A New York summer staple (and an actual landmark) is coming back to much fanfare next week: Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park in Coney Island is officially opening for the season on April 9. Woohoo!
Things are, of course, going to look slightly different from what New Yorkers are used to: you'll have to book a reservation in advance and slots will only be available on weekends from 11am to 6pm to start. The park will operate daily starting Memorial Day through Labor Day. The reservation, which you can make right here, guarantees you a timed entrance and you'll have two hours to explore the park once in. There will be a limited number of standby tickets on offer as well.
In terms of COVID-19-related guidelines, the destination will operate at 33% capacity and all visitors will have to wear masks and follow social distancing measures. A lot of the rides across the park will also now boast new plexiglass separators and novel air ventilation systems.
As usual, opening day will include the traditional Blessing of the Rides festivity, where elected officials and locals will participate in a ribbon-cutting ceremony. This year, the park's owners are seeking to honor the city's essential workers during the kickoff event.
But 2021 is important for another reason as well as it marks the Wonder Wheel's 100-year anniversary, which will likely be commemorated during the April 9 event, although Brooklyn Paper reports that a wider centennial celebration is in the works.
The excitement about the impending opening is palpable, especially considering that, last year, the park was never able to welcome back visitors after the virus forced it to shut down.
Just in case you already want to plan out your visit, make sure to add the Thunderbolt and Spook-A-Rama to your must-try rides list but leave yourself some time to also explore the new Phoenix rollercoaster. The 68-foot-tall ride is opening right next to the Wonder Wheel in just a few months.
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