It is official! Amusement parks are giving the public opening dates for this summer’s season. This gives hope to so many people who have vacation plans, and are excited to finally get out of the house. Knowing that you will be able to take that vacation almost feels like Christmas morning. Unfortunately, with these openings come many new rules and regulations that the public will be asked to follow.
So what can you expect to be different when you go to an amusement park this summer? From wearing masks, to hand sanitizing stations, to social distancing, it seems like there will be a new normal.
- Before you even enter the park, there may be some type of screening process that you have to pass. Some parks are implementing touch-less temperature checks, some parks are talking about doing GPS-tracking on your phone, and there even has been talk about taking a rapid COVID-19 test prior to entering the parks. It seems right now that touch-less temperature checks are the popular decision.
- Of course, there will be mask wearing. This is something that will be non-negotiable, and many parks will monitor their guest to ensure that they are wearing them. Asking your child to wear a mask in 90-degree weather is not going to be easy, and it is something I am not looking forward to myself. Wearing a breathable, light weight mask will be your best options. What we have been seeing at Life is Better Traveling is that you are required to wear your mask even on the rides including fast paced roller coasters. Ride where you get wet, they have been allowing you to not wear a mask. This is a park dependent rule.
- Social Distancing. I know we are all tired of hearing this phrase, but social distancing seems to be something that isn’t going away anytime soon. From what I have been reading, many parks are putting down stickers to show guest exactly where to stand in line for tickets, food, and rides. Employees will be around to make sure you are on the correct sticker.
- Cashless transactions. To help reduce contamination through touching and exchange of money, many parks are asking their guests to use credit cards as much as possible. I actually like this idea as it doesn’t seem many employees change those gloves after each cash transaction anyway. I never liked that they took my cash then handed me my food. I am onboard with this change.
- Resting stations. Everyone needs a break from wearing their mask. The resting stations allow you to enjoy some fresh air without having to wear a mask. These areas typically have a few chairs and tables far enough apart from one another to help reduce contamination.
- Reservations to get into the park. Many parks are moving to online reservations to even get into the parks. This is for everyone including season pass holders. You will need to have a valid ticket and a park reservation to get into the park that day. This helps with crowd control by limiting the capacity for the day.
- Virtual ride times. Everyone seems to know what a FastPass is, especially if they have been to Walt Disney World®. Amusement parks may be using apps to give people a time to come back to get onto the ride. This will help minimize the amount of people waiting in line at any time.
- Hand sanitizing stations. I prefer to wash my hands with soap and water as I feel not all hand sanitizer are made are the same. Some leave a film that makes my hands seem slimy, so the idea of hand sanitizing every few minutes worries me. However, this may be the new normal that all guest must hand sanitize prior to getting onto any ride, as well as, stations around the park.
- Limited parades and fireworks. I think this is one of the most fun things to see at the end of the night, a fireworks display. However, it means that large amounts of people are congregating close to each other. If there are parades or fireworks expect to be escorted to certain areas where there is enough space between people or groups. Also be prepared that they will cancel these types of shows.
- Limited Experiences. My kids love playing games especially the ones where you have to toss the ball. Disinfecting games may be a bit too much so I am expecting that limited games will be open. Also, places where you can build-your-own toy may not be open or have limited availability.
The first amusement park to open was Universal Orlando Resort™. They implemented many of the aforementioned things and many of their guests said that they didn’t think the process was too bad. They were fine with touch-less temperature checks, and the social distancing didn’t seem to be a problem as the parks weren’t packed. They didn’t have a reservation system in place to enter the park, so I am wondering if people are still a bit nervous to venture out with such low numbers. It may pick-up in the next couple of weeks if the amount of new cases goes down or parents are at the end of their rope and just ready for a getaway.
If you are planning to go to a theme park this summer, make sure to go to the theme park’s website for the most up-to-date information. If you plan on going to Walt Disney World®, Disneyland®, or Universal Orlando Resort™, make sure to follow our WDW Travel Planning Made Easy group for the most up-to-date information, help, tips, and tricks. Afterall, Life is Better Traveling!