Universal Orlando Lays off Employees

June 23, 2020, 7:05 PM · Theme parks are coming back. But tourists aren't - for the most part. That means more bad news for the people who work at, and with, theme parks.

The Universal Orlando Resort has announced that it is laying off an unspecified number of its team members, as the tourism industry remains mired in a global slowdown due to the pandemic.

Universal's theme parks reopened to the public on June 5, but the need for safe physical distancing has forced Universal (and other parks) to impose strict capacity limits for its parks since then. Even so, attendance has remained below even those levels, as international borders remain closed and few visitors are coming to Florida from out of state.

Even for locals, June isn't exactly prime time for theme park visits, as most locals concede the parks to tourists during the hot and humid summer months.

Universal Orlando kept many of its full-time team members on payroll during its closure, which helped the resort react quickly when state officials signaled that theme parks might be able to reopen. But with analysts forecasting that tourism won't return to 2019 levels in Central Florida for several years, Universal apparently made the decision that it could no longer afford to stay staffed for a level of demand that doesn't appear to be coming back anytime soon.

Update: Here is the full text of Universal's statement:

"We are working to structure and strengthen our business for the future in anticipation of the tourism industry taking time to fully recover. In that regard, we have already taken important steps such as adjusting budgets and implementing salary reductions and furloughs. Most recently, we have made the difficult decision to reduce our Parks & Resorts workforce across multiple locations and business units. This decision was not made lightly, but was necessary to prepare us for the future. We are aware of the impact this will have on those affected by this reduction and their families, and we are working to support them through this process. This includes severance pay, subsidized health benefits and professional reemployment assistance.

"We continue to have long-term confidence in our business and our industry and remain excited about all of the projects we have been working toward."

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If you are planning a trip to Universal Orlando this year, you can find ticket discounts on our travel partner's Universal Orlando tickets page.

Replies (33)

June 23, 2020 at 7:35 PM

Here's a date to circle on the calendar ... Steve Burke (former Disney PARKS exec and current Universal senior executive vice president of Comcast and chairman of NBC/Universal) is darting in August.

I'll take "Companies Geico Insurance will buy in 2021", Alex.

June 24, 2020 at 3:01 AM

Unprecedented unemployment in both US and UK will happen, across most sectors, but especially leisure and tourism. I am hopeful that this will be relatively short-term for some but both economies will be impacted for several years. These are very concerning times for both countries as "life as we knew it" will not return in the near future.

Fingers-crossed the impacts will be limited as much as possible.

THC, in the 90's in the UK, we had Mystic Meg. You could well be her American counter-part. I await with bated breath.

June 24, 2020 at 5:04 AM

I don’t see Comcast selling them. I think the profitability long term has been established, and they’ve proven to be a good growth sector in a business that is generally struggling to stem the declines.

June 24, 2020 at 6:17 AM

Coastal beach towns in Florida are packed with out of state plates right now, with what seems like every other car on the road from out of state. It happened suddenly, within the last week or two. Probably coinciding with the end of school in most places.

This is highly unusual for the summer months. People are def getting out to shake their cabin fever. But instead of the usual Orlando summer destination, they are doing AirBNB rentals near the beach or hitting up friends and family with places in Florida. Hard to say if the recent national news about the increase in cases in Florida will have an effect.

June 24, 2020 at 8:48 AM

It's all about a vaccine or a cure to the wonderful Virus that our leaders are somehow not mentioning like it suddenly just went away....

Here is an idea, During these hot summer days in Orlando, should Universal try opening later and staying open later at night.

This will make it easier to wear a mask when the sun and hot temps will not be as such of an issue.

Universal is not being sold. I know TH Creative who is a Disney fan wants Disney to buy them so badly, he fears a little competition.


June 24, 2020 at 8:54 AM

I wouldn't be surprised if every theme park company follows the same path. In fact, Busch Gardens Williamsburg has indicated that it's not worth it for the park to open under Virginia's Phase 3 reopening guidelines despite theme parks being allowed to operate when the stage is reached (expected to be July 1). I think there will be some serious contraction within the entire industry, and it will take some incredibly strong and bold business leaders to guide theme park companies to the other side of this financial abyss. Staying shuttered might actually be the right move instead of trying to limp along at a loss. Even WDW is likely to be operating with daily losses under their new attendance restrictions and increased labor needs to clean and sanitize the parks, which could be better mitigated by simply waiting until parks can open fully.

