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.
Petition to have doughnuts for everyone! ?????? https://t.co/7QowjR8BTf— Universal Orlando Resort (@UniversalORL) May 14, 2020
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.Tweet
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