If you are planning on traveling during the ongoing pandemic, doing so safely is likely at the forefront of your mind.
Orlando has been an incredibly popular vacation destination during these unprecedented times, as theme parks such as Disney World and Universal have been open for quite some time now. This means there are plenty of Guests who want to visit Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure at Universal Orlando Resort, or Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World Resort. Many of these travelers are flying into the same airport: Orlando International Airport (MCO).
MCO is where Guests hop on Disney’s Magical Express, board the SuperStar Shuttle, and truly, it is where the magic and adventure of an Orlando vacation begins. That being said, MCO is a very crowded airport year-round due to Florida being such a popular tourist destination.
When Guests visit either Disney World or Universal Orlando, there are rules set up to ensure that Cast Members, Team Members, and Guests are always feeling as safe as possible, at all times. And due to the pandemic, enhanced health and safety protocol has also been implemented at both theme park destinations. One big change that has been implemented at both theme parks is social distancing, and when in a queue, Guests will have to stand on specific markers that are places at least six feet apart.
Up until recently, Orlando International Airport had similar in place, but now, things are changing. Orlando International Airport is taking advantage of Orange County, Florida’s new mandate from Mayor Jerry Demings that says physical distancing of three feet (rather than six feet) is now acceptable.
As of now, neither Universal nor Disney has adjusted their six-feet-apart rules for social distancing, even though the change could allow both theme parks to increase capacity. However, MCO has changed social distancing protocol. If you have been to Orlando International Airport during the pandemic, you would have seen social distancing signage telling travelers to maintain a six-foot distance from one another. Now, that has changed to three feet.
Inside the Magic spoke with an employee at Orlando International Airport who confirmed that signage was being replaced to showcase the new three-feet social distancing recommendation. MCO also shared the reminder that masks must still be worn in the airport and on the plane.
Considering how crowded MCO can get without any social distancing, this change will likely help long lines not stretch as far as they have been.
As we mentioned, at the moment, both Universal and Disney have not reduced their physical distancing requirements yet, however, if either park wants to increase capacity and prevent lines from stretching as long as they have been, this may be a change they implement.
Disney World and Universal Orlando each require face coverings and are implementing other health and safety protocols at this time. Visit the official Walt Disney World website or Universal Orlando website for more information.
Stay tuned to Inside the Magic as we continue to report the ever-changing health and safety guidelines of both the Disney and Universal theme parks worldwide.
Do you have an issue with MCO reducing physical distancing to three feet? What do you think of social distancing at theme parks? Let us know in the comments.