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Hurricane shuts Orlando theme parks

AAP logoAAP 6/10/2016 By Caroline Berdon

Tourists who flock to Orlando's major theme parks have been disappointed after 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 park with her mother and younger sister. ``I'm a little sad.''

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

Anthony Leotta, who arrived on 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, from New Jersey , planned to do as much as possible at Universal before it closed on 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.''

Hurricane Matthew, the fiercest Caribbean storm in nearly a decade, has strengthened as it barrels toward the southeastern United States after killing at least 140 people, mostly in Haiti, on its deadly northward march.

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