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Today marked a historic event in the history of theme parks, although it is not the theme park that is generally in our area of coverage – that is, until all large theme parks be closed due to COVID-19 and CityWalk has become the first place to reopen. Universal Orlando Resort presented its reopening plans to the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force, and is the first to do so before Walt Disney World Resort and SeaWorld Orlando.
Universal Orlando Resort plans to reopen its theme parks on June 5 to the public, with smooth reopens for team members starting June 1. From June 3-4, only guests (such as annual pass holders) will have access.
Universal Orlando plans to reopen just in time for its 30th anniversary on June 7. Here is an overview of the various preventive measures that will be in place when the Universal Orlando theme parks reopen. Universal will implement a three “S” system – screening, disinfection and spacing:
Universal will provide a free disposable face cover to customers who did not bring their own. As we saw when CityWalk reopened, face masks will also be available for sale. The play areas will remain closed and 3D glasses will be distributed individually. There will also be a reduction and / or elimination of water and fog elements in the parks.
In restaurants, menus will be converted to single use with individually wrapped condiments and prepackaged silverware. No buffet or self-service in restaurants will be available. Mobile food ordering will be activated for seats directly at the table and food delivery.
Contactless payments will be encouraged through the use of Apple Pay, Google Wallet, etc.
As we have seen throughout CityWalk, a number of social distancing signs and markers will mark the grounds:
Virtual lines will be used in busy attractions, with Single Rider eliminated everywhere. The attraction queues will also be changed:
All turnstiles will have a queue distance and spacing, with a reduced number of turnstiles. Universal is known for its use of lockers. During the gradual reopening, all other locker banks will be deactivated and team members will have poor control over guest access to the locker area. The parts of the trip will be spaced if necessary.
The meetings with the characters after the show will be eliminated and the artists must remain on stage for the photos. The parades will not take place during the gradual reopening, but once they return, the floating artists must remain on their units at all times.
Brochure holders for cards will be eliminated, with team members distributing cards and notices individually. Customers will be encouraged to use the park’s mobile app instead of paper cards. The following document “Important Information” will be distributed with information on masks, temperature controls, etc.
Rich Costales, executive vice president of resort operations at Universal Orlando Resort and John Sprouls, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Universal Parks & Resorts made the announcement at the Orange County meeting today. The reopening plans will need to be approved by the Orange County Mayor before they can be submitted to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. You can see the full meeting of the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force from today below:
For a summary of the current experience at CityWalk of Universal Orlando, including temperature controls and new social distancing guidelines, click here.
Currently, all Walt Disney World parks and hotels remain closed and no reopening dates have been announced or identified. Disney Springs began its gradual reopening today, with third-party restaurants and stores now able to meet the new increased capacity limits. Starting May 27, Disney-owned stores and restaurants will also reopen in accordance with the new guidelines.