Universal Orlando Resort has presented a plan for reopening its theme parks with a proposed date to reopen to the public on June 5, 2020. (This would follow a proposed reopening to Universal team members on June 1st and 2nd and “invited guests” such as Annual Passholders on June 3rd and 4th.)
Universal Orlando — along with Walt Disney World Resort and SeaWorld — has been closed since mid-March in light of the global health situation. Along with the proposed opening date, Universal Orlando Resort has also presented safety measures to implement upon reopening, which we will be exploring here.
We have already seen new safety measures in action at the reopening of Universal Orlando’s CityWalk on May 14th, which is currently the only area of the Resort open to guests. (Disney Springs in Walt Disney World began its phased reopening yesterday.)
And Universal shared that they are looking towards a “gradual capacity reopening” with a slow ramp up and a focus on three types of measures: Screening, Sanitation, and Spacing Standards.
However, the theme parks will also operate under a set of guidelines encompassing the specific offerings within parks like rides and other attractions. The proposed measures — as shared by Universal Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer John Sprouls and Executive Vice President of Resort Operations Rich Costales — would begin even prior to the guest’s arrival.
According to the proposed plan, guests planning to visit Universal Orlando can expect to find pre-arrival communication on the Universal Orlando Resort website and on Universal’s social media accounts.
The goal will be to make it very clear to guests what Universal intends to do to keep them safe, and also what expectations Universal has for its guests. Representatives of Universal at the meeting shared that “some things are going to be different,” and that they will ask guests to “cooperate.”
And within the Resort, guests will continue to have access to helpful information. One way that will be presented is with Ambassadors placed throughout the Resort to help guests with the new procedures and answer questions. “They will be everywhere and very visible.” And printed communications will be available in multiple languages.
Within the focus of “Screening, Sanitation, and Spacing,” measures will include — but not be limited to — the following:
Screening measures will apply to both Universal team members and guests. Team members will undergo temperature checks each day, as will guests upon arrival at every entrance — as we’ve experienced at CityWalk. Team members will also answer health questions in addition to temperature checks. (There will be additional procedures for team members to employ with guests, and training will begin this weekend.)
Guests will also be required to wear face masks.
Universal plans to provide free disposable masks for guests who arrive without one.
Sanitation measures will be in place across all aspects of the Resort. For instance, upon reopening, water and mist will be eliminated from rides. And at restaurants, single-use menus will be utilized, and there will be no buffet or self-serve options.
Additional measures will include the requirement that team members wash their hands every 30 minutes, noting that Universal will increase the amount of breaks for employees to wash hands and remove their masks away from guest areas.
Resort capacity will be “managed” and ramped up slowly. Spacing will start in the parking lots with staggered parking for team members and guests (while valet parking will not be in operation).
And capacity measures will continue to be managed throughout venues within the Resort, with plans in place for physical distancing in restaurants, stores, and more.
For instance, attraction lines will utilize virtual queues for popular rides while single rider lines will be eliminated. Attraction queue entry will have social distancing plans posted at the attraction to explain to guests what the system in place is. And interactive play areas will be closed.
Post-show meet and greets will be eliminated (though performers will stay onstage so guests may take photos of them).
At eateries, Mobile food ordering will be utilized and contactless payment will be encouraged (though cash will not be refused). And team members will be encouraged to practice safe distancing outside of work.
Universal Orlando Resort presented its plans to Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings during today’s meeting of the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force. Mayor Demings has previously stated it will take 24-48 hours to review the plans before submitting them to Governor DeSantis; however, during today’s meeting he mentioned that he may correspond with the Governor tomorrow morning.
This process of local approval is in keeping with instruction from Florida Governor Ron DeSantis that theme parks should work alongside their local governments on their plans for reopening and that local government officials will need to endorse any potential plans prior to submitting them for state approval. So we will be keeping you posted on this developing story!
You can read more about the current status of Disney Resorts and parks around the world by following any of the links below.
Have you visited Universal while in Orlando? Please let us know with a comment.