Universal's Theme Parks Are Staying Closed until June

April 9, 2020, 3:30 PM · Universal Orlando and Universal Studios Hollywood announced today that they are extending their temporary closures from mid-April through the entire month of May.

The two properties were scheduled to reopen on April 19, but government orders in California and Florida were going to make those reopenings impossible.

"We are extending the closure of Universal Orlando Resort and Universal Studios Hollywood through at least May 31," Universal said in a statement posted on its websites. "This includes our theme parks and Universal CityWalk at both destinations. The Universal Orlando Resort hotels have also temporarily suspended operations through this time period."

Last night, Universal Studios Japan extended its closure, as well, announcing that a decision will not be made about a reopening date until mid-May at the earliest.

The closures further delay the opening of The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash! at Universal Studios Hollywood, which was scheduled to soft open to annual passholders the day after that park began its closure on March 13. Meanwhile, Universal Orlando Resort was preparing to open its Bourne Stuntacular show at Universal Studios Florida, while Universal Studios Japan was moving toward a summer opening for its Super Nintendo World land. Neither of those attractions has an official opening date yet and are not likely to get them until the parks reopen.

As for Universal's team members, the company had announced that it would pay its employees through April 19. Effective April 20, team members will receive 80 percent of their pay, with hours adjusted accordingly. However, starting May 3, Universal will furlough its part-time, hourly team members. Benefits will continue to be provided to participating team members, with Universal paying their contributions on their behalf. This is according to a letter from Universal Parks Chairman Tom Williams posted on the Universal team website.

Replies (33)

April 9, 2020 at 4:47 PM

ICU critical care admissions are starting to go down. 4 days in a row for louisiana, 1 for calif, I'm sure 1-4 days in many other states that I have not happened to hear from in watching a 4 hours of news today. WE ARE SLOWING WINNING OVER THE COMMUNIST/socialist VIRUS (COVID).

What this news tells me is Government have likely told theme parks that just because a lot of people will be told they are allowed to go back to work (in stages, while looking at new cases to adjust) theme parks and concerts/festivals (and perhaps schools) are going to be the last things to be allowed to resume. Denmark is planning to re open their schools and allow many people to return to work the middle of next week. But. they are still banning concerts and festivals until at least june 1. I think the united states gov and states will follow that model

April 9, 2020 at 5:50 PM

I have no idea what davedisney is trying to say.

April 9, 2020 at 8:03 PM

I did write it in English, so that is either insulting to yourself or pretty strange. For the sake of civility, I won't speculate which. Others can let us know. If you disagree, just state the specific basis for disagreement (or what specifically you don't understand) without pretending to not understand basic language. I have a master degree, so I really doubt my basic meaning is not understandable.

I think you were the one, who was thinking theme parks would not open to july. I actually am coming close to your thinking on that in the above post. But. Some more people than now are going to be allowed to go back to work on may 1, followed by more on may 15 if the # of cases stays in a number that the health system can manage

April 9, 2020 at 8:58 PM

I disagree

April 9, 2020 at 9:07 PM

I disagree too ... I think ... I also don't know why D-Squared capitalized the G in "Government."

April 9, 2020 at 9:46 PM

No one knows anything at this point as to when it will be safe and appropriate for parks to reopen. I studied data modeling in college and know enough to know that a model is only as good as its data... and our data ain't that great right now, given the low levels of testing, especially of antibody testing that could tell us who's had the virus. Anyone calling a peak right now is full of it. And no one knows what the rates will be on the other side of a peak, either.

So there's really no point in speculating about a reopening, other than just BS'ing to pass the time.

April 9, 2020 at 9:52 PM

Looking at the models we've got now, I think it's safe to assume that if the forecasts for how the wave will play out remain intact, theme parks will likely start asking workers to return to work in the second half of May to prep for openings sometime in June (at least for the US...internationally may vary). At this point in time, I think it's safe to assume that few (if any) parks in the country will be able to reopen by Memorial Day, but it's probably foolish to believe most (if not all) will remain closed beyond 4th of July. I'm still moving forward with my plans for an East Coast trip in late July, and unless the parks of Pennsylvania and New Jersey announce they're skipping summer 2020 or there are travel bans preventing me from flying across the country I intend to make that trip happen.

