ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Universal Orlando wants to open its theme parks as early as June.
What You Need To Know
- Universal proposes plan to reopen parks to public June 5
- Capacity will be limited at the parks
- Visitors will be required to wear masks, have temps checked
- Single rider lines will be eliminated, virtual lines added to attractions
John Sprouls, executive VP of Universal Parks & Resorts, presented the reopening plan to the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force on Thursday.
As part of the plan, Universal is targeting June 5 as the date it would like to reopen the parks to the public. The parks would first open on June 1 to employees for testing and run-throughs of procedures. And then on June 3 and 4, the parks would be opened to invited guests and some passholders.
At the start of the reopening, capacity will be limited at the parks as well as at restaurants and attractions within the parks.
"We're going to ramp up very slowly in terms of how many people we allow in each day in each park," Sprouls said.
Universal’s plan also outlined a number of health and safety measures that will be implemented at its parks. Employees and visitors will be required to wear face masks. If a visitor doesn’t have one when they arrive, Universal will provide a complimentary one.
Temperature checks will also be required for all employees and visitors. Anyone with a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher will not be allowed to enter.
Sprouls also shared a number of changes for the parks to ensure safety, including eliminating the single-rider lines at attractions. Water and "misting effects" at certain attractions will be eliminated or reduced. Universal will implement virtual lines at a number of attractions. The technology is already used for attractions at Universal's Volcano Bay.
Universal will space out visitors on rides. Groups will be kept together, but individuals will not be seated with people who are not in their party.
According to the plan, at attractions that use 3D glasses, the glasses will be handed out individually.
To limit contact between people, mobile ordering will be enable at more restaurants, which will use single use menus. Contactless payment will also be available at restaurants and merchandise venues.
At Volcano Bay, changes would include limited the number of rafts in the lazy river and reducing the number of riders per raft slide.
A team of employees called “ambassadors” will be scattered throughout the parks to remind visitors of the new rules as well as answer questions.
Universal’s proposal was unanimously approved by the task force. Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings will need to endorse the plan before sending it to Gov. Ron DeSantis for approval.
Universal is the first major theme park in the county to present its opening plan. Walt Disney World and SeaWorld Orlando are expected to present plans soon, but dates have not yet been scheduled.
Last week, Universal reopened CityWalk to the public in a limited capacity. Similar to what is planned for the parks, visitors are required to wear masks and have their temperatures checked.
The parks have been closed since mid-March in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
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