Theme Parks Reopening: Disney World & Universal Studios Orlando
As the COVID-19 pandemic forced nearly all businesses to close, world-renowned attractions like Walt Disney World and Universal Studios were forced to close their gates to help mitigate the spread of the infection. While every business has seen an impact from the novel coronavirus, attractions such as Disney and Universal have taken huge losses as their revenue is largely dependent on guests lining up to enter their parks daily. As the parks have sat empty, many have wondered “Will my favorite park be open in time for summer vacation?”
As stay-at-home orders have begun to lift across the country, Disney and Universal are beginning to release expectations and guidance for park visitors as to when they can expect their favorite park to reopen – and what to expect when they arrive. Let’s take a look at the latest from both parks:
Universal Studies Reopens June 5th
Universal Studios has announced that they will resume full amusement park services beginning June 5th, having already opened their CityWalk attraction for dining and shopping. From Universal Studio’s website, here are the guidelines the company has put forward as they begin to reopen their park. Knowing these guidelines can help park visitors plan ahead for any changes in service:
- Guests and team members are required to wear face coverings and undergo temperature checks. Anyone with a temperature of 100.4 degrees or greater will not be able to enter Universal CityWalk or the theme parks
- Staggered parking within the parking garage to help create distance between travel groups
- Limiting and reducing daily park attendance and attraction ridership in Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure and Universal’s Volcano Bay
- Increasing cleaning and disinfection of food locations, ride vehicles and other frequent “touchpoints” that go beyond our already-aggressive cleaning procedures
- Social distancing at all locations through the parks, within attractions and queues and at restaurants
- Having Virtual Line™ experiences available for select attractions
- Offering cashless payments and “no-touch” policies where possible
Disney World Plans a Phased Reopening Starting July 11
On May 27th, Disney announced a phased reopening strategy beginning on July 11. At a meeting with a Florida economic recovery task force, Disney executives announced that they will begin allowing visitors back to the park with a variety of increased security and health checkpoints. This announcement comes as the NBA is in talks to reportedly consider restarting the season at Disney’s sports venues.
Senior Vice President of Operations Jim McPhee, announced to the task force that Disney’s Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom will reopen to the public on July 11. McPhee followed up by noting that Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios will reopen on July 15.
In a similar move to Universal Studios, Disney World will institute temperature checks at entry as well as a mask requirement for visitors. Those who do not arrive with a mask will be provided one to wear at the gate. As Disney continues to roll out their reopening plan, it is important to watch Disney’s website for further guidance.
Stay Tuned For Updated Information
For both company’s reopening to be a success, a careful combination of public information and adherence to guidelines must be followed by visitors and staff. As the weeks follow the reopening of each park, each company will be watching to see if a spike in infections is noted from any of the park’s visitors.
As with every piece of COVID-19 news, it is important to stay ahead of changing information. The best way to make sure you are informed about any updates or changes with each park’s unique reopening strategy is to follow each company’s newsroom and websites. You can also keep an eye here as we continue to release new and updated information regarding both park’s reopening plans and implementation.