It goes without saying that summer 2020 looks different than the summers we’re used to. With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, activities like eating out, going to the beach, and going to amusement parks have been put on hold for the safety of visitors and employees. As some states phase into their reopening of non-essential businesses, the latter are making plans to reopen safely.
For the most part, there are some precautions being taken across the board. Face masks are required at all of the parks, although the age requirement for kids to wear them may differ from place to place. Other policies, like more frequent cleaning of high traffic areas, social distancing, and reserving tickets in advance to control capacity are all pretty standard across the board for amusement parks so far. To reserve your tickets and to read up on any specific park policies, be sure to check out each park’s website.
Here’s what we know so far about plans for reopening at the major theme parks across the United States.
Cedar Point, one of the oldest amusement parks in the United States, is officially reopening on July 9. The first two days after opening will be reserved for season pass holders of all levels and after that anyone is welcome to visit. Reservations must be made in advance, and certain precautions like face masks on all guests will be put into place. Cedar Point is also going to having visitors fill out an online health screening during the reservation process and temperatures will be taken upon entry.
Coney Island falls under entertainment and recreation, meaning it is an establishment that is part of the phase four reopening of the multi-phase plan. New York City will start operating in phase two potentially starting June 22, with some bars and restaurants reopening at limited capacity, but there is no set date as to when phase four will begin. That being said, Coney Island has no precise date for reopening plans, although some boardwalk concessions stands are currently open with limited service.
Disney World Orlando started its phased reopening on May 20 with Disney Springs. The most recent news about the parks opening includes a plan submitted by Disney officials to open Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom on July 11 followed by Epcot and Hollywood Studios on July 15. Although these dates have not yet been approved by the Florida governor, there is already talk about how the park experience will be a little bit different, including cancelling parades and meet-and-greets to ensure proper social distancing.
The Downtown Disney District is planning to begin its phased reopening on July 9. Following proper government approval, Disneyland will reopen on July 17. Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa and Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel also have plans to reopen on July 23. Those planning a visit will have to make a reservation to ensure the park can control the capacity inside at all times.
Dollywood is opening for season pass holders on June 15 and 16, and starting Wednesday, June 17, all visitors are welcome. Masks will be necessary for everyone over the age of three, but not while riding high thrill rides. The Flower & Food Festival will also be taking place the week of reopening.
Hershey Park, located in Hershey, PA, is reopening to the public on July 3. July 1 and 2 will be reserved for season pass holders only. Like many other amusement parks, Hershey is requiring guests to make reservations, wear masks, and social distance while in the park. On a ride-by-ride basis, Hershey will decide how social distancing and sanitation will function.
Knott’s Berry Farm
There are currently no official plans for reopening Knott’s Berry Farm’s Buena Park theme park; the website states it will only do so when it believes it can be done safely. For the time being, fans of Knott’s can visit the California Marketplace with offerings from Knott’s Chicken-to-Go restaurant, Farm Bakery, and the Knott’s Berry Market. Events like Knott’s 100th Anniversary: A Knott’s Family Reunion have been postponed to 2021 so they can be celebrated properly. The park is also honoring 2020 season pass holders for the 2021 season.
Though the official theme park and rides are still closed, Knott’s Berry Farm is opening up its Ghost Town area for a Taste of Calico food festival. The event will run on Fridays through Sundays from July 17 to July 26. Taste of Calico is meant to recreate the cancelled Knott’s Boysenberry Festival as a private ticketed event. Guests can purchase tickets for $25 for five food tastings and $15 for three tastings. Upon arrival, temperature checks, face masks, and social distancing is required.
Legoland Florida Resort is officially opened to guests. This includes the waterpark, Pirate Island Hotel, and Legoland Hotel. Among the face mask and social distancing requirements that other parks have put into place, Legoland is also going totally cashless and asking groups to leave a parking space on either side of their car upon arrival.
Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey and Six Flags Magic Mountain in California currently have no plans set in stone for reopening. You can stay updated on each park’s specific plans on their respective websites. Currently, Six Flags Frontier City in Oklahoma City is open and has been since June 5. This park will start with a limited capacity of visitors and has plans to gradually increase the number of people allowed inside throughout the month.
Six Flags also announced a new mobile food ordering process that takes place on a smartphone app. Visitors can download the app, choose a food site at the park that offers mobile ordering, order and pay on the app, and then pick up with food through a non-contact process. This way, Six Flags guests can avoid lines and minimize person-to-person contact during their visits.
Universal Studios Orlando is currently open at limited capacity and with additional guidelines in place like mask requirements, on-site hand sanitizer available, and social distancing. While reservations are not required for Universal, since they are operating at a limited number of guests, there will be times the limit is reached and no additional visitors can enter. You can stay up-to-date with that on UniversalOrlando.com. It’s rumored that Universal Studios Hollywood could be opening on July 1, although there have not been any official announcements about plans.
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