Several incidents of varied degrees of violence have happened at USA based theme parks in recent months. The no-win scenario of deciding theme park policies for those under the age of 18 rises again. Over this past weekend, I got numerous reports from Universal Orlando guests about their teenagers being asked for identification. This caught me off-guard since no official policy could be found about this on any Universal Orlando resource.
As a result, I followed same communication channels any person can use to contact Universal Orlando about an issue/question. After a bit of a delay, I got a clear official answer about this policy regarding people under the age of 18 entering CityWalk. Since I have a well-earned history of frustration with vague answers following official channels communicating with Universal Orlando, I want to say something positive first. The team members, Juanita and Katie, responded with professionalism and a very clear explanation of the policy. I appreciated that.
So, what did they say about this? The official policy on weekend at Universal Orlando looks like this:
“We’ve made some adjustments to our weekend operations at Universal CityWalk and guests under the age of 18 are required to depart at 9 p.m. unless they are accompanied by a parent/guardian, are staying at a Universal hotel, or planning to see a movie at Universal Cinemark, subject to change.”
With the theme parks tending to close around 9pm, this policy makes some sense from that perspective. Yet, it sounds like a security nightmare. I did get reports of far more security personnel being in CityWalk compared to previous weekends. In fairness, I also received numerous reports of people under the age of 21 not being allowed to be in the CityWalk area. Not all reports I hear are accurate as you can see.
I did get some clarification on the definition of weekend for this policy. This includes Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings. This policy intends to limit the number of teenagers visiting on those nights. Though it may seem a bit unfair to some families, many theme parks are making similar decisions with their policies. The concern about violence among the teens has caused these policies to be created at USA based theme parks. As the policy states, teens can still go to the movie theatre there after 9pm. I have heard reports that thy are accompanied by a security guard to the movie theatre though. Once again, I have heard this but not from reliable enough sources yet to say this is policy.
This overall policy does not apply to teens staying at a Universal Orlando Resort hotel. If you are staying there with your teen, make sure they develop responsibility keeping that key card to your room.
The Universal Orlando team members would want me to say that all policies are subject to change. I suspect this policy will need a bit of adjusting when Halloween Horror Nights starts September 2nd. Still, if you are visiting Universal Orlando soon with a teenager or if you are a teenager, please be aware of this policy change.
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