That said, it's entirely possible our models are completely off and we're not even remotely close to the wave passing, but I'm doubtful the margin of error is that large. I do however think that if it looks like there will be a high threat level sustained into the summer, the economic side will probably win out. Most stable businesses can weather 2-3 months of significantly decreased revenue (though certainly not unscathed), but once you get into the 4-6 month timeline you're starting to ask corporations to sacrifice themselves and I doubt many would do so willingly.

April 9, 2020 at 10:07 PM

A lot will depend on what percentage of the population who returns to work in may abides by the conditions they are told to adhere to. And. How much of the population not at work continues to stay home. That will determine if the number of cases can remain manageable in May. Herein, lies the uncertainly. Predicting human actions. Aj's last paragraph is also very true.

Even the U.S. government has a limit to how much money they can borrow from banks and individuals. If we are not careful, we can borrow so much money that an economic disaster befalls all of us 5 or 10 yrs down the line if the US gov defaults on their debt obligations since it became so unhealthy and large. Poor countries economically also have higher long run death rates. So. Let's not become a poor country

April 9, 2020 at 11:18 PM

Robert's response is on the money. NOBODY knows! I hope parks reopen soon. Heck I had an Orlando trip from March postponed to August because of the pandemic. I got plans riding on this. But we can't fool ourselves, Corona doesn't give a bird about our plans. It does what it wants and it has never happened before. You can't base something with no precedent. Smart people, politicians can speculate all they want, but we just dont know.

For anyone that has hopes of a theme park trip planned this summer (myself included, not by choice but because of the postponement), please for your sake dont count on it. There will be a lot of false hope out there but in case you haven't heard the virus is kicking our butt. Nothing is progressing towards reopening. Everything is getting postponed reopening wise. Movies are being pushed out of the schedule. This virus wont be the end of civilization. But it will make our summer look similar to the past 3 weeks.

This is all relative. Thoughts and prayers to everyone who has lost more than a theme park trip because of the virus.

April 10, 2020 at 12:50 AM

Nobody knows when the parks reopen, These parks shouldn’t be giving dates, They need to follow Disney’s lead.

April 10, 2020 at 5:06 AM

I think Universal's announcement is more about letting the public know when they'll be closed rather than when they'll reopen. Hence why the announcement said "...through at least May 31." Anyone who had plans for late April or anytime in May now knows that's not happening and can start to change those plans accordingly.

Also, this is posted on Universal Orlando's site:
"If your travel plans change, we've got you covered. You’ll be able to cancel your hotel stay or vacation package up to 24 hours prior to arrival for a full refund. And your tickets are fully refundable too.
Purchase Dates: March 4–May 31, 2020
Travel Dates: March 4–Aug. 31, 2020"

This would suggest to me that they're preparing for the possibility that this closure could last through Summer.

April 10, 2020 at 7:27 AM

I’m suprised someone with a masters degree thinks that viruses can have opinions on economics.

There’s more to park opening than simply being over the peak. If the situation isn’t managed right, they’ll be a new peak. Additionally there’s the question of demand being there, and how to manage that being soft.

April 10, 2020 at 7:49 AM

Talking of Universal .... it's full steam ahead with building the new theme park. No let up that I can see.

Construction along Sand Lake is also moving along at a rapid pace.

From viewing the crane movements in IOA, it also seems they are still working on the new coaster.

April 10, 2020 at 8:35 AM

It is hard to put into words the wave of relief, guilt, and sadness felt with this announcement. So many UO TM's were expecting a furlough announcement like WDW. Everyone has their own situation, and it's context is often defined by the situation of their loved ones.

I'm gonna kinda confirm what Mako said. I know there are very forward thinking projects for Disney and Universal that will not (cannot?) be put on hold. To me, that is a level of optimism built into the core of the business. I'm glad to see that.

