Reopening Post COVID-19: Walt Disney World VS. Universal

Olivia Willett

It has been almost two months since Universal Orlando Resort reopened its doors to the public on June 5th, and nearly one month since Magic Kingdom, the first of the Walt Disney World parks, reopened on July 11th. Soon after, the remainder of the Walt Disney World parks reopened, and the process of welcoming back guests ramped up for both resorts! Here, we’re going to break down what each park is doing to assure safety and provide family fun post COVID-19 related closures. Of course, we will measure how they stack up against one another!

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Walt Disney World VS. Universal Orlando Resort: Similarities

  • Both parks currently have firm mask requirements in place.
  • Before entering either of the parks, guests are required to go through a temperature check.
  • The attraction queues at each of the parks feature social distancing lines, so that parties don’t crowd too close to one another.
  • Both Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort are making use of their mobile apps, featuring virtual queues and food ordering.
  • At both parks, characters have made random appearances throughout the day!
disney vs. universal: guests in magic kingdom wearing face masks post COVID-19

Walt Disney World Resort: Strengths

  • Opposed to Universal, Walt Disney World Resort seems to be keeping a stricter capacity limit, utilizing their brand new Park Pass System. With this system, guests require a valid park ticket and a park reservation before entering a park.
  • With many open walk-ways and different paths of traveling throughout the park, we hold the opinion that it is easier to navigate through the Walt Disney World parks while maintaining social distancing. Upon our visit to Universal Orlando Resort, crowds were certainly lower than usual, but it felt slightly more difficult to maintain social distancing through narrow walkways.
  • During out trip, cast members at Walt Disney World Resort were more mindful of the mask policy. Some Universal employees allowed guests to remove masks temporarily for photos or attractions (Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls).
guests in universal orlando wearing face masks for safety, post COVID-19
universal orlando

Universal Orlando Resort: Strengths

  • In our experience, Universal Orlando Resort has a better grasp of virtual queues and mobile food ordering than Walt Disney World. While visiting Magic Kingdom, we waited a half-hour in a line for Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn & Cafe. At Universal Studios, we were able to enter Mel’s Drive-In immediately, with an easier ordering process.
  • In every attraction queue, employees are ready to provide guests with a squirt of hand sanitizer. There are several sanitizing stations at Walt Disney World Resort, but a few can be found empty.
  • Guests are currently able to park hop at Universal Orlando Resort. We traveled from Islands of Adventure to Universal Studios on the Hogwarts Express! The Park Hopper ticket option is currently unavailable at Walt Disney World Resort.
harry potter world and chinese theater at disney's hollywood studios
Universal & Disney

Wrapping it up

It’s clear to us that both theme parks have taken extensive safety precautions since post COVID-19 closures. Neither theme park feels extraordinarily safer than the other. Each park continues to adjust to health precautions. Both are committed to providing fun experiences for guests!

Have you visited Walt Disney World or Universal Orlando Resort since their grand reopening? Did you feel safer at one or the other? Let us know in the comments!

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By Olivia Willett Writer
Olivia is a 20 year old English student and life-long lover of Disney parks. She has been visiting Walt Disney World since her childhood, and she aspires to visit each and every park around the globe.
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