Visitor safety continues to be No. 1 priority at tourist parks and attractions
It’s been nearly than a year since the Orlando theme parks and other small attractions reopened during the pandemic with enhanced safety protocols in place to keep guests as safe and as comfortable as they can be. I’ve been back to the parks pretty frequently and can say that they are doing the best they can to keep the parks open and operational.
Walt Disney World
Walt Disney World resort reopened July 2020 and in August I wrote about the COVID-19 guest requirements that were implemented upon opening. As a refresher, those restrictions and precautions were:
• There are no nighttime shows, indoor shows, parades or close-up character meet and greets.
• A reservation system is in place and the parks are running at limited capacity.
• Temperatures are checked at every park entrance and hotel.
• Masks are required at all times unless actively eating or drinking while stationary.
• Six feet social distancing is enforced.
Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, some of those precautions have changed and experiences have been added back to the parks.
• Indoor shows, like Festival of the Lion King at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, have made a return.
• Social distancing is still being enforced at 6 feet in high traffic areas like restaurants and shops, but those restrictions have been loosened in other areas of the parks.
• Park capacity has been increased and, while it is still limited, it is certainly trending toward normal operations.
• Temperature checks are no longer required.
Masks are still required at the Walt Disney World parks and resorts, but given recent changes to CDC guidelines, this could change in the near future.
Universal Orlando Resort
Universal Orlando Resort reopened around the same time as Walt Disney World in 2020. Most of the procedures and restrictions were the same at Universal; the only difference was, and still is, the lack of a reservation system for guests to enter the theme parks.
Universal Orlando Resort does not require temperature checks and has also changed to a 3-foot social distancing requirement. Everything else remains the same, EXCEPT that they are actually running their nighttime show, Universal Orlando’s Cinematic Celebration, in the lagoon at Universal Studios Florida.
Both Disney and Universal offer designated areas where guests can remove their masks for extended periods of time even without eating or drinking.
The Orlando area theme parks are making their way slowly and carefully back to a state of normalcy. I believe that experiences will slowly continue to return to both parks and I can’t wait for fireworks to return once it is safe to do so.
As for other local attractions, the Brevard Zoo and Kennedy Space Center have also been open for quite some time.
Kennedy Space Center has reopened its bus tour that transports guests for a 45-minute tour to the Apollo/Saturn V center. The center is still enforcing social distancing, masks are still required and advanced ticket purchases are encouraged due to limited capacity.
The Brevard Zoo is still enforcing social distancing and masks are required in all areas where social distancing cannot be maintained. The Wildlife Detective Training Academy and Keeper Chats are not available. And lastly, a timed-entry ticket or reservation is needed for each member of a party 3 years of age and older. Although visitors need to enter at a specific time, once inside the gates they are able to stay until closing.
All of these protocols are constantly changing and could be different by the next time you plan your trip out to any of the Central Florida attractions. For the latest information, be sure to check each attraction’s official website.