Earlier this week, California released its theme park reopening guidelines for the state, which are so restrictive that it looks like any theme park openings for the foreseeable future will not occur until 2021. With theme parks in the state now grappling with the reality that it could be a very long time before they can reopen, many are looking at strategies to stay afloat during the current crisis.
One theme park that has actually had some success during the shutdown is Knott's Berry Farm, which has opened up its park for weekend "food festivals" where guests can walk around the park, enjoying limited time food and entertainment offerings for a single entry fee. Though no attractions are open, guests have been able to experience the ambiance of the park, and even meet characters like Snoopy, taking socially distanced pictures and interacting.
And now that other theme parks are facing a situation where they won't be able to open for several more months, they are paying attention to this idea, with a Universal Studios Hollywood representative confirming earlier this week that they are considering reopening food and retail operations in the park in an effort to get some employees back to work, saying "It is something that we are looking into. That should not though, in any way, mitigate for the problem of not having our entire park reopened."
Disney also weighed in on this option, but was less open to the idea, with Disneyland president Ken Potrock saying opening part of the parks for just dining and retail is "microscopic compared to opening our parks".
Unfortunately, it looks like Disneyland (as well as other California theme parks will need to find something to keep themselves generating income, as it seems very unlikely that any theme parks in the state will be able to reopen any time in 2020. What do you think about theme parks opening for just dining and retail? Is this a good idea or should theme parks in the state continue to stay completely shuttered while the restrictions are in place?