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Know Before You Go: Universal Studios Orlando

Know Before You Go: Universal Studios Orlando

After much apprehension, I finally went to Universal Studios a couple of weeks ago. Not going to lie, I was definitely freaking out on the way there due to my anxiety over COVID-19. When I got there, the parking entrance was empty and I was able to pull right up to the clerk and it put my mind at ease. For being a passholder, I was automatically upgraded to Prime parking. It was such a pleasant surprise. From security to park operations, I applaud Universal Orlando at their efforts in making it as safe as can be.

Security Checkpoint

From the moment you enter the walkway towards the security checkpoint, there is signage that tells you that face coverings and temperature checks are required. There is also plenty of signage on the ground to mark a 6 foot distance when there might be a crowd of people waiting to enter. The day I went was incredibly empty. All Universal team members are wearing face masks and the temperature scanning only takes a couple of seconds. When going through security, there was no line. All I did was drop my items in the bin and go through the metal detector as usual. No team members touched me or my items. 

Entering the Park

The one thing I was worried about was whether or not Universal was still going to use the finger device considering how many people would have to touch it to enter. Now, entrance is completely contactless! You hold up your ticket for the team member to scan and they ask to see your ID (again, they don’t touch it – they just look to match the names) and you’re good to go!

Character Interaction

The days of giving your favorite character a hug are over…for now. Although character experiences are different, Universal has done such a great job setting them up. There are social distancing markers in place 6 feet away from Characters so that you can take a selfie or have someone in your party take the photo for you. Character escorts are not able to take photos of your group at this time, so prepare for selfie photos or one of your group members to be the designated photo taker and be left out of the photos. You are allowed to take off your masks momentarily during the photo, so if you see photos of your friends not wearing masks in their character photos this is why.

When You Can Remove Your Face Coverings

You’re allowed to remove your face coverings when you’re eating or drinking, when you visit the U-Rest Area or briefly during character photos. When I got my butterbeer, I opted to keep my mask on and slip the straw up through the bottom of my mask since I was walking and passing by people. The U-Rest Areas are good break areas to sit down and catch your breathe (it’s not easy wearing masks in this heat!) The Rest area was very empty and we were far away from other guests and felt completely safe! We took a mini break to drink our water and our Starbucks during this time.

View of the U-Rest Area where you can sit and remove your face covering.

Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure Virtual Line

Thanks to my best friend Ashlee, we were able to secure a spot in the virtual line for Hagrid’s and timed it so we would make it the moment we entered the park. There are lines on the ground that are 6 feet apart to help people entering during their designated time slot maintain social distancing. I actually hadn’t been on this ride yet before our trip and it was my one request for the day. Before going on the ride, there is a team member holding hand sanitizer and squirting it on your hands since you’ll be touching the handles on the ride.

The Bourne Stuntacular

The day we went the new Bourne Stuntacular show was still in technical rehearsal. Once again, there was signage on the ground in order to maintain social distancing. The wait wasn’t bad since it’s indoors and it gave us a chance to cool down in the AC. When we entered the theater, team members were seating parties in every other row and made sure all different parties were a safe distance away from one another. I have to say, this show was amazing! Even the actors (minus the ones with speaking roles that weren’t in fighting scenes) were all also wearing face coverings during the show. It’s definitely something getting used to, but it doesn’t take away from the show whatsoever.

My Mask Recommendation

When I entered the park, I came in with a blue non-medical grade mask. The problem with it is that it started getting soaked with my sweat in the heat and was a bit unpleasant. They’re definitely not the best when it comes to the water rides either. Although I didn’t do any water rides, I’ve heard from others how wearing these kind of masks aren’t ideal. Universal is selling their own face coverings in the gift shop for either $6 a piece or 3 for $15. They have a new vintage collection and that was the design I chose to purchase. The cotton masks are A LOT more comfortable and they soak up the sweat and stay intact compared to the blue non-medical grade masks. I would definitely recommend using a reusable mask as opposed to the paper ones.

In conclusion

I definitely think going on a Friday was the best choice as I’m still weary when it comes to the COVID-19 cases in Florida. I highly recommend wearing a cloth face covering due to the heat and how much you will be sweating as well. Make sure to stay hydrated with plenty of water and to enter air conditioned areas like the gift shops to cool down as needed. Heck, get a frozen butter beer as well because it tastes better than usual in this heat!

Have you braved going to Universal Studios yet? Why or why not? (No judgement here!) Comment below!

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