A Chain Lift in A Roller Coaster of A Year

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Sebastian Buchman

Theme parks in the United States are opening for the first time since March. Because of seasonal operations in parks with cold winters, this is the first time some parks have opened this year.

The 2020 season was initially jeopardized by the pandemic and companies suffered severe financial losses due to the inability to open to guests, such as prominent theme park chain Cedar Fair’s revenue declining 98% for the second fiscal quarter, as reported by MarketWatch.

New rules have been put in place at theme parks. Ryan Kiddle, a senior who went to both Disney World and Universal Orlando in July, said that ride seating had “larger spaces between other parties” and that “they had temp checks and safety spacing”, along with a mask mandate.

New rides that were scheduled to open for this season will remain closed and will open next year in many parks, such as Cedar Point’s Snake River Expedition family adventure ride. Additionally, 2020 season passes will be valid for 2021 as well in many parks.

Six Flags Great America is only operating Hurricane Harbor while the theme park remains closed. The CDC says that “there is no evidence that the virus that causes COVID-19 can be spread to people through the water in pools…or water playgrounds” and that “disinfection of the water (with chlorine or bromine) should inactivate the virus”.

Six Flags Great America was reached out for comment on whether or not Fright Fest will take place this year, but they did not respond.

Overall, while there are obviously differences between a regular season for theme parks, both operators and guests alike have some light at the end of the tunnel with much progress being made on the front of opening parks back up after the prolonged hiatus.