The next 5 years could be very interesting for the theme park industry. However, I agree with Brian that it's unlikely that Comcast will sell its theme park division. While their entertainment division is likely to experience heavy losses due to the halts in movie and TV production, the launch of Peacock and strong revenues from their cable division should allow them to resist the need to generate cash from a sale of their parks. The parks are a valuable asset that will represent a very profitable entity once they can get back to 100%.

June 24, 2020 at 9:02 AM

Yes, Busch Gardens Williamsburg is not opening under Phase 3, but one important item Mr. Meyer left out of his post is that under Phase 3 guidelines, Busch Gardens Williamsburg would be required to cap attendance at 1000 people. It is simply noneconomical to open a theme park with a limit of 1000 people.

Some state senators and representatives in the Governor's own party are already challenging him on this limit, as bars and restaurants will be allowed to open at full capacity, and pose significantly greater risk of transmission.

Stay tuned, as things could get very interesting in the Commonwealth.

June 24, 2020 at 9:02 AM

RM: "The parks are a valuable asset that will represent a very profitable entity once they can get back to 100%."

I respond: With the new study that says anti-body immunity and vaccines may only last a few months "getting back to 100%" is a VERY tall order. Other successful parent companies bailed on the Universal park model in the past. It is not a far fetched assertion -- especially if Epic Universe is toast.

June 24, 2020 at 9:36 AM

That's a good point I64Trekker regarding the 1,000 person limit. However, I think that number was established to avoid having to create specific capacity limits for every single industry. If a theme park is allowed to take in 10,000 people, concert venues, churches, sports arenas, and racetracks (of which Virginia has two major ones on the recently resumed NASCAR circuit - Richmond and Martinsville) would argue that they could allow 10,000 people into their venues. Bars and restaurants do pose a greater risk of spread given that people will be occupying interior spaces without face coverings, but there simply aren't any restaurants in the state where more than 1,000 people are in the same room together, unlike arenas and mega churches. While I tend to lean politically contrary to the party of Governor Northam, I feel that the former medical doctor is specifically equipped to guide the Commonwealth through this crisis and has handled the virus admirably despite heavy criticism.

@TH - I think it really depends on the financial health of Universal's theme park division, and the fact that Comcast was in the midst of spending billions of dollars to expand it would indicate that prospects were excellent. I think every company is revising their financial projections right now, and are just spitballing what the future might hold for their industry, particularly one reliant upon travel and tourism. However, selling the parks is a 2-way street, and even if Comcast doesn't see sufficient profitability from their theme park division to justify further investment, they would still need to find another company to buy it, along with the debt of a paused multi-billion dollar project (Epic Universe). Personally, I think the Universal parks are poised to succeed in a post COVID-19 world even better than the Disney parks because of shorter stays needed for visits and generally lower attendance compared to WDW/DL to generate profits. Whether another company sees that potential and wants to buy it from Comcast is anyone's guess, but I don't think Comcast is looking to part with the division unless of course they receive an offer they can't refuse.

June 24, 2020 at 10:00 AM

Universal may be jumping the gun a bit. I would think that once WDW reopens that Universal’s attendance would rise, too. However, Universal likely already has a good idea what their July attendance is going to be through the reservation process.

June 24, 2020 at 10:20 AM

Sadly, this is to be expected. After the initial first few days of opening surge, enthusiasm is waning, especially as Florida is getting hit harder and harder by the virus.

Seeing pass member photos on Facebook at SeaWorld, the park looks deserted. But that still doesn't make me any more keen to go. And, as the parks are beginning to find out, I'm not alone in that way of thinking.

Disney is supposedly sending us an e-mail next month, offering all pass holders the opportunity to cancel their passes. Never thought I'd see that, but with the end of the FP+, and with pretty much everything else we pass holders enjoy at the parks being taken away from us, what do they expect.

I can't see me going again this year, so it's potentially a good option. After I've read the fine print, LOL :) I'll always have my SeaWorld pass anyway.

