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Photo op with Mickey Mouse may be a thing of the past



Theme parks planning to reopen with lots of new rules and regs

theme parks, reopen, families, kids, safety, precautions, pandemic

Crowds and social “closeness” have been what makes theme parks successful, what makes them profitable, and keeps fans coming back year after year. We all know that a photo op in Disney World standing next to Mickey Mouse is one of the most popular experiences for almost every age. But what now? Park executes are scrambling to reopen in the age of coronavirus.

“Visitor attractions will feel and look like very different spaces when they reopen,” said Sabine Lehmann, founder and CEO of Curiositas, a consulting company specializing in attractions and tourism.

“We leave home in order to have shared experiences and it is precisely the sharing of the experience (whether in your group or with strangers) that will change,” she said.

Here’s what theme-park goers may see on the next visit to a theme park:

While health guidelines internationally and even state-to-state in the U.S. may vary, common Covid-19 measures have included 6-foot social distancing, the use of face masks, cleaning surfaces more often and checking people’s temperatures before admitting them to certain locations.

“How attractions are able to implement these without ‘sanitizing’ the whole experience will be interesting,” Lehmann said. “People want to be safe, but don’t want to sit in a cloud of disinfectant all day.” Parks are going to want guests to feel comfortable during their stay, so companies are going to go out of their way to show that areas are being cleaned regularly and will post plenty of signage for social distancing and sanitation stations.

Theme parks may place a cap on the number of attendees depending on the government guidelines in each state. For example, in Florida, theme parks may reopen with a 50% cap to start.  Rides, too, will have occupancy caps in order to maintain distance between passengers.

Park goers should expect to be asked to wear a mask and to have their temperature taken at the gate in addition to the standard security check. Folks will be permitted to remove their masks to eat, but it is unclear how parks plan on enforcing the use of masks throughout the day especially for those headed to hot states, like Florida. Disneyworld Executives are considering creating “relaxation zones” where guests can take off their mask.

Guests will have to purchase their tickets in advance, as parks are going to want to carefully control crowds. Similarly, many parks will offer cashless pay options, if those systems are not already in place, to help reduce the use of cash and physical touch between employees and guests. Mobile ordering at park restaurants will also likely become more prevalent, and plexiglass barriers may appear to separate cashiers and customers.

Additionally, any live events will be suspended for now anyway, including daily parades and nightly firework shows.




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