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Universal Orlando outlines potential plans for reopening theme parks

by Seth Kubersky

More than a month after Orlando’s theme parks closed in the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19), we have our first official outline from Universal Orlando about plans they are considering to reopen their attractions. Visitors should expect a future of reduced capacity, mobile ordering, and virtual queues.

universal orlando
Universal Orlando CEO John Sprouls says employee temperature checks, face masks, and virtual queues are being considered in reopening the resort.

Gov. Ron DeSantis’ Re-Open Florida Task Force has begun holding teleconferences to discuss economic options after the current “safer at home” orders are lifted, and Universal Orlando Resort CEO John Sprouls represented the theme park industry during today’s working group meeting for the restaurant and recreation industries.

Sprouls did not announce any reopening date for Universal Orlando, although he said they hoped it would be “soon rather than later,” adding that the most important thing is to make sure guests “feel safe” attending their attractions. “If they don’t feel safe, they won’t attend.”

What will Diagon Alley be like with social distancing?

Here are a few of the possible plans Sprouls said Universal Orlando is considering:

  • Daily temperature screenings for every employee who comes in contact with guests.
  • Face masks for team members and possibly guests, which were previously prohibited.
  • Enhanced sanitation protocols and nightly “stem to stern” disinfections.
  • Reduced contact points and increased sanitation of rides during the day.
  • Enhanced use of mobile food ordering and mobile pay for contact-free purchases.
  • Expanded use of Virtual Lines, similar to Volcano Bay.
  • Social distancing in queues by only using every other line, marking separation lines on the ground, and keeping guests outdoors.
  • Staggered seating on rides and in theaters.
  • Overall caps on attendance, slowly increasing over time.
volcano bay
Volcano Bay-style Virtual Lines could become ubiquitous across all Universal theme parks.

While Sprouls remarks were specific to Universal Orlando, he said “the principles are the same, even on a smaller scale,” when asked how these ideas might apply to other attractions in Florida. He also advised that virtual queues could be adopted by TSA screenings at airports.

We are already seeing similar social distancing measures being implemented in Chinese parks that have recently reopened. These plans also echo some of the ideas “Attractions Magazine” staff proposed in a recent editorial. Would you feel comfortable visiting Universal Orlando if these procedures were implemented there? Let us know in the comments below!

64 comments

Lawrie Pascasio April 22, 2020 - 6:49 pm

Still no. Will not gonna travel til the end of the year. It’s hard to get sick if you’re a tourist

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Robyn Murov April 23, 2020 - 8:52 am

I’m fine with everything except the face masks. I’m sorry, but you go to a theme park to escape and enter the worlds from the movies. I don’t want to see Shrek or anyone from the wizarding world wearing a mask. Those worlds don’t have Corona virus, so they shouldn’t need masks.

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Cops4110 April 23, 2020 - 2:01 pm

Omg !!! They’re talking about the safety cleaner and ride team not the character

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Whit April 26, 2020 - 8:43 am

Totally agree! I won’t go anywhere I’m required to wear a mask!

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Lisa van April 30, 2020 - 1:44 pm

WHAT ? DO YOU HEAR YOURSELF ?

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Dewey April 23, 2020 - 5:57 pm

Wow. Absoultely no freaking way. I won’t visit such a disaster no matter what rules they put in place, because it’s not the parks I don’t trust, it’s PEOPLE. When we have a vaccine, sure. But not until then.

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Lori Rafidi April 22, 2020 - 6:59 pm

I would be 100% fine with these procedures at universal Orlando parks.

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Joyce Wolf April 22, 2020 - 7:03 pm

Yes I will safe when opening of the park.

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Kelly April 22, 2020 - 7:07 pm

Yes!

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Tammy April 22, 2020 - 7:10 pm

No .. not taking my kids into crowds of any kind until this is all over!!