June 24, 2020 at 10:22 AM

I don't think Comcast is looking to part with the division either ... Yet.

But if they scrap Epic Universe or its opening is delayed until 2025 ... Yeah, I could see them putting it on the market. It's been done before ... Multiple times.

June 24, 2020 at 10:29 AM

What a nightmare. All of the gains achieved by our three-month quarantine have been wiped out, and America is exactly back where it was in March. Germany's unemployment never went much above 5%, and like most of the developed world, they are are largely back to work.

But not US! Deaths are beginning to tick up again now, too, and in coming weeks it would appear we will have do another complete shutdown, or else watch our friends and family die at an even faster rate.

This is no captain to this ship, and what could have been some hopeful summer months of gradual reopening have now become more hopeless months of prison. A third of our citizens are gleefully infecting themselves and everyone around them; the rest of us are left to watch in horror. Trump's rallies are like Jim Jones passing out the Kool-Aid at Jonestown.

And theme parks? There's no way Disney is going through their their planned openings. If either US Disney park is opened by years end, I'll eat my hat. Amusement parks are, like the rest of us, absolutely hosed. MAGA!

June 24, 2020 at 10:29 AM

Brian Emery: "I know TH Creative who is a Disney fan wants Disney to buy them so badly, he fears a little competition."

I Respond: No. I want Comcast to hold on to the parks because that is the kind of stability the Central Florida economy needs. However, the UO resort's history demonstrates (multiple times) that their parent company has elected to dump the parks.

June 24, 2020 at 10:32 AM

@Chad H: It's one of those wacky rumors that goes around.

A while back, someone was pushing as "fact" that "Amazon is on the verge of buying Disney" which should be completely laughable yet folks somehow thought it could be true.

June 24, 2020 at 10:33 AM

@TH Creative. As a UOTM, I kindly ask please you and also everyone else on here to please exercise better judgment in your posts. Please remember there are both TMs and CMs who read this stuff. And that behind these companies, projects or whatever there are human beings trying to the best with the cards that have been dealt. Talk and speculation regarding whether Universal will get sold, HHN getting cancelled, further lay-offs, etc. at this point in time is insensitive. I kindly ask also to everyone on here to remember the people that create the magic and to offer up your support even if its just a few kind words. Thanks!

June 24, 2020 at 10:38 AM

@thecolonel: Sadly, I don't see some states doing another shutdown. Because there's still people who insist the "numbers are inflated, it's just a flu", etc. I saw one spot seriously pushing "the spike simply proves the curve is flattened, nothing to worry about."

It's summed up by places doing "the real human cost" and it's not the 125,000 deaths but unemployment/businesses failing/unable to "enjoy the freedom of no masks." Just see a few posters at this very site for how folks are too eager to get back to "normal" to accept the seriousness of it.

Meanwhile, New Zealand was strict about a shutdown but it's worked with no new cases in weeks and to the point they can have thousands without masks at a rugby game. It shows how things could have worked instead of some national leaders not even wearing a mask in public themselves to send the wrong message.

June 24, 2020 at 11:01 AM

@thecolonel ... Not sure about Disney not being open by the end of the year .... how about not being open on July 11th !!

The proverbial is beginning to hit the fan big time now. Over 5,500 new cases yesterday, and I see NY, NJ and CT are saying people coming in from 'high covid-19 states' need to quarantine for 14 days.

For now, the death rate is still low, but these high case numbers won't effect that number for a few more weeks. We can only sit back and watch with horror as to what's going on right now.

June 24, 2020 at 11:25 AM

Current perception is that the beach is safe, theme parks not so much. So any tourism has shifted to the coasts.

June 24, 2020 at 11:40 AM

@Hercules19 (who just became a TPI member today): I'm not sure how anything posted on this thread by anyone would increase the already elevated anxiety felt by any hospitality industry worker.

June 24, 2020 at 1:02 PM

Texas and Florida are having a record number of cases almost daily. So is my home state Oklahoma. Why? Because the majority of the residents in these states refuse to take simple precautions like wearing a mask in public places and social distancing. Florida is basically just shooting itself in the foot. Why would states that have flatten their cases want their residents to travel there? Florida is going to find itself in a position where other states and countries will forbade or hinder travel to it.

