Amusement Parks Reopen in America
The amusement industry has been among the hardest hit during the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately the industry’s business model relies on many people gathering in close proximity to one another and that doesn’t mesh well with current world circumstances.
Still, in China and elsewhere amusement parks have reopened largely without issue. Some of the regional amusement parks in China opened up more than a month ago with social distancing procedures and now even the major parks like Shanghai Disneyland have successfully reopened without any major problems.
Of course in China things are a bit different. The government does have a lot more authority there and people are required to use a contact tracing app which most likely won’t be a solution here. In other words, things in China are going well, but they have a better grip on where people have been and who they have been in contact with.
Amusement Parks Are Reopening
Nonetheless the amusement park industry in America is getting ready to open. Just this past week Universal Studios Florida opened its City Walk mall while Disney opened its similar Disney Springs shopping & dining complex. But now even the parks are beginning to open.
Amusement Parks Big & Small Are Opening!
Silverwood Theme Park in Northern Idaho was the first to announce, setting their opening date of May 30, 2020. That announcement was followed by Universal Orlando which will open its doors to the public June 5, 2020. But the park that really shocked everyone was Fun Spot Orlando.
Fun Spot America Orlando will be opening at 2PM until 10PM today!🎉
Starting tomorrow, May 23rd, park hours for Orlando will be 12PM-10PM until further notice.
We will keep you updated on the reopening of our Kissimmee park! pic.twitter.com/3FYE9DA3Kp
— FunSpotAmerica (@FunSpotAmerica) May 22, 2020
As you can see they shocked everyone by announcing they were reopening the same day! They have now been open since May 22, 2020 with daily hours from Noon-10pm. Additionally Lagoon outside of Salt Lake City reopened on May 23, 2020 and Mt. Olympus in the Wisconsin Dells is now open, although only for hotel guests. All of these parks are taking special precautions for COVID-19 including limiting capacity and more.
I expect we’ll see the vast majority of amusement parks in the country reopen in June.
Is Disney Closer to Reopening?
With their main rival having announced a date for reopening, one would expect Disney to be getting ready to announce their comeback, but they remain cautious in doing so. As of now Disney has not announced plans to reopen their resorts on either coast, but Walt Disney World is widely expected to open first. An announcement could come soon as Disney works with authorities, but for now all we know is that reservations are being accepted for July and beyond.
Walt Disney World is a much larger operation compared to Universal Orlando or even Disneyland, so it will take some time for the resort to become fully operational. I would expect several weeks worth of ramp up once a Walt Disney World reopening date is set, so we’ll know with plenty of advance notice when the parks will be open again.
Amusement Parks Reopen in America – Bottom Line
The amusement industry must adapt or risk suffering the ultimate fate. Throughout June expect parks across the country to reopen in a way that hopefully can be safe and fun for both guests and employees. From regional parks like Silverwood and Lagoon to giants like Universal, it’s exciting to see amusement parks reopening, even if the experience isn’t quite the same as it was before.