April 10, 2020 at 11:47 AM

It's not helped by the scores of folks going on about "inflated numbers" and also some seriously going "There's no proof it migrates to rural areas, just keep big cities locked down but the rest of the state is fine to reopen."

Yes, there's the push by some to reopen fast ("50 percent of business will never reopen if this goes another week") but ignoring the dangers of another flare-up and such.

And let's not get started on the "a few hundred thousand infected in a nation of 330 million isn't that big, not worth shutting down the economy" crowd...

They want to open faster but even if Florida is more lax on the rules, they know the risks.

April 10, 2020 at 1:13 PM

Covid-19 deaths are now 3rd behind cancer and heart failures, so yep, it's a big deal, and all those naysayers need to wake up to the fact.

I realise this may be a bit of a fantasy .... but I would like to believe that all the parks in the Orlando area are actively talking to each other, and coming up with a strategy and plan for when they re-open, and that plan will be exactly the same across them all. If one says everyone has to wear masks, then they will all follow suit. Wishful thinking maybe ??

April 10, 2020 at 1:42 PM

@makorider: Key problem is they cling to this idea that "if someone died of heart failure but they had traces of COVID, they'll say it was because of Covid alone to inflate the numbers." Which makes no sense I know but it fuels the "it's not that bad, you can't even say it's an epidemic at this point."

The worst are the ones railing "this is an attack on our liberties" and when I point out how every other nation on Earth is likewise locked down,they respond "I don't care about other nations."

Not sure on that plan as these guys are still competition and wanting to get a leg up on each other. Then again, an unprecedented time for cooperation yet more likely one tries to push different measures to get ahead of the others.

Again, when WDW reopens I see them in stages with top rides operational, lesser ones still closed which does cut down on crowds and such. It'll be tricky as yes, plenty of folks will be wary yet others will jump to be back in the parks, regardless of risks.

April 10, 2020 at 1:44 PM

@Chad H

Chad H
April 10, 2020 at 7:27 AM
I’m suprised someone with a masters degree thinks that viruses can have opinions on economics.”

That’s where you’re wrong friend, holds a “master” degree not a “Masters” degree. Big difference. A master degree allows you to assign political conspiracy theories to pretty much anything that you don’t like ;)

April 10, 2020 at 7:36 PM

I did not espouse any conspiracy theory. I simply pointed out the truth. That if we have this much unemployment of our own making much longer we are going to become a poor country for the next generation or 2. If you look at history that (in and of itself) increases death rates in countries for many, many, many years. Germany is also now publishing studies and likely to come to the conclusion that covid is not as deadly as the political consensus was lead to believe. They did almost complete anti body testing of a town and found a .37 of one percent death rate. Many people have almost no ill effects, from the virus. It is highly variable.
As long as you all have a magic money tree that will yield money to pay all of the unemployed workers for an indefinite amount of time, we can be ultra cautious. Where can the US government find that money tree you all?

April 11, 2020 at 8:10 AM

Speaking for myself and only myself, it seems as though referring to the Covid-19 virus right off the top of your post as a “COMMUNIST/socialist” one reeks of political dog-whistling and conspiracy mongering that this whole social distancing situation is one perpetuated and embraced by some as a political tool. I don’t think that any fair-minded person would disagree as to the damage being inflicted on the economy right now, from our beloved theme parks to restaurants, movie theaters, sporting events or even many businesses that aren’t entertainment related. As a bartender myself trust me when i say that I’m feeling the hit financially. But as a son of two parents with underlying health conditions I can be at peace with missing some work to help keep them safe. My point is I can find another job and make more money somehow, but I can’t make more parents. Even though there is no magical “money tree” that will yield money to all of the unemployed workers like myself, we can at least rest assured that most of us are doing our best to look out for one another. The economy will have a much more difficult time getting back on track if hundreds of thousands of people were to die from the virus. One of the biggest resources a nation can lean on in terms of National Security is a safe and healthy population. Saving lives for saving lives-sake be damned, if the economic fallout is what concerns you most, then at least think of it in terms of keeping workers alive and healthy if nothing else. How can a beehive thrive if 25% of the bees are sick? None of these unemployed people asked for this and I’d wager that a vast majority would rather they had the chance to earn a living wage again rather than wait for a $1200 drop in the bucket and have to figure out which bills to pay and which to defer on. People who have “almost no ill effects” by the way can still transmit the disease the same as a carrier who is deathly ill. If the US government is looking for a way out of this then it should double-down on widespread testing, cease spreading misinformation and deflecting blame. Perhaps be honest and forthright with the people who keep this country going. Those same people whose lives would be put to risk because you may tire of being “ultra cautious”. Be well and best of luck to you and yours. I truly hope for your sake that the sting of this virus never touches close to home, as I hope that for everyone.

