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Any thoughts on what 2021 will look like!?


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Mmm... I can sense the sarcasm dripping from your voice like venom of a snake's fang.

I'm gonna go ahead and say it.   2021 will make us long for the good old days of 2020.

This sounds about right. In 2020, we want to go back to 2019. In 2019, we wanted to go back to 2018. And so forth. I am hoping, at the minimum, that all parks are able to open in 2021. Even if al

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I would imagine it will be a pretty conservative year at best. While I feel there will be more stability (covid will still be around, but the threat will decrease as medication and treatment improves), I think there will be continued cutbacks while parks try and recoup the money lost from this season.

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I would imagine it will be a pretty conservative year at best. While I feel there will be more stability (covid will still be around, but the threat will decrease as medication and treatment improves), I think there will be continued cutbacks while parks try and recoup the money lost from this season.

 

This is probably the best answer. Most parks operate on thin enough margins already so nobody is going to be champing at the bit for new additions after a wasted year. If anything I feel like low-cost cosmetic improvements and essential maintenance will take priority, maybe swap out a train or two on the coasters. Hell, maybe Knott's will finally be able to run two trains on Silver Bullet and Xcelerator!

 

Who am I kidding? Those are doomed to solo ops until the end of time.

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No surprise here, it's going to depend on where we stand with getting rid of COVID. Right now there's a fairly decent chance it's effectively eliminated by early summer. Assuming no surprises and trials continue the way they do, we're likely 2-3 months away from having an effective vaccine, but then several months more at best from having enough to get to everyone. If that all works out, we could have a fairly normal season next year. I doubt many parks are going to have the money to invest in big projects, but on the other hand we might see some interesting ideas from parks that really want to be the first place people think of when they finally get a real summer again. The corporate parks are likely going to be able to push money around and temporarily hide their losses if they want to spend money next summer, so you probably won't see huge changes at Six Flags and Cedar Point, while the small ones are going to have to trim things back a lot more for a bit.

 

Of course, if the COVID vaccine doesn't work out and we have another summer like this one...well, then there will be less parks competing for guests in 2022...

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No surprise here, it's going to depend on where we stand with getting rid of COVID. Right now there's a fairly decent chance it's effectively eliminated by early summer. Assuming no surprises and trials continue the way they do, we're likely 2-3 months away from having an effective vaccine, but then several months more at best from having enough to get to everyone. If that all works out, we could have a fairly normal season next year. I doubt many parks are going to have the money to invest in big projects, but on the other hand we might see some interesting ideas from parks that really want to be the first place people think of when they finally get a real summer again. The corporate parks are likely going to be able to push money around and temporarily hide their losses if they want to spend money next summer, so you probably won't see huge changes at Six Flags and Cedar Point, while the small ones are going to have to trim things back a lot more for a bit.

 

Of course, if the COVID vaccine doesn't work out and we have another summer like this one...well, then there will be less parks competing for guests in 2022...

 

 

I think that's a VERY optimistic timeline. Honestly I see 2021 looking a LOT like 2020, at least park wise. Still with masks, social distancing, limited capacity, etc.

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^This.

 

Our problems won't magically disappear on January 1, 2021. I can definitely see some protocols still in place for minimizing contact among people, and perhaps masks will still be required or recommended in places. But I can't see any park staying closed all season again. I think all parks that are expecting to open, will open at the very least.

 

As for new investments, we will be getting all the kickass 2020 SeaWorld coasters... so that's good. Word on the street is an RMC Raptor at Kentucky Kingdom. And hopefully Velocicoaster too. I think, if anything, 2022 will be the very dull year. Since 2022 coasters would likely be purchased/planned this year in 2020, and of course nobody is investing into huge coasters right now.

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It's not that 2021 or 2022 are going to be "the bad years", it's that the 2020s will be "the bad decade".

 

Five- or ten-year master plans are completely out the door across the board. In the short term, parks and operators are going to have to spend a metric ton of resources regrouping and coming up with new long-term strategies. That's not even taking into consideration how many of the decision-makers (the designers, not the executives) are currently on furlough and need to be brought back - and how long will it take to generate enough revenue to start paying those people again, especially as seasonal parks begin to wrap things up for the year again?

 

Then, as with everything, it's going to take years for the new plans to come to fruition - less so for a typical flat ride and more so for a new Disney E-ticket or land.

 

The vaccine isn't going to magically cure everything because it's going to take months and months to fully distribute it - and that's also not taking into consideration all the people who may refuse to take it for whatever reason. I wonder if documentation of a vaccine will be required for international travel in the future.

 

Indie parks and small chains are most at risk here... And I wouldn't be surprised if executives with deep pockets are ready and waiting to scoop the properties up to convert to mixed-use if they were to go under. And certain states and regions are still prohibiting parks from even opening at all... If COVID gets worse due to the actual flu season, some previously-opened places may be forced to close again.

