Admittedly I’ve just about stopped following a lot of the Disney blogs that I used to read because it’s becoming painfully clear that they’re very desperate for content right now.
Every random word from anyone near the industry is followed by pages of speculation on what the parks reopening might look like, which is then followed by pages of comments from fans saying how ridiculous ideas of masks and social distancing are in theme parks, and how they’d ruin the magic (OMG), and how even if Disney’s doing it over in China, Americans wouldn’t stand for it…
…and so on, and so forth.
Truth be told, at least as far as Disney is concerned, you couldn’t pay me to go back to one of their parks right now, so aside from that I find it interesting to hear their ideas for how to cope with this new reality that we face, I don’t really have a dog in this fight.
I still stand that Disney World has gotten too expensive for my family of five to enjoy and the idea of reduced entertainment and attractions doesn’t help with that much because let’s be honest, we could literally be facing the apocalypse and Disney wouldn’t even consider reducing its ticket prices on account of the end of the world and all! 😛
We do, however, have annual passes for Legoland Florida and Busch Gardens and our local zoo, and with my kids growing more stir crazy by the second, I can envision a time when we would go back to those places for a break from isolation and some family fun. But here’s what I need to see before that’s going to happen…
- A drastic reduction in new cases and deaths, both statewide and nationally. This is frankly my biggest issue with the businesses that are reopening right now is because I think you really have to turn your head sideways to find the “downward trajectory” that the White House identified, and then almost immediately ignored with its own Guidelines for Reopening America. Theme parks, and honestly a lot of other things, are luxuries at best, so I need to see more than just minimal progress before I’ll feel comfortable spending an extended afternoon with thousands of random strangers.
- A visible reduction in crowds, which is honestly going to look different for each park … and another reason why you couldn’t pay me to go to the Magic Kingdom at the first available rope drop because I can’t remember a time in the last couple of years when that place hasn’t been absolutely packed. And sure, in theory parks are going to limit attendance to maybe 25% or 50%, but with them also limiting attractions and probably closing off areas and walkways altogether, I want to see pictures that other people can take of just what these reduced crowds will look like before I can decide whether they’re thin enough for my family’s safety.
- A wide acceptance of PPE in use, both by other guests as well as employees. Actually, I’m not even sure if I’d go as long as we’re expected to wear masks, but right now when I can go to my doctor’s office and see half a dozen medical professionals all employed by the same company with their own interpretations on what’s appropriate??? No thanks – I want to see things like masks and hand sanitizer freely available and regularly being used, not just left up to each individual’s discretion.
To the extent that I’m in no hurry to go back to a theme park in these conditions, I can somewhat understand how people think that things like PPE and distancing will negatively impact their visits … but I don’t say that as a justification for simply not doing anything at all and just opening up the floodgates, consequences be damned.
I feel like after the world has seen such a brutal impact from COVID-19, it feels premature to be talking about how we can gather tens of thousands of people in close proximity when we’re still in the early stages of doing so with the much smaller businesses around our communities. And sure, I do get how theme parks are entertainment and offer a break from reality that is sorely needed right now, but we might still be at a point where there’s simply no amount of precautions we can take that make large gatherings a good idea.
I know that we’ll get back there eventually, but it’s nowhere near a priority at least in my life.