Tourists disappointed as storm shuts Orlando theme parks

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Tourists who flock to Orlando’s major theme parks were disappointed Thursday when all of them closed early because of Hurricane Matthew and planned to stay shut down until Saturday.

“I never get time off,” said Amber Klinkel, 25, of Battle Creek, Michigan, who was visiting the Universal Studios park with her mother and younger sister. “I’m a little sad.”

Universal and Walt Disney World both planned to close down at 5 p.m. Thursday, with SeaWorld shutting its gates at 2 p.m. The parks are among the most-visited tourist destinations in the world.

Anthony Leotta, who arrived Thursday from Long Island, New York, said he was going to try to get a refund at Universal. Leotta, who is visiting with his wife, said they are leaving on a cruise Sunday and will probably have just a single day at the theme park.

“I paid for three days at the park and I’m only going to be able to use one,” Leotta said.

Carlos Rodriguez, who said he lives in New Jersey but didn’t give a hometown, planned to do as much as possible at Universal before it closed Thursday.

“We will try not to walk away empty-handed,” he said. “Can’t blame them for a hurricane. But you can blame them for closing too early.”

The scenario was a bit unfamiliar for Emma Bassett, 24, of Middlesbrough, England, a self-described “massive Harry Potter fan” whose flight home was rescheduled.

“We’re not used to stuff like this,” she said. “You don’t get hurricanes in England.”

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