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How Close Are These Theme Parks to Reopening?

Do you miss your favorite theme park? Well, if you can’t wait to spend a lovely summer day on a thrill ride, I have some good news. Many parks are planning to reopen soon. In fact, one even has an official date! Here’s a status update on some of the most popular theme park companies.

Busch Gardens/SeaWorld

Like other Florida theme parks, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay is in a holding pattern right now. However, interim CEO Mark Swanson has indicated that the Texas parks could return soon.

During an earnings call, the new head of SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. stated that SeaWorld San Antonio and Aquatica San Antonio will reopen first.

The reality is that SeaWorld parks need to return soon. The company is in financial ruin, having laid off 95 percent of its staff. Also, leadership is an issue.

The CEO the company hired in February quit in September. Then, SeaWorld hired a replacement CEO last November only for this person to resign in April. Busch Gardens parks need to return since they provide reliable revenue for a company that seems cursed.

Cedar Fair

Cedar Fair operates several North American parks. The company is also highly regarded within the industry for its business savvy. So, there’s a lot of interest in Cedar Fair’s evaluation of running a park during a pandemic.

There’s also a lot of confusion about what will happen next. The Motley Fool believes that “Cedar Fair is ready to open its parks within two to three weeks of getting the go-ahead from regulators.”

Conversely, The Cleveland Plain Dealer states, “It’s still unclear when — or even if — Cedar Point and other Cedar Fair parks will open this year.”

Both of those reports are from May, meaning that a lot of confusion exists here. I’m inclined to believe the Motley Fool, though. Cedar Fair was enjoying a record year and will want to continue its winning ways asap.

On a side note, Cedar Fair’s anchor business, Cedar Point, really doesn’t want to cancel this year if at all possible. Cedar Point will celebrate its 150th anniversary on July 18th.


On May 16th, Tennessee’s governor lifted restrictions on large public gatherings. This decision freed Dollywood officials to plan their reopening.

A Dollywood spokesperson didn’t offer a specific timeline. His only quote was, “It is exciting!” However, the prevailing belief in the area is that Dollywood will be one of the first amusement parks to reopen.

In fact, Dollywood had planned to open in mid-March before Coronavirus issues became impossible to ignore.

The Pigeon Forge Chamber of Commerce provided an update in late April with a projected reopening date. Here’s the relevant part:

The Pigeon Forge Chamber posted a video on its Facebook page saying they’d heard Dollywood would reopen on June 1st, but that information is not confirmed.”

I’m dubious about a June 1st reopening, as the company should have rehired employees by now to meet that deadline. However, it’s the most recent available information.


A Chinese theme park company, Fantawild, reopened only a few weeks after the pandemic began. Ignoring that group, Europa-Park will become the first major park to reopen.

Current plans call for a May 29th return. On May 18th, the hotel dining venues will return. So, this park will operate fully for most of the summer months, albeit with capacity limitations.

Interestingly, the water park will remain closed. Some American water parks have reopened, but none of the majors have yet.

Six Flags

You’re likely to have a Six Flags relatively close to you. After all, this company operates 26 theme parks in North America. Reopening all of them simultaneously isn’t feasible.

Instead, Six Flags will first reopen in states with more lax pandemic policies. For example, Six Flags Great Adventure will return soon, albeit in a limited capacity. The drive-thru safari will reopen once the company has finalized safety measures.

Then, the parks will come back as government officials allow. Some states have relaxed their pandemic measures. Others like California have stringent anti-gathering policies in place. So, Six Flags will pick and choose where and when its parks reopen.