Universal Orlando No Longer Social Distancing on Some Rides

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Update: Universal Orlando has released a statement regarding social distancing on rides, and Inside the Magic has since updated this article to reflect the information.

With Universal Orlando theme parks reopening in Florida during a pandemic, we have seen many changes for safety reasons. From reduced capacity to families having their attraction vehicle on certain rides, this pandemic has created somewhat of an intimate Theme Park experience.

Universal Orlando Resort has three theme parks:

  • Universal Studios
  • Universal’s Islands of Adventure
  • Universal’s Volcano Bay

All three parks reopened in June 2020 after closing down due to the pandemic. Unlike Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando does not require you to use a reservation system. This means as long as the Park is not at capacity, you can show up on the day off and have fun!

But lately, Universal’s crowd levels are skyrocketing. After seeing the insane Labor Day crowds all three parks brought in, many Guests were nervous about returning due to the inability to social distance. Well, get your hand sanitizer ready because it looks like they are no longer social distancing on a couple of attractions.

Related: Honest Review: Disney World or Universal Studios?

On Twitter @Amusementinside stated alongside a clip of The Hulk ride:

HULK is now loading one party per row instead of every other, making the wait time much lower. New barriers in place at the station so groups are not interfering with each other. Personally I like this change.

The Universal attraction used to seat one party/family every other row, ensuring that no two parties (who were not visiting together) were next to each other and remained a safe social distance away from one another while enjoying the attraction. It seems that there are still precautions being taken here regarding the queue area and loading, as the Tweet states, “New barriers in place at the station so groups are not interfering with each other.”

It also looks as though you still won’t be sitting next to a stranger in the same row, but the fact is — you are no longer one complete row apart from other families. Face coverings and masks are still mandatory at the Universal Orlando Theme Park, and temperature checks are upon arrival. Of course, social distancing measures are encouraged when walking around the Universal Florida parks, just not so much on the ride itself.

Universal’s response

According to this update, it looks like The Incredible Hulk Coaster and Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit will be two rides fully loaded. This is due to Guest demand and long wait times, and Universal Orlando has ensured that there still is some separation between Guests. The Tweet indicates that local health officials have agreed to this new plan.

Since Universal Orlando tweeted that the two coasters were the only attractions boarding each row, we have seen on Twitter that that is not necessarily the case.

Related: Honest Review: What Can Disney Learn From Universal’s Reopening Mistakes?

In the case of Reign Of Kong, the plexiglass being up definitely made up for the rows fully loaded on each attraction vehicle. It has also reduced wait times for the attraction, but it seems to have disrupted the attraction experience, with 3-D no longer working well due to the glass and FX being turned off.

Universal has also reiterated that Guests must wear face coverings and distance themselves within the attraction queues. Because loading every row of a ride vehicle only occurs when there is a high demand, it is unclear how often this will happen.

Would you feel comfortable riding a coaster at Universal Orlando if every row was complete? Let us know! 

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