When the area theme parks closed in March of this year as a result of COVID-19, things got very quiet in the attractions community. But now, many parks are starting to reopen to guests and share plans for how they prepare to move forward with safety and health protocols that have become our “new normal.”
Here’s what you need to know about your favorite nearby theme parks as they gear up for reopening:
Walt Disney World
Walt Disney World is reopening in phases, starting with the Disney Vacation Club resorts in Vero Beach, Fla. and Hilton Head, S.C. on June 15, then the Disney Vacation Club resorts and Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground at Walt Disney World on June 22, Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Animal Kingdom on July 11, and Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios on July 15. Disney Springs reopened to guests on May 20.
When visiting Walt Disney World Resort, all guests ages 2 and up will be required to wear a face mask at all times, except for when dining. Temperature screenings will also be required; guests who have a temperature above 100.4 degrees will not be permitted to enter the theme parks. Capacity will be limited at the parks, and guests will be required to have a theme park reservation for their visit in addition to their ticket.
Universal Orlando Resort
Universal Orlando reopened its three theme parks to guests on June 5, after opening CityWalk back on May 14. Visiting guests are now required to wear face masks and observe social distancing guidelines, have temperature checks before coming on-site, and virtual lines are being utilized to control ride capacity. Park capacity is also being managed, though theme park reservations are not required to visit.
As for Universal Orlando’s resort hotels, all hotels reopened on June 2, except for Loews Portofino Bay Hotel and Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Dockside Inn and Suites. Face mask and temperature check requirements are also in place here.
SeaWorld Orlando reopened its gates to guests on June 11. Guests ages 2 and up are required to wear face masks when visiting the parks but will be provided one for free if they don’t bring their own. All guests are also required to undergo a temperature screening before entering. Now that the park has reopened, it is only in operation five days a week.
In addition to these measures, SeaWorld Orlando also added a new online reservation system to help the park meet physical distancing guidelines and manage capacity. All guests with day tickets, Fun Cards, or Annual Passes must make a reservation online prior to their visit for the park, and bring their reservation eTicket and original admission to the front gate for entry.
Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
Like SeaWorld Orlando, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay also reopened to guests on June 11.
Their visit requirements for guests are the same as those for SeaWorld Orlando, including the wearing of face masks by all guests ages 2 and up, required temperature checks before entering, and reservations are required in addition to admission.
If visiting the animals at the park is a favorite activity of yours, you’ll want to keep in mind that some animal interactions have been modified for the park’s reopening. In addition, all open animal viewing spots have physical distancing markings to keep guests separated, and some tours and interactions have been limited to one party at a time.
Legoland Florida Resort
Legoland Florida Resort was the first major area park to reopen on June 1. At present, the park is operating at 50% capacity to allow for proper physical distancing, but reservations are not required in addition to admission to visit. Legoland Florida also chose to make face masks optional but “encouraged” for guests. Every employee is required to wear them, and the park will provide complimentary masks to guests ages 3 and up if they wish to wear one as well. However, temperature checks are required.
The park is filled with brick-themed spatial markers and kid-friendly signage to remind guests about the park’s new safety and health protocols. Legoland’s Model Citizens are also around to monitor attraction queues to ensure physical distancing.
Catch more theme park happenings, news, and updates here next month or every day at AttractionsMagazine.com.