2020 has been a year of adjustment and adaptation. The so-called "new normal" of life during Coronavirus-19 means still doing the things you love but with an extra abundance of caution. That includes going to theme parks, especially the ones in Central Florida's entertainment haven of Orlando. Luckily, the parks have taken great precautions to keep guests happy, healthy, and safe. We've rounded up each of the major Orlando theme parks COVID-19 safety updates into one spot to make it easier for you to plan your next trip.
The Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Epcot, and Hollywood Studios comprise Walt Disney World. These four have seen a number of enhanced safety measures and operational updates. For starters, park hopping is not currently allowed. If you want to hit Magic Kingdom and Epcot in one day, better wait until COVID-19 is under control. Additionally, park hours are reduced to encourage guests from leaving during the day and returning – once you leave the park, there is no re-entry.
Each of the four parks has updated entry requirements, as well. First, you'll need a park reservation via the new Disney Park Pass system and valid park admission for the same park on the same day. Guests age 2 and up are also required to wear face coverings at all times in public areas except while swimming or seated for dining. In addition to the traditional security screening, guests will be temperature screened before being allowed entry. Anyone with a temperature greater than 100.4 will not be allowed to enter, nor will anyone in their party.
Once inside, you'll notice the ways Walt Disney World has transformed its experience to safely create magical memories. Physical signage reminds guests to maintain at leas six feet of separation from other guests while also creating helpful paths. Barriers are utilized to block access to areas where physical distance would be harder to maintain. Cashless and contactless payment methods are also highly encouraged as often as possible.
Disney World has also increased cleaning in many high-traffic areas, including public elevators, escalators, benches, tables, restrooms, handrails, and more. You can also stop at various hand sanitizer and hand-washing stations set up throughout the parks.
While there's still lots to enjoy at Disney World's four parks, certain attractions and events remain closed during this time. Parades and nighttime spectaculars, two fan-favorite events, are temporarily paused. Character greetings and playgrounds also remain suspended for the time being.
Universal Orlando consists of two parks – Universal Studios Florida and Island of Adventure – and Universal CityWalk. Universal Orlando is moving a few steps closer to normal operating procedures. Temperature screenings before entry are no longer being performed, and social distance has been updated to three feet instead of six.
Enhanced and increased cleaning procedures ensure that high-traffic areas remain sanitized in accordance with Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines. This includes dining areas, restrooms, elevators, escalators, and more.
Guests age 3 and up are required to wear face coverings at all times while inside the park, except when eating or at designated U-Rest face covering removal areas. Face coverings must cover your nose and mouth and under your chin. They must fit snugly against the sides of your face and be secured behind your ears or around your head. Face coverings with exhalation valves or with mesh openings of any kind will not be allowed.
Universal Orlando has buffed its digital offerings to minimize the amount of physical contact you'll have with team members. With the official Universal Orlando Resort app, you can choose a virtual line return time to essentially book a spot on certain attractions, ensuring you spend less time waiting in line. You can also order meals for pick-up or delivery with your phone at many on-site restaurants.
Like other Orlando theme parks, SeaWorld's COVID-19 safety updates prioritize social distancing, facial coverings, contactless experiences, and more. Employees who feel sick are required to stay home until they have recovered.
All guests and employees are required to wear face coverings inside the park except when eating, drinking, or in a designated relaxation area. Just like in Universal Orlando, all coverings must cover the nose and mouth, fit tightly around the edges of the face, and be secured either behind the ears or around the head.
Animal exhibits, restaurants, gift shops, rides, and other attractions in the park have been reorganized to comply with social distancing guidelines. Physical signage and markings designate where guests should stand and walk in these areas.
LEGOLAND Florida Resort employs all the standard safety protocols you've read about for the other Orlando theme parks. Facial coverings over the mouth and nose are required at all times in the park except when eating or drinking.
While temperature checks are no longer performed, LEGOLAND is counting on guests to abide by the honor system. By entering the park, you confirm that you have not experienced any of the common COVID-19 symptoms, have not been in contact with anyone with COVID-19 systems in 14 days, and are not currently under any self-quarantine orders.
Signage and markings indicate acceptable, socially distant pathways through the park. Sanitation stations have been installed throughout, and guests are encouraged to use them whenever possible. Increased cleaning ensures all high-traffic areas of the park are frequently sanitized.
It's fitting given LEGOLAND's plastic brick aesthetic that the park is only accepting plastic forms of payment at this time – keep your cash at home. Guests are also encouraged to leave space between their vehicle and others in the parking garage – a welcome change for many drivers!