Traveling to any theme park during a pandemic can be a very scary adventure! On the one hand, you want to get out of the house and have some fun, but on the other hand, you want to make sure you are staying safe.
Although Orlando’s two major theme park destinations, Disney World and Universal, are mostly outdoors and running at a reduced capacity of 35%, they still both have high touch surfaces. One of the highest touch surfaces would have to be the attraction vehicles. Although both parks do sanitize their ride vehicles, not all are sanitized after each rider.
So, how can Disney and Universal mitigate this issue? At both parks, there are incredible amounts of sanitization stands available to Guests. When Guests visit Disney World, there is signage no matter where you turn to remind Guests to sanitize, wash their hands, social distance, and always wear a mask. Both Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure have similar signage and sanitizer stations, but not to the amount that Disney does. Disney even sends alerts to your My Disney Experience app with all these reminders, as well.
However, there is one thing that Universal Orlando Resort does that Walt Disney World does not. The Universal theme park employees will provide hand sanitizer to Guests before they board attractions. At Disney World, this is not something you will find Cast Members doing.
Whenever I visit Universal Orlando Resort and wait in line for an attraction, there is a Team Member there waiting to squirt sanitizer in my hands before I board. On Disney World attractions, it is encouraged to sanitize, but it is not a requirement before boarding an attraction. At Universal, it is compulsory.
That being said, although Universal does take things a step further by having a Team Member present to ensure that no Guests board or touch a ride vehicle before sanitizing, Guests are allowed to eat in the queues of Universal attractions.
At the Disney World theme parks, you cannot bring a drink or food into any line, but at Universal, you can walk into a queue with a Butterbeer in hand and no one will say anything to you. Although this does not mean Guests can keep their masks off while in line, it does mean that at Universal theme parks, Guests will tend to remove their face masks while standing or walking through attraction queues much more often than they will while waiting to board an attraction at the Disney World theme parks.
These are two similar yet slightly different approaches to health and safety at the theme parks, but one thing is for sure: both parks are doing what they believe is best to operate during this pandemic as safely as possible for their Guests and employees.
Have you been to both theme parks? Is there anything else you would want to see Disney or Universal do to better their in-park safety?
Editor’s Note: The opinions reflected in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Inside the Magic overall.