• Jacob Borsting

California Theme Parks Remain Closed Amidst COVID-19 Pandemic

No trip to Southern California is complete without a day spent at Disneyland or Universal Studios. Every year, millions of tourists flood the gates of the popular theme parks to spend hundreds of dollars on admission tickers, overpriced food, and terribly tacky hats of a wide variety. But this summer, the parks have remained closed since their initial closing earlier this year. Few could have imagined back in March that by the end of the summer the parks would still remain closed, yet here we are.

After shutting down on March 14th, Disney had planned to reopen the park on July 17th. But July 17th came and went as the park gates remained locked. Similarly, Universal Studios Hollywood had publicly speculated they would reopen July 1st. But as coronavirus cases surged across the state of California, Disney, Universal, and the other large theme park corporations scrapped their reopening plans indefinitely.

Now in late July, parks are doing what they can to open up to guests while maintaining guest safety. Spoiler alert: the reopenings don't include any rides. Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park has begun the 'Taste of Calico' food festival, a reservation required event within the park held on the weekends for a limited time. Guests attending the $25 festival have the opportunity to explore Knott's Ghost Town, visit retailers, and taste unique food creations.

Down the street in Anaheim, Disney has reopened its Downtown Disney shopping district. Shoppers are required to have their temperatures checked prior to entry and the mask policy is strictly enforced. A sign of the times, guests are required to wait in ques to enter stores as the company does their best to maintain social distancing guidelines. Universal Studios has also reopened its shopping district, CityWalk, with similar safety measures.

Unfortunately, no one knows for sure when the rides will once again operate at California's theme parks. What once seemed like a closure of only a couple weeks has turned into months and months of California thrill-seekers having nowhere to amuse themselves. With talks of a second shutdown looming in the golden state, Californians will just have to wait and see whether or not they will soon be able to return to their favorite parks.

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