April 11, 2020 at 1:04 AM

I'm baffled, really baffled .. at all the shortsighted (Don Quichote style windmill fighting...) wordings here, from davedisney. I'm very sorry about that...

By the way, the death-toll in USA from yesterday, was the heaviest, most spectacular in a one day time, since the beginning of the pandemic. (Check: data from the Johns Hopkins-university)
And check as well what's going on in "Heart Island", the Bronx. (A return of the middle ages)
That's more of a blunt FACT on the actual situation...

April 11, 2020 at 8:45 AM

>> I did not espouse any conspiracy theory. I simply pointed out the truth. That

That has nothing to do with what you were called out on. With tangents like that one, you must be of great interest to the mathematics department.

April 11, 2020 at 9:45 AM

There's going to be a lot of pain in the next several months, and despite what the experts say there are no easy answers.

First of all, like Robert said, we need more testing and more data for the models so we can improve them and use the tools that we have to find the best solutions for the situation. We need large scale random sampling of multiple populations to figure how many people have had or currently have the virus and to figure out how it spreads - how quickly it spreads - how lethal/damaging it to the various segments of the population, and so forth.

Once we have more testing/better data/better models, then we can figure out the right remediation/mitigation techniques for the different communities and populations. Heavily effected areas like New York and New Orleans would probably have different approaches to limiting the damages of this virus than say places like Wyoming or Montana where the virus apparently hasn't spread as much.

But there's a couple of ugly truths in the whole process that we need to accept.

First of all it is very likely that we won't have a vaccine for this virus for a long time if ever. The SARS epidemic was several years ago, and we still haven't developed a vaccine for that yet, and the COVID-19 virus is more akin to SARS than it is to the several strains of flu that we've developed vaccines for. So, despite what you may be seeing on the internet and on television, herd immunity may be the only solution to this virus.

The price that we pay to get that herd immunity is the second ugly truth. As a society in the United States and in the developed countries of the world, we have to decide how many deaths are acceptable in order to reclaim the portions of our economies that have been shut down for the last several weeks in order to curtail the spread of the coronavirus. In essence we are asking, "Is your grandmother passing away from the coronavirus worth it for me to be able to work, pay my bills, and feed my family?"

And here's a question to think about. Wasn't the shutdown of certain parts of the economy and the social distancing, just another way to salve our collective conscience when we have to make the cold decision to allow a certain number of people to die in order for our society to keep functioning?

Please don't judge me for asking that question. I'm only asking it because I'm starting to see the groundswell building up on social media and in the news.

"The models were wrong, we need to re-open the restaurants!" "We can't continue to function like this with 20% of our economy shut down!" "Can't we just re-open the beaches and parks?" "Can't we get an immunity card (horrible idea) and let the people who have had the virus move freely through society?"

This is going to be ugly, folks.

April 11, 2020 at 3:41 PM

First, I have been watching tons and tons of news. Both from conservative and liberal channels. I have listened carefully to Dr Fauci and Dr Birks everyday as well as the president. As well as Gov Cuomo and Gov De Wine almost every day since march 15. So. I am hearing and factoring in all perspectives.

As to my comment of communist/socialist that is because we are in this whole mess because of communist china. Not because of asian people. I love asian people. Not even because of the average chinese citizen of china. It is because of the political elite of china. Both the political elite in the capital city and the political elite in the communist party of Wuhan. If the communist socialist republic of China (China explicitly calls themselves a democratic socialist republic) did not hide information about the virus from the world for a long time, 90 percent of more of deaths would have been avoided public health officials say.

