Reopening the fun: Amusement parks welcome thrillseekers

MAURA CHANEY, Entertainment Editor

     Since the announcement across the nation that amusement parks can reopen at a certain capacity, famous parks have taken advantage of the opportunity and have created fun while staying safe. 

     Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, reopened to the public in July 2020, just four months after the initial closing due to COVID-19 pandemic. The park has given a much different experience than what it was before the strike of the pandemic. USA Today says that there are many new safety precautions in place, including visitors having their temperature taken before entering, and wearing face masks throughout the park.

     Only two of the four parks Walt Disney World had reopened, Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom, with a combined crowd of just 16,000 visitors. In many cases, park employees have chosen to wear face-shields, which has grown in popularity in the hot areas. Social distancing is still greatly encouraged, even when waiting in lines for rides. 

     Hershey Park of Hershey, Pennsylvania, introduced new efforts to safely welcome back their guests. These efforts include the usual face masks requirement and guests having their temperature taken before entry, multiple sanitizing areas throughout the park, and even social distancing on rides. Rides with many seats will have empty seats scattered through the ride to ensure that guests are not breaking the six-foot distance rule, according to MSN News.

     Another popular Pennsylvania based amusement park is Knoebels, which welcomed their guests back in July. An attempt at staying safe while having fun that is different from other parks is Knoebels’ newly installed sneeze guards at food stands, gift shops, guest services and handstamp stations. Knoebels has made aware the possibility of extended lines due to social distancing not only in wait lines, but also on the ride. 

     In a poll conducted with 120 students, they were asked if they had a planned trip to an amusement park in 2020 that was canceled due to COVID-19. 42% of those students voted yes, they had to cancel a trip to an amusement park, and 58% said no, they did not. 

     Senior Nicole DeAtley didn’t let anything restrict her fun at Hershey Park. She says, “everyone was civil about wearing [masks] and you didn’t have to wear one in the waterpark, so I felt iffy about going there but they sanitized the tubes and everything so it made me feel better at least!”

     As parks are beginning to reopen across the country, new rules and safety regulations will be implemented to maintain a fun but safe experience for everyone.