Theme Parks Reopen
We have all the policies and details on your favourite resorts set to open on July 4th!
JUNE 24th, 2020
fter much speculation and the rumour mill frantically spinning, Prime Minister Boris Johnson finally unveiled the next stage of England’s exit from the lockdown. It was good news with the replacement of the ‘2 metre’ rule scrapped, and instead a new ‘1 metre plus’ now in place from July 4th. Outdoor gyms, pubs and restaurants have been given the green light to open, and finally so have theme parks across the country.
Closed since March, when the lockdown began, many UK resorts have missed out on what is usually their most lucrative season – summer. Although the parks will be welcoming guests back, there will be changes to ensure social distancing is upheld. So what do these implementations look like and how will they effect the overall experience of riding your favourite rides? We decided to contact some of the most popular resorts out there to see what’s in store.
Set in over 500 acres of land, the UK’s No. 1 theme park – Alton Towers, has a lot of room to play with. Though with its popularity with both thrill seekers and young families, the park does get incredibly busy, especially around the summer months. So how will the park maintain social distancing?
Guests will be expected to book ahead online to ensure social distancing measures can be adhered to. The measure will also allow the park to manage their reduced capacity for entry into the park.
Any guests who choose to visit the park will be required to wear a mask in order to go on specific rides and rollercoasters. This will not be a requirement for guests under the age of 6 or people with certain health conditions and/or disabilities.
The rides in which this policy will apply are:
- The Smiler
- Wicker Man
- Runaway Mine Train
- Marauder's Mayhem
The park is encouraging guests to bring their own masks, though the resort will be selling them on site. Staff will, were necessary, also be wearing protective equipment, including visors and hygiene screens will be in front of the food stalls and shop counters.
It is essential that you have a contactless form of payment when visiting Alton Towers as all payments will be required to be made in this manner (where possible).
On arrival to the resort staff will be instructing and providing parking directions for those visiting to ensure that social distancing is maintained.
For all guests, temperature checks will be in place before you enter the park. This will be conducted by staff upon arrival to the entrance by a temperature check scanner. Any guest who is displaying a high temperature (above 37.8 degrees) will not be permitted to enter the resort.
Social Distancing on Rides:
While most rides will reopen for guest to enjoy, there will be some changes. To ensure social distancing, riders will minimise contact with one another by leaving rows and seats empty within the ride vehicles. Also, as mentioned riders will be required to wear a mask on specific attractions – see above.
Throughout the park and queue lines, markers have been placed to remind and instruct guests where they should stand to ensure social distancing.
Food and Drink:
Across the resort, Alton Towers have introduced a new menu, from sandwiches to packed lunches, which will form part of ‘Grab & Go’ options. Some shops and restaurants will remain closed and also have a restriction on the number of guests allowed inside.
Specific training has been implemented to all staff to help keep themselves and guests safe. Enhanced cleaning will take place throughout the day and deep cleaning measures will be triggered if a person presents themselves with symptoms consistent with COVID-19.
The Cariba Creek Waterpark will remain closed in conjunction with government policy.
These measures will be featured in Merlin Entertainment's other Resorts, including, Thorpe Park, Chessington World of Adventure, Legoland Windsor and Warwick Castle
- For more information, you can keep up to date with Alton Tower’s policies on their website
- Similarly You can also visit Merlin Entertainment's website for all details on how their parks will be implementing social distancing.
Blackpool Pleasure Beach
As one of the UK’s oldest theme parks, Blackpool Pleasure Beach has seen the country through many challenges, though the pandemic became the first time since the 1800’s that the park closed to the public. Now set to reopen, the resort is looking at creating as much of an enjoyable and safe experience as possible.
Guests will be expected to book the resorts NEW eTicket, ensuring guests can enter the park as soon as they arrive. If guests are showing any COVID-19 symptoms, a temperature check will be advised and you may not be able to enter the park.
Any guests who choose to visit the park will be required to wear a mask in order to go on specific rides and rollercoasters. The park suggests that guests bring two. The park is encouraging guests to bring their own masks, though the resort will be selling them on site.
It is essential that you have a contactless form of payment when visiting Blackpool Pleasure Beach as all payments will be required to be made in this manner (where possible).
Social Distancing on Rides:
While most rides will reopen for guests to enjoy, there will be some changes. To ensure social distancing, riders will minimise contact with one another by leaving rows and seats empty within the ride vehicles. Also, as mentioned riders will be required to wear a mask on specific attractions.
Food and Drink:
A new online food system has been developed allowing guests to order a selection of food through the mobile phone. The app allows visitors to collect their order at a designated time and location. Restaurants and cafes will be open but social distancing will be maintained throughout.
Throughout the park, and on arrival, guests will be greeted by ambassadors. These members of staff will be able to answer any questions you may have and will ensure that social distancing is implemented accordingly.
Getting Around the Park:
Routes have been adapted to ensure that the necessary distance in maintained by guests. Some areas will feature a one-way system and markers will be visible to mark the subtle distance when queueing for the rides and rollercoasters. Signage will be also stationed throughout the park to inform guests.
For more information, you can keep up to date with Blackpool Pleasures Beach’s policies on their website
In the last few years, Paulton’s Park popularity has soared. Recently voted as the UK’s best Theme Park by Trip Advisor last year, the resort has seen major investment. With Peppa Pig World and all manner of thrill rides, it has become a staple family day out. A new area – Tornado Springs – was set to open earlier this year, however will now open to the public Easter 2021.
All guests (including Season Ticket holders) will need to pre-book a date of their visit. Similarly with Blackpool Pleasure Beach and Alton Towers, all guests may need to take a temperature check before entering the park. If you are showing symptoms of COVID-19 you will be refused entry into the park. Also ensure you check the resorts official App to keep up with all the latest information.
