(This arti­cle may or may not con­tain affil­i­ate links. What does that mean?)

The world is start­ing to open back up. As a trav­el agent, that’s a relief. As a mom, I need to know how that’s hap­pen­ing and the best ways to trav­el safely. 

And here’s what my kids love: Cen­tral Flori­da’s theme parks are prepar­ing to wel­come vis­i­tors! Our favorite park, Uni­ver­sal Orlan­do’s Resort just announced they will reopen on June 5th. But things will be a bit dif­fer­ent for now. If you take your fam­i­ly trip to Uni­ver­sal’s Orlan­do Resort this sum­mer, here’s what to expect:


Dragon, Gringotts, Universal, Diagon Alley

The Ukrain­ian Iron­bel­ly Drag­on that guards Gringotts will be ready to greet you soon! I’m sure she will be exempt from the mask requirements





Before you go


Capac­i­ty will be con­trolled at Uni­ver­sal’s Orlan­do Resort. Uni­ver­sal Orlan­do has not announced what the new capac­i­ty lim­it will be, but 50% has been wide­ly report­ed. If Uni­ver­sal Orlan­do hits capac­i­ty, you will be denied entry. Uni­ver­sal Orlan­do is not requir­ing reser­va­tions, but I would sug­gest you check Uni­ver­sal Orlan­do’s web­site for updates. I expect Uni­ver­sal Orlan­do to update some of their poli­cies and pro­ce­dures after they have been open for a while and they see what is work­ing and what is not. Uni­ver­sal Orlan­do will be clos­ing ear­li­er than usu­al, so you should check the theme park hours before you visit. 




Uni­ver­sal Orlan­do will be requir­ing all guests and team mem­bers to wear a face-cov­er­ing at all times. Choose a lighter col­or face mask, if you can. Remem­ber how hot it is to wear a black t‑shirt in the sum­mer? Now imag­ine that effect on your face!  Uni­ver­sal Orlan­do will have some face masks for sale, but I would high­ly sug­gest you bring your own in case they are sold out. It would be a bum­mer to get all the way there and then be turned away because you don’t have a mask. Uni­ver­sal Orlan­do plans to sell fun themed masks in the future, but as of now they just have plain masks. I would bring a back­up mask, if you can, in case your mask gets lost on a ride or gets wet. Those Cen­tral Flori­da sud­den rain storms can be bru­tal. The mask must be worn over your nose and mouth. You can remove your face cov­er­ing when eat­ing or drink­ing, of course, as well as when you are in a pool or anoth­er water attrac­tion. Team mem­bers will wear face cov­er­ings at all times, unless they are serv­ing as life­guards or in anoth­er role where they can’t safe­ly wear them. Guests who have not yet turned 3 are exempt from this require­ment, because it can be dan­ger­ous for chil­dren that young to wear masks (and let’s be hon­est, tod­dlers aren’t going to wear a mask for long any­way). If you have a dis­abil­i­ty that pre­vents you from wear­ing a mask, team mem­bers will refer you to guest ser­vices to dis­cuss rea­son­able accommodations.



Volcano Bay, Universal

No masks allowed in the wave pool at Vol­cano Bay. So no need to invest in a Triki­ni


Parking and Entry 


Uni­ver­sal Orlan­do announced they will be stag­ger­ing park­ing, in order to keep dif­fer­ent trav­el groups apart and pro­mote social dis­tanc­ing. As you approach secu­ri­ty, a Uni­ver­sal Orlan­do Team Mem­ber will use a touch­less ther­mome­ter to take your tem­per­a­ture. If you have a tem­per­a­ture over 100.4 Fahren­heit, you will be denied entry to the Theme Parks and City­walk. Uni­ver­sal Orlan­do Team Mem­bers will also be screened for fever before they report to work. 



Universal, Jurassic Park, Dinosaur, Jeep

I doubt your park­ing spot will be this seclud­ed, but Uni­ver­sal Orlan­do is hop­ing to avoid crowds in the park­ing garage.



Restau­rants at Uni­ver­sal Orlan­do will be oper­at­ing at a reduced capac­i­ty. They will not be accept­ing reser­va­tions, so you might have to wait for a table. The pro­vid­ed menus will be paper sin­gle use ver­sions, and some restau­rants will be offer­ing a lim­it­ed menu. Tables will be spaced apart to pro­mote social dis­tanc­ing. Mobile order­ing will be offered for quick-serve restau­rants. Uni­ver­sal Orlan­do offers touch­less pay­ments such as Apple Pay through­out the resort. I sug­gest eat­ing dur­ing non-peak times to avoid some of the wait and crowd. My hus­band and I love to eat a big snack around 3 o’clock and then grab a late din­ner after the parks close when we visit. 



Universal, Citywalk, Hard Rock

If you eat late you’ll avoid the crowds and get to enjoy this beau­ti­ful view!



