is unusual for the parks to completely shut down during normal operations, but not unusual. It happened in 2004 for hurricane Charley and in 2001 the parks were evacuated when the 9/11 attacks unfolded, with the operators fearing they could be another target.