This reboot will be bigger than 9/11. 9/11 only affected people's anxiety about traveling. Now everyone has to consider their actual health, the worth of their health, and how their health will affect their families.

If you think Universal is the only park that is going to have issues, Disney will too. They own a cable channel dedicated to sports that hasn't shown American sports since March.

June 24, 2020 at 1:12 PM

"Florida is going to find itself in a position where other states and countries will forbade or hinder travel to it."

New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut just did this today, requiring 14-day quarantines for any travelers arriving from states with high case numbers.

June 24, 2020 at 1:14 PM

@RussellMeyer: It just shows how stunningly different states are handling this and makes me happy I live in one with a governor who took this seriously back in March and held fast despite protests so numbers are handling better. Yet it's too easy for some folks to buy this is no concern when our President refuses to wear a mask to a mask factory and literally called it "the sniffles" this past weekend (while also admitting to slowing down testing as if that would somehow make it go away).

And now they still want NBA/MLB being played in a few weeks. Never underestimate human stupidity.

June 24, 2020 at 2:42 PM

I actually went with my wife yesterday to both Universal Orlando parks. I’d been waiting to go until I was able to acquire some solid intel and hearsay from this here treasured (mostly) group of theme park enthusiasts. A few thoughts:
- Both parks were very slow, with Universal Studios probably taking the mantle of being slower than IoA. We never waited for more than 20 minutes to ride anything, and practically walked on to most attractions.
- If anyone here is thinking about going and is looking to ride Hagrid’s Coaster, do not be discouraged if the Virtual Queue is not accepting any more spots. A staff member advised us to keep trying and the top of every hour and again just before the half hour mark, as the loading times are constantly being refreshed and updated to best accommodate the flow of the park. We both kept trying this and sure enough we were both able to squeeze into the “2:00-2:30” time block, each gaining a spot for 2 and essentially allowing us to ride back-to-back!
- We had zero problems with the Social Distancing aspects of our experience. Universal has done an outstanding job of strategically placing markers on the ground, on handrails, or on walls to show people in each queue where to stop until the next group ahead of them moves up. It made waiting in more popular lines feel like a game of Red Light/Green Light on the playground. I found that most guests at the park were very respectful and polite in their participation. Some were a little clueless, or maybe just having a hard time subverting their “fill in all available space in front of you” learned behaviors, but even then they would realize what they were doing and usually pause or go back to the closest marker in line.
- The staff was great. They were very patient and seemed to very well-trained. We were dispensed sanitizer before loading on to each ride and when applicable, given clear instructions on where to stand or how to load a vehicle if it was different than normal ops. I tip my cap to them all for helping to run a clean and efficient alternate-universe theme park experience.
- I work as a bartender and Shipt driver in Atlantic Beach, FL (Jacksonville) and I felt way safer and at a much lower risk of transmission than either at my restaurant where I work or the stores where I shop for others.
- Wearing the mask was hot, but only because of the overall humidity. Point being, it’s gonna be hot there mask or no. Actually in a weird way the mask made being stuck on hot humid pavement more breathable at times.
- Overall, it was a very positive experience and while the current situation makes it untenable for many to travel there, if you are in the region and wish for a chance to walk on to some of the worlds best theme park attractions, give UO a shot. Providing of course that you don’t have any problem being as respectful to others as they are of you. Thanks to UO and it’s amazing staff for helping relieve some massive pent-up stress.

Edit: I also forgot to mention that they were checking temperatures digitally at the main Hub of the parking/ entrance complex, BEFORE going through security. This was also handled seamlessly. All of this not taking into account a possible influx of larger crowds who may flock to the area when Disney reopens further down I-4 of course. But operationally, it was very well staffed and organized for each phase of entry.

June 24, 2020 at 2:21 PM

Thanks for the Write up Fatty, It is nice to hear from someone who went and get some first hand info...

Glad you enjoyed Universal....

I will assume Driving distance will make all the difference in deciding whether someone goes to a park. But if Florida the damn virus is huge again.

June 24, 2020 at 3:17 PM

Good work giving us insight, Fatty. I hear the bad stories of folks visiting Sea World who barely seem to care about their own rules so good to hear Universal taking this seriously.

