With a swish and flick and possibly an Alohamoa Harry Potter spell, Universal Orlando opened to the public on June 5th. After a long closure the question remained: would Universal Orlando be magical with a mask and social distance guidelines? Tips For a Reopened Universal Orlando. Affiliate Links are included in this post.
Tips For a Reopened Universal Orlando: What You Need To Know
If you are considering a vacation to a theme park this summer, Universal Orlando might be top of your list.
Mostly because it’s the biggest name in town- that’s actually open.
We’re still not-so-patiently waiting to see what the opening of Walt Disney World looks like: scheduled for July 11th.
But it might also be because you read about all the reasons you might want to consider becoming a Universal Orlando Annual Passholder in 2020. (Spoiler- there are a lot of really good ones!)
But before you plan that next Universal vacation, here are a few things you need to know and a few tips to make the trip a success.
Fangirling Universal Orlando Podcast Episode
Take a listen to the podcast version if you want to really get all the details.
Tania from LolaLambchops.com joined me on the adventure and we share why we went to a theme park during a pandemic (um, really? Yes, REALLY!).
Tip #1: Stay At A Universal Orlando Hotel Resorts
One of the driving factors for making this trip was the experience of being one of the first people back into a Universal Orlando resort.
We deduced that after 2 1/2 months, the empty rooms would be extremely clean and free of germs that might cause us an issue. So booking a resort stay for the Universal Orlando opening was key.
You know the old saying: trust- but verify?
Yep, we still wiped all touchpoints with a sanitizer wipes upon entry.
Also, I bought those in the gift shop because I left my stash at home. Doh!
And that’s something I’d suggest doing going forward to ensure your resort stay remains a healthy one.
We stayed at the Universal Hard Rock and the Aventura for this adventure and had excellent experiences at both locations.
Upon check-in, you needed to wear a mask, get your temperature checked, and put on a wristband that would allow you re-entry and skipping the temp checks in the future.
This also allowed you to enter the theme parks without needing to be re-scanned, shortening your lines and wait immensely.
We had lovely experiences at both resorts, but please note the usual room cleaning is not being done on a daily basis.
The room service dining is also slightly altered, as well as your meal service inside the restaurants. But nothing that should cause concern or make anyone cancel a vacation over!
What’s Wrong With Staying Off-Site?
Our last night of the trip was spent off-site and I had regrets.
The check-in process was nothing like the Universal Resorts, the room was no-where near as clean, and just overall: ick.
Honestly, in normal times, it would have been FINE- but we are not in normal times and my sensitivity to cleanliness and a feeling of safety is heightened. I was thankful we were only there for 1 night!
Tips For a Reopened Universal Orlando #2: Bring Many Masks
Many, many, MANY masks.
One of the biggest discoveries, since this whole thing started for me, is that I can’t have enough masks in my life.
I thought I might be going overboard with them, but then we took this trip when Universal Orlando opened.
And I found that I was right: bring #allthemasks because you will regret it if you don’t!
And yes, as of this writing, face coverings and masks are required and ARE enforced at Universal Orlando.
Universal Orlando masks can be purchased in CityWalk or in the theme parks for $6.
Orlando is hot, it’s muggy, and that means wearing a mask all day at the parks is going to leave them a little sweaty and stinky.
You definitely do not want to reuse a mask if you can help it; so make sure you have multiple options OR handwash them in the sink nightly.
I tried out a lot of versions while we were there: the surgical mask, the neck gaiter (there are even Harry Potter ones!), the ones with pleats, the ones without, and I even bought a Universal Orlando themed mask.
For me: a mask is a mask and they all were comfortable enough. We were not bothered by the need to wear them and felt most people were compliant.
But I suggest taking some options for your own vacation just in case there is something that works best for you.
Tip 3: Adhere To the Social Distance Reminders
But you know this. You’ve been educated. You can read the stickers on the ground that say “Stay 6-feet behind the person in front of you.”
Don’t be afraid to remind your fellow guests to back the heck up!
We’re all in this together, but it only works if we follow the guidelines for social distancing by the CDC.
Tips For a Reopened Universal Orlando #4: Leave Your Sanitizer At Home
You really do not need to bring your own sanitizer on the Universal Orlando trip because they are really pushing it on you everywhere.
And I mean errryyywhere.
In the hotel resorts, we found sanitizer by the elevators, upon entry, near the fitness rooms, and at random places throughout the lobby.
In the parks, you’ll find it all over the place as well.
