EDITOR’S NOTE: Inside Universal remains dedicated to presenting a fact-based, non-sensationalist driven perspective aimed at educating and informing our readers. As Editor-in-Chief, I was hesitant to broach the topic of Coronavirus (COVID-19), as I did not want to come across as “adding to the hysteria” or sensationalizing current events. Admittedly, as much as we love the theme parks – safety is always the priority. Whether or not Universal Parks, or any theme park, remains open should be the last thing to worry about; however, we understand many vacations will be affected by this pandemic. As impacts of this virus are starting to rise and be felt the world over, including the Universal theme parks, I felt it was necessary to finally address our readers with as much fact-based info we have at this time and provide a rational perspective surrounding the impact of the Universal Parks & Resorts.
First off, if you have any questions regarding the Coronavirus, aka COVID-19, we recommend getting all information off the Center for Disease Control’s official website. We also suggest you follow their recommendations for illness prevention, such as washing your hands often and staying home if you are sick.
We’ll try to update this article accordingly if any changes to operating schedules take place.
Universal Orlando Resort will temporarily close its theme parks effective through Sunday, April 19 – but will continue to evaluate the situation.
Universal CityWalk and all hotels at Universal Orlando Resort will remain closed during this time. Endless Summer’s Dockside Inn & Suites, which was scheduled to open on March 17, has been delayed. A new opening date will be announced at a later time. Universal is offering flexible programs for guests who have booked travel packages, tickets or accommodations. Guests are encouraged to call 877-801-9720 for more information or assistance.
From Universal Orlando:
“We have created flexible programs for those guests who have booked travel packages or tickets with us. Guests can call this number for more information: 877-801-9720. A core group of team members will continue to work on site. Hourly team members will be paid for any work scheduled through the end of March.”
Universal has also confirmed that the Mardi Gras event ended on March 15.
The Grad Bash event scheduled for Friday, April 3 has been cancelled. At this time, all other event dates – April 17, 18, 24 and 25 – are still scheduled to occur.
Universal Studios Hollywood will also remain closed through Sunday, April 19. CityWalk Hollywood will remain closed as well. Individual tenants may elect to remain open for business (Guests are encouraged to call to confirm operating hours before visiting).
Both Peacock Live! and Bravo’s Top Chef Food & Wine Festival has been pushed back to a date to be determined later. While the event’s official postponement was listed as “uncertainties with the event’s programming elements”, it’s probable that the uncertainties were due to the precautions being taken by some of the attendees. The Running Universal event featuring DreamWorks Animation’s Trolls planned for April 26, 2020 at Universal Studios Hollywood has been canceled. For questions, including exchanges or refunds, guests are encouraged to call 1-800-UNIVERSAL.
Universal Studios Japan has once again extended the closure of the park to Sunday, April 12, 2020, and will reassess the situation if another extension of the closure is needed.
Universal Studios Singapore will be closing on April 7th due to the government ordering all non-essential businesses to cease operation to combat the spread of the virus. The order will remain in place through May 4.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Will the parks re-open on April 20? It’s being recommended that there should not be any gatherings of 50 or more people for at least 8 weeks (as of March 16), and the White House has extended social distancing guidelines through April 30. Unless there’s some change, we are anticipating a closure beyond April 20. Until then, the stateside Universal Parks are officially listing their closure through April 19.
Should I try to plan a vacation after April 20? We wouldn’t recommend it based on the present info from health officials. Our advice would be to wait until Universal announces an official re-opening before making any travel plans.
How do I modify and/or cancel plans? Universal Orlando guests are encouraged to dial 877-801-9720 for more information and assistance. Universal Studios Hollywood guests are encouraged to call 866-258-6546.
What if I already bought a ticket for a closed date? For Universal Orlando tickets, unexpired single-day tickets that have already been purchased will be valid on any day for 365 days from the purchase date. Unexpired multi-day tickets that have already been purchased will also be valid for first use on any day from 365 days from purchase. At Universal Studios Hollywood, tickets purchased for park visits during the anticipated closure period, from March 14 through April 19, will be automatically extended for use through December 18, 2020; or apply the value of a wholly unused ticket toward a new purchase. For more information, call the numbers of the respective park provided above.
What about my Annual Pass?
Annual passes for both stateside parks will be extended by the number of days the theme parks are closed. Existing benefits and restrictions will continue to apply. Those who purchased a Pass under the FlexPay program, Universal has postponed all monthly payments effective March 25, 2020. They will provide further details on when payments will resume at a later time.