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Florida theme parks announce reopening dates, changes you can expect

SeaWorld is set for June 10, Walt Disney World for July 11.

TAMPA, Fla. — We are almost one month into Phase One of reopening Florida and we are starting to see theme parks roll out plans to reopen, too.

As they navigate reopening with additional safety guidelines to protect people from coronavirus, theme park goers should expect big changes when they go.

When it comes to when theme parks are reopening, the city of Tampa said Busch Gardens is planning to reopen on June 10 for employee appreciation day and then on June 11 to the public. As of Friday, these dates are still pending state approval. 

On Friday, the state approved SeaWorld's plan to reopen on June 10 and Walt Disney World's plan to reopen on July 11 with Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios set to reopen July 15. Universal was already approved to open on June 5 and Legoland on June 1.

“We will require our guests and employees to pass a temperature screening before they enter the park,” Marc Swanson with SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment said.

Most theme parks will require everyone to wear masks and some park restaurants will have pre-packaged utensils, paper menus and not offer buffets. They will also do hourly cleaning of high contact areas.

“We’ve eliminated park maps as well so you’ll get it on your phone instead of a paper map,” Swanson said.

Theme parks say social distancing requiring them to spread people out on rides may lead to longer wait times and therefore ask everyone to be patient. 

One big change is that Walt Disney World will require all guests to make reservations before coming. 

As for summer camps offered by SeaWorld, they say they are not offering them yet but looking into ways they can start them again safely.

All theme parks will reopen with limited capacity following the CDC’s guidelines. As those guidelines change, parks urge people to understand so will their rules and to be flexible and patient during this unique time.

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