After nearly a year of theme parks around the country and the world trying to figure out just how to navigate the world during a global pandemic, things are finally on a clear path to getting back to normal. In Florida we've seen masks rules be significantly relaxed and social distancing measures have also been reduced, which opened the door for theme parks like Universal Orlando Resort to potentially begin to increase capacity. Now the theme park resort has taken another big step which indicates plans to get more people into the theme parks, as the final Universal Orlando hotel has announced a reopening date.
The Endless Summer Resort: Surfside Inn and Suites is set to open up in just a few days, and that will now be followed by Universal's Aventura Hotel, which the resort has announced will be reopening June 16. The Aventura marks the last Universal Orlando Resort hotel to reopen. In just a few weeks all Universal Resort hotels will be available for guests. That includes the Dockside Inn & Suites, that actually opened during the pandemic.
Reopening has been a careful balancing act for the theme parks. They were forced to reopen to limited capacity, which meant only bringing back a portion of the furloughed staff in both the theme parks and the hotels. Even when running leaner the operation needed to be profitable which meant keeping some elements closed. There's no reason to open a hotel if the room is going to remain empty because capacity limits require it.
The fact that the final two hotels at Universal now have reopening dates implies a capacity increase in the parks. This is good news for Universal itself, and while it won't be great news for wait times on attractions, for fans of Universal Orlando Resort it's good news because it means the theme park has nearly weathered the storm.
It's not just the ability to increase capacity, brought about by changes in restrictions in Florida, that's leading to these reopenings. Universal's Islands of Adventure is set to officially open its newest attraction, Jurassic World: Velocicoaster, on June 10, and so the fact that more hotel rooms are being opened up just before and just after this date is certainly no coincidence. Many have likely been waiting for the new attraction before planning a trip, and the new ride will likely also draw back those who have been recently.
We don't really know where Universal Orlando Resort's capacity is right now, or where it will be in a couple months' time. The fact is that Universal parks don't reach 100% capacity on most days, so the theme parks don't need to be allowed to let in that many people in order to get back to a level that is normal for them. It could still be several more months before full capacity is actually allowed, but significantly less before the parks see what is, for them, a normal summer day.
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CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.