Deno's Wonder Wheel
Photograph: Courtesy Deno's Wonder Wheel

When will amusement parks reopen? Here's what thrill-seekers can expect

Things are going to look different.

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Many families are questioning the fate of their summer plans, from camp programs to getaways. People are beginning to wonder if amusement parks will reopen in time for the season, and the answer isn't necessarily straightforward.

Once the reopening process starts for regions across New York, it takes place in four phases, provided the essential and non essential businesses in each particular phase meet the required criteria. Phase four includes businesses in education, art, entertainment and recreation, so it's likely theme parks could be included in the final phase. 

So what does this all mean?

Essentially, there still isn't a clear answer that will reveal when your favorite attraction will reopen. Plus, we have to consider crowd sizes each park attracts, according to The New York Forward Guide.

Although we might be waiting some time, many attractions have begun revealing their plans for the future and sharing thoughts about what a new normal might look like. We've spoken to some of our favorite kids' amusement parks locally and within the tristate area about the steps they plan to take to ensure guests' safety when they can, once again, welcome guests.  

Check back, as we plan to update this piece frequently. Note that some locations are outside of New York State. If you have questions about a particular park, contact the attraction directly. 

Deno's Wonder Wheel (Coney Island, Brooklyn) 

The beloved Deno's Wonder Wheel will open when given permission from the city and state. The park's social media manager noted that visitors should expect to see plexiglass partitions, hand sanitizer stations and social distancing markers when they do return. 

Luna Park (Coney Island, Brooklyn) 

The Coney Island summer oasis is planning to operate according to city and state officials. According to a statement from the team, "We have been building on the many existing safety measures at our amusement park and will be implementing public health protocols according to CDC and health agencies’ guidelines to maximize the protection of our guests and team members. Moreover, we will be taking proactive steps to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 by operating at a controlled and reduced capacity, mandating the use of face masks for all our guests and team members, strategically deploying hand sanitizer dispensers throughout the amusement park, increasing the frequency of sanitization and disinfection of all surfaces and enforcing social distancing across all sites."

Adventureland (Farmingdale, New York) 

The Long Island theme park will open when the state says it is safe to do so. According to the park manager, Steve Gentile, "We will have reduced park capacity, plenty of hand sanitation stations throughout the park, social distancing will be practiced and face masks will be required. These are just a few of the safety measures we will be implementing for the safety of our guests and employees."

Six Flags Great Adventure (Jackson Township, New Jersey)

Six Flags Great Adventure will require reservations for all visitors, including pass holders and members. According to the website, "To meet state social distancing guidelines and ensure the health and safety of our guests, all visits to the park must be pre-scheduled using our online reservation system." Visit nj.gov to learn more about New Jersey's reopening plans. 

Morey's Piers and Water Parks (Wildwood, New Jersey) 

Morey Hotels and Resorts will be able to welcome guests back beginning June 1, according to the attraction's website. New cleaning protocols will be in place. One of Morey's Piers will not reopen for the summer when the time does come, although the exact pier has yet to be revealed, according to ABCVisit nj.gov to learn more about New Jersey's reopening plans. 

Hersheypark (Hershey, Pennsylvania) 

The family hotspot will operate when industry, state and federal agencies permit it to do so. According to Garrett Gallia of Hershey Entertainment & Resorts Company, the park will require initiatives such as, "social distancing, capacity management, queue line management, a planned park and ride reservations system, COVID-19 specific training, touch-less hand sanitizers, increased sanitation schedules and the use of personal protective equipment." Visit governor.pa.gov to learn more about Pennsylvania's reopening plans. 

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