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Coronavirus: Impact on Theme Parks

Theme Parks open in a week!!! (Unfortunately for me so do pubs)

I would have gone Towers on Monday (6th...) But looks like we’re finally going to Energylandia on that day after 2 date changes!!! No cancellation this time, we’ve been given more than 2 weeks notice of cancellation every other time 🤞

So 13th for Towers, 15th for Thorpe... And not booked yet but may do BPB on the 16th...

Can we all just look forward to getting back to parks and quit the bickering bulls**t... Regardless of any differing views (it’s a forum, ‘different views’ is kinda the point) You’re all good people, and I credit many of you and this forum with helping to keep me sane, well at least as sane as I ever was, during this crappy pandemic. 😘

It’s perhaps time we steer at least some of the coversation in this thread back to @JammyH ’s original question...

Now there’s light at the end of the tunnel what do we think the impact will be ‘economically’ on certain parks and the industry as a whole?

I’ll start with my view on Merlin. I can see them taking a huge hit in their midway / indoor attractions... Who’s gonna want to go around the dungeons in a crowd? How would that even work with distancing? How profitable would paying actors be for smaller groups?

But with the size of their parks, the timing of the unlock, their parks may actually benefit. We all know from experience how empty these parks are up until July... Everything is walk on, that cannot be profitable.

so they get to open them at peak time, with what will probably be close to their usual capacity. Demand will be extremely high due to the boredom of lockdown, and the lack of foreign holidays as well as the public starting to understand that outdoors is the safest place to be. On top of this they are not yet honouring any vouchers, and are saving only a limited number of spaces for annual pass holders who must pay £1 (though it should be noted that I predict this £1 is actually the fee accesso charges)

Could this lead to Merlin switching their direction and showing more love to parks and less to indoor attractions?
 

Matt N

Well-Known Member
I potentially think Merlin could suffer more than some other theme park companies due to the sheer size of the company and the type of attractions they operate. That being said, most of, if not all of the midways are apparently opening on 4th July, so maybe they will reap the benefits of the UK’s exit strategy?

Also, @Nicky Borrill, the reason why they show so much love for midways is because one of their key goals as a company is to beat Disney in terms of worldwide visitor figures, and building midways is a very easy way to do that. As much as Merlin does care about the RTPs and gives them good investment on the whole, the midways and Legolands are definitely more key to the company’s growth strategy.
 

JoshC.

Active Member
In my eyes, the UK theme park market has been at a massive standstill over the last 10 years. Regardless of the coronavirus pandemic, merlin dominate the UK market, and the other parks can't provide sufficient competition to force merlin to put the effort or the money into standout new attractions. In other countries such as holland and Germany, parks are constantly challenging each other with new investments and pushing new technologies, which forces the other parks to invest. In the UK, merlin dominates the market, and therefore their "new investments" can just be filler attractions as they know they will draw in the visitors and make a good return regardless.
The UK theme park market over the last 10 years has seen: Th13teen, Smiler, Wicker Man, Swarm, Derren Brown's Ghost Train (regardless of how it's ended up, it was, as Matt says, a large investment) and Icon. There's been solid mid-level investments in Lost Kingdom, Peppa Pig World, Thomas Land and multiple dark rides at Legoland. It's nothing world class, but I'd still say that's pretty damn good. It's easy to look at other countries and go "wow, they're getting amazing stuff". But honestly, the UK hasn't exactly been at standstill.


[/QUOTE]
 

BlueSonicHD

Member
The UK theme park market over the last 10 years has seen: Th13teen, Smiler, Wicker Man, Swarm, Derren Brown's Ghost Train (regardless of how it's ended up, it was, as Matt says, a large investment) and Icon. There's been solid mid-level investments in Lost Kingdom, Peppa Pig World, Thomas Land and multiple dark rides at Legoland. It's nothing world class, but I'd still say that's pretty damn good. It's easy to look at other countries and go "wow, they're getting amazing stuff". But honestly, the UK hasn't exactly been at standstill.
[/QUOTE]
there has been much investment however the amount that has been lost and allowed to rot far exceeds what has been spent, so ending in a net loss 😟
 

JammyH

Member
Longleat safari park today was truly awful, aside from the monkeys climbing on my car, doing hundreds of pounds worth of damage and being trapped in the “monkey jungle” for over half an hour due to low staffing(meaning they only had one staff member operating both the entrance and exit gates) , the walkthrough grounds themselves were so overcrowded and no one was social distancing.

