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.
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.”
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.
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!