Legoland Florida reopened to the public this morning, kicking off the return of America's theme parks.
The Orlando Sentinel's Gabrielle Russon reported that about 100 guests queued in front of the Winter Haven park as it opened this morning. The majority were not wearing masks, as Legoland is not requiring them - a departure from what is becoming industry practice in the United States.
Legoland has modified its operations to encourage social distancing from spacing cars in the parking lot to marking queues and spacing tables in restaurants to keep families six feet apart. Legoland also has installed hand sanitizer dispensers throughout the resort and is encouraging cashless and touchless forms of payment as it looks to minimize opportunities for the virus to spread.
One of the interesting developments during this pandemic for fans is learning more detail about parks' operations. General Manager Rex Jackson told the Winter Haven city commission last month that the park would operate with a daily capacity of about 6,000 guests, which is 50 percent of the park's maximum.
Legoland Florida doesn't show up on the TEA/AECOM Theme Index report, meaning that its annual attendance is less than 3.1 million a year. The latest I heard was that Legoland's attendance comes in between one and two million annually. Doing the math, with two million annual visitors, a park that's open year-round but taking Wednesdays off during the school year, as Legoland Florida does, would do an average daily attendance of about... 6,000 people.
Attendance is rarely distributed evenly throughout the year at a park, so a 6,000-person limit would cut off access to some visitors on above-average summer days. But with international borders closed and interstate travel sharply down sharply, it's hard to imagine that any park is going to experience an "above average" day this summer. That said, putting 6,000 people in the spacious Legoland Florida property still allows plenty of area for people to spread out, so social distancing should not be a problem within the park even if it were to hit its new capacity limit.
Next up to reopen is Universal Orlando, which welcomes back guests for a reservation-only soft opening on Wednesday and Thursday and all comers on June 5.
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