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Theme park reopenings in China show possible future for U.S. attractions

by Seth Kubersky

More than two months after shuttering due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, most of the Fantawild theme parks in China have reopened, and the safety measures they are employing provide a preview of what visitors to U.S. attractions may experience in a post-coronavirus era.

China’s Fantawild theme parks are reopening with strict safety restrictions that may also be implemented by American attractions.

Like most tourist attractions across Asia, the 18 resorts across China operated by Fantawild Holdings closed their gates earlier this year, but as of April 22 nearly all of the company’s theme parks have reopened.

After 2 months lockdown, Fantawild theme park in Hubei reopened again.

However, it isn’t exactly back to business as usual yet, because Fantawild has implemented some strict new social distancing safety restrictions. Many of these safety measures align with our speculations about what Orlando’s attractions must do in order to reopen, and watching Fantawild’s efforts may prove a peek into the future of Western theme parks.

For starters, Fantawild is capping total daily attendance at 50% of maximum capacity, and limited the number of people inside the park at any given time to 30% of maximum capacity. All guests will need to make an advance appointment online using their name, and staggered entry times will be assigned.

All guests at Fantawild parks must wear face masks, and are subject to a touchless temperature check at the park entrance. Once inside, visitors are reminded to remain at least one meter away from each other.

Throughout the Fantawild parks, cleaning personnel will use disinfectant and ventilators to frequently sanitize all public areas every day. Indoor attractions will operate, with Fantawild employees disinfecting seat arm rests and 3D glasses after each use. Restaurants will use disposable utensils and separate diners’ tables.

Most significantly, Fantawild attractions will employ scattered seating, and only fill every other seat, leaving the seats immediately beside and behind every guest empty. This effectively reduces the theoretical hourly capacity of every attraction by at least 50%.

What do you think about the measures Fantawild parks are taking to reopen? Would you feel comfortable visiting a theme park using similar procedures, or do you feel these restrictions would ruin the experience? How much money would you be willing to pay for a vacation under these circumstances? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!

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12 comments

Jodi April 22, 2020 - 7:04 pm

How is it that we have gone so many years with Amusement parks in the US. And never have a problem before now? China needs to learn to respect and value animals. Because of China’s disgusting practices. The entire world is a mess. And our freedom has been taken away. I won’t pay to have everyone wearing masks and keeping their distance. We have gone generations without disaster. China has ruin life for everyone. And will continue to slaughter and eat animals.

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Carla April 23, 2020 - 3:16 am

It’s not fair! Now there the ones open, doesn’t seem right! I’ve said this from the beginning, I’m pretty sure they did this on purpose, the government created a biological weapon & let it loose, into the world. They say that the 1st case was actually in November. They silenced the doctors that wanted to warn people. I say we should boycott buying anything from China. I now look were things are made, if it says China, I refuse to buy it.

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PJ April 27, 2020 - 4:36 pm

Plagues have ALWAYS happened and always will. Blaming one nationality for it is chasing your tail and frankly just looks hateful and ignorant. This has always been an unfortunate part of the human experience. Always.

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Linda Federici April 22, 2020 - 10:03 pm

I would say I would be willing to pay half the admission rate but i personally would not go.
I do not want to go to Disney wearing a mask!
It is a fantasyland that does not include bringing the outside world of the Corona Virus inside the park gates.
I personally want all or none, until I can go and enjoy myself without a mask I will stay home

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Robyn Murov April 23, 2020 - 8:46 am

The majority of our theme parks are outdoors, so there is no need to wear masks. And the few attractions that are indoors have very good ventilation so again, people should not have to wear masks. If they’re going to reduce capacity, I agree, they should reduce the daily admission fee. If the parks are going to run at a reduced capacity, then, sadly they don’t need the full staff there daily. Because of that, daily admission shouldn’t be so expensive. I can’t stand the rumors that prices would actually go up for “extra cleaning”. I agree with the other 2 posters: how did these major theme parks do it before corona virus? Oh, I know, people actually had to WASH THEIR HANDS, and explain to their children (and even adult members of their parties) NOT TO TOUCH HAND RAILS, but to keep their hands to themselves. Yes, kids and adults can get physically ill on rides or kids can soil themselves on rides, so rides must be disinfected, and yes, at first, this step should be implemented regardless. I’m okay with that. And, at first, sure, take temperatures. But that’s it. Don’t raise prices just to clean and no masks. Theme parks are meant to help people escape from reality. Keep the magic alive and don’t scare a child by making Peter Pan or Shrek wear a mask. Gosh I’m glad I’m not bringing my son to Disney until he’s 5 in 2022. God willing, by then this will all be behind us.

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Elandia Green April 22, 2020 - 11:11 pm

I think that is an good idea. But the three 3D glasses. They should purchase there glasses for the park . They could sell them in the park. That way .they don’t have to clean the glasses or recycle. They could keep the glasses for souvenir

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Kenny April 23, 2020 - 5:36 am

There’s something that we could learn from this article. I’m preparing to reopen my parks after movement control order in my country.

Life won’t go back to normal and some hygiene best practice adjustments will have to be made until there is a vaccine for coronavirus.

Some good steps to mitigate coronavirus for our industry. Thanks for sharing, Seth.

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Mrs D23 April 23, 2020 - 9:43 am

I don’t mind wearing a mask, but nobody should tell me to stay whatever distance from my own children and family. I don’t mind sitting a distance from other people but I darn well better be able to sit next to my own kid on a ride! I don’t like the idea of staggered entrances. I think they should just decide on a number of people they can accept in the park and let that number of people in and that’s it. That’s how they do it at Disneyland for special events. I cannot wait for Disneyland reopen and I don’t care under what circumstances as long as I get to go. And by go I mean come and go as I please from Disneyland California to Disneyland back and forth. That’s what makes the experience special.

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John S Inman April 23, 2020 - 11:05 am

All these restrictions (and increased wait times) will ruin the experience. I won’t be spending my day at parks that operate in this manner. I agree with temperature checks, but not wearing masks, appointments to get in, and every other seat spacing. I hope this won’t be the case at the American parks.
I assume, even with the longer wait times, the parks will still allow people to bypass the lines by buying a special pass and cutting the line ahead of me.

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d.fx. April 23, 2020 - 3:49 pm

couldn’t agree with you more! well said.

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Alicia April 23, 2020 - 8:07 pm

With the Pandemic we have gone through and are still going through, if the Government and these businesses are opening without waiting to get this Virus under control, then I believe we must take all possible measures to protect the people. Are you willing to risk your family members for the “Magic”, are we willing to start another Pandemic, stop blaming others and work in making the U.S. a Semi-safe place again. We are always in danger of a Virus emerging and causing a Pandemic, we are just to busy and spoiled to realize it. Let’s work together instead of pointing fingers. This is a time to come together, not dispute and point fingers…

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Dr. Ricardo Rodriguez April 24, 2020 - 5:27 am

I think it is a GRET idea.
But one concern is a possable act of Discrimination because someone has a medical condition or takes medications unrelated to COVID 19 that may alter there body temp, and cast members may wrongfully deny them entrence into the parks.
Also with registrations required, we all know how that went when we were all still under that policy for the ROTR ride and the registrations was always gone within 5 minutes denying others…
China is different then the USA when it comes to rights and privlige laws …

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