Fans packed the Universal Orlando theme parks today, pushing Universal to hit capacity and temporarily close Universal Studios Florida, Islands of Adventure, and Volcano Bay to new visitors. (Update: The parks hit capacity again on Sunday, as well.)
As is the case throughout the industry, Universal is operating its parks at reduced capacity as it promotes safe physical distancing during this pandemic. But today was the first day that Universal has had to close all three of its gates at once due to high guest demand, although Volcano Bay had hit capacity a few times before since Universal Orlando reopened in June.
So much for short queues during the pandemic. Wait times are crazy at Universal Orlando today. pic.twitter.com/m9bU1ejKUb— Theme Park Insider (@ThemePark) September 5, 2020
Even though travel to Central Florida remains far below traditional levels, Universal Orlando has boosted its attendance with aggressive ticket discounts aimed at locals. The resort is continuing with a two-days free deal for out-of-town visitors, but it is offering a buy-a-day, get-the-year discount for locals that gives Florida residents admission every day through Christmas Eve for the price of a one-day Park-to-Park ticket.
With the parks closing in the early evening each day, that's driven locals to pack the parks on weekends. While Universal Orlando can feel like a ghost town with walk-on queues throughout the parks on weekdays, on weekends, attraction wait times are back to pre-pandemic levels.
Yes, Universal is spacing people in queues and using virtual queuing to maintain safety standards. But attraction capacity is down due to those safety standards, too. Throw in a holiday weekend, and bargain-hunting locals have obliterated those sweet, short wait times that fans who visit on weekdays have enjoyed.Tweet
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