Pack your wands and face masks: Universal Orlando has a tentative reopening date

May 22, 2020

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After more than two months, the gates to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter — and the rest of the Universal Orlando Resort – may have a reopening date.

On Thursday 21 May, Universal Orlando received unanimous approval for its reopening proposal from the voting members on the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force. In its proposal, the theme park says it hopes to welcome team members back on June 1, followed by invited guests and annual passholders on 3 and 4 June. Universal would open to the public on 5 June.

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The Universal Orlando website now says its theme parks and hotels remain closed “at least through 31 May” but stops short of announcing a June reopening. While approved by the task force reopening committee, the plan still needs approval from the mayor of Orange County, where the theme park is located, along with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Just like the Universal City Walk shopping and dining area that partially reopened last week, guests who wish to enter the Universal Orlando theme parks will be required to wear face masks and pass temperature screenings. Guests will need to have a temperature below 100.4 degrees to enter and will be provided with a disposable face mask, if necessary.

Related: When will Disney World reopen?

(Photo by Paul Hennessy / Echoes Wire/Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
(Photo by Paul Hennessy / Echoes Wire/Barcroft Media via Getty Images)

Universal Orlando told the committee it plans to manage capacity and ramp up slowly, though no specific number of maximum guests was provided in this meeting.

The park proposes to not only limit capacity for the park, but also within each restaurant, attraction and show. As an example of some changes that will be made, the single rider lines will be eliminated as only party groups will be placed on rides together. Virtual queuing, which was already in use at some Universal Orlando rides and Universal’s Volcano Bay waterpark, will be expanded.

Social distancing will be used to manage parkgoers in lines — probably similar to what we’ve seen at the recently reopened Disneyland Shanghai.

Disneyland Shanghai (Photo by Hu Chengwei/Getty Images)
Disneyland Shanghai (Photo by Hu Chengwei/Getty Images)

In the parking lot, expect to see staggered parking, so you aren’t loading or unloading too close to others.

While cash will still be accepted at the theme park, there will be an emphasis on mobile ordering and payments whenever possible. At Universal’s restaurants, all menus will be single-use.

Universal’s interactive play areas will remain closed due to the challenges involved in distancing children in a play structure. Water features on rides and mists will also remain shut down in case water increases the virus transmission rate.

The Universal Orlando hotels, such as the Aventura Resort and Loews Royal Pacific Resort, are currently accepting reservations for stays from June 4 and onward.

Bottom line

Universal Orlando can’t officially proclaim an early June reopening just yet, but park representatives at the task force meeting said local and state officials have already been involved in the planning process. With their approval, we may well be just weeks away from seeing one of the busiest theme parks in the country reopen its gates.

Featured image courtesy of Universal Orlando.

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