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Barbara April 22, 2020 - 7:18 pm

Yes

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Glenn Gover April 22, 2020 - 7:21 pm

No! Have fun.

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Ziena April 22, 2020 - 7:23 pm

ABSOLUTELY NOT!!! I ALSO HAVE PREMIUM ANNUAL TICKETS.. which I purchased early in the year. So reading your opening guidelines, just CONFIRMS to me there is no LEADERSHIP IN FLORIDA…. as much as I can’t wait for our beautiful state to be back there… I for one will not be taking any of my children or family members to any theme park.

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💕🌹tanya🤡 April 23, 2020 - 12:45 pm

Good for you! I agree. A much as I would like to get back to work, I wouldn’t feel safe as a worker. I really don’t like the fact that these lame brained politicians are make loose decisions with my life! It’s only been a month.

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Rob April 25, 2020 - 2:14 pm

No one cares. It’s %1 in the entire country that has fatalities. More people die from AIDS, cancer, War, violence. And those that died from covid-19 already mostly have health issues/are old. Shouldn’t punish everyone else in lockdown. Most people (75%) getting tested don’t even have it. And just because you get it, 99% chance you will make it through just like when you had the flu. People should get over themselves and the stupid media making this worse. Your gonna die when your gonna die. R.I.P. Ziena

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Stephen April 25, 2020 - 4:16 pm

I totally agree with everything you’ve just said
Yes it’s only 1% who get infected not the whole flipping world !!
We’re most likely to only get mild symptoms if we did get it
We only live once and I don’t intend to be scared about everything the government don’t understand

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MB May 17, 2020 - 1:22 pm

100% Agree!

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Paula Esbach April 22, 2020 - 7:24 pm

I would feel safe going into the parks with hand sanitizers around the park. Virtual lines would be great too. We’re from the UK so we need to be able to travel there

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💕🌹tanya🤡 April 23, 2020 - 12:47 pm

Stay home till this is over, don’t take unnecessary risks.

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Bruna April 22, 2020 - 7:39 pm

With the measures that you are planning I feel confortable visiting Universal Park

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Mindy April 22, 2020 - 7:42 pm

I would NOT go to ANY theme park (especially in the heat of the summer in Florida) if I had to wear a face mask! I think the guest have to take a greater part in responsibility by using good hygiene!

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Michelle April 26, 2020 - 9:37 am

Yes I agree on the hygiene. And most ppl don’t do that . And that don’t follow the rules. And the ones who don’t care about getting because they are not elderly or have underlying conditions you could get it not have symptoms and give it to someone or elderly person your beside of.. cause most ppl say not worried..

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Samantha April 22, 2020 - 8:05 pm

No. This is ridiculous they care more about the money then people!

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💕🌹tanya🤡 April 23, 2020 - 12:58 pm

Absolutely! And that’s all it’s about. These politicians could care less about the people in this country. They are all full of crap! Somehow they think this going to go away as quick as it came , this is not h1n1!! And then what’s the guarantee that all the millions that have loss their jobs can just walk back on the job?! And then with all the restrictions that will be put into place?!

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Cheryl McCormick April 22, 2020 - 8:15 pm

I think that guests should have certain rules and responsibilities also such as distancing and perhaps using sanitizer before entering or boarding an attraction.

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Jay April 22, 2020 - 8:38 pm

No. I would be annoyed by all the extra steps that would need to be taken. I’d rather not go, than have to be treated like a three year old who’s afraid the world is going to end.

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Maura Cunningham April 22, 2020 - 8:41 pm

No. It’s too soon. We still don’t know enough about this virus to consider public gatherings like this. My family loves the parks and are pass holders but we have accepted that we need to wait. Not only are we putting ourselves at risk, but the employees don’t deserve to be exposed either.

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💕🌹tanya🤡 April 23, 2020 - 12:59 pm

Thank you!

