Home » Initial Government Guidelines for Reopening Theme Parks Released

Initial Government Guidelines for Reopening Theme Parks Released

Dumbo The Flying Elephant

All theme parks in Florida and California, including Universal Orlando Resort, Walt Disney World and Disneyland which are all, for the moment, closed indefinitely. However, as individual states and regions ease social distancing regulations, many have been asking when these theme parks may reopen, and under what conditions we might once again be able to visit these world-renowned destinations. And now, thanks to local governments in both Florida and California, we now have some idea what that will look like.

Theme parks in Central Florida

Earlier this week Orange County’s Economic Recovery Task Force released some recommendations and mandates that they are considering for industries when each are allowed to re-open, including both small and large theme parks. First of all, the earliest date being considered for a partial reopening is May 11th, but  Mayor Jerry Demmings has cautioned that this is likely a best case scenario and still too early for practical reasons. 

According to the recommendations and guidelines (which you can check out here), there will be two phases for theme park reopening. Phase one will cap attendance at 50 percent capacity, and phase two will up the attendance level to 75 percent capacity. These attendance restrictions apply to both “major” theme parks like Walt Disney World and “minor” theme parks like Gatorland and Fun Spot. 

In addition to the attendance caps, the following mandates will be in effect for theme parks that operate while social distancing is still being recommended:

  • All employees must wear face masks
  • Touchless hand sanitizer stations must be placed at the park entrance as well as every attraction entry and exit
  • All employees must have a temperature check prior to their shift and any above 100.4 degrees will be sent home
  • All railing and surfaces must be wiped down regularly.

All of these are “must do” for all theme parks, and though not required, it is being recommended that theme parks encourage physical distance between guests by using tape to mark off 6-foot spaces in attraction queues so guests can stay away from one another. 

Though these are preliminary ideas from the local government about theme park reopenings are not set in stone, they do give us an idea about what is currently under consideration in Florida. And while things are looking promising in the Sunshine State, over in California things aren’t looking especially promising…

Theme Parks in California

Over in California, Governor Gavin Newsom laid out a four-stage plan for reopening California’s economy, and while there was some good news for local businesses looking to reopen, it looks like theme parks won’t be able to begin welcoming guests again for quite some time under the plan. Though theme parks are technically mentioned specifically, the plan says that large gatherings, like concerts and sporting events, will not be able to resume until there is a reliable treatment for COVID-19.

Though this plan is fluid and a special category for theme parks could be created that would allow Disneyland Resort, Universal Studios Hollywood, Knott’s Berry Farm, Six Flags Magic Mountain, and other local parks to reopen, right now it looks like California is playing things much more conservatively than Florida. 

Unfortunately right now there doesn’t seem to be a hard reopening date or specific plan in place for either coast, but as we learn more about these tentative plans, we’ll let you know more! 

As always, while this situation is evolving, all theme park fans should check out the CDC’s official site here, which has information on the virus and how to prevent its spread. 

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