And as Brian Emery points out, California clearly has handled this so much better than Florida so the risks are huge.

I've got family from Colorado coming for annual visit to Michigan and am very wary with just a three hour drive over state lines to see them now.

June 24, 2020 at 6:00 PM

@TwoBits: "However, Universal likely already has a good idea what their July attendance is going to be through the reservation process."

There is no reservation process at Universal. Anyone with a valid ticket can go whenever they want to, unlike what Disney and others are doing where you need both a valid ticket AND a specific reservation for a certain park on a certain day. Park hopping is also still allowed at Universal, while it's temporarily gone at Disney.

The tickets are also not specific to a certain date, I believe, also unlike Disney (could be wrong about that).

June 24, 2020 at 6:54 PM

RE: TH Creative
I doubt that Comcast will sell off the theme park division for a variety of reasons:

That was the original plan when Comcast bought NBCUniversal from GE. They were going to spin it off like AmBev did with SeaWorld when it purchased AB. However once Comcast realized how much the theme park division was contributing the annual bottom line (24%) due a huge part to HP, they changed their mind and started plowing money into the theme park division.

They didn't triple their hotel room inventory and bought back land they once owned just to give up on it now. Unlike previous owners who did not have will (GE, Panasonic) or the means (Seagram's, Vivendi) to expand the theme parks, Comcast does. They know that large parcels of land in the area are hard to come by so they may not want to squander the second chance with what will eventually be Epic Universe... one day.

Don't forget Comcast tried to acquire Disney in a failed hostile takeover attempt in 2006 when the house of mouse was at a low point and ever since then, Roberts has been trying to stick it to Iger at every possible opportunity. The theme parks provide a good PR platform to do that.

Comcast already has access to funds to weather this COVID crisis from their aborted 65 billion bid for FOX studios. Since they only used 35 billion to acquire SKY Broadcasting in order to double their international reach, they should still have tens of billions at their disposal.

Universal's way of doing things is just different from other operators in the entertainment and leisure sector. Up till now, they haven't had as many staff furloughed or laid off like others in the sector.

As well, unlike Disney, they did not leave the dismissed high and dry but help them navigate through the underfunded Florida unemployment system so I heard.

Also, Universal seems to play a longer term game than say Disney does with recent acquisitions. For example, Disney has been milking Lucasfilm for all its worth since the 4 billion purchase of it, alienating core SW fans in the process. But you haven't seen the same approach with Universal's 3.8 billion purchase of Dreamworks Animation (glitter farting troll notwithstanding =P)

Plus, as far as I know Universal Studios Beijing is still on track to open next year which should give Comcast another revenue stream from which to draw upon

June 24, 2020 at 7:52 PM

Yeowser writes: “I doubt that Comcast will sell off the theme park division for a variety of reasons.”

I Resond: Okay.

Yeowser writes: “That was the original plan when Comcast bought NBCUniversal from GE. They were going to spin it off like AmBev did with SeaWorld when it purchased AB. However once Comcast realized how much the theme park division was contributing the annual bottom line (24%) due a huge part to HP, they changed their mind and started plowing money into the theme park division.”

I Respond: And today, as the result of an international crisis that is getting worse (at least in the United States) there is no sign that annual contribution will be maintained. The fact that they are laying off workers is a sign that the revenue stream is not what it used to be. With no sign of the pandemic and the dramatic drop in international visitors changing, there is no way anyone can claim with confidence that the cash cow will begin to produce milk in the same volume as it has in the past.

Yeowser writes: “They didn't triple their hotel room inventory and bought back land they once owned just to give up on it now.”

I Respond: All of those were business decisions made before the new normal (pandemic). They made those decisions only after that got an operating partner (Loews).

Yeowser writes: Unlike previous owners who did not have will (GE, Panasonic) or the means (Seagram's, Vivendi) to expand the theme parks, Comcast does.

I Respond: If they didn’t have "the means", that’s because the “pre-Potter” parks were not making the same cash as they did during better times (pre-pandemic). They layoffs are based on early pandemic performance and their own projections. If Comcast is as smart as I believe they are, the job cuts are because they themselves don’t believe the parks will replicate the same cash performance that was churning during better days.