We found sanitizer bottles pretty much anywhere we’d have to touch something or after we had touched something:
- Getting on a ride
- Getting off a ride
- Entry to a restaurant
- Anywhere we had to pay for something
I had brought my own, but they stayed in my bag.
Hey- “free” Universal Hand sanitizer FTW!
Overall, we felt the opening of Universal Orlando was safe.
It was worth the experience, the time, and the money to get a little of the Movie Magic back into our lives after a 3-month shutdown. And we would 100% go back as long as these cleaning and sanitizing processes are in place.
Is Taking the Universal Orlando Trip Right For You At This Time?
That I cannot say- it really comes down to your family and how comfortable you are with the current climate.
I will say: if you cannot or will not wear a mask, then you cannot and should not go to Universal and try to have a vacation. It just won’t happen. They are enforcing the wearing of face coverings pretty tightly.
And if you have more questions, I am here to answer anything I can and encourage you to plan your next Universal Vacation!
Let me know if I can help YOU score a mostly empty Diagon Alley shot due to the very low crowds.
Fangirling Universal Orlando Opening Podcast Transcript
This transcript is unedited and processed by AI.
Unknown Speaker 0:04
Welcome to the no guilt fan girls podcast. We’re liking what you like is never a bad thing. Here’s your host and head fan girl in charge. Patty Holliday
Patty Holliday 0:18
Hey y’all. I’m your host and head fangirling charge Patty Holliday, welcome back again. Again. I don’t even know how many times I’ve we’ve started this podcast it’s been a crazy quarantine. But Welcome to the no guilt fan girls podcast. If you are new around here or haven’t had a moment to leave a five star review or a rating I would appreciate you doing so. It definitely helps the algorithms and it helps others find us and everyone knows it is no fun to fan girl alone. And one quick note to point like this is just to throw out there how crazy quarantine has been. I’ve been podcasting for a full year. One year like my one year anniversary was March No, I’m sorry, was May 11 12th, something like that. And it’s now June and I kind of just forgot about it and didn’t make mention of it, but I was kind of excited. I’ve been doing it for a while here, so yeah, me.
Tania Lamb 1:15
Patty Holliday 1:18
Yay. Um, so on the podcast today, I have my friend Tanya, you guys know her, you love her. She’s basically the CO fangirl around here. By the way, I’ve promoted you to co fandral yet
Tania Lamb 1:33
another good thing about quarantine?
Patty Holliday 1:36
That’s right. You’ve been promoted. And she is pretty much the same kind of fangirl as I am about a lot of things. There’s there’s very few things that we disagree on. There’s some but very few. Tell the people where they can find you online Tanya,
Tania Lamb 1:51
you can find me at Lola lamb chops, calm and pretty much everywhere else on social media at Lola lamb chops.
Patty Holliday 1:57
All right, and what do you write about what why would people But when it comes to you anyway,
Tania Lamb 2:01
because I’m so cool. I write about.
I write about travel entertainment. Mainly I like to write, I have five girls. And so mainly I like to write about things that you can watch with your family. I am very passionate about movie studios and television, being family friendly and appropriate for kids.
Patty Holliday 2:25
And you are a rotten tomatoes critic,
Tania Lamb 2:27
and a rotten tomatoes critic, and dropping those creds
Patty Holliday 2:31
out there. So yeah, absolutely. today. Oh, by the way, I want to ask you this. Did you notice yesterday on Twitter, I know you were on Twitter, because you were calling me out. But did you notice that you’re on Twitter that Chris Evans was trending?
Tania Lamb 2:44
No, I did not.
Patty Holliday 2:48
Yeah, so it was one of those things where Chris Evans is trending and I thought, oh, mercy. Why are we go and after like, you know, we got to go find this out. So I go over and sure enough, the reason why he’s trending is just because Chris Evans is awesome and amazing and everybody loves him.
Tania Lamb 3:03
Well, that’s better than like, a week or two ago when Chris Evans was being cancelled, so
Patty Holliday 3:10
no, I don’t even know what that was about. But also why have we not had a Chris Evans fangirl episode because I think we have a lot of feelings about Chris Goodwin’s true that’s true important ones we should absolutely talk to him. Should we should talk to him first of all, like your Rotten Tomatoes credit, can you make that happen? I will.
Tania Lamb 3:30
I know people who know people, so I’ll see
Patty Holliday 3:38
like if he is just, you know, helping his brother move. I think he might have some free time so he should come on our podcast
Tania Lamb 3:44
before Disney opens again because
Patty Holliday 3:46
yeah, we definitely need to get Chris on before Disney opens because you know, he’s gonna go and he totally is gonna go. I wonder if he has feelings about universal because we’re going to talk about Universal Orlando today. That is actually our topic of discussion today. And that is for a couple of reasons. One, they are the theme park that is open currently. And I do think it’s a theme park that is open right? Six Flags might be open some wiggle and they like the land is open to you.
