The Path To Universal Orlando Resort’s Reopening — Entertainment

July 6, 2020

On March 15, 2020, with the sweet sounds of Mardi Gras playing me and my friends out, I exited Universal Orlando Resort’s parking garage not knowing when the next time I’d be able to return would be. 

These past few months of closure, while some of us have been hard at work perfecting Irish Soda Bread, a team at Universal has been hard at work preparing us for our phased reopening that began on June 1st. 

Over the last few weeks I’ve had the opportunity to meet with four of our executives about the reopening process and what it’s looked like in four key areas — operations, food and beverage, entertainment, and hotels.

To speak to our entertainment updates in the parks, I chatted with vice president of entertainment, Deborah Buynak. Here’s what I learned.

KATIE: What has the process been like for you and your team to prepare for reopening?

DEBORAH: The resort as a whole has been listening to the guidelines of the CDC, studying those very carefully, and listening to the advice of our local health officials. Getting ready for entertainment, we really went with the three areas that the entire company is focusing on — screening, sanitization, and spacing. Screening is what everybody else is doing with temperature checks. For us, sanitization and cleaning was always pretty aggressive in regards to costumes, set pieces, and props, but we have amped that up considerably to follow the guidelines of the CDC and the recommendations of our local health officials. The thing people notice the most from us is our spacing. We know that everybody has been away from each other for so long, that really when we see each other, we want to go back to that handshake or high five or hug. In entertainment we are really going to help control everybody’s urge to do that with the characters and the casts by doing what we call our Up and Away program. We have all of our characters away from our guests in that social-distancing that’s recommended, but we also have them up so they can still be seen. You can still have that interaction, we’ll all still be able to dance and sing together, it’ll just be up and away.

KATIE: Well I went to the parks this past week and the Team Members are doing great and are so expressive behind the masks!

DEBORAH: Our Team Members get into live entertainment because they want to have that connection with an audience. We don’t want to take that away from them. They’re excited to get back out with guests in the right way. Through the past few months, we’ve been doing a lot of talking with our casts and crews, we developed a training process for the new procedures, we’ve been listening, talking, changing some things. We may have thought over the three months we had come up with some really good ideas, but once you see it and talk to the people who do it every day, we’ve made some tweaks and changes, while also following the guidelines of the CDC.

KATIE: What are the top things guests need to know about the operational changes in your area of Universal?

DEBORAH: The biggest thing that our guests are going to see is the spacing, like I mentioned. You can’t go right up to folks in Entertainment. We don’t do the full parade, but we’re getting parts and pieces out. This is a phased reopening, so we need to make sure that we are doing the right thing right now. So you’ll still see our characters, but in small groups. I really urge everybody to download the app and to set up an account in it. That’s where you’ll be able to find what you’re looking for — a particular character, particular show — that app is going to help get you in the right direction.

KATIE: What can guests look forward to in Entertainment now that parks are open again? 

DEBORAH: We are here for you. Entertainment has always put the heart into the parks. Our amazing attractions are always here for your thrills, and entertainment brings those feels and that connection. Being in our houses all these months, we all have missed that contact with other people and that eye contact. We’ve missed just being together and celebrating together. Our Entertainment team is ready to bring that to you again. 

Find more details on our operations and safety updates here.

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  • Reply Joanne Soucy July 16, 2020 at 11:37 am

    Are you or Are you Not Open Now. We plan to come at end of August. Thank you

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      Reply Social Media Team July 16, 2020 at 11:49 am

      Hi Joanne! We are currently open! Visit our website for park hours.

  • Reply Brian Heimer July 30, 2020 at 11:47 am

    Can’t wait to visit in October! We’re sad that HHN 30 will be postponed until next year but we’re thrilled to return to Universal anyway! Tell Hagrid to warm up the motorbike for us!

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    Reply Social Media Team July 30, 2020 at 11:49 am

    Hi Brian! We appreciate your understanding and look forward to your next visit!

  • Reply Ginger July 30, 2020 at 12:36 pm

    Do you have to have reservations to get in the park I heard that yall are only letting so many people in?

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      Reply Social Media Team July 30, 2020 at 12:44 pm

      Hi Ginger! At this time, we are running at limited capacity. Feel free to give us a call at 407-224-4233 option 4, if you have further questions.

  • Reply Fred July 31, 2020 at 12:31 am

    When will the fireworks and parade start up ??

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      Reply Social Media Team July 31, 2020 at 7:47 am

      Hey Fred! At this time, Universal’s Superstar Parade and Nighttime shows will not run during this phase of our reopening. However, guests will be able to see some of the parade’s characters throughout Universal Studios during the day.

  • Reply Diane Cordelle August 6, 2020 at 2:01 pm

    Will the masks still be required during the week of Thanksgiving?

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      Reply Social Media Team August 6, 2020 at 2:15 pm

      Hi Diane! Face coverings are currently required to visit Universal Orlando Resort. Please stay tuned to our website for the most up-to-date information regarding our safety measures.

  • Reply Linda Johnson August 13, 2020 at 6:52 pm

    Is the Blue Man Group performing?

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      Reply Social Media Team August 13, 2020 at 7:04 pm

      Hi Linda! Blue Man Group is temporarily closed.

  • Reply randi Ribarich September 22, 2020 at 12:04 pm

    What attractions are not reopening? Will we be able to go from Universal to Islands of adventure with the Hogwarts train? What will the park hours be for December 29th?

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      Reply Social Media Team September 22, 2020 at 12:25 pm

      Hi Randi,
      Majority of the attractions and experiences within the parks are currently open. The following are temporarily closed: A Day in the Park with Barney, Fast & Furious: Supercharged, Fear Factor Live, Kang & Kodos’ Twirl ‘n’ Hurl, Poseidon’s Fury and Storm Force Accelatron. Children play areas such as Camp Jurassic, If I Ran the Zoo and Fievel’s Playland also remain closed during this phase of our reopening. Guests should check the Official Universal Orlando Resort Mobile App while in park for updates during their visit. You will also find park hours on the app, and our site!

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