As for GE, Seagram’s and Vivendi, I would guess (I don't know) part of the reasons they cut and run was because park operations (a labor intensive endeavor) were not part of their models’ core business experience. Nonetheless, they were (like Comcast) run by smart people who could not see the parks as big revenue generators. They ran the model and made their decisions. It is NOT unreasonable to assert that the smart people at Comcast (in an era of pandemic) may be forced to the same conclusion. The history (model) has been demonstrated in the past: Parent company, evaluates the parks, projects future performance, determines financing billions in expansions (Epic Universe) will not generate returns quickly, delays that expansion (which has in fact already happened) and makes a decision (let’s say in 2022) to split the scene.

Yeowser writes: “They know that large parcels of land in the area are hard to come by so they may not want to squander the second chance with what will eventually be Epic Universe... one day.”

I Respond: Yeah, let’s see how much longer large parcels of land in Central Florida will be “hard to come by.” Second, what the hell does “one day” mean?

Yeowser writes: “Don't forget Comcast tried to acquire Disney in a failed hostile takeover attempt in 2006 when the house of mouse was at a low point and ever since then, Roberts has been trying to stick it to Iger at every possible opportunity.”

I Respond: No, Disney was not at a low point. Eisner was getting kicked around in the court of public opinion. But at the stockholders convention when he met with reporters, Eisner was asked about that laughable Comcast bid. The direct quote (snark) from Eisner in response was: “Mergers and acquisitions? Yeah, we’re thinking about buying Comcast.” During that same conversation with reporters, Wall Street analyst Harold Vogel wrote, “these guys don’t seem like a team in trouble. They actually look like they are doing very well.”

As for Roberts “sticking it to Iger”, how exactly has that worked out for him?

Yeowser writes: “Comcast already has access to funds to weather this COVID crisis from their aborted 65 billion bid for FOX studios. Since they only used 35 billion to acquire SKY Broadcasting in order to double their international reach, they should still have tens of billions at their disposal.”

I Respond: First, if you have some SOLID information regarding how long it will take to “weather this COVID crisis” please let the rest of us know. Second, if you have Roberts’ cell number, please call and ask him if he could use all that money to keep UO workers on the clock rather than laying them off while they are desperately trying to make rent. And when you talk to him, tell him these workers that he is betraying risked their health (lives) when they came back to his carnival. Then again, it isn't like they had much of a choice: come back to work or lose unemployment benefits.

Yeowser writes: Universal's way of doing things is just different from other operators in the entertainment and leisure sector. Up till now, they haven't had as many staff furloughed or laid off like others in the sector.

I Respond: If you say so.

Yeowser writes: “As well, unlike Disney, they did not leave the dismissed high and dry but help them navigate through the underfunded Florida unemployment system so I heard.”

I Respond: And what idiot did you hear that from? That is an absolutely false statement. Not only did Disney enroll CMs on their behalf, Disney HR has made itself available to answer CM questions regarding assistance.

Spectrum News 13 (April 30) Headline: Disney World to Enroll Thousands of Workers into Florida's Unemployment System.

From that article: "Over the weekend, Disney confirmed it had reached an agreement with the state to be able to “auto-enroll” its employees into Florida’s unemployment system to help reduce the strain on the already overwhelmed system."

BIG swing and a miss! You don’t know what you are talking about.

Yeowser Writes: “Also, Universal seems to play a longer term game than say Disney does with recent acquisitions. For example, Disney has been milking Lucasfilm for all its worth since the 4 billion purchase of it, alienating core SW fans in the process.”

I Respond: Yeah, fans were sure alienated when ROTR virtual queue opportunities disappeared in minutes every day after DHS and Disneyland opened. Yeah, fans were sure alienated by ‘The Mandelorian’ – such a horrible production. Yeah, fans were sure alienated by ‘The Rise of Skywalker’ – a billion bucks worldwide.

And I absolutely LOVE this post on TPI by MikeW: "I would argue this franchise was saved by Disney. In 2012, there was little major buzz on Star Wars anymore, it seemed stagnat with the Expanded Universe novels just retreading old territory and too much focus on prequel-era games/animated series and such. I vividly remember the talk on "they need to get this away from Lucas" all over the place."

