While we eagerly await official announcements on when Disney, Universal and SeaWorld theme parks are going to reopen their gates, there is inevitably a massive amount of work being done by teams of experts on extensive and detailed reopening plans. These plans are having to be put into place to ensure government safety guidelines are adhered to in order to keep cast members/employees and guests safe whilst COVID-19 is still present.

With news from Florida's Governor, Ron DeSantis, that theme parks are able to reopen once plans have been submitted and passed by the Governor as well as their local government officials (county and city mayors, etc),Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando Resort and More Get OK For Reopening With Stipulations, there has been positivity amongst eager theme parks fans who can't wait to be able to get back to the parks when they reopen.

As part of these plans, proposed mandatory mask wearing for guests, has been announced by Disney for guests hoping to visit Walt Disney World. This appears to have divided the theme park world but it is a measure that will be in place when Walt Disney World reopens its gates. Already mask wearing and temperature tests have been in place at Disney Springs and Universal CityWalk.

The Miami Herald and Orlando Sentinel reported on May 19, that Daniel Leavelle, owner of theme park blog Midway Mayhem had been told that SeaWorld were to be testing Mako, which is its fastest roller coaster but one that doesn't invert, with employees. He was able to take photos during the hour he reported it ran for, explaining that there was approximately 15 to 20 employees on board and they were testing four different styles of masks (N-95, cloth, mesh and face masks).

You can see The Orlando Sentinel's images of the ride being tested HERE. To see a video of part of the test run visit Youtube.

Although there has not been an official report from SeaWorld yet, Daniel Leavelle said in the interview with Miami Herald that during the testing he didn't see any masks coming off any riders. You can also see clearly from the images, the use of social distancing measures that were being tested. Single riders appear to have been seated on the outside seats, couples in the middle two central seats and larger groups filling complete rows. This gives an idea of what is being tested but this may change considerably when the parks reopen, only time will tell.

The Miami Herald report includes this from a spokesperson from SeaWorld, “SeaWorld’s team of experts is currently making necessary preparations to reopen and operate our parks as soon as safely possible, including the testing of rides, new sanitation protocols and a number of other enhanced health and safety related measures,".

It would be very interesting to find out about testing that has, or is being done on coasters that invert such as Manta and Kraken. Will they have the same positive results when it comes to being secure if riders are required to wear masks?

Manta, SeaWorld
Image: Theme Park Tourist

For Efteling, the theme park located in The Netherlands, which has reopened today (May 20, 2020) mask wearing is not mandatory, guests are permitted to wear masks if they choose to in the park but it has been specifically stated on their website that masks are not permitted on any rides. It is interesting to see the different approaches that are having to be taken by theme park operators in different countries in order to meet the safety guidelines set by the goverment. 

We will bring you all the latest news from Disney, Universal, SeaWorld and other theme parks in the US, UK and around the globe regarding their reopening plans as well as dates when they are announced. Keep checking our News Page and Facebook page for the latest official announcements.

We are continuing to do our best to bring you new informative and entertaining features at a time when the news is understandably saturated by COVID-19 pandemic coverage.  If you fancy a chilled few minutes then be sure to check out one or more of our latest features below:

To see all of our latest features visit our Features Page.


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