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Credit: Spectrum News 13, Clipart

Universal Orlando Announces New Chaperone Policy; Will Disney World Be Next?

Are chaperone policies going to be a part of the future of theme parks? Recent changes by Parks across the company may indicate just that.

Walt Disney World is surrounded by a number of other theme parks in Central Florida, including Universal Orlando, and Sea World just to name a few. While the different Parks all have their own audiences and themes, they do share a number of procedures in common.

You may spot similarities in employee nametags, security procedures, and more that feel very similar across Central Florida’s Parks. And, during the COVID-19 pandemic when restrictions were put in place for the health and safety of Guests and Cast Members, many of the Parks followed new procedures as the others introduced them.

Now, Universal Orlando has put a new policy in place that requires minors to be accompanied by an adult after 9:00 p.m. on weekends at CityWalk.

Universal Orlando CityWalk

Credit: Universal Orlando

Spectrum News shared the new policy that states that Guests under the age of 18 must leave CityWalk by 9:00 p.m. on weekends (Fridays-Sundays) unless they are joined by an adult. The only exceptions to the new policy include those Guests who are staying at a Universal Orlando Resort hotel or are planning to see a movie at the district’s movie theater.

Universal did not specify a reason for the new policy, but given recent altercations across nearly all theme parks among Guests, it seems the change is an effort to curb these types of incidents. Universal Orlando recently dealt with  a recent fight among Guests in the parking structure near CityWalk, while its neighbor, Walt Disney World, has experienced a number of fights, too.

Brawl in the Magic Kingdom

Credit: ITM

At Disney World, a brawl recently broke out in the Magic Kingdom that led to arrests and trespasses for some of the Guests involved. And a domestic violence arrest was made last month following an assault at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Over on the West Coast, the Disneyland Resort has faced similar challenges with a fight breaking out in Disneyland Park near Pirates of the Caribbean and earlier this year during the return of Fantasmic.

Of course, one of the theme parks that has dealt with numerous instances of fighting among Guests is Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park, CA. This theme park recently began enforcing a chaperone policy that runs on weekends requiring Guests ages 17 and under to be accompanied by an adult who is 21 years old or older.

As for Disney? Both Disneyland and Disney World’s official policy regarding minors’ access to the Parks is as follows:

Children should be supervised. Guests under age 14 must be accompanied by a Guest age 14 or older to enter a theme park or water park. To board an attraction, children under age 7 must be accompanied by a person age 14 years or older.

downtown-disney

Credit: Disneyland

Disneyland also notes that Guests under 18 years of age must be accompanied by a parent or guardian in the Downtown Disney District after 10:00 p.m., whereas Walt Disney World has no such rule for Guests visiting Disney Springs.

Where Universal Orlando’s new policy followed a similar move by Knott’s Berry Farm and given the number of fights involving Guests at all theme parks, there is a possibility that Disney (or other neighboring Parks) could make similar moves of their own.

Thus far, Disney has not changed any part of their Park rules, but we will continue to monitor them here on DisneyTips and will report back if there are any updates.

About Brittany DiCologero

Brittany is a New England-based writer focused on the history of the Walt Disney World Resort. She is the author of "Red, White, and Disney: The Myths and Reality of American History at the Walt Disney World Resort," and "Brittany Earns Her Ears."