Hurricane Dorian dampens Labor Day travel: What you need to know


Satellite image of Hurricane Dorian

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Vacationers along the Southeast coast for the Labor Day holiday and the unofficial close of summer are in for a nerve-racking weekend.

After heading toward the Atlantic Coast of Florida for several days, Hurricane Dorian has veered toward Georgia and the Carolinas.

While Florida may not receive a direct hit, dangerous storm conditions are still anticipated in the state in the coming days. Meanwhile, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina are now on high alert as the storm approaches those coasts.

Flights and trains

Airlines have been issuing waivers for several days to travelers headed for destinations in the storm’s projected path.

American Airlines has extended waivers for various Florida and Caribbean destinations. Full details of itineraries that qualify for waived change fees are listed on the airline’s web site.

Delta Air Lines has released an advisory for cities in Florida and Georgia, following previous waiver options for Caribbean destinations.

SouthwestJetBlueSpiritUnited and Frontier have also offered waivers on change fees for itineraries in potentially affected destinations.

More destinations in Georgia and the Carolinas are likely to be added to airline advisories as the storm progresses northward.

Orlando International Airport will cease operations at 2 a.m. Monday local time, according to an official statement from the airport.

Miami International Airport and Fort Lauderdale International Airport are both monitoring the storm’s progress, according to advisories posted to their websites.

Amtrak canceled select Southeast service starting on Friday. Full details of which routes will be affected are available online.


Royal Caribbean cruise line’s private Bahamian island, Perfect Day at CocoCay, will be closed through September 4 so that local employees can secure and evacuate their families and homes, the company said on its website.

More than 15 sailings had been impacted by the impending storm as of Saturday morning.

Royal Caribbean has listed each modification online. Some cruises have modified itineraries due to the closure of CocoCay. Others have been extended or shortened or will have delayed departures.

On its website, Carnival Cruise Line listed a series of sailings it is monitoring and modifying out of Port Canaveral, Port of Miami, Jacksonville, Fort Lauderdale and Tampa in Florida and Charleston, South Carolina.

The cruise line’s online advisory outlines how passengers aboard specific sailings can sign up for text alerts for more information.

Disney Cruise Line posted an operations advisory on its website. The cruise line’s August 31 Disney Fantasy sailing is expected to proceed as planned.

Disney Dream’s scheduled September 2 sailing will depart on September 4 with a shortened, two-night itinerary. Guests will receive a 50% refund and a $250 onboard credit per stateroom or they can opt to reschedule. Full details are available online.

Norwegian Cruise Line has listed several modifications online to upcoming sailings on Norwegian Breakaway, Norwegian Sky and Norwegian Sun.

Amusement parks and other attractions

In Orlando, which is about 50 miles inland from Florida’s Atlantic coast, Walt Disney World Resort opened its much-anticipated Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge theme park in Hollywood Studios on Thursday.

While Dorian’s turn toward the Carolinas may spare Florida from the worst of the storm’s effects, Galaxy’s Edge faces a soggy opening weekend.

Disney’s Orlando parks were operating under normal conditions as of 5 p.m. Friday local time, but Disney is canceling weekend sporting events and closing Disney’s Blizzard Beach water park on Sunday, the company said in a statement.

Officials at Universal Orlando Resort also said they are monitoring the situation.

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, one of Central Florida’s most popular tourist destinations, expects to be closed Sunday and Monday because of the storm. Special Interest Tours and some other experiences will not be available on Saturday, although the center plans to be open during its regular hours from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The center moved its $650 million Mobile Launch Platform inside on Friday.

Leave the Keys

Florida Keys officials asked visitors to leave the Keys — which include Key West and Key Largo — if they can, although they stopped short of ordering a mandatory evacuation, in a statement released Friday.

They also advised travelers with plans to visit the Keys to hold off until the storm has passed and fuel and other supplies can be delivered. The Florida Keys website will be updated when it’s safe to return.

Change of plans

Some travelers proactively canceled Florida plans.

Lindsay Wolf and her husband had planned to take their children, ages 8 and 10, kayaking and tubing on the Rainbow River with friends who had recently moved to the Ocala area, but the Atlanta family has made other plans.

“It was an easy decision to make to cancel the trip, considering how large of an area the meteorologists are expecting the storm to make landfall,” Wolf said.

Luckily for her family, she found a hotel with an available room in Orange Beach, Alabama, “so we will still get sun and water,” she said. “Plus, we will get out of there before any of the rain makes it there.”

“The kids will understand one day, but last night our son didn’t eat dinner and both kids cried their little eyes out.”

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