I have studied history. Communist/socialist societies do this on a repeated basis. From Lenin to Stalin to Mao to the Chernobyl debacle (HBO has a good miniseries highlighting how most of the deaths could have been avoided) to now with the Chinese communist socialist party. They all cause huge disasters and famines because of this political ideology. Europe is NOT socialist in this way. People like Bernie Sanders and AOC advocate for views that are way way to the socialist left of European Governments. And. Joe Biden has been saying he agrees with a lot of these things for the last 6 months!

Obviously, we need testing, testing and more testing. Both the generally covid test and the antibody test to see who has had it in the past. I'm thinking there are tons of unemployed intelligent people in this country (who are out of work) who should be re purposed to factories or labs to ramp up the production of these tests big time. I would apply if there was such a factory anywhere near me for any amount of pay they were offering. Just to do something proactive to help get though this. Other than the social distancing and not touching shopping carts with my bare hand.

For instance. I am an attorney. If the civil courts were to run at 50 percent of capacity and if the Judges agreed to work to seven pm we could work and still be 6 feet from each other for everyone except the individual attorney and the individual client. Run only 2 cases per hour per courtroom. So. I would come within 6 feet of 1 or 2 clients per day. That is it. We the masks. Use a spare jacket on your arm to open doors (I have done this for literally years to help prevent the regular flu). There is a way to do this smartly people and get a significantly higher amount of the population working.

I do understand and appreciate the viewpoint where fattyakin is coming from. And of course, I wish everyone and everyone's family to be safe. But. The hard facts is (as Gov Newsome of california said a very liberal democrat), 80 percent of the population is going to contract Covid. Most will not have any significant symptoms, some will die. Hiding in our homes will not change that percentage. The only thing that will change is the amount of time it takes to get to that herd immunity.

Being that stay at home orders for 12 months until a vaccine may be available would put the entire world back to an economic state akin to the year 1800 it is not at all feasible to just wait for a vaccine. Look back at what the death rates were from the poverty of 1800. A lot higher than they are today.

Hopefully the anti body test can be ramped up to huge numbers quickly. And the malaria generic drug that the president has touted (and that has previously shown promising results in both China and France in limited use), does cause the fatality rates to drop significantly. President Trump has essentially put in motion in America a large scale drug trial of volunteer participants in motion. No other country in the world has had the leadership to do that on a large scale. If is is effective that decision of Pres Trump (which he took a lot of political heat for), will help every single person the planet an incredible amount. Let's all pray for that.

In the meantime, we need to mobilize a war time effort to get several million people working in factories to mass produce the covid test and the antibody test. Just like millions of american's worked in factories to make weapons (mostly women) in World war 2!

April 11, 2020 at 3:55 PM

Herwig and everyone. A couple of few things to keep in perspective. The united states has much more population by 5 to 7 times the population of any European or most other countries around the world. One needs to adjust death number for population. Secondly, I heard Dr Birks (the head doctor of the american CDC) admit they are counting deaths as covid if the person tested for covid irregardless of how they actually die.

So. I could test positive for covid today. I could feel ok and be told by the medical center to self isolate at home. If I die in a car crash on the way home (as an extreme example) I am counted as a covid 19 death.

I don't know how many countries in the world are counting it that way. It makes a huge, huge difference in the numbers so this makes comparing numbers across countries very difficult.

As to heart Island in New york. I was too shocked when I saw that report on the CBS american news. One day later Youtube suggested a video to me. It was a news report about mass burials at heart island in New York. FROM SIX YEARS AGO!. Mass burials at heart island has existed for a very long time. The news networks seem to be intentionally failing to tell people of that. Mass burials of people who are not claimed by love ones have always happened all around the world. In this case NY is only giving people 2 weeks to personally come the morgue before doing the heart island burial. If your loved ones are out of state, it is not feasible for them to get there that quickly.

