For theme park geeks, especially those interested in Central Florida, everyone has been watching the reopening of Shanghai Disneyland, as it’s considered to be the benchmark of what Walt Disney World’s and Disneyland’s respective reopenings will eventually be like.
Although the parks have no set date of reopening, WDW’s shopping and dining district, Disney Springs, is scheduled to reopen on May 20th. Everyone is waiting for that with bated breath since it will be the first reopening of any part of a U.S. Disney resort since the COVID pandemic closed everything down in mid-March.
However just down the road, Universal Orlando’s shopping and entertainment district, CityWalk, is slated to open almost a week earlier, on May 14th. The rules they’ve set out for safety, in advance of the reopening, are VERY detailed.
CityWalk is Universal’s shopping and dining district, with multiple shops and restaurants, as well as several themed nightclubs, a permanent installation of Blue Man Group, 2 miniature golf courses and a multiplex movie theater.
What Will Be Open
Select CityWalk venues will open on May 14, which will be open each day from 4pm to 10pm:
Full-service restaurants and quick-service food locations (each restaurant will have a limited menu and limited seating available):
- Auntie Anne’s Pretzels
- Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.™ Restaurant and Market
- Jimmy Buffett’s® Margaritaville® (outside & Lone Palm)
- Red Oven Pizza Bakery™ mobile ordering available
- Voodoo Doughnut mobile ordering available
- Hart & Huntington Tattoo Company® (retail only)
- Universal Studios Store™ and select merchandise carts
Blue Man Group, all nightclubs and Universal Cinemark will remain temporarily closed at this time, along with, of course, both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure theme parks.
Self-parking will be free and valet parking won’t be available (subject to change).
Safety Measures That Will Be In Place
All guests and Team Members are requested to comply with the following:
- Face covering required – Everyone is required to wear a face-covering during their visit
- Wash hands often – Wash your hands with soap and water, often, for at least 20 seconds
- Floor markings – When present, please stand on the floor markings until the group in front of you moves forward
- Temperature checks required – Temperature checks will be required upon arrival, and guests with a temperature of 100.4 degrees or greater will not be admitted.
- Social distancing – Practice social distancing and keep at least 6 feet (2 meters) between your travel party and others.
- Avoid contact with people who are sick.
They also discuss CDC guidelines in terms of older adults, people with serious underlying medical conditions and, essentially, if you’re out in public, you are at a higher risk of being exposed to COVID-19 and they can’t promise you won’t be exposed during your visit (the latter is the CYA rule, of course).
They also tell you about the other safety measures that are now in place in terms of monitoring Team Members for fevers and that they must wear face coverings, limiting capacity, ongoing cleaning and offering cashless payments at all venues.
Finally, they have multiple FAQs.
My take on it
It will be interesting to see what happens when Universal CityWalk opens. Disney is considered to be the more “family-friendly” of the two resorts and I don’t see Universal pulling any punches (figuratively speaking, of course) to ensure visitors comply with their safety measures (I’m mainly thinking about the rule about face coverings, since it’s been a bone of contention for multiple [rather selfish and self-centered] American citizens).
CityWalk is significantly smaller than Disney Springs and not very many venues are going to be open on May 14. As a general rule, CityWalk is not very crowded during the day to begin with (although its nightclubs can see some nice crowds on weekend evenings). Even with free parking (it’s usually $25, unless you have an annual pass), I question how much of a draw 2 sit-down restaurants, 1 quick-serve restaurant, 2 snack places, 3 stores and a miniature golf course are going to be, especially when, without tourists, the only people who might visit are locals. But then again, starting on such a small scale might be a good way to have more control of the situation, which will be the first “large park” reopening in central Florida.
That being said, I can neither confirm nor deny that Joe and I might visit to make a quick stop at Voodoo Doughnut in the next couple of days 😉
Anyway, Universal’s page of what to expect when CityWalk opens can be found if you click here.
*** Feature Photo: Universal Orlando
#stayhealthy #staysafe #washyourhands
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary