Reopening despite COVID-19: All the theme parks opening their gates
Even with the recent surge in COVID-19 cases, a growing sense of cabin fever has driven people to plead, “we need something fun to do.” Despite calls from critics – ranging from government officials and medical advisers – one of our favorite pastimes is returning to appease our boredom. That’s right, we’re talking about theme parks.
Although many establishments are either closed or kept to minimal capacity – with strict social distancing regulations – once crowded theme parks will assure you they have what it takes to uphold maximum fun and safety.
Take a look at the list of theme parks that are reopening despite the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Fuji-Q Highland (Japan)
Thanks to global travel bans, if you live in the US we’re sorry to say it’s unlikely you’ll be taking a trip to Japan anytime soon. However, theme parks across Japan are beginning to open, including Fuji-Q Highland – one of the most picturesque parks located near the base of the famous Mt. Fuji.
Visitors and ride-junkies beware, management has introduced a new safety measure to help decrease the chance of COVID-19 infection at this park: there’s no screaming allowed on any roller coasters. In order to prevent the disease from entering the air, they simply advise every rider to “scream inside your heart.”
Disney World (Florida)
Comprising four different theme parks, Disney World has opened the doors to its amusements, hotels, resorts, and restaurants – although everything seems to exist on an “as the situation develops” basis.
Disney World’s opening plan consists of virtual check-ins and ticketing, hand sanitizing stations across the park, limiting capacity for crowd control, a mandatory requirement of face masks, and social distancing.
Even the lovable Disney cartoon characters will be wearing face masks and face shields to reinforce good behavior from all the guests in attendance – as if kids didn’t find them scary enough.
Universal Orlando (Florida)
Universal was one of the earliest theme parks to open in the US, even as Florida leads the US in growing, confirmed cases of COVID-19. Universal began reopening in phases, starting with a handful of their hotels and resorts; these guests also earned early access to the theme park.
Universal began reopening in phases, starting with a handful of their hotels and resorts; these guests also earned early access to the theme park. Procedures included mandatory face masks, single-use paper menus at restaurants, no valet parking, and frequent, mandatory temperature checks for all park visitors and employees.
Unlike Disney World, Universal presented its opening plan for approval from state officials, and decided not to introduce water elements like mist and sprinklers into daily use. Still controversial, it sounds like Universal may have the best plan yet for a safe reopening.
Six Flags Great Adventure (New Jersey)
Of the nearly two-dozen Six Flags parks across the US, Six Flags Great Adventure was among the first to open earlier this month. Home to the world’s tallest roller coaster, the Kingda Ka, it appears the park hasn’t prohibited any screaming – yet.
Great Adventure reopened and Jackson New Jersey rejoiced – the park is one of the biggest tourist attractions and employers in that part of the state. Apart from the mandated face coverings and hand washing stations, the park will also utilize temperature checks and “touchless bag checks.”
The governor of New Jersey allowed theme parks and water parks to begin reopening across the state, however, unlike other states, they must adhere to a 50% capacity restriction. They are also testing the idea of outdoor “mask free” zones where park guests can take a break from their required face coverings.
Six Flags Hurricane Harbor (New Jersey)
Following the footsteps of Six Flags Great Escape, Hurricane Harbor will be one of the largest water parks to open in New Jersey on July 23. It’s reported they will open at a reduced capacity, and gradually increase attendance in a more experimental approach.
The park will employ advanced thermal imaging for temperature screenings, stagger check-in and arrival to the park, and modified food menus and restaurant openings. Like other parks, Hurricane Harbor will have an increased sanitation presence and require face masks and social distancing.
Sorry to say that Disneyland in California will remain closed until further notice, but that didn’t stop Disneyland Shanghai to resume opening procedures as early as May. Taking social distancing very seriously, the park taped yellow squares on the ground where visitors will stand three feet apart in various lines and public spaces.
Park attendants are reported as being very diligent when it comes to enforcing the park’s new procedures. The park welcomed only 30% of its total visitor capacity, and guests were identified as COVID-19 free via a green QR code assigned on their virtual reservations – all thanks to Shanghai’s advanced use of mobile virus tracking.
Cedar Point (Ohio)
Reopened just over a week ago, Cedar Point is famous for being one of the oldest amusement parks in the entire US. The park opened July 9 for season pass holders only, before opening to everyone on July 11.
All visitors must complete a health screening within twenty-four hours of their visit, either through the park’s website or mobile app. Temperature checks are also in place on arrival, and all guests are required to make a reservation for their intended day to limit the attendance. Needless to say, masks and social distancing are a must.
This family theme park made famous for being founded by the Hershey Chocolate Company also opened in the first week of July – weeks before their usual summer operation was set to begin.
Hersheypark will require visitors to make reservations online to get tickets for entrance, and will have their temperature taken before entry. The park has been open about its use of signs and floor markings that will reinforce social distancing in lines.
Like some other theme parks, Hersheypark will be social distancing on rides, meaning visitors should expect lines to move much slower for their favorite attractions. It’s been reported that Hersheypark will decide on sanitation and occupancy procedures on a “ride-by-ride basis” – whatever that means.
These reopenings will be commonplace over the next few months, as desperation for entertainment drives thrill-seekers back into the arms of their favorite attractions. With COVID-19 cases still on the rise, remember to double-check for updates on all your favorite parks – we wouldn’t want you making the trip for no reason.