Complaints about crowding at Disneyland and Disney World won’t fly in the court of public opinion or in state houses in Sacramento or Tallahassee when Disney’s U.S. theme parks eventually reopen in the COVID-19 era.
Disney, Universal, SeaWorld, Six Flags, Cedar Fair, Legoland and regional U.S. theme parks are expected to operate with social distancing-friendly attendance caps in place once they reopen following their extended coronavirus closures.
Sign up for our Park Life newsletter and find out what’s new and interesting every week at Southern California’s theme parks. Subscribe here.
SEE ALSO: First U.S. theme parks set post-coronavirus reopening dates
Post-COVID-19 theme park capacity limits will vary widely by state and change over time as each locale gets the coronavirus outbreak under control. But most parks are expected to reopen with limits of 25% to 75% of normal capacity.
But what does normal capacity mean? Is that the fire code limit for the park? A theoretical maximum capacity? Or the average daily attendance?
Florida’s Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force laid out preliminary plans for a phased reopening of theme parks in the Orlando area once the coronavirus crisis begins to wane. The Florida task force’s initial recommendations call for Disney World and Universal Orlando theme parks to reopen at 50% capacity in Phase 1 and at 75% in Phase 2.
SEE ALSO: Analysts say park closures could cost Disney $27 million daily
California Gov. Gavin Newsom unveiled a four-stage plan for reopening the state economy that didn’t specifically mention theme parks and offered no details on what restrictions would be put in place when Disneyland, Universal and other parks eventually reopen their gates. No post-COVID-19 reopening dates have been set for Disney, Universal and SeaWorld parks in California.
The Shanghai Disneyland theme park in China reopened to visitors with advance reservations on May 11. Attendance was limited to 24,000 visitors — 30% of Shanghai Disneyland’s 80,000 capacity. New Disney CEO Bob Chapek said actual attendance at Shanghai Disneyland would start “far below that” and increase by 5,000 visitors each week with the Chinese government’s permission.
SEE ALSO: First Florida theme parks set post-coronavirus reopening dates in June
Shanghai Disneyland’s 80,000-visitor capacity is similar to Disneyland’s estimated capacity.
Disneyland’s capacity was approximately 75,000 visitors before the addition of Galaxy’s Edge and is approximately 85,000 when you include the new 14-acre Star Wars themed land, according to Touring Plans, which uses big data and statistical analysis to calculate daily theme park crowd sizes.
An attendance cap of 25% would bring Disneyland’s theoretical COVID-19 capacity down to 21,250 visitors. A 50% cap would work out to 42,500 Disneyland visitors.
“That’s why the phased ‘50% capacity’ guideline doesn’t make a lot of sense,” Touring Plans president Len Testa said by email. “That’s probably pretty close to how many people are in the park at peak time during an average day.”
Disneyland attracts an average of 51,000 visitors per day, according to the Themed Entertainment Association.
“But all of those people aren’t in the park at the same time,” Testa said.
Testa estimates …read more
Source:: Los Angeles Daily News