Orlando Theme Park Reopening Roll Out
Many of the parks have been open since last summer albeit in a scaled-back fashion. However, as vaccines continue to be distributed, some closed resorts and attractions are reopening. There are even a few new things to check out later this year!
Disney Parks and Resorts
All four of the Walt Disney World theme parks and the Blizzard Beach Water Park have reopened to the public with capacity restrictions in place. Although, Typhoon Lagoon remains closed at this time. Reservations are now required to enter the park and face masks are mandatory for visitors over the age of two. At this time parades, nighttime spectaculars, character greetings, and playgrounds are closed. However, on March 22 Disney’s All Star Movie Resort reopened and the Beach Club Resort will welcome visitors back on May 30. Disney’s Wilderness Lodge will reopen at the beginning of June and the Polynesian Village Resort is slated to reopen this summer as well. Several other resorts that haven’t been included in the 2021 summer reopening timeline are expected to reopen in the fall as vaccines continue to get into people’s arms.
The hip Disney Springs (formerly Downtown Disney) area has started a phased reopening with select retail and dining options available. Temperatures will be taken upon arrival and face masks are required for everyone ages two and older. The shops may institute a mobile waitlist if they become too crowded and dressing rooms are closed to the public. There are currently more than 15 retailers open for business including Disney’s Pin Traders, The Lego Store, Marceline’s Confectionary, Star Wars Trading Post, and California Sole. Hungry park goers can grab a bite in nearly 20 of their favorite Disney dining staples. Ballast Point Brewing Company, Black Tap Craft Burgers & Shakes, Salt & Straw, and Starbucks are all currently open for business. Outdoor patio seating has been increased and digital or single-use menus are widely used throughout Disney Springs.
The Universal Orlando parks have reopened at limited capacity and reservations are not required for entry. Guests can check whether the parks are at capacity by calling the park hotline at 407.817.8317. Most park experiences and attractions have reopened but Fear Factor Live, Poseidon’s Fury, and Storm Force Acceleration are still closed. Many children’s play areas including Camp Jurassic and Fievel’s Playland will also remain closed. Photo ops with characters are available and masks may be removed for pictures as long as guests are at least six feet away from other guests and characters. The roller coasters at Islands of Adventure, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and the Jurassic Park River Adventure are all up and running daily. The anticipated arrival of the new VelociCoaster is still slated for the summer of 2021 but no hard date has been set.
The first change visitors to SeaWorld will notice is the welcoming lighthouse got a makeover. Five artists within the company painted eye-catching murals all over the 50-foot structure. Discovery Cove, Aquatica water park, and the new Sesame Street Land are all welcoming excited visitors at a limited capacity. Currently, the Seven Seas Food Festival (open until May 9) is delighting guests from all over. The festival has even expanded this year and includes more than 200 gastronomical delights including vegan options, craft brews, wine, and spirits. New dining options have popped up since last year including Altitude Burger, Lakeside Grill, and an Edy’s Ice Cream Parlor. The Key West and Shark Encounter experiences have been renovated and guests can expect a thoroughly joyful time in both areas.