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COVID-19 Coronavirus and Theme Parks Official Thread


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CP Food Blog has a screen shot of an email going around saying Administrative offices are closed indefinitely. With seasonal work also not available indefinitely.

 

With that... I would be shocked if CP opens before Labor Day or if at all in 2020. I know it's still crazy early, but without a widely spread vaccine and no hiring going on.. it'll be a nightmare to staff Point, even more so than normal.

 

Stay safe everyone, I for one will admit I did not take this seriously. It's surreal. Be safe, wash your hands and stay the f**k home if possible!

 

Most admin work can be done from home. No point in hiring anyone until you can set an opening date.

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Will we be allowed to wear a face mask while riding a coaster?

 

My guess is large events will be the last to normalize on the downslope.

 

Finally saw the movie "Contagion" this weekend. Toward the end of the film, those who had immunity (from surviving the disease or from the vaccine) had a wristband bar code that allowed the wearer to go into public places.

 

Yup, that movie certainly has a lot of parallels to our current situation. I assume when we start issuing antibody tests or vaccines it will also be like in the movie and done by SS number!

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been cautiously watching our planned trip to Carowinds on 6/13, and wasn't feeling super confident - even tho it's still ~2 months away.

 

but luckily, Southwest changed our flight, and since they made the changes? we had option to adjust the reservation for free if the new flights "didn't work for us" - up to 60 days out.

 

So I've rescheduled us for late July now.

 

Feeling much more confident things will at least have calmed down, and it's much more likely the park might actually be able to open by then. It's 3 1/2 months from now, so thinking positive!

 

(and hotel let me rebook, with only a slight increase in room rate, since we went from early summer to right smack dab in middle of summer, so of course the rates are higher. . but who knows? they might be begging for customers then, so they might drop the rate by the time of the trip).

 

but I'm looking at this as a positive. . giving things more time to get back closer to "normal"

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Will we be allowed to wear a face mask while riding a coaster?

 

My guess is large events will be the last to normalize on the downslope.

 

Finally saw the movie "Contagion" this weekend. Toward the end of the film, those who had immunity (from surviving the disease or from the vaccine) had a wristband bar code that allowed the wearer to go into public places.

 

Yup, that movie certainly has a lot of parallels to our current situation. I assume when we start issuing antibody tests or vaccines it will also be like in the movie and done by SS number!

 

Isn't China already doing something similar? Can't go out without the Health Department QR code and must have a mask on?

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they might be begging for customers then, so they might drop the rate by the time of the trip).

 

but I'm looking at this as a positive. . giving things more time to get back closer to "normal"

 

I still wonder if it's going to be the exact opposite. I think people will be dying to get out so badly that once all of this is completely clear and the quarantines are lifted parks are going to be jam packed. Once the dogs are off the leash the local entertainment venues will be packed. Even if the economy is trash, people are used to spending what they don't have...

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they might be begging for customers then, so they might drop the rate by the time of the trip).

 

but I'm looking at this as a positive. . giving things more time to get back closer to "normal"

 

I still wonder if it's going to be the exact opposite. I think people will be dying to get out so badly that once all of this is completely clear and the quarantines are lifted parks are going to be jam packed. Once the dogs are off the leash the local entertainment venues will be packed. Even if the economy is trash, people are used to spending what they don't have...

 

The people who have the money will most certainly want to go out and spend it. There will also be a large group of people who don't have the money, but if a park is extending their pass expiration date or they have time left on their pass they already paid for, they'll show up but NOT spend money.

 

The shorter term (next 12ish months) challenge is that as soon as we switch back to "normal," people are going to owe their normal rent/bill payments plus start having to pay back the payments that were paused. Lots of people who had jobs working at thin margin businesses (restaurants for instance) may not have a job to come back to or won't have it for very long when the business isn't generating the same revenue as before.

 

This is only the first wave of the economic crunch.

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Big travel plans may be down the crapper, but I still suspect your local parks are going to be packed. You're looking at it from a financially responsible point of view. The majority of the people in the US and worldwide are conditioned not to know how to handle their finances. If they did, we wouldn't have payment plan options on tickets and season passes. Mr. and Mrs. Visa will pick up the check for entry at the local parks when this is all said and done. It's a cheaper alternative to a vacation when people are trying to recover from cabin fever. (no pun intended)

 

On the flip side, you also have the people out there who are still employed with plenty of job security. They're going to be working hard to play catch-up on their summer/warm weather season.

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Big travel plans may be down the crapper, but I still suspect your local parks are going to be packed. You're looking at it from a financially responsible point of view. The majority of the people in the US and worldwide are conditioned not to know how to handle their finances. If they did, we wouldn't have payment plan options on tickets and season passes. Mr. and Mrs. Visa will pick up the check for entry at the local parks when this is all said and done. It's a cheaper alternative to a vacation when people are trying to recover from cabin fever. (no pun intended)

 

On the flip side, you also have the people out there who are still employed with plenty of job security. They're going to be working hard to play catch-up on their summer/warm weather season.

