So far, our Unofficial Guide to A Socially Distanced Universal Orlando has shown you how to return to the resort and enjoy its world-class rides. Today, we’re taking a look at one element that truly brings the magic back to the Universal experience, despite all the safety precautions: shows and live entertainment.
Although most of the resort’s live entertainment will still be offered during times of social distancing, the operations of socially distanced Universal shows will be restricted in ways similar to the moving attractions. Seated shows will run at reduced capacity, with every other row left empty, and at least three unoccupied seats between unrelated parties.
Venues that were previously self-seated will instead have ushers directing attendees, and at the conclusion of performances, the audience will be called to exit one section at a time.
To accommodate the extra time needed to seat guests, performers improvise preshows that are almost as entertaining as the shows themselves.
For example, Beetlejuice haunts the Horror Makeup Show, hurling humorous insults at arriving audience members.
Performances may be modified with new choreography, costuming, and stage blocking to accommodate social distancing. Segments requiring contact with an audience volunteer may be cut or altered, along with any untilizing water-based special effects.
The cast of Horror Makeup has mined comedic gold out of their new protective equipment, earning big laughs by satirically sanitizing the set. The “audience volunteer” is still part of the show, but if you see multiple performances you’ll realize they are actually a “plant.”
Watch the following performance of Animal Actors On Location to see how Universal modifies shows for social distancing. Note that the performers had been on “FURlough” for months, making the performance particularly chaotic!
In a few extreme cases, a show may be downsized into a photo opportunity or suspended entirely. The Triwizard Tournament will sometimes omit its acrobatics, and the Sing It ensemble is currently on hiatus.
Post-show meet-and-greets with performers will be suspended, but you can snap a picture of the cast on stage during the curtain call instead.
Street shows enforce social distancing using temporary markers designating appropriate viewing positions on the pavement; you may be asked to move if caught standing between spots, even if there’s nobody else around within arm’s length.
Some outdoor shows previously performed at ground level—such as Marilyn Monroe and the Diamond Bellas, which you can watch in the video below—may move to an elevated location.
Performers who normally mingle with the crowd (like the Blues Brothers) will instead keep their distance.
Parades will not be scheduled. Throughout the day, individual floats from Universal’s Superstar parade will be brought out with costumed characters, who will pose for photos from a distance but not mingle with guests.
Nighttime spectaculars, such as IOA’s Hogwarts Castle light displays and the USF’s Cinematic Celebration lagoon show, will also be put on hold.
Theaters in CityWalk, such as the Blue Man Group and Universal Cinemark, may be closed or operating on a reduced schedule. CityWalk nightclubs and hotel dinner shows will also be closed. However, you may find stiltwalkers in the streets, and live musicians or dancers on the waterside stage.
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.