 

TLDR: We will survive, but things are going to look a lot different in 5 to 10 years or less.

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I think virtually all parks will be open as places like California and Virginia loosen their guidelines but I envision them having restrictions very similar to this year. Limited capacity/reservations, a mask mandate, certain attractions closed, etc. Hopefully we will see the return of haunt events because personally those are my favorite times to visit by far but I won't be too optimistic.

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I think there are still a lot of uncertainties. Like others have said, I think 2021 is going to be very similar to this year, with parks having used this summer as a "trial and error year," and able to better streamline some of the processes that we've now all seen. I don't see many or any of them going away any time soon. They'll also maybe know a bit better what to expect as far as revenue projections are concerned, and be able to better plan accordingly instead of having to throw together an operating season at the last possible minute on a whim basically to try and salvage some sort of year. There are also other uncertainties like different strains causing additional problems, but hopefully something like that won't cause any setbacks.

Edited by FeelTheFORCE
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We're supposed to be visiting Amsterdam (Walibi Holland) and Paris (Disney) in the fall of 2022. "Supposed to be" being the operative phrase. That said, we're just going to watch the coming year, and hope that somehow, some things will improve. For parks. For people. For the world in general.

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If a vaccine and/or effective treatment for COVID becomes available before the end of 2020 and enough people take it, I think there’s a chance we could have a relatively normal summer at the parks next year. If that doesn’t happen, then I worry next summer may look fairly similar to this one. I’d bet most if not all parks will be open next year regardless instead of the hodge-podge of open and closed parks we’ve had this year.

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There absolutely is an on / off switch, it's called government.

 

If cases pick up again due to winter flu season and a vaccine has not been distributed to a large swath of people outside of healthcare professionals and front-line hospital workers, we're going to see 2020 all over again. If state and / or regional governments limit gatherings next year like they have done this year, parks aren't going to open again, or they will only open in areas of the country that are unashamedly pro-business.

 

For the sake of theme parks, live events, museums, aquariums, and any other related businesses, it's important that the public trusts that a vaccine is safe to receive, otherwise no one will go get it.

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Don’t expect much. It’s just not possible for parks to return to business as normal after years of record profits for the industry were instantly wiped out. Even if things are “safe” again, parks will be conservative to try and recapture the millions lost (or billions in the case of Disney and universal) this year.

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If a vaccine and/or effective treatment for COVID becomes available before the end of 2020 and enough people take it, I think there’s a chance we could have a relatively normal summer at the parks next year.

You're out of your mind.

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Normal summer next year is really impossible. Close to normal I even doubt it! One thing that is pretty much sure is that a lot of parks that didn't even open this year cannot afford not opening next year, especially smaller parks. I know some of them was their choice not to open but others it was beacause of the goverment.

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I can deal with wearing masks, I can accept that we may not see anything big new and shiny at a lot of parks for several years, but another year of pointless diminished capacity on rides would be a real bummer. Make it one party per row, or don’t sit strangers right next to each other - sure - but blocking entire rows and spacing people six feet apart is pure social distancing theater that would make me rethink all of my 2021 plans after experiencing it at the parks this summer. It makes what would be a pleasant day at the parks intolerable if there are even moderate crowds and only makes you stand in the un-socially-distanced queue twice as long as you would otherwise.

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I can deal with wearing masks, I can accept that we may not see anything big new and shiny at a lot of parks for several years, but another year of pointless diminished capacity on rides would be a real bummer. Make it one party per row, or don’t sit strangers right next to each other - sure - but blocking entire rows and spacing people six feet apart is pure social distancing theater that would make me rethink all of my 2021 plans after experiencing it at the parks this summer. It makes what would be a pleasant day at the parks intolerable if there are even moderate crowds and only makes you stand in the un-socially-distanced queue twice as long as you would otherwise.

 

I entirely agree that I can't stand this policy in parks that otherwise don't care about social distancing where you end up spending more time not socially distanced so they can pretend to care during the ride (Six Flags) but I also get that it's necessary to allow them to open since it appease politicians.

 

Whenever I get annoyed by these policies at a theme park I think back to March and April when we were stuck at home and couldn't do anything and remember that I would have killed for this a few short months ago.

Edited by coasterbill
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Thank you, Bill, for actually responding to what I said and not just saying “who cares we don’t want you in line anyway”. I totally understand the need for parks to do what they are doing this summer and that they are unfortunately bound by what the politicians in their respective states and counties are telling them they have to do, but I hope that by next year some of the policies we’ve seen have been loosened and some more common sense will prevail. That’s all I was getting at.

Edited by southpuddle
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I'd like to see more parks load coasters like Knoebels has this season. They leave an empty row between groups but rather than just using every other row, they allow groups to ride in rows without any spacing so there are fewer empty rows per train.

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