One way systems set up throughout the grounds which made no sense, horrendous queues to see animals such as red pandas, koalas and birds etc. An absolutely horrendous queue for the longleat railway where people were ignoring the social distancing markers on the ground and just queueing up like normal. And the hedge maze was “open”, but they only let one group in at a time and you have to prebook a 45 min time slot at the beginning of the day, meaning only a total of 9 groups(max 40 people throughout the whole day) got to go into the hedge maze out of thousands of people there- safe to say by the time we got to the hedge maze all of the slots were full, which was pretty disappointing as I had pencilled it into the schedule and there was no advertising on the website/app that the hedge maze needed to be booked.

The only one positive was staff were wearing a lot of PPE, face shields and face masks. But the park set up was truly awful, and there was no enforcement of social distancing whatsoever, there were several times when people came too close and it made me feel pretty uncomfortable.

A real comparison to Whipsnade zoo, which was very spacious and lots of social distancing was going on in comparison, and good enforcement of social distancing by staff in crowded and bottleneck areas, such as the lion viewing point. Longleat was the complete opposite, overcrowded and completely congested, the queues for the toilets at longleat were horrendous. I know it was a saturday today but both parks were sold out upon visiting so longleat must have been letting way more people in per sq m compared to Whipsnade.
 
Longleat safari park today was truly awful, aside from the monkeys climbing on my car, doing hundreds of pounds worth of damage and being trapped in the “monkey jungle” for over half an hour due to low staffing(meaning they only had one staff member operating both the entrance and exit gates) , the walkthrough grounds themselves were so overcrowded and no one was social distancing.

One way systems set up throughout the grounds which made no sense, horrendous queues to see animals such as red pandas, koalas and birds etc. An absolutely horrendous queue for the longleat railway where people were ignoring the social distancing markers on the ground and just queueing up like normal. And the hedge maze was “open”, but they only let one group in at a time and you have to prebook a 45 min time slot at the beginning of the day, meaning only a total of 9 groups(max 40 people throughout the whole day) got to go into the hedge maze out of thousands of people there- safe to say by the time we got to the hedge maze all of the slots were full, which was pretty disappointing as I had pencilled it into the schedule and there was no advertising on the website/app that the hedge maze needed to be booked.

The only one positive was staff were wearing a lot of PPE, face shields and face masks. But the park set up was truly awful, and there was no enforcement of social distancing whatsoever, there were several times when people came too close and it made me feel pretty uncomfortable.

A real comparison to Whipsnade zoo, which was very spacious and lots of social distancing was going on in comparison, and good enforcement of social distancing by staff in crowded and bottleneck areas, such as the lion viewing point. Longleat was the complete opposite, overcrowded and completely congested, the queues for the toilets at longleat were horrendous. I know it was a saturday today but both parks were sold out upon visiting so longleat must have been letting way more people in per sq m compared to Whipsnade.
I’m so sorry you felt uncomfortable buddy, this was my fear with lack of compulsory masks... It’s exactly what I witnessed in Europe in countries where masks were required, and countries where they weren't... The difference being that the countries where masks were obligatory, we felt better...

This WILL be the same with UK theme parks imo...
 

JammyH

Member
I’m so sorry you felt uncomfortable buddy, this was my fear with lack of compulsory masks... It’s exactly what I witnessed in Europe in countries where masks were required, and countries where they weren't... The difference being that the countries where masks were obligatory, we felt better...

This WILL be the same with UK theme parks imo...
The thing is though as well, in the netherlands, with population density accounted for, you are four times less likely to catch covid than currently in the UK. So if there is little social distancing in the parks in holland, you are four times safer than with little social distancing at parks in England.

In a country like Germany, you are 2-3 times less likely to catch this virus based on population density, but with the addition of face masks as a compulsory requirement, it definitely makes you better protected than visiting a park in the UK.

I am still sceptical about going to uk theme parks. I will be avoiding opening weekend for sure and seeing how it is all managed with social distancing and no mask requirement. If it all looks good, then I might go somewhere a week or two later, but I am doubtful that it will be well-managed.