Unlike other resorts, Paulton’s Park will not make face masks mandatory whilst in the park or when riding their attractions, this decision will be up to guests to make.
All transactions will be ‘cash-free’, therefore you should be prepared to pay with a card or contactless payments for the day of your visit.
Ensuring Social Distancing:
Throughout the park, social distancing will be enforced to ensure you can enjoy your day safely. Resort staff will monitor queues and floor markings are in place throughout the park. Whilst on the rides and attractions, a row between guests will be left empty to ensure social distancing is followed.
Food and Drink:
Undercover seating and patio areas will be open to those who want a bite to eat. Seating arrangements have been altered to allow adequate space between families. Perspex screens will also be in place to ensure there is a partition between staff and guests.
Virtual Queuing System:
Paulton’s Park have developed a virtual queuing system to reduce your time waiting in queues for your favourite rides. The App will also assist with social distancing. The system will only be available for specific rides around the park, so make sure you have downloaded the App before your visit.
Certain attractions will remain closed including the 4D Show Street Cinema and selected playgrounds. These closures will remain under constant review and revised when needed.
To ensure guests feel safe, staff have undergone strict new protocols for cleaning their rides and areas around the park. Frequent touch points, such as doors, counters, ride restraints, etc, will be sanitised frequently throughout the day.
The park has also conducted an extensive assessment process to implement all policies and make necessary adjustments.
For more information, you can keep up to date with Paulton Park's policies on their website
Set in the Yorkshire Dales, Flamingo Land also boasts a Zoo, which is open to the public. However the park is yet to confirm whether they will in fact open the Theme Park on July 4th. A new 10-looping Rollercoaster was set to open this year, though it looks highly likely as if next year will now be the official opening date for the – still unnamed – coaster.
All guests will need to pre-book a date of their visit and reserve a place to ensure the Zoo can manage guest capacity.
Floor markings will be present in ‘high traffic’ areas and a keep left policy will be in place to ensure you can most safely around the Zoo. No indoor spaces will be open across the park, and social distant queuing will be implemented at all toilet facilities.
Food and Drink
There will be limited availability of refreshments, though staff will endeavour to provide snacks, etc on the day of your visit.
Some animal exhibitions will not be open to the public: Aquarium, Reptile River, Peter Rabbit meet and greet and play areas will remain closed.
If you are showcasing symptoms of COVID-19 you should not visit the Zoo and will be refused entry on arrival.
For more information, you can keep up to date with Flamingo Land's policies on their website
Another of the UK’s most popular parks, Drayton Manor is set to open its doors again on July 4th. Alongside social distancing policies, there will also be limited ride availability. Here are the top details on how the resort will operate for guesting hoping to visit.
The guest capacity will be restricted on the park to ensure a safe guest flow into and around the resort. This will also include a limited amount of tickets being available per day. All tickets must be booked online and in advance of your visit.
The park will also be opened in 2 phases:
Phase 1 will be from Saturday 4th July – Friday 17th July with Thomas Land, the Zoo and selected family rides available.
Phase 2 will be from Saturday 18th July – Saturday 31st October with the whole park open (excluding rides which are closed due to COVID-19).
Certain rides will be closed to the lack of social distancing. Rows will be kept empty for specific ride trains and attractions. A virtual queue system will be used to ensure guests have a shorter wait-time whilst queuing.
Food and Drink
The park will provide food and drink, though cafes, etc will only operate a takeaway service. All food will need to be ordered in advance through the Drayton Manor App
Face masks will be voluntary, so therefore it will not be essential to wear face coverings when riding the rides or navigating through the park.
On arrival your temperature will be checked before entering the park. If you showcase symptoms of a high temperature (above 38 degrees) you will not be allowed to enter the park.
Card Only :
Cash-free payment will be mandatory for all guests and contactless payments or card transactions will be the only source of payment available.
For more information, you can keep up to date with Drayton Manor's policies on their website
Unlike the UK, Disneyland Paris will not be open by July 4th. Instead the hugely popular resort will open July 15th in a phased opening. Whilst most attractions will return some will remain closed and Disney have gone above and beyond to ensure that their iconic ‘magic’ is in place when guests return.
Guests will be limited on attending the resort and require advanced ticketing and reservations. This will allow a greater controlled guest density to ensure social distancing and safety.
Social Distancing on Attractions:
To ensure that you are safe throughout your stay, social distancing will be mandatory. On attractions and rides, a new boarding system will be in place and the Single Rider and FASTPASS services will be unavailable.
Character Meet and Greets:
Meeting Disney’s iconic characters is a vital part of the Disney experience. Sadly, the traditional meet and greets will not be available to guests and will remain temporarily unavailable. However, some characters will appear in the Parks and offer you a memorable photo opportunity. Close interactions and hugs will be suspended temporarily.
Shows will Open:
Certain shows will return on July 15th. The Lion King: Rhythms of the Pride Lands will reopen in the summer, though theatres will adopt a new seating plan to ensure social distancing. The Disney Stars on Parade and Disney Illuminations night time spectacular will return at a later date.
Food and Drink:
Capacity in restaurants will be reduced and a new Take-Away offer will allow you to enjoy eating in outdoor locations across the parks. Booking is highly recommended for all table service restaurants.
Unlike UK law, French authorities require face masks to be worn by those guests aged 11 and older at all times – unless when eating. This is to ensure health and safety guidelines are being followed.
Sanitising stations will be available across the parks and hotels – over 2000! Enhanced cleaning procedures will be in place and will take place frequently throughout the day.
For more information, you can keep up to date with Disneyland Paris' policies on their website
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