Theme Parks amidst Covid-19

Seniors+Shelby+Gay+and+Tyla+Hall+at+Universal+Studios.+%22I+go+every+other+weekend%21%22+said+Shelby.

Photo provided by: Shelby Gay

Seniors Shelby Gay and Tyla Hall at Universal Studios. “I go every other weekend!” said Shelby.

Erin Huguenin, Staff Reporter

  Despite the controversy surrounding the matter, theme parks such as Walt Disney World and Universal Studios have chosen to reopen amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, taking extensive measures to guarantee the safety of staff and guests. 

  Both parks have been met with much lower attendance than usual, with Disney World attendance down as much as 80 percent, while Universal – doing slightly better – saw a decrease of 64 percent. With decreased attendance, the parks saw a crippling financial decline as well. Together Disney and Universal together totaled over 1.5 billion dollars in losses. The choice of reopening has drawn both criticism and praise from avid theme park goers. While many are excited they can resume their theme park activities, many disagree with this decision. Disney has faced backlash from those opposed to mandatory masks, with various social media posts going viral of park goers unhappy in regards to this new requirement. 

   Despite the criticism, Disney made the decision to tighten mask requirements just a week after opening. The company claims to be following increased precautionary measures and enforcing social distancing and various temperature checks. However, the claims on these measures seem unclear, as some feel that Disney has yet to meet the standards necessary to maintain a healthy environment. 

 “I felt there weren’t enough precautions being done to keep the guests safe and healthy,” junior Gwyneth Tolbert said. “I wish they would have enforced social distancing more.”

  Disney Parks are currently operating with reservation admission only, and each visit is limited to only one park. Universal, on the contrary, is not requiring reservations but is utilizing virtual line experiences and limited capacity. As a result, visitors’ park experiences have shifted due to these new rules and regulations.

“I just didn’t have as much fun as I usually would’ve because every moment I just thought about the germs that could be spread around,” senior Malachi Page said. “Most of the other guests besides the group I was with didn’t really wear their masks from what I saw.”

   Some are finding it hard to have an enjoyable experience throughout the pandemic, but others are adjusting well to the changes.  The changing atmosphere of the parks is bound to have an impact on attendees, however that does not take away from the joy and fun some get from visiting them.

“I always have a fun experience, even despite the pandemic,” senior Shelby Gay said. “They did a great job of keeping everyone away from each other and calling out people for not wearing masks”