Tania Lamb 4:15
Oh, they did. They did.
Patty Holliday 4:17
So but we haven’t gone to Legoland, but we have both of us went ahead and made that trip for the opening week of Universal Orlando. So we wanted to kind of give our feelings on that and give a shout out to the team members down there and what they were able to accomplish and let you guys know how we felt we are huge fan girls of theme parks in general. We like them all. But universal is kind of the one that I don’t know we don’t we don’t go to as often but since it was opening, and I don’t know we were desperate for something.
Unknown Speaker 4:53
We both through
Patty Holliday 4:54
our families in the car and drove down from Virginia down to Orlando in order to see what they had going on and what their safety experiences were about now, from my point of view, I was going mostly from the travel agent perspective, I felt like I needed to get a visual and an actual hands on experience so that I can let you guys know how I felt about it and advise you when you come and ask me these questions. Should I go? Should I take my family? Is it safe? Is this better than what Disney is doing? Or how is it different than what Disney is doing? we don’t we don’t have Disney’s actual real life response yet, because we they’re not open just yet. But I will definitely get some hands on experience there too, and be able to give you guys that feedback. But that was the main reason that I went down. Why did you make the trip to Universal?
Tania Lamb 5:48
Because he wouldn’t stop bugging me about it.
I mean, read first propose, hey, let’s ditch the kids and our families and go and I think for me You know that I was a lot more worried about Coronavirus and, and all of that. And no, I wanted to go check it out because I do like Universal Studios. And I had gone with my daughter earlier for running universal this year. And we had such a great time. Like, I’m like, Oh, I want my whole family to go. And we had just watched all of the Harry Potter movies, too. So my biggest hang up was, was the risk at that I was going to put my family in for me. So instead of going by myself, I decided, Hey, I’m going to bring everybody so then we’re all at risk.
Patty Holliday 6:40
Instead of just one of you being at risk, you’re all gonna be nothing in your family. All right, fair, fair. I get it.
Tania Lamb 6:47
And so, we also went down with the mentality though, that we would go see what it was like and if it was bad, then we were out and we would go do something else. You know, like whether go to The beach or the pool or whatever, we were gonna do something else. But like yeah,
Patty Holliday 7:05
that was Yeah, that was that was 100% with what I went down with two and I kept telling the kids I ended up taking my two oldest kids with me the other two decided they didn’t want to go, which Okay, and my husband had to work so he stayed here with them. I took the two older kids down. And that was the same mentality that we went in with I was like guys, if we roll into this hotel, and for whatever reason I can’t do it. I don’t feel like it’s safe. You know, we’re working. We’re going to leave for it. We’re not going to put anything at any major risk. So it wasn’t so much about yay we’re going to Universal as it was. Literally let’s test the system and see what what a theme park at this point in this crazy Coronavirus time is really going to be about and what it’s going to be like. So yeah, we kind of went down with the same process too. And that was another reason that we drove was so that we We were kind of in control and we could stop and leave or get turned around and jump in the car and bolt out of there if we felt any kind of stickiness or worry whatsoever. I felt like going down though and I know you and I talked about this a lot the steps that universal work was taking and that the the requirements that they were putting in place. I felt good about them.
Tania Lamb 8:22
Yeah, had there not been the two main factors for me were one temperature checks and and not to say that you can’t be asymptomatic and go in but you know it. Having a fever is still a good indication that you’re fighting something whether it’s Coronavirus or something else. And then to that everyone was required to wear a mask like if there was not that mask requirement, then there’s no way I would have gone
Patty Holliday 8:48
that that 100% I was the same way it was. The mask was the deal breaker for me and I know people all over online, and we’ll talk about our experience with the masks in just a minute but I know Online. A lot of folks at least the seems like the vocal majority of folks are just the opposite. They’re saying, making me wear a mask is my deal breaker. I’m not going to go. But I definitely felt like if if that requirement wasn’t there, I don’t think I would have gone. I’m 90% sure I wouldn’t have gone.
Tania Lamb 9:21
Yeah. And that’s kind of also why I went to because I’m like, My people are gonna be there. My mask wearing people are gonna be
about it. Well, good. I don’t want to hang out with you anyways.
Patty Holliday 9:34
That’s right. You guys. Just stay home. That works for me.