 

Normally I would agree, since I myself have fallen into the fiscally irresponsible category plenty of times in my life (like impulse purchases of World Series tickets...twice). However, this is not anything close to normal. The situation really forced everyone to take a good hard look at their finances, since so many "steady" jobs were temporarily wiped out and many of those jobs may not return. It's no longer "well, hey, I can just pick up an extra shift or work some overtime to make up for this..." or whatever logic someone would normally use to justify a luxury item.

 

That doesn't even take into account the fact inevitably there will still be people worried about gathering in large groups again.

 

Bottom line IMO: people will most certainly come back, but business will not be the same for awhile. There will not be nearly as many people buying the premium passes, VIP tours, skip the line passes, buying pricey food/merch, etc. People will take advantage of their "free" pass extensions, but will not be as eager to spend in the parks. At best, I would say attendance will be back to 60-75% of what it was, but spending in the parks will be down.

 

I expect parks to be offering very aggressive deals and free items to bring people back and retain passholders.

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Bert - Glad to hear you are still planning your trip. I am sure in July your first time on Fury experience will be more pleasant than mine; 45 degrees, dark and raining. Getting pelted in the face at 90 mph by cold rain takes a little of the fun out of things, lol.

 

I agree that attendance will be fine although people may be more cautious about buying extras for a while. The parks probably will put some extra safety measures in place that will slow operations down a bit for awhile too. While the economy is obviously going to take a hit and the longer it goes on the worse it will be. The majority of people can work from home now and still get a paycheck. 6.6 million applying for unemployment is historically atrocious but that is about 6% of the work force meaning 94% at the moment theoretically are doing ok, now again that will get worse the longer it goes on. So the length of the pandemic, which nobody knows, will be crucial. Not trying to gloss over, just trying to be positive.

 

On a different note. CoasterCon is still tentatively on. Yes, I know it is the OTHER club but this is no time for partisan politics. They have a schedule, hotels, etc but are holding off on registration til early May. Just thought those of you that didn't know might find a little hope in that. It means that while the parks have not given an opening date yet they must still think opening by mid June is a possible. It may not come to be but a little hope to go on.

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Bert - Glad to hear you are still planning your trip. I am sure in July your first time on Fury experience will be more pleasant than mine; 45 degrees, dark and raining. Getting pelted in the face at 90 mph by cold rain takes a little of the fun out of things, lol.

 

 

 

I got to ride it for the 1st time on the TPR USA 2018 tour. . . so this is gonna be the 2nd time (keep putting it out there, that things will be close to normal by then)

 

I agree with several things people have said. I'd by lying if I said I wasn't nervous about crowds tho, even if the parks are open. . not sure I want to be around that many folks. but taking it day by day, and hope things will get better soon!

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As a reference point, here's how the industry looked in 2009 when we were just dealing with the recession (save for the H1N1 in Mexico):

 

TEA 2009 Attendance Report

 

I love the optimism (especially since my stock portfolio includes Comcast, Disney, and Cedar Fair among others) and my "side hustle" involves music festivals, so my bank accounts would REALLY appreciate things getting back to normal ASAP...I just don't see it happening right away. People need certainty with their finances and to feel comfortable going out in public being in close proximity to people again. It's going to take awhile to get to that point.

 

I plan to travel as soon as I can to take advantage of the cheap flights, but I know I am in the minority.

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Aaah didn't realize you had already been, my bad, but have fun anyway. I really think we will return to some semblance of normal by then.

 

I think people, particularly Americans can only stand being restricted for so long. Whether it's in their best interest or not it just isn't in our national character to "stay down", literally or figuratively.

 

And don't worry about those stocks.......you gotta play the long game there.

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^Stocks: Totally. People who are selling now are going to lose their asses. There are also decent short term investment opportunities now, with Cedar Fair (FUN) being one of them. Cruise lines are iffy, but experts seem to think that within a few years share prices will be back to where they were, with some of them selling at 20-30% of what they were in later 2019.

 

As a reference point, here's how the industry looked in 2009 when we were just dealing with the recession (save for the H1N1 in Mexico):

 

TEA 2009 Attendance Report

Yep. I get it. But, you're dealing with different circumstances than you were in 2009.

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Yes, the circumstances are worse this time because it’s a financial crisis and a health one too. People want to go out, but they’re not going to return to the high dollar items right away.

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That's kind of one of my points. A trip to an amusement park isn't a high dollar item. If anything, it's a low cost substitute for canceled vacations. If parks offer do offer incentives that will make it even worse.

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That's kind of one of my points. A trip to an amusement park isn't a high dollar item. If anything, it's a low cost substitute for canceled vacations. If parks offer do offer incentives that will make it even worse.

 

It's high dollar to anyone who didn't have a pass. Plus, there will be a segment of those who did have passes who have other more pressing financial needs even after the world is "re-opened." That also assumes everyone will be comfortable gathering in larger groups again (assuming parks will reopen with additional safety measures in place, but still will be impossible to truly "social distance" and avoid touching unsanitized common items).

