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Coney Island will open for the 2021 season on April 9

by Samantha Davis-Friedman

After being closed for an entire season, both iconic parks in Coney Island, N.Y. — Luna Park and Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park — will welcome guests back for the first time since 2019.

Coney Island Wonder Wheel
Photo courtesy of Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park

Following the mandated closure for the entirety of the 2020 season due to COVID-19, the Coney Island Amusement District is eager to welcome visitors back to its parks on April 9, 2021.

“After a long and painful year of social isolation, New Yorkers are eager to get back to the boardwalk and enjoy a Nathan’s hotdog under the Wonder Wheel and Cyclone,” said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer. “As a native son of Brooklyn […], I’m proud to see this quintessentially New York attraction open this year.”

Luna Park at Coney Island

Cyclone
Photo by Bami Adedoyin/NYC & Co.

Known for its high thrills and exhilarating attractions, Luna Park is kicking off the opening day festivities at 11 a.m. with the traditional Egg Cream Christening of the Coney Island Cyclone presided over by Brooklyn Borough president Eric L. Adams and Alessandro Zamperla, president and CEO of Central Amusement International.

“It is incredibly exciting to finally have Luna Park in Coney Island filled with guests and joy after a very challenging year,” Zamperla said. “We are tremendously grateful for all of our frontline workers, the heroes who have saved countless lives and continue to help our community heal; for all of our team members who have been waiting since October 2019 to welcome back our guests; and for our community that is so vibrant and resilient.”

To honor Brooklyn’s own frontline workers, Luna Park is donating 500 admission wristbands to Hospital staff from the local Brooklyn community and their families. Plus, 100 frontline workers from local Brooklyn Hospitals will have the honor of being the first to ride the Coney Island Cyclone on opening day.

Coney Island AeroMax
The AeroMax
Photo courtesy of Luna Park

Guests can also expect to see new family-friendly rides on opening day, ranging from swings and coasters to racing games. The new rides include Circus Candy, Fire Patrol, Rainbowheel, AeroMax, Grand Prix, and Mini Mouse.

Deno’s Wonder Wheel at Coney Island

Coney Island Wonder Wheel
Photo by Julienne Schaer/NYC & Co.

The decades-long tradition of the “Blessing of the Rides” ceremony will take place on the boardwalk in front of Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park on April 9, 2021, at 10 a.m. ET. Following the opening ceremony, Deno’s will be providing free rides on the 101-year-old Wonder Wheel for 100 frontline workers, including EMT, FDNY, NYPD, and staff from Coney Island Hospital.

“2020 marked the first time in 100 years that the wheel has not spun,” said the Vourderis Family, owners, and operators of Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park. While it was a devastating time for many, we are excited to welcome back guests and celebrate the life and passion of our parents and grandparents’ hard work who dedicated their lives to providing Coney Island with a warm, welcoming amusement park on the boardwalk. We hope to see everyone this season!”

Coney Island The Phoenix
The Phoenix
Photo courtesy of Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park

This summer, Deno’s Wonder Wheel will debut a new family-friendly steel suspended rollercoaster, the “Phoenix.” Named for the symbol of perseverance — and fitting for 2021 — the Phoenix will allow riders to feel like they are soaring through the air at 34 miles per hour at heights of 68 feet.

New safety measures and health protocols

Both parks will open with limited capacity and enhanced safety measures, including controlled admissions both online and at the gate, distanced eating areas and ride seating, hand sanitizing stations at every ride, frequent cleaning of high-touch areas, and all guests over the age of 2 are required to wear a mask. Advanced reservations can be made online before visiting the parks.

“There is a certain feeling when the amusement district is open. It’s in the smell of the cotton candy, the sounds of laughter; it is in the joy on the faces of thousands of children,” said Alexandra Silversmith, executive director of the Alliance for Coney Island. “It has been a rough 18 months for our community, and I am beyond ecstatic for April 9th when we safely reopen Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park and Luna Park in Coney Island.”

The amusement attractions will be open on weekends through Memorial Day. Starting Memorial Day weekend, the attractions will go into a full seven-day-a-week operation.

For more information, click here for Luna Park and click here for Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park.

Check out this video to mark the 100th birthday of the Wonder Wheel in 2020:

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