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The theme park business has lost billions and made countless furloughs and layoffs this year, as COVID-19 has raged on throughout 2020. Orlando’s Universal parks have reopened their gates in June and have finally started to see an uptick in attendance numbers recently. With Labor Day weekend kicking off, Universal already reached capacity at all three of its parks by the time noon rolled around.
It's a busy Saturday at Orlando’s Islands of Adventure, Universal Studios and Volcano Bay, which have all been labeled “closed due to capacity” on the park’s app. Attractions Magazine shared the app’s message, as you can tell below:
Among Universal parks’ current safety measures including mandatory masks, temperature checks and social distancing measures, capacity is also being limited as well. Today, the parks have reached their permitted capacity under safety guidelines, making for a particularly popular day to be at these theme parks. This is a three-day holiday weekend for many, prompting more trips to the theme park than usual.
Although Universal’s numbers have reportedly been down 64% compared to the year prior, the movie studio’s theme park has started to see an uplift in admissions in late summer, especially on Saturdays. Universal Orlando reaching capacity is good news for the park business, as Walt Disney World also plans to open more within its park. Four of WDW’s dining locations are set to become available to guests again in the coming weeks. Walt Disney World opened in mid-July and has numbers that are reportedly 80% down from 2019 in comparison.
Now, there’s still a ways to go before theme parks go back to “normal.” Florida has surpassed 600,000 positive cases and 11,000 deaths from COVID-19, and rollbacks are always on the table if the state’s statistics uptick. The studio officially cancelled Halloween Horror Nights this year already. Disney World has cancelled its annual Halloween events but will finally allow guests to wear costumes.
Both California’s Universal theme park and Disneyland are still closed due to state guidelines, though Disney's COO said the Anaheim location has been “ready to roll since July.” Universal Studios Orlando was the first major theme park to open since closures began in March. As Saturday marks three months back, it inspires some confidence that other theme parks may be able to make progress for their businesses.
Universal Orlando is also currently building a new roller coaster over at Islands of Adventure that will be Jurassic Park-themed. It will join a recent 2019 redesign of the classic Jurassic Park ride, which was updated to reflect the Jurassic World movies.
We’ll be keeping watch here on CinemaBlend for more theme park news as it comes and keep an eye out for news from the world of movies and TV.