April 11, 2020 at 7:05 PM

>> As to my comment of communist/socialist that is because we are in this whole mess because of communist china.

No, you specifically called the virus communist. Viruses have no opinion on economics.

>> I have studied history. Communist/socialist societies do this on a repeated basis

Because non communist/Socialist societies don’t? I can assure you they do. That’s just a human response, not a community/Socialist one. The HBO series, you realise it’s a drama, complete with people who didn’t exist and events that didn’t happen, not history, right?

>>I'm thinking there are tons of unemployed intelligent people in this country (who are out of work) who should be re purposed to factories or labs to ramp up the production of these tests big time.

It’s interesting you can go from bashing Communism/Socislism in one breath, to advocating for “Great leap forward” in the next...

>> President Trump has essentially put in motion in America a large scale drug trial of volunteer participants in motion. No other country in the world has had the leadership to do that on a large scale.

Factually not true. They all are. There’s almost 1000 volunteers in one UK study.

>> I don't know how many countries in the world are counting it that way.

They all are.

April 11, 2020 at 7:34 PM

I was saying people who voluntarily choose to work on producing covid drug tests. The united states has way more than 1000 people who have voluntarily chosen to take the malaria drug that the left wing media has called snake oil many times. The results should be in shortly. From what we have heard so far it seems useful to some extent. It's only a matter of how useful it is for how many patients.

But. If you have been paying attention, I think you already knew these things Chad. You are just knit picking for the sake of being
"controversial" as many left wing media outfits like to use that word.

April 11, 2020 at 10:27 PM

>> You are just knit picking for the sake of being "controversial" as many left wing media outfits like to use that word.

No, I’m pointing out where you are wrong, because you’re wrong, and at a time where there is a lot of bad information going out, I consider it a civic duty to point it out.

If you don’t want to be corrected, don’t say things that are wrong. Simples

As for the malaria drug, it’s being given to patients in Australia despite the fact clinical trials are incomplete, and what studies we do have are small, and as you put it, controversial.

April 12, 2020 at 9:51 AM

And the malaria drug can be fatal to people with the disease. People want to point fingers and make this political, but that virus does not care. I refuse to listen to anybody without knowledge of infectious control protocol. If you go to a lawyer and that lawyer gives you legal advise, you probably should take it. If the experts in this type of field says things should be closed, wash hands, etc., etc. you should follow their advise. Not the advise of a radio personality, newspaper writer, or person in a clown suit. This is obvious a moving target, and I don’t care one whit about the politics. Neither does the virus.

April 12, 2020 at 1:33 PM

JC--If we don't care some socialist country in the world will hide information about a infectious disease and it will spread again over borders into other countries years from now. Just as other people's behavoir can affect our health. The dishonesty of other countries can as well. I don't glee in the fact there is a history of this with truly socialist governments and disaster. The history is undeniable, however. No one disputed what I said about Stalin, Mao, Chernobyl. The lie of the long running reigning goverment of china. Hell. Adolf Hitler also called his government "the National socialist party

April 13, 2020 at 2:25 AM

Honestly, The parks will likely never open again, People will be terrified to go outside once this is over in fear of getting the virus.

April 13, 2020 at 10:41 AM

^^^^There's always somebody stirring the pot. ;>)

April 14, 2020 at 2:19 PM

I think I read Leadership and Trump in the same sentence. You forgot "lack of" in there. He wasted weeks saying everything was fine and now says hey if we only lose 200,000 lives I am awesome. Narcissist.

As for the parks, say they reopen in July or August which is plausible. what happens when the second wave hits because everything went back to normal? We go right back to this place. mass gatherings won't be happening for long if ever in the next 6 months. Unless we get a treatment in place that can tide us over until the vaccine is available and enough people have recovered from it to help with herd immunity.

Let's be honest, every government of every strip around the world missed the mark on this. Flights from China to anywhere should have been banned and everyone ordered home and into quarantine. China lied from the outset as usual, and caused this thing to blow up. Our governments did nothing even though they had information in January about it. This is not a left or right issue. This is about a lack of leadership and a lack of guts to make the hard decision to lock things down right away.

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