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Photo Tour: Universal Studios Florida with Social Distancing

We've gotten a lot of questions about what it's like to tour the theme parks since Universal Orlando Resort reopened earlier this year. Let's take a photo tour through Universal Studios Florida to see what's changed since the COVID-19 safety guidelines have been put in place.

One of the first changes you'll notice after entering the park is that park maps are unavailable. There's a sign where the park maps are usually kept that asks guests to "be safe and practice social distancing" and also encourages guests to download the Official Universal Orlando Resort App for wait times, show times, maps and more. There's a QR code available for easy download. I highly recommend you download the app before you arrive so you can access wait times, virtual line and also order food.
Very light crowds right after opening.
Another big change is the boarding process for attractions. Universal is doing a great job keeping guests socially distant throughout the queue and in the pre-show areas. Boarding areas were staggered so you could keep your distance from other guests. 
Pre-show area for Despicable Me Minion Mayhem
Second pre-show area for Despicable Me Minion Mayhem
Many areas of the park looked like this

Photo opp with Bumblebee
If you like meeting characters, you're in luck! You can still grab some great photo opportunities with your favorite characters. Guests are allowed to take off their masks briefly for a photo opp as long as they adhere to social distancing guidelines and are at least six feet away from other travel parties and the characters. I grabbed a quick photo with Bumblebee but note I was actually much farther away than the photo area.
You'll find one of the two U-Rest locations in Central Park. This U-Rest area is where you can take a break and remove your mask. You still must remain socially distant from other guests while in the U-Rest area but it's a nice spot to take a break without having to wear your face covering. We took several breaks at the U-Rest areas and found them to be a great opportunity to remove our masks safely. 
We were very happy to see some of the stage shows were still available. In most of the shows we saw, the performers were wearing masks and were spread out on the stage to remain socially distant. There were also markers on the ground indicating where guests could stand to watch the show. 
Beat Builders area with social distancing markers

You'll also see signage in the restroom sink areas reminding guests to practice social distancing
Signage at the candy dispensing stations requiring guests to see a Team Member to place an order.
Out of all the attractions, we saw some of the longest wait times for the Hogwarts Express. The train is limited to one party per compartment so where each compartment would normally seat eight guests from various parties, it now seats one party regardless if it's one person or eight people. This limited capacity per train increased the wait times quite a bit. I would much rather have a longer wait than be seated in a small compartment with complete strangers during a pandemic. 
You'll see lots of signage reminding guests that face coverings are required.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley was where we saw the most crowds compared to the other areas of the park however, crowd levels were still very manageable. 
Entrance to Diagon Alley
Dining at the parks looks a little different but there are still plenty of great table service and quick service options available. At quick service locations like The Leaky Cauldron, guests must wait in a socially distant line before being brought to a table by one of the Team Members. Tables are spread out and some tables have signage that says it is not available to keep guests at a safe distance. Once at your table, you can place your order through the mobile app or if you've already placed your order before arriving, you can let them know you are ready for your order to be prepared.
The Leaky Cauldron

Mobile Food order instructions on the tables at The Leaky Cauldron
Mask and Butterbeer selfie
Face coverings are required to be worn on all non-water attractions. Right before boarding Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, a Team Member let us know that the party in the ride vehicle we were about to board had taken off their masks during the ride. We were told that they were sanitizing the vehicle and sending it through unoccupied, and we'd be on the next ride vehicle. I was very happy with the level of safety and in the communication we were provided from the Team Member. 
Social distancing markers in the Gringotts queue
Guests standing socially distant and watching The Tales of Beedle the Bard and Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees performances.
More crowds appeared as the day went on.
You'll find the second U-Rest location over at FEAR FACTOR LIVE. 
Social distancing floor markers near the MEN IN BLACK Alien Attack locker entrance
Some of the Coca-Cola Freestyle locations are closed for social distancing
Most attractions are operating at reduced capacity by boarding every other row or only seating one party per row/ride vehicle to follow social distancing guidelines. One attraction where we saw longer wait times due to these new guidelines was The Simpsons Ride over in Springfield: Home of the Simpsons. You'll have to wait a little longer than normal due to the necessary spacing needed in the pre-show areas. 
Simpsons pre-show area
Simpsons pre-show area right before you board the attraction.
Very minimal crowds over at Woody Woodpecker's KidZone.
A Day in the Park with Barney is temporarily closed.
Fievel's Playland is also closed.

Wondering what it's like over at Universal's Islands of Adventure? Check out our Photo Tour: Universal's Islands of Adventure with Social Distancing post. For more information about the new COVID-19 safety guidelines make sure to read our Universal Orlando Resort & COVID-19 Guidelines and FAQ for a 2020 Universal Orlando Resort Vacation posts. 

What questions do you have about Universal Studios Florida since it's reopened? Have you been and do you have more tips to share? Let us know in the comments. 


*Photos were taken in September 2020. Please note that safety guidelines may have changed since our visit and this posting so please review Universal's Important Safety Guidelines for updates to their policies. 

Ashley is a Hufflepuff who loves rollercoasters and thrill rides. You can email Ashley at ashley@kingdomkonsultant.com.

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