Luckily a lot of theme park queues are also outside, and we know transmission outside is much less than transmission inside, and therefore queueing outside is a much safer process in terms of covid compared to queueing up indoors.
 

Matt N

Well-Known Member
Tayto Park in Ireland are reopening tomorrow and following the trend have demonstrated how distancing on rides will look with bears and other cuddly animals.
http://instagr.am/p/CB-bjDRAVep/
Does Ireland still have a 2m rule in place, then? Because the report on BBC Midlands at Alton Towers suggested that Wicker Man could potentially run at full capacity with 1m distancing in place like Boris is allowing from 4th July, as the rows are all roughly 1m apart. Towers are enforcing face masks on all of the larger rides, so I think this may well be something they aim for.

I was merely surprised that Tayto don’t seem to be doing the same.
 

BlueSonicHD

Member
think Alton Towers need to rethink Towers Trading.
Was a bit busy in there today.
One way in. One way out.
Only exit was to join the payment queue for the tills.
The amount of people picking stuff up. Looking and putting it back.
1 guy tried 4 different hoodies on but never brought them. :eek:
Kids running riot.
Only came as thought it would be quiet seeing as it’s last day open before next weekend.
Silly me 🙃
 

JammyH

Member
So for those interested, today is 29th June, which is quarantine review day!

This article suggests the “air bridges” has been replaced with a traffic light system. Any country marked “green” or “Amber” has lower covid concentrations in the population than we do (almost every country in the world bar a few) and you won’t have to quarantine when returning from these countries.

According to this article, the only countries with a “red” traffic light, and mandatory quarantine when returning from these countries, are Argentina, Brazil, chile, Columbia, Egypt, India, Israel, Mexico, morocco, South Africa and the USA.

I’m not sure where Sweden lies as it’s not mentioned in the article and covid transmission is higher than in the uk, so I expect it will be given a red traffic light also.


I imagine we will find out more this afternoon.
 

Matt N

Well-Known Member
Good news for the Florida theme park industry; Universal Orlando has today been cited by Florida governor Ron DeSantis as a fantastic example of good virus guidelines that will allow things to stay open:
This should hopefully permit Universal to stay open for the foreseeable, and here’s hoping that endorsement by the Florida governor will convince people that theme parks are safe places to visit!

I admit that Florida cases are spiking rapidly, however with the approach the state is taking, I think it’s probably best for me to root for the parks staying open.
 

Hyde

I Lied About My Age!
Staff member
Moderator
Social Media Team
To put some number to it, Florida is currently reporting 6,255 new cases a day (that's nearly 7x the daily new case rate for the entire UK at present); the largest state for news cases in the U.S. Florida's governor has systemically done a dreadful job for quarantine and containment; there is an outside chance Disney and Universal would voluntarily shutdown again, similar to how Apple has re-closed stores in Arizona and Florida.

1593448070147.png

Greater testing effort indeed has caused numbers to inflate, the CDC estimates only 1 in 10 COVID cases are actually being reported, with the remainder staying home sick/unaware they've contracted; but make no mistake that Florida is, and will most likely remain, one of the hottest Covid cases throughout the summer.

That all being said, Kings Island and Cedar Point are now officially booking reservations for visit. Have the first half of July planned accordingly:
 

cookie

Member
Arizona is now basically shutting down for at least thirty days. That should serve as a warning for other states with spiking case rates.
 

Will

Active Member
I'm never sure what topic to put things into at the moment, but WMSP was a disappointment today.
It was the first time since March 20 that the brother had gone more than 10 miles from the house and we were well aware that only the safari drive through was open (hence just £10 per person). However, despite advance booking and time-slots etc. the number of cars on the safari route was just daft and at times we spent up to an hour in a line of cars with nothing to look at. We managed to have a laugh and make the best of the situation, but no hurry to go again - I know it can get busy in there, but I've never seen it anything like that before.

I fear they may struggle from Saturday if that level of people are still going in and trying to enjoy the additional attractions as well.
 

Matt N

Well-Known Member
Sorry to hear you didn't enjoy your day @Will. Although if nothing else, I guess it paints a promising picture for the recovery of UK tourism post-COVID if the crowds are still flocking to attractions!
 
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