[Updated] Now that we have officially announced reopening dates for the eight largest theme parks in America - including those from Walt Disney World, Disneyland, and Universal Orlando - it's time to ask the question: Are you ready to go back to a theme park?
I suspect that several of you already have, as Universal Orlando, SeaWorld and Busch Gardens have returned to welcoming guests in Florida. But judging from the relatively light crowds at those and other parks since their reopenings, I also know that the vast majority of you haven't been back to a theme park since they began closing last winter due to the pandemic.
That pandemic has not ended. Nor has the economy even begun to recover from the global recession/depression caused by shutting down businesses around the world. Reading comments here on Theme Park Insider and our social media channels, I can see the pain, frustration, fear, and anger that so many people are feeling as a result of this pandemic, the resulting economic collapse, and the social unrest that has followed.
For many, that combination makes this both the perfect time to want to get away and go on a theme park vacation - and possibly the worst imaginable time actually to do that.
Arguing in favor of visiting parks this summer, we have emerging research that suggests the risk of transmission is much lower outside than in, and for people moving around rather than staying still in groups. With six-foot spacing in queues or the use of virtual ones, theme parks might offer a safer environment for people to get out than going to shopping malls or dine-in restaurants.
Arguing against visiting theme parks is this, shared with me by a friend in the Orlando area....
It's not any better in California, either.
Rather than getting into a big debate over what parks should or should not be doing in response to the virus, let's get some actual data that might suggest what the future holds. Allow me simply to ask about your travel plans for the summer. Will you be going to any theme parks? If so, will you plan overnight trips or just visits to a local park? If you are traveling, will you be doing as much as you would have planned before the virus?
In the comments, please tell us about the next theme park visit you're considering - whether it'll be this summer or later in the future. Where will you go, and when?
Wherever you go and whatever you do, please take care of not only yourself but everyone around you. Best wishes.Tweet
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