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Mari April 22, 2020 - 8:51 pm

No the temperature isn’t always a symptom and if u don’t feel well and take Tylenol u won’t show a temp Too hot for masks all day and on rides i will wait for a treatment before I go to theme parks

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Sophie April 23, 2020 - 4:18 am

First vaccine is being tested today

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Tony April 22, 2020 - 9:01 pm

I’m not coming to a theme park, paying all that money, and then wearing a mask. If you think that’s necessary, it’s not time to reopen.

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C conlin April 22, 2020 - 9:10 pm

Yes if protocol s were in place along with new sanitation measures

We would go

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Karen April 22, 2020 - 9:13 pm

Yes, I will feel safe visiting the parks in the future. I believe that with proper personal hygiene and measures the parks will put in place will assure the safety of the staff and guest.

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💕🌹tanya🤡 April 23, 2020 - 1:01 pm

As an employee I would not feel safe!

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Barrett April 22, 2020 - 9:31 pm

Sounds like a disaster waiting to happen

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💕🌹tanya🤡 April 23, 2020 - 1:01 pm

👍🏾

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Jim Elmore April 22, 2020 - 10:27 pm

Seems like overkill to me. I would come with just some mild distancing and cleaning.

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Krumbleu April 23, 2020 - 12:20 am

No not yet! Opening too soon!

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Kevin mciv April 23, 2020 - 12:51 am

I’d be more than happy to go. And I’m from the UK.

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Woolf April 23, 2020 - 2:11 am

If sorry approximately 30% of people with COVID-19 don’t show any symptoms at all (yet are still contagious) then taking everyone’s temperature to ensure they don’t have a fever is not an effective method to prevent the spread of Coronavirus. Stop using this to pretend we’ll be safe.

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MIKE MAHANEY April 23, 2020 - 2:25 am

Yes !! Our 3 families are ready NOW !!

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Leeanne April 23, 2020 - 4:14 am

Yes I would and I do understand the safety off ur guests but in that heat in July August I cud not wear a mask 😷

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Colleen April 23, 2020 - 7:12 am

You are crazy ! Who in there right mind will be willing to pay full price without the whole experience of the fun at the park experience
I know as a fact I would say it is an invasion of privacy to take my temperature , because there are other reasons that can cause a temperature besides the Coronavirus that aren’t as serious example ear infection or appendicitis an so on ! I for one would never wear a face mask in this heat ! I would feel like passing out walking in the park for however many hours the park stays open , an me passing out or any one with the heat
Wouldn’t be good because people get over heated walking to get everything done in one day an could cause them to hyperventilate or could cause a person to have a seizure !Let’s remember deaf people talk an do sign language because they also read lips . So maybe a discrimination case for disabled people with how it would affect there lives !
Bottom Line if you don’t feel safe to be around other people just dont go to big popular areas such as a theme park !
Meanwhile while you open up so many things the things that you keep closed due to Social Distancing you keep from other people from having a job that have less seniority !
Let’s remember people in transportation that work on the boats an skyliners an on trams an buses you cant have social Distancing because there isn’t enough space for every 6 feet ! So bottom line if you dont feel safe dont go to a theme park
If you feel sick either wear a face mask in this un Godly weather or wear a face mask if it makes the individual feel safe either way I wouldn’t feel safe wearing a face mask !
Did anyone think about if anyone got over exhausted from the heat with or without a mask how people pass out from the heat
Some people can have a Seizure from the heat even if they don’t have a history of Seizures or Even Worse what about a Heat Stroke an some people have Died from Seizures an Heat Strokes ! I see a lot of people suing Attractions for a lot of Reasons
So Discrimination for Asthma , COPD just to name a couple because you expect everyone to wear a face mask ! Dont feel safe than Dont go out in Public ! Problem Solved !
I for one would never pay full price for the experience Knowing that I will never get to enjoy the whole experience due to Social Distancing , an knowing I would be keeping other people from having a job !
An that means the parks wouldn’t be able to allow restaurants to open because you cant eat an drink ! If it isn’t safe to Open Safely all at one time Without Restrictions just stay Closed ! They are already Predicting a worse Case in the Fall !
What happens after Corona no more safety measures Stupid ! Different Diseases an Viruses Pop up everyday it takes a while to give stuff a name !
Just one other thing No Theme Parks think about People with Seizures because if they did the neon lights or flashing toys on hats or Rides or Toys Wouldn’t Happen because they Trigger Seizures ! There are Seizures that Can Trigger Strokes , an Death !

