The Universal Orlando Resort has reopened, and nearly all the attractions and entertainment that bigger kids and their parents enjoy are back in operation. But what do Universal’s new safety measures mean for the younger members of your family? Today’s special installment of The Unofficial Guide to a Socially Distanced Universal Orlando with Kids will arm you with everything you need to know before taking your children back into the theme parks.
First and foremost, keep in mind that all guests age 3 and older must have their temperature checked upon arrival, and wear a face covering at all times. If your child has a condition that prevents him or her from wearing a standard face mask, speak to Guest Services or any roving employee wearing a “Guest Experience Support” shirt.
After explaining your situation, they may provide you with a wristband that allows your child to wear a full-face shield (which you should provide yourself) instead of the standard face mask. However, be aware that face shields are not permitted on most attractions, so they will need to switch to a face mask in order to ride.
Signage and audio announcements around the resort will also remind you to reinforce good hand-washing hygiene with your kids. Hand sanitizer is provided before getting on every ride, and another dispenser can be found near each exit, along with directions to the nearest restrooms.
Employees will be constantly cleaning high-touch areas, but you should still do your best to dissuade your darlings from dragging their hands along railings, clinging to queue walls, or otherwise making unnecessary contact with indoor surfaces.
Inside the theme parks, the biggest sacrifices to social distancing have been suffered by the lineup of attractions aimed at little ones. All interactive playgrounds will be unavailable, including Me Ship The Olive,…
and If I Ran the Zoo in IOA,…
along with Curious George’s and Fievel’s areas in USF.
High-touch interactive indoor areas, such as the Jurassic Park Discovery Center, will also be blocked off.
Barney will still sing his songs, but his backyard play area will be off-limits, and even E.T. will refuse to learn your name, calling everyone “friend” instead.
Child-swap rooms at attractions with minimum height requirements may not be available. Instead, the first guardian will use the standard queue while their partner waits outside the attraction with the kids, then the second adult will be granted immediate access to the Express entrance when it’s their turn. Ask the ride’s greeter for alternatives before joining the queue if you need to switch off guardians for a small fry.
One often overlooked attraction with no height restriction is Poseidon’s Fury, a walk-through special effects show. To maintain social distancing, guests will be sent through the iconic water vortex one party at a time, making this unique experience even more intimate.
All character meet-and-greets will be transformed into photo opportunities, with characters posing at least 6 feet away from guests and each other, and “face” performers sporting masks.
Alternatively, you may catch unmasked “celebrities” like Marilyn Monroe cruising past the crowds in a convertible.
Guests will not be allowed to make physical contact with characters—no hugs or autographs—but can wave hello and take distanced selfies. You may briefly lower your mask while taking a snapshot, as long as you are at least 6 feet from the performers.
Employees will no longer be able to take pictures using guests’ cameras or phones, but My Universal Photos photographers are still available. These restrictions will apply both within the parks and during character meals (if and when they become available again).
Universal already had a few meet-and-greets that were tailor-made for social distancing. IOA’s talking Mystic Fountain in Lost Continent continues to kibbitz with guests heading towards the Sinbad stadium break area, although it isn’t as liberal with its water spritzing.
The Knight Bus’s shrunken head is still hanging out in front of Diagon Alley, looking for muggles to mock.
And despite the pandemic, Universal’s Jurassic Park recently gained a brand-new paddock for its Raptor Encounter, which has the same Jurassic World-inspired theming we expect to see on the unannounced roller coaster being built nearby.
Check out the new Raptor Encounter in this video:
Video arcades and carnival booths will still operate, but some game machines or playing positions will be disabled to maintain distance between participants; see a games attendant if you need assistance.
Finally, extra-cost outdoor climbing walls will not be available.
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.