Theme Parks Reopening in Tampa and Orlando

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Avery Owens

Every theme park in the Tampa and Orlando areas have reopened after being closed due to the Coronavirus. Although the amount of cases has risen, so have stakes for the parks.

Eve Murdick, Staffer

Every theme park in the Tampa and Orlando areas have reopened after being closed due to the Coronavirus. Although the amount of cases has risen, so have stakes for the parks. The stakes are at large for both guests and companies: the risk of the virus spreading and the loss of workers and money. Despite these challenges, theme parks have reopened with new regulations that have been able to reinforce coronavirus guidelines.   

Disney World closed its gates on Mar. 15, and Universal Studios closed the following day. Universal Studios was the first theme park in the Tampa and Orlando areas to reopen after the brief closure in mid-March due to COVID-19. They opened on Jun3, a month earlier than Disney World and Busch Gardens.  

These theme parks have created a reservation system to limit the capacity in their parks. This system is fully digital, and everyone is required to make a reservation prior to visiting. Also, people are often able to make same-day reservations which was added for a level of convenienceAnother new digital component is the accessibility to maps of theme parks on mobile phones instead of one-time use paper maps. As well as that, all guests over the age of two years old are required to get their temperature checked before entering and to wear a face mask.  

  There have been many new installations to reinforce CDC guidelines. These include hand sanitizers all around parks, stickers and paint markings on the ground to maintain social distancing and mask-relief stations. The mask-relief stations are in designated locations throughout the park where people have the ability to remove their masks due to the humid-Florida climate.  

For the first time in history, all six Disney theme parks closed in March. Now reopened, Disney World is suspending events that draw in crowds such as firework shows and parades. Fast-passes, Extra-Magic Hours and Character Meet and Greets are also suspended 

At Busch Gardens, where zoos and rides coexist on one property, there are also limitations and postponements. Animal exhibits with viewing areas have stickers that indicate social distancingAs well as that, some animal interactions have also been modified, and many tours are being limited to accommodating one party at a time. 

Universal Studios is limiting their operating hours from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. to control the number of guests that visit and allow for more time to clean the park. Universal’s CityWalk hours have not changed. In July, they also decided to cancel Halloween Horror Nights, which is an attraction after hours of Universal that is Halloween-themed and features haunted houses.   

After a few months break, it is now possible to get a small group of friends together and make a reservation at your local theme park while practicing CDC safety guidelines.