Running a theme park during a pandemic is a challenge to say the least. Multiple operational adjustments have been made in order to keep guests as safe as possible. In addition, we are starting to see operational changes. Which could mean for Universal Orlando, closing two days a week in the near future.
Keep in mind, this measure has not been made official and our understanding is Universal Orlando is only considering closing two days a week at this point. It is our understanding that they will be looking closely at the numbers in August before this decision will be made. This has to do more with overall profit and loss than it has to do with attendance, but attendance clearly affects the bottom line. Why is Universal Orlando considering closing two days a week in the fall? Let us walk you through the process.
For starters, the numbers have been fairly low from what we have heard and experienced. Anywhere from 3,000 per day to just under 6,000 at Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Florida. In theory, those numbers wouldn’t be terrible if the vast majority of them were not Annual Passes. However, a park makes the majority of its money on guests who buy full price tickets. Those guests often stay on property and spend the most money on top of the more expensive per day ticket cost.
We have already seen some signs that Universal Orlando is struggling with the quiet reduction in operating hours. Starting August 2, Islands of Adventure opens at 10 AM (previously 9 am).
Universal Studios Florida will still be opening at 9 am, but closing at 5 pm (previously 6 pm). This reduction of an hour a day of operating costs for both parks will help ease the blow of lower attendance and help the bottom line.
Something to keep in mind, Volcano Bay has not received a reduction in hours. Nor are they currently being considered to close entire operating days in the fall. Their attendance seems to hover right around 1500 per day. While this is low, the cost to operate a water park is dirt cheap compared to a theme park. Overall, water parks have a much higher profit margin than theme parks, but that’s a story for a different time.
Another reason IOA and USF are being considered to close two days a week is the loss of Halloween Horror Nights. That event brings in guests who buy passes for the day as well. It would have boosted attendance and ultimately padded the bottom line to justify staying open seven days a week.
Finally, the fall means back to school for kids and families across the country. Even though many schools are doing virtual learning this coming semester, the assumptions that even the locals that have been coming out since June 5 will start to shrink down significantly once school starts up again.
It is our understanding that the closure of Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Florida would start the week after Labor Day. They would close Monday and/or Tuesdays every week until possibly Thanksgiving in order to save on operating costs as those are the two slowest days of the week right now. Exceptions could be made on school holidays such as Columbus Day.
Keep in mind, none of this is official and is an idea being kicked around at the moment. Universal (as is all theme park operators) are looking at ways to save money in order to stay afloat during these unprecedented times. It’s possible that they could find other ways to save costs such as limiting attraction operating hours, closing some entirely until things turn around, more layoffs, etc. No matter what happens, we do expect to see some changes in the fall in order to soften the blow. Your thoughts?
Make sure to follow Theme Park University on Instagram, on Twitter, subscribe to YouTube and like our Facebook page! Want to support Theme Park University? Donate via Paypal! Doing any online shopping? Click on any Amazon link on this page and it helps TPU pay the bills and costs you nothing extra!