The holiday season is frequently one of the most popular times to visit theme parks. The magic of theme parks and the magic of the holiday season combine into something extra special that you can only get at that particular time of year. It's far from uncommon for theme parks like Magic Kingdom or Universal Studios Florida to hit capacity at this time of year, and while 2020 may be a far from a common year, it seems that there are still enough people who want to experience these parks at this special time of year, as both of Universal's Florida parks hit capacity over the weekend.
A tweet sent out at 11 AM on Saturday morning from the official Universal Orlando Resort Twitter account stated that both parks were already at max capacity, meaning nobody else would be able to enter until the crowds went down. The parks remained closed to guests until about 4:30 in the afternoon. The parks then hit capacity again on Sunday at about 11:30 AM and remained that way until about 3:30 PM.
On the one hand, hitting capacity is a tad easier to do now than it was a year ago, as the Universal theme parks are operating at a fraction of their maximum capabilities. At the same time, people have been clearly staying away from the theme parks in significant numbers or parks like Universal and Walt Disney World would be hitting capacity every single day. Walt Disney World did hit capacity itself earlier this month.
While Universal Orlando Resort has not revealed many details about how many people are currently being let into the parks. Walt Disney World has stated that the parks are currently running at about 35% of max capacity, which is up from 25% when they reopened this summer. It seems likely Universal is at similar numbers. It's also unclear how many guests who might have wanted to visit the parks were unable to do so. Reservations are required to enter the parks, so it's impossible to guess how many might have bought tickets but were simply unable to do so.
We know that the majority of guests visiting Florida's theme parks are still locals, and that vacationers, who have been the bread and butter of the industry, are still largely keeping their distance. What's unclear is if these crowds are simply the same locals going back to the park to experience Christmas, or if more people have become willing to make the trip for a theme park vacation. It will be interesting to see how the crowds look after the holiday season is over. January and February are usually less crowded period for the parks, but with limited capacity they could still end up comparatively crowded if people are showing more willingness to make the trip.