As we head into vacation season, Florida’s theme parks are coming out of a fog. In the past two years, they’ve had shutdowns and reopenings. Face mask rules went up, then later came down. They weathered criticism for reopening just as Florida became a hotbed for new coronavirus cases.
Two years ago this month, all of Florida’s theme parks were shuttered by the pandemic. The Magic Kingdom became the closed kingdom. It would be five months before they reopened with strict new rules for distancing, face masks and close-contact experiences like fireworks shows, character meetups and train rides.
When they reopened in July 2020 with masks covering their faces, Disney workers greeted guests with “smile signs” of hand-held grins from Goofy or Mickey Mouse. It wasn’t until May 2021 that the theme parks eased up on pandemic safety measures such as temperature checks.
These days, you will only see a smattering of face masks on the staff and visitors. New attractions, restaurants and hotels that were poised to open in 2020 are finally rolling out.
Busch Gardens has opened what the New York Post called “America’s most terrifying new roller coaster,” and Disney World has its first attraction based on a Marvel franchise. Both were supposed to have opened more than a year ago.
If you are ready to return, strap on your seat belts and keep your hands inside the car as we give you a guide to what Florida’s theme parks have to offer this summer.
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