ORLANDO, Fla. — Universal Orlando reopened all of its theme parks on Friday, June 5.
Universal Studios Florida, Universal’s Islands of Adventure and Universal’s Volcano Bay opened with limited attendance and safety guidelines in place. Universal's CityWalk reopened on May 14.
The parks are the first major theme parks in Florida to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic. Other majors parks like Disney, SeaWorld and Busch Gardens have also announced their planned reopening dates.
Florida theme parks opening dates:
- Busch Gardens, Adventure Island, June 11
- SeaWorld Orlando, June 11
- Disney's Magic Kingdom & Animal Kingdom, July 11
- Disney's EPCOT & Hollywood Studios, July 15
New safety procedures in place at Universal include:
- Guests and team members are required to wear face coverings
- Guests and team members are required to 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 “touch points” 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 contactless payments and “no touch” policies where possible
- Click here for more information.
WPTV NewsChannel 5 had access inside the park as it opened to the public on Friday morning to see the new policies and procedures in place. The Universal team said they are focused on screening, spacing, and sanitization.
Tour of Universal Orlando Resort's reopening:
All guests and team members are required to wear masks at all times. The only time a guest can remove their mask is while on a water ride.
All employees and guests are wearing masks at @UniversalORL @WPTV @StephanieWPTV pic.twitter.com/0E8x0wqE1a— T.A. Walker (@timallanwalker) June 5, 2020
The parks also have designated "U-rest" areas where you are permitted to remove your mask while social distancing in that specific area. There are two rest areas at Universal Studios Florida, two at Islands of Adventure, and one at CityWalk.
The park is also staggering parking for social distancing and there are social distancing markers all over the ground.
Restaurants have empty tables marked for spaced out seating and many are offering disposable menus, mobile ordering, and contactless payments. They have also enhanced disinfecting and cleaning measures for food locations, ride vehicles, restrooms, and other frequent touch points.
Single rider option has been suspended at @UniversalORL because they are staggering parties on the rides. @StephanieWPTV @WPTV pic.twitter.com/ZGlzFfo25N— T.A. Walker (@timallanwalker) June 5, 2020
Some rides are also using virtual line cues depending on wait times. Riders are given hand sanitizer before boarding a ride and the rides are not boarding to full capacity. No single rider lines will be open during this time and some attractions are closed as well.
Nighttime shows and parades are canceled for now, and character greetings are being done from a distance.
Character greetings are done a little differently. @wptv @StephanieWPTV pic.twitter.com/kCPFbwk0Ag— T.A. Walker (@timallanwalker) June 5, 2020
The Brohias family drove up from Miami to be there for the first day the park was back open on Friday.
The annual passholders said they usually visit Universal once a month, and they’ve missed it.
"I almost wanted to cry when I came in," said Kimberly Brohias.
Brohias added she was a little concerned about the crowds and that everyone at the park would follow rules as they should, but felt the park was well organized in their COVID-19 precautions.
"Even though some people are giving us the side eye for coming, it definitely feels better coming back here and getting back to normal," said Brohias.
The Alday family drove to Orlando from Ohio for a vacation and decided to go to Universal for the first time.
Brianna Alday, who works as a nurse, said this is a nice break for her family.
"They are cleaning down the rides, the counters, high touch surface areas, so I feel really comfortable bringing my kids here," Alday said.
The crowd was light, but excited to be back at the park for the first day.