As we count down the days until Universal Orlando Resort opens to the public on June 5 (June 3 for onsite guests), we are getting a much better look at how things will go during the initial reopening phase! Below are some of the major changes that are being put in place to help keep guests and team members safe during the initial reopening. Keep in mind, this is a fluid situation, and things are always changing. Our goal is to keep you as up-to-date as possible for your Universal vacation!
Masks and Temperature Checks
Masks will be required for guests 3 and up in all public areas, this includes the resort hotels. The exception to this rule is in Volcano Bay (see below). You will be required to wear them on the roller coasters as well, so make sure you have a well-fitting mask so you don’t lose it. There will be masks for sale throughout the property.
Temperature checks are also required upon arrival and return unless you have previously been checked that day. Guests that have a temperature of 100.4 or higher will be asks to seek medical attention, and obtain medical clearance to be able to enter the parks. Guests will be checked 3 times before they are required to get a medical clearance. Once you have been checked, you will receive a wristband so that you do not need to be checked again that day.
Sanitizing and Social Distancing
Hand sanitizing stations have been added to public areas, and elevator landings. You will be required to use hand sanitizer before and after rides. Parties will be seated together, and rows/vehicles will be skipped to ensure social distancing guidelines are met. Vehicles will also be sanitized after each group of guests. There will be frequent cleaning of high touch areas. Social distancing markers have been placed throughout the parks.
While exact numbers have not been announced, the parks will have significantly limited capacity. Reservations to get into the park are not required, but once capacity has been met, guests will not be allowed to enter. A big bonus to staying onsite is that you have already been counted in that park capacity! Onsite guests will not be turned away. All the more reason to make that onsite reservation! Keep in mind that there are capacity limits within The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, so even if you are allowed into the park, if WWoHP hits capacity you will not be allowed in at that time. This includes onsite guests.
Virtual Lines and Express Pass
One of my favorite changes is the addition of virtual lines! The virtual line is a function of the standby line that can be turned off and on as needed. You will be able to access virtual lines via the Universal Orlando app, or kiosks located in the parks. Since the app uses geolocation services, you will not be able to get a virtual line unless you are in the park, or CityWalk. From the app, you will be able to enter the number in your party, and select a return time. Pick your time, grab a butterbeer, and hangout until your turn to ride! When it is your time, you will enter the ride through the standby line. Guests will only be allowed to be in one virtual line at a time.
Express Pass will operate normally during the initial reopening phase! If you purchased your Express Pass for June 5-7 it will be honored, but new Express Passes will not be sold until June 8. If you are staying at one of the two Premier Hotels that are opening first (Hard Rock Hotel and Loews Royal Pacific), you will still get to use your unlimited Express Pass when you are in the park!
Character experiences have been altered, but they are still in the parks! Instead of being able to walk up, hug, and interact with characters, you will find them socially distanced throughout the park. Some will be on stages, while others are on parade floats. You are allowed to take photos with the characters in the background, but guests can’t actually go up and meet with them. Character meals have been suspended at this time, but we will make sure you know when they are back!
Masks are required when you are entering the park, in merchandise locations, and in the locker and restaurant area. Other than that, you are free to go without the mask! Cabanas are still available, but the capacity for family cabanas has decreased from 16 to 10 in order to comply with social distancing. A team member will be sanitizing life jackets after you get out of the lazy or rapid river before they are allowed to be used by another guest. As with Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure, there will be social distancing markers throughout the park.
With the exception of Loews Portofino Bay and Endless Summer Resort – Dockside Inn and Suites, resorts are opening on June 2. Guests staying onsite will be able to enter the parks on June 3, while general public will have to wait until June 5. Temperature checks are required at check-in. If a guest has a temperature of 100.4 or higher, they will not be allowed to check-in until they receive medical clearance. Pools will be open, but the additional activities will be limited during the initial reopening phase. Resort pool hopping will not be permitted at this time.
Guests will still have access to water taxi, and bus transportation but masks will be required. Wait times may be impacted by the limited capacity
As I said before, this situation is always changing. Make sure you follow Travel with the Magic on social media for all new updates, and download the Universal Orlando app! Click here for Universal’s FAQs. If you want more information, or are ready to start planning your epic Universal vacation, contact me at Stacy@travelwiththemagic.com!