Unknown Speaker 9:36
Patty Holliday 9:39
So So yeah. So that’s, that’s why we both decided to go and we had actually been talking about it for a couple of couple of weeks. And it took me a while to convince Tanya to just YOLO and make it happen, but
Tania Lamb 9:50
it’s been it until the day before we left.
Patty Holliday 9:55
I think that’s about accurate. Yeah. So I have been home now. for a whole week, I feel great. I feel fine. So knock on all the wood everywhere. You know, I did not catch the krona. I know I there’s still an incubation period, but I feel good. You guys feel good? Anybody having any fevers? Anybody having any issues at this point?
Tania Lamb 10:13
No, no. And I mean, we’ve been home less so we wouldn’t get home. Sunday. So, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, we’ve only been home about four or five days. But so far nothing, which I hope still is the case. But you never know.
Patty Holliday 10:30
Well, yeah, right. And that’s the thing with this with this thing. And, and for anybody that’s thinking we’re a little bit crazy. I think Tonya and I are pretty much on the same level. We didn’t leave our houses except to go pick up groceries and then to go to Universal
Tania Lamb 10:47
might have not stepped foot in any building. Except for green Gods bank.
Patty Holliday 10:54
Exactly, exactly. Four months and four in four months Am I Were the exact same way they were like, you know, Mom’s going big or going home like she, she’s breaking us out of here in a very big way. But I think that also speaks to, to two things is is we truly felt comfortable and felt like the plan that Universal Orlando had in place was a solid enough reason to go, we have not been taking any of this lightly. We’ve been hunting down sanitizer together, we’ve been locked down and closed up and taking care of our families and wearing masks like we’re big mask people up, you know, both of us are so, you know, I think that that’s something to keep in mind as you’re listening to. And you’re thinking, why would you to go down and do this? We did not take this as a light like, Oh, I just want to get out of here and go play. I mean, there was part of that, of course, because it’s universal, and it’s supposed to be fun. And it was fun. Spoiler alert. It was a lot of fun.
Tania Lamb 11:55
We got ending our day
we would go to the front SK Can we stay another day? Okay, we stay another day.
Patty Holliday 12:06
By the way, Tanya is a travel agents worst nightmare. This is why I am not her travel agent even though she is my bestie because basically she can’t make up her mind in there totally go with the flow kind of people and last minute folks and I’m like, Oh my gosh, you have to have a plan and she’s like, why? No, I don’t. And it always works out. It always works out for you. So let’s talk about the hotel since since you mentioned that. Where did you end up staying?
Tania Lamb 12:34
We stayed at Endless Summer.
Patty Holliday 12:37
Okay, and I stayed at two hotels at Universal we checked into the aventura which is one of their newer hotels and then we also stayed at hard rock. So between the the two of us the two of our families, we stayed at three of the different hotels and how what were your overall impressions. How did you feel about the hotel check in and process in the stay there.
Tania Lamb 12:58
I really liked it. So I had stayed with my daughter and last summer just for one quick night at the end of our universal trip in February. And so I had liked it enough so I’m like, oh, let’s try that again. I think that I probably would have stayed at cabana Bay if the pool slides were open, but they weren’t and so that’s why I’m like okay, then we’re fine with basic pool basic hotel, you know, I just want something clean and close. And so, and last summer is their newest property, but it’s also their value resort. So they have family suites and then they also have regular rooms as well and they’re very affordable. And especially with the annual pass holder rate. I mean, that was I think it was $99 for a family suite.
Patty Holliday 13:45
Family suite you had an Yeah, that’s crazy.
Tania Lamb 13:48
So yeah, the family suits are are cool too because and that’s another reason why we chose that over cabana Bay is because Endless Summer has three queen size beds and cabana Bay has, I think One queen size and two fools. So but we really liked it. We felt that everything was clean. I will say, okay, so I did come with gloves and Lysol and Clorox. And even though we went the first night that the hotels were open again, and that we were probably the first people to stay in that room since it had been closed. I still went in and disinfected everything and wiped all the surfaces down. Mm hmm. And I was a tad bit miffed that it wasn’t cleaner. Like it was clean, but it was, I guess I just expected Oh, you’ve got all this time, you’re gonna like white glove all of these rooms. And so I was a little miffed at that. But I also have very high expectations. You do? Yes. Oh, but it was it was clean it just what you know, when I took my license or my Clorox wipe and all of that, like I found some dirt.
