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‘It represents hope:’ Tourism experts share thoughts on busy Labor Day weekend for theme parks

Universal Resort, Walt Disney World reach capacity Saturday and Sunday

ORLANDO, Fla. – It wasn’t a normal Labor Day weekend, but it was one of the most hopeful weekends for tourism experts after both Universal Resort theme parks and Walt Disney World theme parks reached limited capacity on Saturday and Sunday.

“It represents the hope that hospitality will come back and come back strong,” Dr. Robertico Croes said, he is the Associate Dean of UCF’s Rosen College of Hospitality.

Labor Day itself proved to be a little lighter than the weekend, neither Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure or any of the Walt Disney World Theme Parks announced they’d reached limited capacity.

However, Volcano Bay did reach capacity once again on Monday. Ryan Moe and his family from Texas got to the gate at 4 a.m. Monday after getting turned away on Sunday.

“Yesterday we made it to the gate by 9:30 in the morning but it was already full so we didn’t come in,” Moe said. “We are pass holders and we couldn’t come in, so today we decided to come at 4 in the morning and sure enough we were the third car in line.”

Moe posted several pictures showing the crowds inside Volcano Bay Monday, many without masks since it is as a water park, but Moe felt safe.

“It is busy, but we feel safe, they are doing a great job,” he said.

Back in June, Dr. Croes and his colleagues conducted a study back in June on how COVID-19 will impact travel. The study surveyed about 2,000 travelers in the U.S. that showed about one-third were willing to travel within the next 12 months - with feeling safe being the most important factor.

“Our survey has shown that safety was the major factor in terms of where people will go,” Dr. Croes said. “With the steady decline of numbers in Florida, of course, that helps a lot, and once more emphasizes Florida is a number 1 destination.”

Here are the latest hours of operation for each park:

DISNEY

  • Magic Kingdom: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Epcot: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Disney’s Hollywood Studios: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

UNIVERSAL

  • Universal Studios: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Islands of Adventure: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Volcano Bay:
    • 10 am to 5 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday
    • Closed on Tuesday and Thursdays
    • 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday in September
    • On Sept. 12 the park will be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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