Right now, all eyes are on Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ task force to reopen Florida’s economy, which is supposed to be giving an update in the near future about when (and under what circumstances) theme parks in central Florida can reopen. And while we'll post news out of this task force as we hear it, as summer approaches we can't help but think about the world class water parks in central Florida, including Typhoon Lagoon, Blizzard Beach, Volcano Bay, Aquatica , and Adventure Island. Of course, while nothing is set in stone, we think it will be a LONG time before water parks reopen, and here's why:
1. Social distancing is impossible in many situations
Though simple waterslides or those you can ride with a single rider tube or mat might be easy to social distance on, any attraction that requires multiple riders on a raft won't be able to run while social distancing is still being recommended by the CDC. And though the chemicals in the treated water do kill viruses, the CDC says that individuals in chemically-treated water should continue to protect themselves and others at recreational water venues both in and out of the water by practicing social distancing and good hand hygiene. This would also make high capacity pools, wave pools, and lazy rivers unable to operate under the current guidelines.
2. The problem with queues
Right now one of the big issues that theme park operators are working on is how to make queues safer for guests who need to stay six feet apart. However, at water parks this may present some additional issues. Not only are queues at water parks shorter and more tightly packed (which would make physically distancing a challenge), but with guests carrying around tubes, mats, etc., there are more potential contact points inside water park queues than in your standard theme park queue as well, complicating matters further.
Interestingly, the one water park that does not have this issue is Universal Orlando Resort's Volcano Bay, which uses virtual queues only. However, even though Universal's water park doesn't have close quarters queues, there is another problem they (and other water parks) would have to contend with when it comes to reopening in the coming months...