Patty Holliday 14:57
Yeah, I walked into the hotel room. I just like froze paralyzed in fear because I forgot my Clorox wipes and I texted you and I was like, Yeah. Are you bringing any and you’re like, Yeah, but I’m not gonna be there for like eight hours. However, because we along the same lines I know, you know, we were, we were we were checking in the day that the resorts opened for the first time so we were definitely some of the first guests probably the first ones in this room since March. And that was part of also my strategy here was my thinking was, be that be be the first people in because nobody’s been there to get it dirty to bring any any germs in or if they were there before they have probably died off in three months, right. So that was also part of my strategy for showing up. But I did freak out because I didn’t have the Clorox. I went down to the gift shop and again pays to be the first people in the gift shop because they had a full little travel size packets of course. Clorox for me so I just stocked up on a bunch and was able to then go up in the room and my kids are standing outside going like really Can we please? And I was like, let me wipe it all down. I will never forgive myself if you guys get sick because I brought you to Universal so I did the same thing I went in, I wipe them down and I am like you did not look at the wipes. I just wiped away. I was not inspecting so avatara I’m sure it was lovely and perfect. But we checked in there we stayed overnight, we went down to City Walk and for the first time since March, I sat in an actual restaurant, which was kind of trippy. I won’t lie. That was a bizarre experience for me. However, there in citywalk, all of the all of the tables were spaced and they kept big spaces between parties. And they were had all that we ate at the NBC girl and so it’s 100 The downstairs part has wide open windows like they basically are on a big patio is the essential of downstairs, we ate upstairs, but downstairs was wide open. So you had that good fresh air coming in. And I just felt like they handled everything really well there too. They had a bunch of little processes in place, like how you handled your food, and they would set it at the end of the table instead of like leaning over into your space to put it in front of you. So no, you’re not being served your food like you did before, but it’s at the end of the table, you just reach over and get it I mean, I’m a mom, honey, that’s not problem. I would much rather do that than have them leaning into me with possible, you know, concerns of violating that social distance space. So even down to those types of circumstances. I felt that it was the thought out process and they were trying to be just as cognizant of these things as possible. And it was appreciated and it was noted And again that was the first night so we did that and then the next day we got up in the morning and we moved resorts because we wanted the Express passes. So we checked into hardrock and this is my first time staying at hardrock absolutely loved it. I will definitely be back it was it was a really great experience. And when we rolled up they didn’t have a valet out there because they’re not doing valet parking so we you know, got out of the car we came in, they took our temperature, they gave us a wristband, they pointed to the sanitizer was like hi Feel free to sanitize hint hint. So I feel like everybody walking in they were like you said with the temperature checks, it’s it’s not a perfect solution, but it’s a start right it gives it gives us some place to work off and to base the information of health off of so it took no time at all to get checked at the hotel. So that’s one thing if you are planning on traveling To universal anytime this summer or, you know, while these restrictions are in place, consider staying on site because you get your wristband and you get your temperature checks done then, and you don’t have to do it again later, going through security, they just look at your wristband and they’re like, Oh, you got an wristband Come on through. So that was that was nice. It was kind of a time saver, instead of standing in line with a bunch of people like you would if you’re coming from off site, and you’re coming through the parking garage, because that did get backed up. And I heard a lot of complaints about lack of social distancing, and just people weren’t being cognizant of each other. So getting your temperature check there took a little bit longer but if you’re staying on site in the hotels, boom, boom, boom, in and out, so easy. Get your wristband roll on.
Tania Lamb 19:51
Yeah, and you have to do it every day because the wristbands change color.
Patty Holliday 19:55
Yes, they check you every morning. So that was also nice as we got up in the morning, got dressed And we’re heading out to the parks, we would stop, they would take our temperature and give us the different colors span. So we were good for another 24 hours. It was great. So yeah, I liked the hotels and I also liked the idea that we were some of the first people there. We checked into the hardrock I think at 730 in the morning, and my room was ready. And I’m sure that was because nobody has been in there since March. So of course my reports so that was easy. So good, good job to the universal resorts. I definitely think they did a nice job and I felt I felt comfortable and clean and safe. With all of the steps that they had in place there.
Tania Lamb 20:45
Patty Holliday 20:47
All right. All right now, going into the parks. You were coming from one direction I came from the other so my entry into the parks for the two the two mornings that we went We’re from Hard Rock Hotel, which meant we took the water taxi or we walked over. You had to take the shuttle bus, right? Yeah. Okay, so they dropped you off and you did go through the more centralized security situation and how was that for you guys?
