New Travel Issues for International Theme Park Fans from England

(Photo credit: FOX35 Orlando)

Oh, when will international travel return to normal? Only recently could my theme park friends living in the UK come visit Orlando. They were restricted for what seemed like forever to them. Based on an official announcement on November 27th. 2021, travel will not be restricted but will be less fun when they return to the UK. This decision reflects the detection of the Omicron strain in UK.

As reported by many British news agencies after the Boris Johnson press conference, anyone arriving in the UK must take a PCR test soon after return. If you are unfamiliar with that, the polymerase chain reaction test involves the full nose swab examination. This test searches for traces of the virus.

Making this more complicated, guests must self-isolate upon return to UK until they provide a negative test result. As many of us know, the PCR results do not come back immediately. People entering (or re-entering) the UK may end up self-isolating for 3 days even if they do not have virus. Of course, anyone with a positive test must self-isolate for at least 10 days.

So, what will this do to international travel to Orlando area theme parks? Will this slow down travel to/from UK for the Christmas holiday season? Will UK visitors need to schedule shorter trips to Orlando so they will not miss work due to self-isolation when they return home?

Far too early to know, my opinion leans toward expecting people to delay booking any future travel from UK to Orlando area until tests are not required. I reached out to several prominent UK theme park podcasters for their opinion. That information will appear in a follow-up article. Since the UK visitors makes up a large portion of international travel to Florida, this could hinder tourism in Orlando area. Also, UK visitors fill a large gap in the tourism season in Florida when USA schools are in session.

In fairness, this problem should be classified as a major annoyance. Still, if you are a major theme park fan, this is a kick in the teeth for travel as theme park podcaster Phill Guard wrote recently. Today’s decision by British government shows concern to play it safe in terms of the virus. Leadership decisions like this demand strength and courage. However, UK theme park travelers confess excessive frustration about this decision. They convey feelings like they are in limbo again. This portion of theme park community continued to schedule trips, during pandemic, to the USA only to have them cancelled over and over. Sure, they rebooked them, but will they just give up?

UK theme park fans have more questions than answers right now. Will the USA institute testing rules when international visitors arrive? That decision will add more stress. The Orlando International Airport provides an excellent virus testing center. Still, do UK visitors want to go through that if it might happen? What if they test positive when they arrive even though tested negative before they let UK? How would you feel spending all that money on a Disney or Universal vacation to only see inside of hotel room?

Then, there exists the Florida enigma. Gov. DeSantis proudly states that Florida has lowest virus cases per capita now. Based on previous rulings by government of Florida, testing appear very unlikely. UK guests probably will not be tested if flying into Florida directly. That is educated speculation from chatting with friends in Florida politics after British travel ruling. However, nothing stands as iron clad.

Yet, many international guests to save money on travel book non-direct flights to Orlando area. For example, they fly from London to New York or Georgia first. In the future, those states may have different rules than Florida. Would they have to test when they go through immigration in those states? What happens then? Will UK theme park fans have to pay more now to fly to avoid another hassle? Will they decide that is too many hoops to jump through. Once again, this problem impacts a small amount of people. However, you can guarantee the tourism industry in Orlando is watching this closely. As has been true for most of this time of virus in our world, we have more questions than answers. Also, the recent British ruling could change soon. Only time will tell. Clearly, the questions and frustrations will grow exponentially.


Pirates & Princesses (PNP) is an independent, opinionated fan-powered news blog that covers Disney and Universal Theme Parks, Themed Entertainment and related Pop Culture from a consumer's point of view. Opinions expressed by our contributors do not necessarily reflect the views of PNP, its editors, affiliates, sponsors or advertisers. PNP is an unofficial news source and has no connection to The Walt Disney Company, NBCUniversal or any other company that we may cover.