Disney Springs at Walt Disney World began to welcome a few guests back yesterday, but it did so without any idea when the parks themselves will be open. Today, Universal Studios Orlando presented its plan for reopening to Orange County's Economic Recovery Task Force and the board just approved the plan unanimously, which means the resort will open to the general public on June 5.
In the presentation, the plan that was given would see the park open on June 1 to employees only, who would be the first to act as a sort of bench test to see how the new policies and procedures work. After a couple days of that, some VIPs and annual pass holders would be invited to the parks, to increase the volume of guests slightly and continue to test how things are working. Assuming everything in the test days goes according to plan, the park would open, to a limited capacity of the general public, on June 5.
There will, of course, be a lot of changes to the way that Universal Orlando handles guests. Face coverings will be required for both employees and all guests. Disposable masks will be provided to guests who do not arrive with them. In addition, things like valet parking will be halted outside the parks, and single rider lines will be closed, as maximizing attraction capacity is not currently a priority.
This will make Universal Orlando Resort the biggest domestic theme park to open when it does, in what is now just over two weeks. It's possible that Walt Disney World could even try to open sooner, though that seems unlikely.. Currently Walt Disney World isn't taking hotel reservations until July, and the fact is that Disney has a lot more to get ready. Disney will be making a presentation to the same task force, but has not yet done so.
A lot of eyes will likely be on Universal Orlando Resort now. If everything works as expected, then it may help other parks throughout the rest of the country gain the necessary confidence to do the same. As Universal learns what works and what doesn't other parks will be able to adapt their plans with the best practices.
Now, the question becomes, how soon will the guests return? With travel still difficult during the outbreak, it may be mostly locals who visit Universal in the short term, though will all theme parks having been closed for the last couple months, there might be a lot of people willing to go to great lengths just to have that experience again.
So with Universal Orlando getting ready to open, are you ready to visit? Let us know in the poll below if you're ready to get back to theme parks.