Tania Lamb 21:19
So it was different. So the first day was a hot mess. But then they were making changes and I did notice that it was definitely so if you say to Universal hotel like cabana Bay, aventura or Endless Summer then you have bus transportation and you basically meet up with the parking garage. It’s just not quite as far of a walk. So but when you come up the escalator, it’s a very confined space. Because they block off like entry to the right you. You kind of are getting funneled into one lane before you are released into security. So the first day was just crazy because they didn’t know what the wristbands meant. So they were still taking our temperature. But everybody coming from that place basically was a hotel guest right? And so there just wasn’t enough room for people like you were as you came up the escalator you literally were running into people it was a safety hazard. And then I think once they understood I think they were making calls like what are what are these wristbands and then you could just hold up your hand and go through.
Patty Holliday 22:33
Gotcha Okay, so that’s interesting. Yeah, that’s and and by the way, this was the first day that you and I both went in was for annual pass holder slash resort guest entry. So this wasn’t open for the public yet this we were honestly like the guinea pigs for for them trying to get their acts together on how all of this with reality work. So yes, there’s that that first day wasn’t wasn’t it So great
Tania Lamb 23:00
No it wasn’t so great and then I was mad and then the second day was better so I was more forgiving and then the third day for me was awesome like that was opening day which I was scared of was going to be even worse because the crowds that was probably the least crowded most chill day where we got to do so many things.
Patty Holliday 23:20
Yeah that that your report on that we went home that day so I missed out on that completely but your report on that made me feel really like Okay, so I’m not crazy because that was my whole selling point on going down was that there would be very few crowds would be a very low crowd time period. And then that first day when we were there with the annual pass holder previews
Tania Lamb 23:42
Patty Holliday 23:44
by by the middle of the morning into the early afternoon, it felt like a moderate to leaning to high levels of crowds. To me it was it wasn’t wide open spaces. It was hard to walk on. Six feet from people. And that wasn’t what I expected. I expected it to be a lot, a lot less populous. So I was disappointed in that that first day the second day. I don’t feel like it ever got as full. But it also had a huge rain shower. That lasted a decent period of time that I think cleared a lot of people out. Us included. We went we went to Disney Springs. We had to go get Earl, Earl of Sandwich, man. So we popped over to Disney Springs during the rain showers. But But when I went back later on that day, I had all the room that I could ever ask for. I had just a wide open empty Diagon Alley basically to walk through. The wait times were nothing. It was beautiful.
Tania Lamb 24:52
Yeah, so I mean the weather played into things to us. It was rainy I think every day. That Friday though. The first The opening day was the first day that we had, it was a good three to four hours of sun and heat. And so that’s when I think my kids notice the masks the most when it bothered them just because I think it gets harder the hotter it gets. And with all that sun it just you I mean, you’re sweating. And so, you know, I know that you had a lot of spares, but I did not. And so, our masks were just nasty. They were gross.
Patty Holliday 25:30
Yeah, that’s gonna be my biggest tip for anybody going to Florida in the summer for any theme park. pack a lot more masks than you think you’ll need. And go ahead and bring yourself some options. I had paper masks, I had traditional cotton masks. I had one of them that kind of, you know, like went up over your nose, one of them that went straight across your nose with the pleats in it. And then I also had a gator style. mask and I wore them all on different days for different reasons just to kind of try them out and to see what I would like best. Me personally, a mask as a mask as a mask. I had no major issues with any of my masks. My kids both kind of stuck with the same kind of mask that they enjoyed that they liked. My daughter liked the paper mask more because she felt it was thinner and easier for her to breathe. My son has a couple of black cotton something or other masks. We bought these in bulk like we I’m not kidding I think we have 50 of these black masks. And so I just have them in my car and he would just go and buy you know pull out another one pull out a clean one. He both of them did not have any issues whatsoever. With the heat or with the masks it was more the fact that we are out of theme park shape because we’ve been sitting around doing nothing for three months. They we were more tired from like our legs and our feet than We were from the mass like the heat and the mass didn’t factor in for us it was definitely just the movement and just walking all over the place because we are not used to it. We have not been doing anything for months. So that’d be tip number two. Tip number one, bring lots of masks bring variety of mass, try a lot of different options even at home, go for a walk. You don’t necessarily need it when you go for a walk, but go for a walk wearing one so you see what it’s actually like when you’re out in the real world outside, walking around with the mask on and then you can determine what will work or what will work for you. But overall in general, that was the one thing that I noted that made me so happy. Thank you universal annual pass holders, you are all the best. I know probably half of you were mad about having to wear those masks, but every single frickin one of y’all did. I think I counted three people total that I saw without a mask. Like literally just being like I don’t want to wear the mask, you know, other than that everyone that we walked past had a mask of some sort on and seemed to keep them on except for when they were eating or drinking and thank you for that because I felt like that really factors in to to the safety and being allowed to keep these parks open for longer.
