Exciting news in Florida! While international and domestic fans alike have waited with bated breath for Walt Disney World to open, some other parks are also ramping up and welcoming guests too. LEGOLAND Florida Resort is one Florida attraction that is already welcoming new guests. Universal Orlando Resort, Busch Gardens and SeaWorld have also reopened on June 11 with new safety measures in place. Here is everything awesome about LEGOLAND reopening its gates for the first time since the March shutdown.
First Theme Park in Florida to Return After COVID-19 Outbreak
Central Florida has many theme parks and tourist destinations. The local economy took a major hit when the government shut down non essential sectors. The specific threat of theme parks drawing large crowds from all over and sending them back home with a potential case of a mysterious new virus was too dangerous during a time where the focus was containment. Now businesses are returning and as of Monday, June 1, LEGOLAND became the first theme park in Florida to open up again to new guests. 100 people showed up for the opening ceremony.
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Attitudes Surrounding Theme Parks After the Shutdown
The crowd was eager to get their first taste of a theme park experience in months. Some families had to postpone children’s birthdays and were finally able to celebrate together. LEGOLAND gave out free masks and encouraged guests to wear them, but the 90-degree weather prompted most visitors to go without. This may foreshadow some difficulties as Disney World implores guests to cooperate during its opening in mid-July. Some guests, according to the Orlando Sentinel, referred to the dangers of COVID-19 as fake news, another attitude to be wary of when more significant summer crowds arrive.
Safety Precautions at LEGOLAND
LEGOLAND is taking the same basic precautions that the health authorities recommend. Employees are wearing masks and visitors are also encouraged to. However, unlike at Disney World, face masks are not mandatory. To inspire guests to comply with the request, LEGOLAND signs cite that ninjas and super heroes also wear masks. Social distancing is also enforced by use of special markers to signal where guests should stand in queue areas.
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Ride Cleaning Procedure
One thing we’ve learned from LEGOLAND that Disney has been very quiet about is some of the ride cleaning procedures. LEGOLAND’s most popular attraction is a flight simulator modeled after Disney’s Soarin’. The ride cycles have been changed for social distancing and sanitary purposes. They left empty seats on the vehicle for social distance and cleaned the seats every half hour.
LEGOLAND’s Capacity VS. Walt Disney World
LEGOLAND opened on a slow day of the week to give employees a chance to get used to the new protocols. However, LEGOLAND’s capacity is only 12,000. Despite being a spacious park with a botanical garden to comfortably explore, the numbers do not come close to the Magic Kingdoms 100,000 guest capacity. So although this opening gives us some insight into the future operations of other theme parks, it’s not an apples-to-apples comparison. The opening day attendance for LEGOLAND was well under 6,000 visitors.
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Located in Winter Haven, Florida, and just 45 minutes from both Orlando and Tampa, LEGOLAND is one of my family’s favorite Central Florida theme parks to visit. We are sure to be making our way to Winter Haven more than once this summer.