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Taking the Kids: As Orlando reopens

By Eileen Ogintz, Tribune Content Agency on

No Instagram worthy hugs with your favorite characters. No princess makeovers, nighttime “spectaculars” or parades.

Just to enter, you’ll need an advance reservation, temperature screening and a mask.

Welcome to the New Normal as Orlando begins to open in this Pandemic Summer.


The demand is clearly there: Expedia data indicates Orlando is the most searched destination through the end of the year. And on June 5, the day Universal Orlando reopened, hundreds of cars were lined up at 7:30 a.m. waiting to get in to the park’s parking garage, the Orlando Sentinel reported. Some Universal hotels have reopened as has CityWalk, the shopping, dining entertainment area between Universal’s two parks.

“I feel safe. I feel secure. I don't feel anyone's being reckless.” Kristina Busch, from Dallas, told the Orlando Sentinel on Universal’s opening day.


SeaWorld. Aquatica, and Discovery Cove opened June 11 as did Bush Gardens Tampa Bay. But you may not have all of the animal interactions that the parks are famous for.

LEGOLAND Florida was the first to reopen the theme park, waterpark and two hotels on June 1, including the all-new Pirate Island Hotel.

Walt Disney World, which has opened the Disney Springs dining and entertainment area with reduced capacity –a popular draw for locals-- will open the Magic Kingdom July 11 followed by EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios on July 15. But good luck getting a reservation right away as Disney is first trying to accommodate those who already had reservations and tickets when the parks were closed. (Disney Vacation Club members can still make new reservations). Existing ticket holders and Annual Passholders will be able to make reservation requests in phases before new tickets are sold.

“Our theme parks, attractions, restaurants, hotels and shopping centers have worked tirelessly for months to create comprehensive reopening plans, with even more safety measures, to welcome visitors back to Orlando,” said George Aguel, president & CEO of Visit Orlando. “Consumers know and historically trust how Orlando takes safety seriously, and many of our attractions and parks do this in a manner that is not only thorough but also fun, such as social-distancing reminders from Stormtroopers at Disney Springs.”


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