Universal Studios Orlando has quietly eliminated all capacity limits at the theme park, and Universal Studios Hollywood could be doing the same in the very near future.
Speaking at a Comcast Communications conference this week, NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell was bullish on the future of the amusement parks.
“People are not only coming back to our theme park and enjoying the experience out of their house, but they’re buying stuff,” Shell said of the Orlando location.
Shell noted that the Orlando site reopened last June with limited capacity, and demand has been high, even without any international travelers for the most part. International visitors traditionally make up 20 to 30 percent of visitors, Shell said.
“I think it’ll be a distant memory, but I’m very proud of how we’ve been able to keep ourselves open,” Shell said. “We’ve got 11 million people as of last month kind of go through the parks. Since we reopened, we haven’t had any outbreaks, we’ve done it safely, and that’s great.”
In addition to eliminating capacity limits, Shell said mask mandates, physical distancing, and temperature checks have also been dropped in Orlando.
“I’m very pleased with how the theme park in Orlando is doing, and we really have no capacity constraints there anymore,” he said. “And so the summer’s looking pretty strong.”
After the year everyone has experienced, Shell said there is a pent-in demand for things to do.
“Clearly, for those of us who’ve been in the house, we want to get out and do all sorts of things, and we’re seeing that,” he said.
He also credited the strategy of continuing to expand, even during the pandemic. Orlando has added the high-profile Velocicoaster, a roller coaster with a Jurassic Park theme, that visitors have been clamoring to ride.
As for Universal Studios Hollywood, Shell said a decision hasn’t been made on capacity limits which had been at 35 percent. But with California dropping most of its pandemic rules this week, things could be changing quickly.
“We can go to full capacity,” he said of Hollywood. “Same kind of dynamics as we’re seeing in Florida. I think we feel very good about demand here.”
The Hollywood location has also opened a new attraction during the pandemic based on the characters in The Secret Life of Pets. That, Shell believes, will push families to want to visit.
“I’m very optimistic at the park in California and just the whole society opening up out here in California,” Shell said.