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Thursday, May 21, 2020

News on Theme Park Reopening Plans – Universal Orlando’s Big Step

by Ray Keating
May 21, 2020

While the overall economy is not a light switch that can just be flipped back on, the switch on news about plans to reopen theme parks – or related to reopening at some point – has been flipped. The big news is about Universal Orlando moving to reopen on June 5.

After Disney Springs started its partial reopening on Wednesday, May 20, now news arrives that Universal Orlando received approval on May 21 from the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force to reopen the theme park at reduced capacity on June 5, after having employees do a kind of dry run on June 1 and bringing in invited guests on June 3 and 4, according to The Hollywood Reporter and other news reports.

In terms of how things would operate, the Reporter noted:

“Masks and temperature checks will be required for both visitors and employees. If a guest does not have a mask, one will be provided for them, officials said. Interactive play areas have been closed. There will be no more valet parking. Mist areas will be closed. There will be no more post-show meet-and-greets. All menus will be paper single-use in restaurants. Cash will still be accepted, but the park is trying to minimize it. Employees will self-check at home and then be checked again once they arrive to work. Signage will be placed throughout the park to remind visitors of social distancing, with at least six feet of separation required for ride and food lines.”

Universal’s plan also must be approved by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. CNN noted: “Gov. Ron DeSantis said Wednesday regarding theme park reopening proposals, ‘Obviously I want to get to yes, so I think if you work with your local [officials], you'll be in pretty good shape.’”

Universal Orlando’s CityWalk was partially re-opened on May 14.

Meanwhile, over at Disneyland’s website, the company provided an update on how things would look upon reopening (whenever that might be) Disney’s California parks. The key part of the statement was:

“Upon reopening, certain Disneyland Resort theme parks, hotels, restaurants and other locations may be limited in capacity and subject to restricted availability or even closure based on guidance from health experts and government officials. Furthermore, certain attractions, experiences, services and amenities will be modified, have limited availability or remain closed. Park admission and offerings are not guaranteed.”

So, Disney is keeping its powder dry for now on when its U.S. parks – for that matter, each of its parks other than Shanghai – will be reopening.

Ray Keating is the editor, publisher and economist for DisneyBizJournal.com, and author of The Disney Planner 2020: The TO DO List Solution (now available at a deep discount) and the Pastor Stephen Grant novels. He can be contacted at  raykeating@keatingreports.com.

Get the paperback or Kindle edition of Ray Keating’s new book Behind Enemy Lines: Conservative Communiques from Left-Wing New York.

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