Universal Orlando Resort has always been the "other" theme park in the area when compared to the 900 pound mouse that is Walt Disney World. However, Universal isn't without it's own charm, impressive attractions, and very dedicated fans. That's been especially true this week as the theme parks actually hit capacity both days of this past weekend. This was likely due to the confluence of events that Sunday was Valentine's Day, and it was a three-day weekend, and then on top of that Universal Studios is currently hosting its annual Mardi Gras festival.
Theme parks are being held to limited capacity right now. We know Walt Disney World is only allowing about 35% of the total number of people possible inside the parks, and Universal is likely seeing similar numbers. Even while capacity is being held down, most days aren't seeing any theme park actually hit the new cap-- so an even smaller number of people are actually inside the parks most of the time. That wasn't the case recently, as WDWNT reported that the Universal parks hit capacity all weekend. Hitting the limited capacity, even occasionally, shows that the demand is certainly there for theme parks right now. Even if there weren't too many people kept out of the parks, interest in visiting them is increasing.
Now that the major holidays are past it looks like crowds have shrunk again, but I would fully expect to see crowds return and capacity be hit again around Easter and during Spring Break in general. It's clear that, while there might not be as many people as usual visiting theme parks, the number of people who are willing to do so is not inconsiderable. And it's not that surprising. The parks have gone to significant effort to function while still offering all the best available safety protocols for guests. Temperature checks are done at the gate and social distancing and masks are required inside the parks.
This doesn't simply help to reduce potential virus spread, but it gives the guests inside peace of mind. One likely doesn't have the assurances that people have had their temperatures checked when visiting the average grocery store, so one could actually feel safer inside a theme park bubble than in other places.
As vaccines become more widely available one assumes that Universal and other theme parks will begin to increase capacity, but attendance will likely keep pace as well as more people become more willing to visit the parks. 2021 will be a year of things getting back to normal and there seems to be a strong feeling that by early 2022 none of the current safety measure will be needed.
And there will be plenty of future reasons to visit Universal Orlando Resort. The next big attraction, the Jurassic World Velocicoaster, is set to open later this year. That will almost certainly entice a lot of people away from home to check it out. The future of other planned additions to the resort, like the Epic Universe theme park, are still very much in question.
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CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.