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Universal Orlando theme parks reach capacity for the first time since reopening


UPDATE (11:16 am, 09.06.20): Universal’s two theme parks have hit capacity for the second day in a row.

What, exactly, does that mean in the age of the coronavirus? Read on to find out:

For the first time since reopening in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, both Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure have reached capacity.

Under normal circumstances, an Orlando theme park being extremely busy on Labor Day weekend – one of the most crowded holiday weekends of the year – would hardly qualify as news. However, since Universal first closed down its parks on March 16, they have yet to hit their modified limit, which was set in place as part of stringent coronavirus safety procedures. (While today marks the first time that the two dry parks have filled up, Volcano Bay is the exception – it’s done so several separate times thus far.)

It’s no secret that the pandemic has taken a toll on Orlando’s theme-park industry, resulting in a number of closures and cancellations, including the unprecedented cancellation of Halloween Horror Nights. Both Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando Resorts have offered a variety of promotions to attract locals and passholders back to their locations in recent weeks, and today’s crowds seem to be good evidence that those efforts are paying off.

It’s important to note that although Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Florida reached capacity today, the resulting crowds were significantly smaller than they would be under normal circumstances. Universal has made it clear that safety is its number-one priority, with its maximum capacity and social-distancing requirements in place to try and keep overcrowding to a minimum. In addition, Virtual Lines and mobile ordering are set up at attractions and dining venues to further reduce the chances of guests congregating.

So, what does reaching capacity in the time of COVID mean? Simply put, Universal isn’t selling any more tickets today. If you’re a Universal Orlando hotel guest, Universal has previously said you’re a “priority” for entry, but we’re not entirely certain how this will work for this busy weekend.

As Universal continues to successfully manage the reopening of its theme parks, it seems reasonable to assume that they will continue to reach capacity on occasion, especially on particularly busy weekends, such as this one. And it remains to be seen when capacity will be increased and to what degree, as this will depend on how the pandemic continues to unfold in the coming months.

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About Nicole Wills

Nicole was born and raised in Orlando, so it's no surprise that theme parks have been part of her life for as long as she can remember. With experience writing content for both Universal Orlando Resort and her own theme park blog, she's turned that passion into a career, and she loves nothing more than helping others make the most of their Orlando adventures. When Nicole isn't writing, she can be found playing video games, hanging out with her cat, and counting down to Halloween Horror Nights (sometimes all at once).