Hot on the heels of the limited reopenings of Universal CityWalk and Walt Disney World’s Disney Springs, Universal Orlando is now Central Florida’s first mega-resort to announce the reopening of its theme parks, which plan to welcome the public again beginning on June 5.
Currently, many theme parks, the resort hotels, and cruise lines are still not operating due to the COVID-19 pandemic, or they are operating with modified procedures. For the latest updates, read our guide to coronavirus and the theme parks.
The following is based on a proposal presented by Universal Orlando to the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force on May 21. These plans have been approved by the task force and Orange County Mayor Demmings, and have now received final approval from Governor DeSantis. You can watch the entire presentation in the video below:
Universal Orlando plans to begin the reopening of its theme parks with a “soft opening” exclusively for team members (employees) on June 1 and 2. Operations will expand on June 3 and 4 for invited guests and selected annual passholders (details TBD), with the general public welcomed back starting June 5. All three theme parks are expected to open, including both “dry” parks—Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure—as well as the Volcano Bay water park.
Obviously, there will be many changes to how the Universal Orlando Resort operates as it reopens following the coronavirus quarantine. Here is a summary of new safety procedures and social distancing policies Universal Orlando plans to implement as theme parks reopen.
Parking and Arrival
- Parking attendants will leave extra spaces between cars in the garage.
- Valet parking will not be available.
- All guests will have their temperature checked (using a touch-free forehead thermometer) upon arrival. Any guests registering 100.4F or above will be held and retested, and may not visit the resort if they remain elevated.
- All guests must wear face coverings at all times, except while eating and drinking. Guests without masks will be offered a free disposable mask, or they may purchase reusable masks.
Theme Park Entry
- The number of operating turnstiles will be reduced, and spacing markers will indicate proper distancing in the queues.
- Maps are not stocked in racks near the entrance but are distributed individually; guests are encouraged to use the mobile app instead.
- Some locker banks will be disabled, and guests will be directed to available lockers.
Rides and Attractions
- Free Virtual Line ride reservations will expand to more attractions in an effort to reduce standby queuing.
- Queues will be reconfigured with spacing markers to ensure parties remain 8 to 10 feet apart.
- Ride vehicle capacity will be reduced to create space between unrelated groups.
- Water-based spray and mist effects (in attractions like Gringotts or Skull Island) will be disabled. Water-based rides using bromine or chlorine filtering (such as Popeye and Jurassic Park) may still operate.
- 3-D glasses will be handed out individually.
- Interactive play areas will not be available.
- Single Rider lines will not be available.
Shows and Entertainment
- Seated shows will run at reduced capacity with spacing between parties.
- Parades will not be scheduled. Individual floats will be brought out with characters, who will not mingle with guests.
- Post-show meet-and-greets with performers will be suspended.
Dining and Shopping
- Capacity will be controlled inside shops and restaurants, with marked queues for entry where necessary.
- Mobile Ordering will be encouraged at quick-service restaurants.
- Contactless payment methods (like ApplePay, Google Wallet, and the Universal Orlando app) will be accepted.
- All menus will be single-use printouts.
- All utensils and condiments will be pre-wrapped or individually packaged.
- All buffets and self-service options will be suspended.
Pools and Water Parks
- Capacity will be reduced on slides to avoid grouping unrelated parties.
- The number of tubes in the lazy and fast rivers will be reduced.
- Chlorinated water will be used to clean rafts and life vests.
- Lounge chairs will be grouped with 6-foot spacing between clusters.
As for Universal Orlando’s team members, they’ll be performing daily temperature checks at home before coming to work; will wear masks (and gloves, where appropriate); and observe new sanitation and social distancing measures, including increased disinfecting of surfaces and frequent hand-washing.
We’ll continue to update you as Universal Orlando reveals more details about the reopening of its theme parks. For all there is to see and do at Universal Orlando, check out The Unofficial Guide to Universal Orlando. If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe to our YouTube channel and sign up for our newsletter here. Be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.