HE CONTINUES: "Now we have multiple movies, Rogue One was damn good, plans for more films to come, an acclaimed TV series, new games, an entire theme park land and it feels far more fresh than it has in two decades. Yet somehow this idea is that it would be better SW stayed how it was rather than adapt and at least attempt to grow."

Yeowser writes: “But you haven't seen the same approach with Universal's 3.8 billion purchase of Dreamworks Animation (glitter farting troll notwithstanding =P).”

I Respond: Really?

Yeowser writes: “Plus, as far as I know Universal Studios Beijing is still on track to open next year which should give Comcast another revenue stream from which to draw upon.”

I Respond: I didn’t read beyond the words “as far as I know.”

CONCLUSION

Again, I do not want Comcast to sell the parks. I want stability. Nor am I saying they ABSOLUTELY WILL sell the parks.

All I am saying that HISTORICALLY, big parent companies that have owned the Universal parks, in far more stable times (pandemic) have evaluated their potential and have concluded the best decision is to sell. It is absolutely a possible scenario.

I am also saying, at this point, Epic Universe is on the bubble, and I find it highly unlikely that it will open its gates before 2025 – when the Kirkman Road extension is complete.

June 25, 2020 at 12:45 AM

RE TH Creative:

The fact that Disney is also helping its laid off employees get unemployment benefits is a point I missed, my bad.

It is a possible scenario but an unlikely scenario even though Marriott did sell their 2 Great America parks when they didn't meet their expectations.

It maybe easy to exit the theme park business for media conglomerates but perhaps even more expensive to get back in. (see Paramount and Warner Bros)

Historically yes Universal Studios has been sold numerous times under previous owners but it seems Comcast has owned Universal Studios longer than the three previous owners so I really don't see them bailing in the near future unlike Ross Capital over at SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment.

In terms of large parcels of land in Florida, I meant conveniently located parcels seem harder to come by if they are near I-Drive and can avoid local residents opposition as well such as the failed thrill park proposal near Artegon mall. Disney seems to have it easier when gobbling up land to keep its distance from its unwelcomed neighbours and also to maintain its conservation commitments

As for Universal Beijing scheduled to open next year, well there is an official video in Mandarin on YouTube interviewing USB team members interwoven with near finished video clips of the almost finished Universal Studios Beijing. The only thing that might stop it from opening are Beijing Authorities due to the recent spike in cases there.

Loews has always been managing their hotels ever since they opened with the original three.

As for the previous owners of USO, The 3rd Generation of Seagram's had big dreams for Universal (they sold their stake in Dupont to finance the purchase) hence the original land purchase but they overreached and in came Vivendi also with Hollywood Dreams but they overleveraged too so the original 2,000 acres were disposed of and then Universal was sold to GE who merged it with NBC. Vivendi and Seagram's did not seem to have the resources to invest in the theme parks especially after the disappointing debut of IOA (i.e. Universal Escape) while GE didn't seem to care as it was a non core asset to them.

Epic Universe may not open before 2025 indeed but it doesn't meet it won't open at all just after 2025

June 25, 2020 at 8:44 AM

Yeowser writes: "Epic Universe may not open before 2025 indeed but it doesn't meet it won't open at all just after 2025."

I Respond: I agree. But also, in 2025, based upon their history, the parks may not be owned Comcast.

June 25, 2020 at 11:48 AM

I agree with Hercules-
While Universal has certainly had a colorful past with ownership, this is a sad week for a lot of UO veterans who have dedicated decades of their lives to the resort. If any of us had a crystal ball and could predict the future, well.. we wouldn't be reading blogs to speculate on the future.
Congrats to UO and the WWoHP teams who have helped reshape theme parks moving forward. Good luck to those who must now find new careers.
Nobody wishes ill will to anyone who has a generous enough soul to engage in hospitality for a living.

June 28, 2020 at 5:09 PM

Just like Hercules the guy named samecho joined TPI like five seconds ago ... Suspect much?

Maybe if you had been hanging out on this playground for close to two decades, you'd have a real understanding about the way we discuss stuff around here.

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