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Ribin April 23, 2020 - 10:45 am

Um yeah…..no.
FL jumped over 8,000 cases in the last 2 weeks. Keep an eye on the govt. website.

Why would this be logical ? this proves people are not listening about quarentineing themselves.
Our May cruise was canceled. We still haven’t got our refund back. Why lock up your $$ in vacations and it takes forever to get refunds or lose deposits???
Wait till this blows over folks. STAY INSIDE! Save your $ incase you get laid off. My enormous company laid off Tons of people and we are a large part of the travel industry. We lost millions $$$$ due to the epidemic. Our CEO sends us videos fightjng back genuines tears in her eyes trying to comfort us. This is not a joke.

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💕🌹tanya🤡 April 23, 2020 - 1:10 pm

How is it possible to follow the rules in social distancing when you have a governor that doesn’t really support and wants to open things up at a time when people are still dropping like flies?!

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Ed April 23, 2020 - 4:18 pm

Then you can stay the f&%k home in your bubble forever. No one is making you go out. But just because you are afraid doesn’t mean everyone is. The fact is less people have died from this than in 2018 flu season. But go ahead, stay in your cocoon and go bankrupt if that makes you sleep better at night. Not everyone is chicken little.

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Ribin April 23, 2020 - 10:59 pm

Yep…..you’re right! I’m just clucking away here in FL with 28,843 cases in the last 2 months. I’m pretty content in my bubble and putting my family’s health first. I Can’t spend money or pay bills. Especially if I’m dead or out of work due to being sick!

Good luck to you, and best wishes Ed😉

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Hdog April 23, 2020 - 2:27 pm

Face masks in 100 degrees 90% humidity. How long will that last.

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Kristina Juve April 23, 2020 - 7:04 pm

As a Registered Nurse when I am in public most people do not wear masks appropriately. Not tight enough around nose, too low on face, still touching mask or face, touch front of mask when removing. . This defeats the purpose of a mask, and gives false sense of security. Plus way to hot outside in summer. So I would not go at all if masks needed.

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Juar April 24, 2020 - 1:15 am

In about 2 months and the proposed measures, I would go. Those that don’t want to go can stay home.

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TAMMY ROSENBAUM April 24, 2020 - 7:44 am

I agree that face masks in the summer heat is going to be unbearable. I probably will wait till everything is more back to normal. Tickets are too expensive as it is, especially if you can’t experience everything. We were planning to go in June for my son’s graduation but may have to go next June. Who would have thought… great news is God is in control and he knows I need a vacation! 😉

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Kaye April 24, 2020 - 12:47 pm

Absolutely NOT! Not worth risking my life and the well-being of others. Protocols are for precaution but if there are still a good number of cases especially many could be asymmetric carriers, no freaking way I will be out in the theme parks. Flattening the curve is not good enough. Covid-19 is highly contagious. Just one sick person could spread it all out. I don’t want the situation to go back to square one again where everyone has to be self-isolated and businesses are all closed down AGAIN. To go through the pain once, and get it over with is better than having a moment of gratification then create a second/third/fourth wave of terror.

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IDrive Orlando April 25, 2020 - 11:06 am

Why not just make it Halloween Horror Nights Year-Round until this is over – Must wear masks and everyone is scared.