Tania Lamb 28:24
Yeah, I don’t think I noticed I all I saw was one kid throw their mask on the ground. I mean, she was little. They were and then I don’t and then during in the queues, most of the people kept their mask on unless they were eating or drinking. I maybe saw a handful of people put it like they had a mask but then they would just kind of drop it around their neck for a break or whatever. But you know if if usually if a cast members saw you then they would say something to you and remind you to wear your mask.
Patty Holliday 29:00
Yeah, they were definitely you had some cast members that were much more gung ho about it. And then you had some that were just kind of cool and like, Hey, dude, can you you know, pull that back up. But for the most part that was just unnecessary, which again, I felt was also the annual pass holders, being respectful to the cast to the team members. You guys know, they want to be at their jobs, they want to work and they want to be there. But they also have to ask you to do these things. And that just it just felt like a very respectful situation. And I did it. I really appreciated that you guys did that. So yeah, and you know, masks are not were not a deal breaker for us. Yes, it got hot. But there are areas that are specific called the you rest areas and they’re specific for you to go in, sit under some shade, take your mask off socially distance from other people. That that’s a that’s afforded to you, and I think there were two locations at each one. Park where you could do that. Plus, if you were on a water ride, you could take your mask off or if you’re at the swimming pool, you can take your mask off. Because obviously, wet masks and breathing not a good look. So I felt like the mask wearing was was positive social distancing. In the queues for the most part were great. There’s there’s tape down, there’s lines, people stood on their tape on their lines. In my case, there was only three of us now you’re a different situation, you’re telling me that your whole family took up a six foot
Tania Lamb 30:36
space. I love hearing your work like you know you have lines and and i would laugh at the people who were like, well, this is more than six feet. Yes. In some lines, they’re more than six feet because when you wrap around, they also wanted distance for when somebody was next to you. So yes, the markers were were more so that you know you still had at least three Feet are so between you and the person next to you. However, when you have a big family, then you take up a lot more space and so that it’s not going to work. Like it’s impossible to avoid being next to somebody
Patty Holliday 31:13
at some point. Yeah, for sure, for sure. I felt like they did a decent job with the attempt. But then it’s up to you as a theme park goer, to just be aware of your surroundings and be aware of your space and you do the best that you can. Like my daughter had to keep pulling me back a couple of times because I just forgot and I would just kind of wander around. Yeah, beggar. So yeah, you know you it is somewhat up to you. But I thought that from universals perspective, they did a nice job with trying to do that. When you are not in the queues when you are just like wandering around the park. That’s it. When I was there, that first day, it was just impossible to literally stay six feet from somebody. However, folks, we’re still kind Have some taking making an attempt I saw people kind of slow down a little bit, find their pocket sink back in, you know, I would pull them pull my kids over a little bit and be like, hey, come over here, like, just let those people be over there. So we tried, but in reality that was a lot harder to do. The lines were fairly easy to pull that off. But just walking through the parks was was a little bit harder when it got crowded. Now from the second day when there just wasn’t nearly as many people in the park. It was fantastic. It was easy. It was not a problem. And then your description of what happened. The two official opening days. Also sounds like it was easy. Not a problem. You could social distance because there just weren’t that many people in the parks.
Tania Lamb 32:51
Yeah, yeah, I mean, I think hogs meat is probably one of those areas where it’s it won’t be empty except for university. thing in the morning and then also like at night or not right before Park closing because we got some empty shots there but it’s just such a narrow area and popular that you know you’re gonna run into people dying on is different because I think it’s a lot wider and there’s just more room and there’s only one right and so it’s kind of it’s easy to avoid people, more people there plus there’s a Nocturne alley which is a nice spot if you just want to cool off too.
Patty Holliday 33:33
Oh yeah and that was that was empty there was nobody in there I went hanging out there for a while too and I was like, alright if you feel in a little two people out there this is your place go hang out with the dark. The dark side of things in Nocturne alley. So sanitizer was also a really big prominent thing in the parks. The biggest obvious thing was as soon as you tried to get on a ride, they were pumping sand enticer into your hands right before you entered the vehicle. And then when you got off of the vehicle, there was always another sanitizer stand somewhere nearby so if you felt the need to sanitize again when you got off, which I did that was available for you as well. And I thought it was great. I thought that was a really smart way of doing things. I have no idea how much sanitizer they’re going through though or how has to
Tania Lamb 34:25
be an insane amount an insane amount went through an insane amount of sanitizer on those four days. So I can only imagine.
