By Jessica Cuevas, March 9, 2021
After being closed for almost a year, California announced last week its plan to allow amusement parks to reopen amid the ongoing pandemic beginning April 1. The parks hope to offer a fun and safe return for staff and guests through implementations of safety regulations, including social distancing and mask requirements.
Cal Poly Pomona students can soon experience the parks again and reignite the excitement of visiting their favorite attractions, dining and shopping at locations like Disneyland, Six Flags, Universal Studios Hollywood and Knott’s Berry Farm. However, Disneyland, Universal Studios, and Knott’s will not be introducing rides anytime soon but instead will host food festivals.
To reattract guests, Disneyland plans to host a food event called “A Touch of Disney” where guests will be invited to experience the magic from March 18 to April 5. The new food festival offers a $25-worth dining card and access to Disney California Adventure for $75. Guests must wear a mask at all times, and Disneyland employees will check temperatures at entrances.
In anticipations of reopening plans, students expressed their excitement in revisiting the parks.
“I am happy to hear they are opening; it is bound to happen sooner or later,” said fourth-year political science student Christopher Donoyan. “It may not be the same but as long as they play it safe. I enjoy Disney and would love to go.”
Disneyland also plans to introduce a new membership program for a limited time to offer a wider range in ticket pricing due to the temporary hold on annual pass sales. CPP’s Bronco Student Center and the Games Room is not selling any tickets at the moment and will be closed until further notice, according to ASI Commercial Service Coordinator Sandra Solano.
Along with Disneyland, other parks like Universal Studios Hollywood are planning to manage crowds with limited capacity.
Universal Studios Hollywood also introduced an event called “Taste of Universal” that will open March 12 and run through selected weekends from noon to 7 p.m. Through the event, guests can enjoy outdoor dining and experience all kinds of food inspired by their favorite attractions.
Guests can also access the CityWalk to dine and shop at no entry cost but when going inside the park, they will be required to purchase their tickets online and wear a mask at all times. Universal plans to follow similar safety regulations as Disneyland for guests visiting the park, including social distancing, sanitizing, temperature checks and opening at a limited capacity.
“Since it is late into the pandemic, vaccines are out and there are testing measures and it would be good for people to get their minds off of everything and make people happy,” said Donoyan. “I am mostly outdoors so I am fine with it being open and it being in a large open space.”
Six Flags plans to reopen all rides and restaurants this spring. According to ABC News, Six Flags will reopen with limited guest capacity and sanitation after rides while maintaining social distancing protocols all around the park.
While some may be excited to revisit the amusement parks, other students disagree with the reopening plans.
“I don’t think it’s a smart move; it is more of a money move to me,” said fourth-year applied anthropology student Tammy Pham. “We are still in a pandemic and you don’t have to go. People should put the needs of others ahead of themselves.”
Pham explained that everyone deserves to have fun, but she feels it would be a lot safer for everyone if amusement parks remain closed.
“I would love for amusement parks to open up, but I think it isn’t the time yet,” said third-year early childhood education student Erika Gallardo, expressing similar concerns.
At Knott’s Berry Farm, the theme park is looking to hire 1,700 associates for the 2021 season as part of its reopening plans, according to ABC News.
Although it has not announced a set date on when the park will reopen with rides, Knotts plans to also host a food festival called “Taste of Boysenberry Festival” from March 5 through May 2. This event will offer more than 65 infused boysenberry dishes as well as drinks for students to enjoy while remaining socially distanced.
Knott’s plans to ensure safety by opening in a limited capacity, creating sanitation stations around the park and requiring health screening before entering.
Although California theme parks are granted permission to reopen on April 1, major parks, including Disneyland and Universal, may not return to full operations until after completing the previously scheduled special events.
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