- Restless humans with wanderlust are wondering when they will be able to experience the freedom and frivolity of amusement parks once again
- All Disney parks across the globe have been closed since March 16. This is a historic first for the amusement-park giant
- See the odds on when the Magic Kingdoms will reopen and how COVID-19 will change things for visitors when they do
It’s been a month and a half since anyone’s experienced the thrilling drop of Splash Mountain. Out of all the fallouts due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this temporary loss may seem minimal. But for employees and visitors of Disney Parks across the United States, it’s a brutally rude awakening.
Certainly, there are more serious health and economic matters plaguing the whole world at this point. But the escapism of theme parks is also a massive void in the lives of many. Trips have been canceled, families are disappointed, employees are out of work, and Disney as a business is suffering as well. Now more than ever, people want their pictures with Mickey Mouse and an overpriced Jedi-themed churro.
Sportsbooks have posted odds on when Disney World and Disneyland will reopen, which Florida-based theme park will re-open first, and whether the first visitors to return to Disney World be required to wear a facemask and have their temperatures taken.
Odds on When Disney World & Disneyland Will Reopen
|Prop||Before Odds||After Odds|
|When will Disney World reopen?||Before July 1 (-120)||After July 1 (-120)|
|When will Disneyland reopen?||Before Jan. 1, 2021 (-140)||After Jan. 1, 2021 (+100)|
Odds taken May 1st.
It’s almost impossible to imagine the Magic Kingdoms being closed. Since 1955, Disneyland in Anaheim, California, has been the pinnacle of vacation dreams for people across the globe. When sister park Walt Disney World opened in Orlando, Florida, in 1971, both coasts became equal hot spots.
In the 65-year run, Walt Disney World has previously only closed due to hurricanes and one day after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Disneyland had experienced only three closures until the current pandemic led to the raising of the drawbridge.
— Disney Parks News (@DisneyParksNews) March 27, 2020
Disney is waiting with bated breath to reopen and just needs to go ahead from state regulators when it’s safe to do so. So, when exactly will that safety notice be given?
Certain locations in Florida are already going to reopen, but only to locations where social distancing can easily be practiced. No movie theaters will open yet, and even State parks are still going to be off-limits.
It’s going to be a slow roll to imagine Walt Disney World reopening to the public. The 40-square-mile resort has a long wait. Though the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force has said each park in Florida can decide when they open, Disney is going to want to get this right rather than act fast. After all, they don’t want to open prematurely and have to close all over again.
In California, the economy is bouncing back and reopening much slower. Lawmakers and public officials in the Golden State are taking a much more cautious approach than their Floridian counterparts. That means it’s going to take a while for Walt Disney’s original park to see visitors returning.
Disneyland, however, is much smaller scale, and the opening date odds are further out on the calendar. With the current curve in California flattening, it’s easy to imagine the park being open by New Year’s Day.
Pick: Disney World – After July 1 (-120)
Pick: Disneyland – Before Jan. 1, 2021 (-140)
Odds on First Florida Theme Park to Reopen
Odds taken May 1st.
With the fewest number of rides among the Florida amusement parks, SeaWorld just makes the most sense to reopen first. SeaWorld mostly runs on a show-based park model. Thus, the park management can add in safety measures to space out attendees while they watch sea lions bark and dolphins flip.
Walt Disney World and Universal Studios are larger parks that offer more attractions. Given that SeaWorld is a smaller-scale operation, it will be able to get best practices in place and operations secure quicker than its theme park competitors.
Pick: SeaWorld (+125)
Odds on Disney World’s Precautionary COVID Measures
|Prop||Yes Odds||No Odds|
|Will facemasks be required for visitors?||+150||-200|
|Will all visitors have temperature taken before entering?||-120||-120|
Odds taken May 1st.
A lot of discussions are circulating about theme park changes in a post-COVID-19 world. There are rumors about implementing safety measures to keep park guests and employees safe.
Theme parks want to keep those who have COVID-like symptoms out of the parks altogether. Will they actually test the temperature of potential theme park guests entering the park in order to do so? Probably.
It would likely be good for business. Anyone wondering whether or not they want to risk a visit to a crowded theme park after a pandemic might be comforted by the added precautions.
Mandatory facemasks would be harder to implement. There are too many loopholes and pitfalls for this plan to work. People could remove them upon entering, having them littered could be a risk, and it would be hard to maintain this business practice.
Pick: Facemasks – No (-200)
Pick: Temperature Checks – Yes (-120)
Let's have fun and keep it civil.