Universal Orlando Theme Parks Hit Capacity This Labor Day Weekend

Despite the holiday weekend crowds, Universal Orlando will close the Volcano Bay water park for two days a week starting this September.

All three Universal Orlando theme parks quickly reached maximum attendance this Labor Day weekend.

Upon reopening this summer after closing amid the coronavirus pandemic in March, visitors at the two most popular Florida theme park resorts — Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando — initially reported smaller crowds and shorter wait times in addition to new health and safety measures, including mandatory face coverings for guests and employees as well as reduced capacity across the parks and attractions.

Neither theme park resort has revealed what exactly their maximum attendance is under the reduced capacity, but this weekend, Universal Orlando's three parks — Universal Studios Florida, Universal’s Islands of Adventure, and Universal’s Volcano Bay water park — reached their limits and closed to additional guests early in the day.

Masked visitors walk around Hogsmeade at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal's Islands of Adventure during its official reopening on June 5, 2020
Patrick Connolly/Orlando Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Although it’s operating with limited capacity across its theme parks and attractions, Universal Orlando does not currently require guests to make reservations in order to visit its parks. At the neighboring park, things are a little different: Disney World now manages theme park attendance through the Disney Park Pass reservation system, and guests are required to make a reservation for the date they plan to visit.

Despite the Labor Day crowds, the popular Orlando theme parks have had to scale back on their fall offerings, limiting hours of operation, temporarily closing hotels, and canceling beloved Halloween events, including Mickey’s Not-so-scary Halloween Party and Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights. In fact, starting this week, all four Disney World theme parks will have reduced hours and Universal’s Volcano Bay will be closed for two days every week.

Of course, there’s plenty to look forward to at the parks this autumn, too: Both resorts are offering incredible deals on tickets for Florida residents. Plus, Disney just announced that Magic Kingdom guests of all ages can wear costumes to the park during regular operational hours (and enjoy some tasty seasonal treats while they’re there).

Elizabeth Rhodes is an associate digital editor at Travel + Leisure who covers all things theme parks. Follow her adventures on Instagram @elizabetheverywhere.

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