I can only read it I don’t know.
Patty Holliday 34:37
Yeah, no, a ton of it, a ton of it. But the other thing is like when we got off of Kong, as soon as we exited Kong there were two team members standing there with spray bottles and wipes to wipe down where we just exited. So they’re also there sanitizing before you get on but then when you get off the ride, they’re sanitizing the ride again. If they keep that up, I just feel like that’s just a positive. Another positive thing I know the science is out there saying that this virus isn’t necessarily spreading easily from touch point to touch point. But hey, what’s wrong with being clean people? Let’s keep this up,
Unknown Speaker 35:19
though it is. Oh,
Tania Lamb 35:22
yeah, I did that for every ride. Not that I noticed. I know some of the Seuss rides. They were not doing so. Okay. Okay. But I saw spray bottles around. So I’m assuming that more than usual. So.
Patty Holliday 35:40
All right. Well, we and we also both became annual pass holders while we were down there, because, as you said, You kept extending days. So it only made sense for you to do that. And then my kids want to go back for Halloween Horror Nights, assuming that’s happening later on this year. So we went just went ahead Got them annual passes to so that they could go during that timeframe. And then they’ll have to get their Halloween Horror Nights tickets separate, obviously. But how do you feel about being in a Universal Orlando annual pass holder? And why do you love it more than being a Disney annual pass holder?
Tania Lamb 36:21
So far I am loving it. This is the first time I have been one. I mean, I definitely like their price point better than being a Disney annual pass holder.
Patty Holliday 36:33
Tania Lamb 36:34
Yeah. And that’s that’s the big difference. It’s a big even though I got a season pass, which still has some restrictions, I think I don’t think you can go like the month of July, or Christmas and spring break. But what I think it’s like what around $300? Yes. And so can compared to let’s see when I was looking at, you know, annual passes. So I can get a gold pass at Disney. But that’s only because I’m a Disney Vacation Club member. And that still is. And it has some blackout dates. Just you know, I think Spring Break Christmas. But that’s like seven. I can’t remember 730 or 750 for each person. And so that that’s not even counting if you’re just a regular, whatever want to go isn’t isn’t like an annual pass. I mean, approaching $1,000 now,
Patty Holliday 37:31
so it’s over $1,000 Yes. If I if I get, you know, passes for my entire family. Yeah, that’s it’s basically it’s either that or braces or a car. Or, I mean, let’s, let’s just put it into perspective. Yeah, it’s a lot of money. So Agreed. Agreed. The price point is definitely way more favorable for folks like us, especially with bigger families. And right now, through sex. tember 30th I think and universal is allowing you to add three months free to any Universal Orlando annual pass.
Unknown Speaker 38:09
Patty Holliday 38:10
that’s a nice little little bargain. So if you happen to be going down even if you’re a Disney person, which I mean you and I both are so that’s we’re not and we’re not saying we’re not but if I’m taking a trip down to Disney and want to take an extra day to pop over to Universal because the parks are amazing, the rides are so much fun. Let’s talk about Hagrid, can we talk about better beer? Hello. There’s a million reasons why universal is worth going to even just for a day out of your Disney trip. But if you’re gonna do that a couple of times, literally two or three times, you’re gonna make your money back from a seasonal pass. So it’s worth it. It’s
Unknown Speaker 38:51
so worth it.
Tania Lamb 38:52
Yeah, because I think it’s like a two day. Park hopper for universal is almost no one day was 180 to a one day Mark number. So two days got it you know, almost like 250 at least and so you know if you’re gonna be in the Orlando area again you might as well go again like I
Patty Holliday 39:16
just my hotel discounts are
Tania Lamb 39:18
made it worth it and and universal it seems like they appreciate their annual pass holders you know not that nope Disney doesn’t like they try to give you some stuff here and there but like it’s it’s a mess because there’s so many that whenever they do try to give you something I will say their discount is better Disney’s discount is better. I appreciated off of merchandise. And then you know also on some foods and restaurants. But also like universal they always seem to have some kind of pass holder appreciation like I think now you get a free souvenir cup When you like do mobile food orders, you do get a discount on thing on the season pass does not get discounts on right
Tips For a Reopened Universal Orlando
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
Patty Holliday is a Marvel loving, Disney obsessed wife, and mother of four. She’s a travel agent specializing in Disney & Universal vacations- and loves a candid confession. Find her in Virginia (or anywhere frequent flyer miles or her trusty minivan takes her.)