Uni­ver­sal Orlan­do will be offer­ing vir­tu­al lines for select rides and attrac­tions in order to reduce the amount of peo­ple wait­ing in the queue. Before you get to Uni­ver­sal Orlan­do, you should down­load the Uni­ver­sal Orlan­do Resort App so you can make vir­tu­al line reser­va­tions on your phone while you are vis­it­ing, and check wait times for any rides that are not offer­ing a vir­tu­al line. There will be floor mark­ings to help every­one stay spaced apart in line. Uni­ver­sal Orlan­do will be ask­ing guests to use hand san­i­tiz­er before you board a ride vehi­cle, but don’t wor­ry if you for­get yours at home, as they will be pro­vid­ing it, as well as sell­ing hand san­i­tiz­er in the gift stores. Team mem­bers will be direct­ing guests to leave some seats in ride vehi­cles emp­ty in order to pro­mote social dis­tanc­ing. Uni­ver­sal Orlan­do will not be open­ing up the sin­gle rid­er lines since sin­gle rid­er lines are tra­di­tion­al­ly used to fill in emp­ty spaces. The major­i­ty of attrac­tions will be open, but select attrac­tions will tem­porar­i­ly remain closed. Uni­ver­sal Orlan­do has­n’t announced what attrac­tions won’t be open­ing, but they plan to announce the details soon.


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Shows, Characters, and Play Areas


Uni­ver­sal Orlan­do has not yet announced when their shows will reopen.  The Blue Man Group won’t be per­form­ing their pop­u­lar per­for­mances. An open­ing date has not yet been announced. As far as shows with­in the park, they haven’t announced which shows will reopen just yet, but I expect Uni­ver­sal to announce their plans soon.  Uni­ver­sal Orlan­do has not yet announced a new open­ing date for their newest show Bourne Stun­tac­u­lar, which was sched­uled to open dur­ing the closure.

The night­time show at Islands of Adven­ture, which is pro­ject­ed onto Hog­warts, is very pop­u­lar. But the crowds are usu­al­ly packed in shoul­der to shoul­der, which Uni­ver­sal Orlan­do will need to avoid for now. Uni­ver­sal has not announced whether they will run the show with more crowd con­trol or if they won’t bring it back just yet. 


Pro Tip: Get a Hot But­ter­beer from the Hogs Head Tav­ern to enjoy dur­ing the show


Uni­ver­sal Orlan­do has not made an announce­ment about their beloved char­ac­ters walk­ing around with guests at the park. How­ev­er, char­ac­ters have been out and about in City­walk, though they are not doing tra­di­tion­al meet and greets. They are keep­ing their distance. 

Play areas will remain closed. Because you try keep­ing kids dis­tanced in a play area.



Universal, Islands of Adventure, Hogwarts

Night­time Lights at Hog­warts Cas­tle is my favorite night­time show in all of Orlando.




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What about the other Theme Parks in the Orlando Area?


Walt Dis­ney World plans to reopen July 11Sea­world is plan­ning for a June 11 reopen­ing, Legoland is reopen­ing June 1, Legoland will be con­duct­ing tem­per­a­ture checks but unlike their com­peti­tors Legoland will not be requir­ing masks.



Where to Stay


Uni­ver­sal Orlan­do has announced their resort hotels will open Decem­ber 15, 2020. Dock­side Inn and Suites was set to open in March. That open­ing was postponed. 

I high­ly rec­om­mend stay­ing onsite at Uni­ver­sal if you can. Cabana Bay Beach Resort is super nice and very afford­able! ($120–150). The top 3 hotels at Uni­ver­sal even offer free express pass­es if you stay there! So I high­ly rec­om­mend The Hard Rock Hotel, the Portofi­no, or the Roy­al Pacif­ic Resort. My hus­band loves the Hard Rock, lots of mem­o­ra­bil­ia everywhere!



How to Get There


The eas­i­est way to get to Uni­ver­sal Orlan­do’s Orlan­do resort from South­ern Cal­i­for­nia is to fly into Orlan­do’s Inter­na­tion­al Air­port (MCO). If you’re fly­ing, you should check your air­line’s require­ments. Many require masks while on the plane and in the air­port. It’s easy to get an Uber, Lyft or taxi from the air­port. Feel like tak­ing a road trip? Uni­ver­sal Orlan­do has ample park­ing avail­able on site. 




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Emi­ly House­hold­er Stacey is a writer, trav­el agent and mom based in sun­ny Cleve­land, Ohio. Emi­ly runs Aida’s Adven­tures trav­el agency while her son takes his after­noon nap. She has trav­eled through­out Aus­tralia, Asia and North Amer­i­ca and the rest of the world is on her buck­et list. Emi­ly and her fam­i­ly love a good theme park. They have annu­al pass­es to 5 of them!