Temperature checks & face masks - how theme parks are reopening after COVID-19 lockdown

Very very different I mean this really wasn't your typical theme park experience Universal Studios Resort in Orlando Florida has become one of the first theme parks in the world to reopen to customers since the cove at nineteen locked out and we've been there to see it in action but amid the global pandemic will it ever be the same again how will with socially distance on right and is it too early to start we open a public attractions we've got all the answers and an exclusive look inside the all change Universal Studios

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hi I'm Ali Aj writers and this week we're talking theme parks and the procedures they're putting in place to reopen following the corona virus pandemic I'm delighted to be joined now by Sun Oven s expert an author who was one of the first to go into Universal Studios Resort this week when they reopened hi Simon hey Lisa what was it like going back in very very different I mean this really wasn't you know your typical theme park experience right from the time of arriving where you get your temperature check you know they put the little thermometer thing to your forehead and check your temperature the fact that everybody's in masks

There are notices everywhere about staying safe and maintaining your social distance so there's lots that's new it really feels different it didn't feel uncomfortable to be honest and and the really the the ideal thing about the situation at the moment is they're doing everything with reduced capacity well that sounds great but obviously theme parks can't make their money if they're only having this number of people in there

What kind of capacity they out at the moment is it very small amounts when they they're not saying exactly what the capacity is but you know judging by the usual wait times for the rides that I saw you saw this week and comparing that with with the usual time for this time of year I would say there are about 30 to 35% of their regular capacity which is obviously very low their point of view you know that that's not ideal for a theme part to be that light that the funny thing there was that yet that the opening day this week

We saw all the the Annual Pass holders who were allowed back for the first time flock in you know at the the the one minute to opening time so that there was a crowd around the the parking area where you have to come in and and we saw long lines there but really once you got into the parks things what were relatively subdued it's all very well opening at thirty five percent capacity and managing your crowd to that extent they they will only say at the moment they will be ramping things up very slowly

we will see a you know a much lower attendance than we usually usually see in terms of the actual rides themselves I mean obviously social distancing on a roller coaster is going to be quite a challenge how are they doing that they're making people who are not part of the same group stay away from each other sit away from each other yeah

When we saw very very clearly that groups work was separated from their next group but usually a row so you saw you know big gaps actually at times in the the ride vehicles so that was was quite eye-opening obviously they can do that with this level of crowd without getting great long long wait times because I mean that the longest I waited for anything the general walk up rides I didn't wait any longer than 20 minutes for anything well now that is unusual for a theme park so tell me a bit more about the virtual rides though will the virtual app for yeah N

Now this is going to be absolutely key for everyone coming not just to Universal but to all our theme parks once everyone is able to get back in use the online app that comes with Universal Disney SeaWorld all and they all have their own mechanism on your handheld device and that will keep you in touch with the latest queue times the ability to order food online so that you don't have to touch anything you can pay with your mobile device

It's all designed to be cashless and touchless as much as possible and now the virtual queuing system is going to be absolutely vital component in that because when you first come into the park you can go onto the app open up all the rides and you'll see the ones they're designated virtual queue and you go you scroll down and you you know apply for a virtual queue time and click the button and it will give you a time to come back later in the day

when you've only got a minimal wait and in terms of obviously for the Brits and Orlando for summary this is a huge huge interest huge bot looking into your crystal ball and when can you see bricks being able to return to Orlando and also do you think there's going to be I'm slightly concerned myself a lot of tickets in advance of their trips those trips put off can they get their money back

If they do to go out this summer and there's a reduced number of people in the parks are they gonna be able to use those tickets yeah I mean these are really serious questions and I think these are the questions that the the parks are actually wrestling with at the moment trying to figure out because first of all they've got they've got a cater for the domestic market which is 90 percent of their business then They've got to figure out what they can do with the international market UK is to the big market for them even though it's not huge in volume terms we spend a lot when we're here we spend a lot of time here that the key elements for exactly how this will impact UK visitors with existing tickets

We don't know yet Disney have said that all their tickets will be good right the way through September next year so if people are putting off their holidays they can still use their tickets up to and including that time that's good and we pretty much expect we're gonna see all the theme parks do that in the course of the next few weeks or months as the picture for international travel

Which we know we keep coming back to this now you know the FCO obviously is saying don't fly or you can't fly the u.s. still has travel ban on most of Europe including the UK we've no idea when that will be relaxed and these are all going to be the questions that will be answered in the next few weeks and that once

we know them then you kind of go back to the theme parks and say okay now with people coming back how is this going to work and they can then give us more answers it's great to see and loved you to speak to you again and hopefully we'll catch up very soon back in Orlando all right Lisa it's time to answer some of your holiday and travel questions first up

We've had an email saying when will we be able to travel by train through a UK holiday well unfortunately not anytime soon we're still in lockdown at the moment and we're not allowed to travel anything other than just a day trip I would say that really realistically it's gonna be July before we were able to travel by train for a holiday another email

I've had asks what's the position with travel insurance regarding kovat 19 will I be covered for medical risks all right that's a really interesting point while many many insurances now will not cover coronavirus for cancellations so you won't be able to cancel your holiday because of coronavirus and get your money back a lot of them Nast now are starting to actually cover you for the medical risks so should you fall ill abroad with coronavirus they will cover medical bills and one company I know for sure that's doing that is facial please don't hesitate to get in touch by commenting below this blog

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