 

Theme Parks don't thrive on uncertainty. Yes, there will be a segment of the population that is dying to get out and can still afford their pass and will be dying to buy food and drink at Disney (or whatever park they patronize) again (That's me!...as long as my employer keeps me on the payroll working from home). Those people will be out in full force. But that's only a small segment of the business.

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What is considered high dollar is a very relative term dependent on several variables. Salary. Debt. Number of people you have to pay for. Proximity to the parks you want to visit. (does it involve hotel? flight?)

 

Then factor in personal financial responsibility. Just because someone really can't afford things doesn't mean they won't do it anyway. I have a lot of families in the district that I teach in that cannot buy winter coats or enough food for their children but they have satellite dishes and netflix and fancy smartphones. My husband and I didn't have HBO or take vacations for the first 8 years of our marriage but we paid off the house and now we can afford theme park trips as extras on top of the yearly family vacation. But it was hard, and many people cannot or won't do it. Just saying.

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August is now the month to be concerned about, for us. Our Pride Week (with a Big Parade) happens at the beginning of the month. Followed by our Queer Film Festival mid-month. Ended with our annual fair, The PNE. And there are a good number of ethnic and media festivals that happen in this month too, so.....?

 

Oh yeah, and then there's the bit, about if Playland is going to open, at all.

 

 

(Just worrying out loud, thanks.)

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Most amusement parks are generally a cheaper vacation. Obviously you can get crazy with flights, travel distance, hotel stays, length of stay, etc., but most day passes can be purchased in the $40-$60 range for a lot of them, and there are also a lot of parks within driving distance of most people. To echo what Zach said, I'm sure many families, couples, etc. who were supposed to take a vacation but had to cancel might want to just spend a day or two at a park to "get out of the house" instead, and try to salvage some semblance of a "vacation" to get back to normalcy when this all lets up. A few cheap park tickets, quick road trip, and even 1-2 night hotel stay if they're feeling froggy, is probably not considered to be expensive or high dollar to most.

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Under normal circumstances, I would agree. People absolutely spend outside their means. I am guilty of it many times splurging for things like World Series tickets or last minute trips since airfare was cheap on my credit card.

 

However, this is not anything close to normal circumstances or even a normal recession. The bills, rent, mortgages, etc. temporarily suspended will need to start being payed back. Businesses will open back up, but it is extremely unlikely the demand will be the same for bars, restaurants, clubs, retail stores, hotels, airbnb, airlines, etc. So many peoples small businesses, jobs, and incomes are still in jeopardy even after places begin to re-open. Even large companies that were heavily leveraged like AMC Theaters & perhaps even Six Flags might have to go bankrupt since they can't service their debt with no revenue. This isn't just a normal foolish decision like netflix vs. a coat for your kid...this is now "how do I afford to keep a roof over my head? Is it even really safe to go out?"

 

Theme parks will be lucky to retain 70% of their business for this year.

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Theme parks are just about the cheapest price per hour of entertainment available, and you don't have to go that many days to get to that point. We pay $100 a year per season pass and go about 20 days. If each visit is about 5 hours long (and I'd say that's about right; we don't spend all day), we've paid $1 an hour per person for entertainment. It's a ridiculous value. That said, in absolute terms it is expensive, at $500 per year for our family just for the tickets--and let's be honest, we probably drop another $500 on food and souvenirs each year too. It's cheap and expensive at the same time, and I can totally see people spending that money elsewhere after all this. I wouldn't even blame anyone who does.

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Under normal circumstances, I would agree. People absolutely spend outside their means. I am guilty of it many times splurging for things like World Series tickets or last minute trips since airfare was cheap on my credit card.

 

However, this is not anything close to normal circumstances or even a normal recession. The bills, rent, mortgages, etc. temporarily suspended will need to start being payed back. Businesses will open back up, but it is extremely unlikely the demand will be the same for bars, restaurants, clubs, retail stores, hotels, airbnb, airlines, etc. So many peoples small businesses, jobs, and incomes are still in jeopardy even after places begin to re-open. Even large companies that were heavily leveraged like AMC Theaters & perhaps even Six Flags might have to go bankrupt since they can't service their debt with no revenue. This isn't just a normal foolish decision like netflix vs. a coat for your kid...this is now "how do I afford to keep a roof over my head? Is it even really safe to go out?"

 

Theme parks will be lucky to retain 70% of their business for this year.

 

But, I'll agree to disagree with you on the attendance.

 

This is getting a little redundant. The discussion was about our best guesses at human behavior, which is certainly very hard to predict. Either way, it will be interesting to see how this unfolds.

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I don't even think it will be a money thing - it will be a paranoia thing.

 

When the parks re-open around here you'll get three groups of people going - A) the people who are desperate for their vacation and will experience it by any means necessary; B) the enthusiasts and passholders like us who also want to go back but understand the risks involved; and C) the silly "the virus doesn't affect me" people who still physically go to church every week or defy stay-at-home orders in other ways.

 

All the "normal" people, though? I bet that they're going to be thinking twice about putting themselves or their families at risk by going to any large gathering - including amusement parks, theaters, cinemas, concerts, city parks, conventions - until there is an effective treatment or vaccine. We still don't know if people can contract it again after having previously recovered.

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