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Kassandra Salazar April 25, 2020 - 3:43 pm

Yes!! We have a trip panned with our 10 year old for September and can’t wait! We’re hoping everything is back to normal by then. We just want to fully enjoy our vacation without having to worry about Covid

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Susan Wright April 25, 2020 - 11:08 pm

Yes I would be OK with coming
If:
1) International visitors were still not allowed to enter the U.S.
2) Temperatures were taken upon entering the park
-I tend to agree w/Sweden’s & Taiwans theories regarding handling this virus.

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Mike Welch April 26, 2020 - 11:03 am

I’m 72 years old and plan on taking my grandkids to Universal as soon as it opens. Our family never had been one to run scared and hide. It’s all a control issue.
I live in Illinois and believe me we have seen some ridiculously assinine restrictions come from our leaders. Just now opened up boating and golf. Two people only in a boat and one person in a golf cart.
You bet I’m taking my family and if y’all want to hide then have a nice day

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lori janese April 28, 2020 - 11:20 am

I am currently working at an electric plant as a Safety Engineer and we are working to the best of our ability too be safe. I believe with the proper precautions we can begin to live again. I, am getting married in October and all the family is coming to Orlando from up north we are hoping the park is open at that point. I will say I hope masks are not required at that point, but I do believe Universal is trying to be as safe as possible. Good Luck to all and Stay Safe

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Carl April 28, 2020 - 1:39 pm

Love Disney and all the Florida parks, but I don’t come with my family to sweat into a mask and look anxiously around at others in case they’re not so healthy or not trust worthy looking.
It should be completely care free and fun and a day of indulgence and laughter.
I just can’t put that together with temperature taking, masks, social distancing and riding alone on rides.
When a vaccine comes, we will be back raring to go – till then sadly just can’t risk my life for a theme park.

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Andrea April 28, 2020 - 3:53 pm

I refuse to go anywhere if I have to wear a mask.

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Constance May 9, 2020 - 2:14 pm

I dont see how people think that the theme park only care about money…. 1. Their considering reopening because some people want to go to universal to have fun… and 2. If they did just care about money they wouldn’t be asking if others would want to go if these safety precautions were in place, they wouldn’t even be putting these safety precautions in place if they didnt care, some of y’all need to think before you speak…

For me, I would definitely feel safe with going to the parks with these precautions in place, people are overreacting when it comes to the virus, it’s not spread through the air or even being near someone. They would literally have to cough in your face to get it. If your scares of getting it from toughing the handlebars or whatever youd get it by literally touching the spot that they had sneeze coughed on and then would have to touch your own face or mouth… The parks are wanting to sanitize the rides after each guest rides and even then I highly doubt they would let people into the park if their was any sign that they had it, tempture or capughing/sneezing wise. The people who work at universal are very caring and not just after your money… they would not wanting to put their guests at harm. I love universal studios and everyone who works their.

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Caroline Crews May 10, 2020 - 11:28 am

I can’t wait till they open back up! If you don’t feel safe, stay home! I haven’t met the first person that won’t travel or feels worried about this virus.

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Kelly May 14, 2020 - 4:35 pm

Yes I have plans to come 3 times this year. However I do not want to wear a mask, I feel like they would be more of a hazard in that kind of heat. It is difficult to breath with them on and there is a possibility you could get overheated. You actually touch your face more with the mask on than with out one. I think they give people a false sense of protection. Hand sanitizers and just simply washing your hands are the best bet. Let the people who want come to the parks come, if you do not feel safe then just stay away. We need to stop living in fear!!

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Barry Prater May 17, 2020 - 8:34 pm

This is AMERICA, everyone has the god given right to do and say as you please. Check the virus data from several resources and weigh it out. If you want to go then by all means GO. Who knows … UNIVERSAL might shut it all down, then the na sayers wish their decision was different. Enjoy life ,always respect others,and go for it while you can.

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Katy Marino May 19, 2020 - 9:41 pm

Yes definitely please open

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