CityWalk Reopens as Universal Orlando Prepares Return

May 14, 2020, 7:47 PM · Orlando's theme parks took their first step toward an eventual return this afternoon as Universal Orlando's CityWalk welcomed its first guests in nearly two months.

Only a handful of locations at the resort's outdoor mall are open, but getting to them allowed the public its first look at the new procedures that Universal might keep in place when its theme parks eventually reopen. Parking is staggered in Universal's garages, and visitors must queue six feet apart to get their temperature checked before going through security.

Universal has placed markings on the ground to keep people apart while the wait for the screening, in addition to the many safety instruction signs Universal has placed throughout the area. Those warn people to remain six feet from other parties at all times, to keep their masks on, and to wash their hands frequently.

Visitors seemed to be abiding by all those restrictions, though the six-foot distancing wasn't always consistent at first, especially if people started to queue at locations that didn't have spacing marks on the pavement. To help keep crowds from gathering, Universal has implemented mobile ordering at participating CityWalk locations, including Voodoo Doughnut.

That seemed to be the most popular location among those open at Universal, as pretty much every newspaper, TV station, and theme park blogger in town converged at CityWalk when it opened at 4pm, then picked up doughnuts once they had their stories.

Fans reported up to a two-hour wait for tables at Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville, which had sharply reduced its capacity by opening only its outdoor seating area and increasing the space between those tables. The crowd throughout CityWalk seemed to thin significantly after the initial rush, however.

Red Oven Pizza Bakery, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Restaurant & Market, and Auntie Anne’s also were serving today, while all other restaurants remained closed. Universal Orlando's CityWalk will be open from 4-10pm daily, though hours and operations are subject to change. Universal Studios Florida and Universal's Islands of Adventure remain closed through at least May 31.

Update: Here's a video from a couple of off-duty team members who visited the reopening.

Replies (7)

May 14, 2020 at 8:59 PM

Guess I'm the only one who doesn't care for Voodoo Doughnuts

May 15, 2020 at 10:37 AM

I live in the Portland area and they aren't even a thing here, where they originated.

May 15, 2020 at 10:47 AM

Why would anybody queue for 2 hours for Jimmy Buffett's? They need help!

May 15, 2020 at 12:01 PM

@ProfPlum - ...because it's 5 o'clock somewhere.

May 15, 2020 at 2:28 PM

Margaritaville isn't bad. I've eaten there a couple of times. And I like Voodoo Doughnuts. I lived in Portland a few years ago, and it was mostly tourists who would pick up orders.

The issue is that while you're waiting 2 hours to get in to JB's, there's nothing else to do. I wouldn't make a trip to City Walk for the sole intent of having a tilapia sandwich and a snickers doughnut, but as part of a larger trip to the parks, yeah sure, I'd consider eating at either of those places.

I'm not in a hurry to go to the theme parks. I'm happy to wait until there's a vaccine, and masks are no longer required. I want a good experience. Wearing a mask, and waiting 2 hours for some shrimp is not a good experience.

May 17, 2020 at 1:27 PM

As a resident of MI and an annual passholder for the last 10 years, I will be there sometime in the 1st days that they open. I was there around the holidays 3 years ago when they enacted enhanced security, which was a hassle at first, until they figured it out, and I anticipate the same experience in the COVID era.

The practices you see Universal following, along with wearing a mask, hand sanitizing and safe distancing, make me feel comfortable in attending the park.

May 18, 2020 at 11:08 AM

Thank You so much for using our video, we will be doing a video on Disney Springs as well!

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