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COVID-19 RESOURCES & NEWS
Reopened First: Theme Parks Abroad and What We Can Learn from Them

Djurs Sommerland in Denmark Reopened in July
The park is making use of a new app for contactless payments within the park.

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Keeping guests safe from COVID-19 at theme parks and waterparks is the new focus – and re-openings have accelerated abroad, even as the U.S. is rethinking or postponing some openings here.

Among the first to reopen was Shanghai Disneyland, in May. Much like its US counterpart, Walt Disney World, which opened in July, Shanghai Disneyland is operating for visitation “on an ‘Advanced Reservation' only” according to its website, the theme park is also operating at reduced capacity.

Staff members and ticket holders alike receive temperature checks, and all must wear face masks, with one exception: costumed characters, who pose for photos at a beyond-socially-distanced location.

There are dedicated trash cans for used face masks, and empty rows of seats on rides. Ride queues have social-distancing standing locations indicated on the ground. Rides that require touching, such as Buzz Lightyear's Planet Rescue require guests to wear gloves. And parades are canceled.

The park-adjacent retail center Disneytown, Wishing Star Park and Shanghai Disneyland Hotel, are also reopened.

At the Danish theme park Djurs Sommerland, Attractions.io created a new app for ticketing as well as an interactive map. It also offers push notifications, day planning and directions to locations within the park. The park re-opened on June 11th. Along with the contactless ticketing option, the park also has capacity limits in place, and physical distancing markers on the ground.

Djurs Sommerland owner Michael B. Nielsen says the app replaced an older app that “wasn't keeping pace with the expectations of our guests.” The Attractions.io app will continue to be developed to allow for food ordering and menu browsing, as well as contactless pay on their own phones. He adds that “…the app can keep evolving and adding value to guests — helping keep them safe now, but deliver measurable improvements to the guest experience longer-term.”

As Attractions.io CEO Mark Locker relates, guest interest in technology has accelerated due to COVID-19, “we've all become more reliant on technology than ever. The app can …rebuild guest confidence and differentiate on the quality of the experience.”

The park's website notes that advance ticketing is no longer necessary as of July, although they still  recommend doing so. All the rides in Djurs Summerland are running, and from July 7th on, all seats have been used in many rides such as the park's popular Pirate, the Jewel, the Dragon King, the Treasure Island and the Tiger.

Guests are required to wear masks; the park asks that attendees bring their own coverings, but states that masks are inexpensively sold on site for 5 kr. The website notes that the National Board of Health requires masks be thrown out at the end of the visit to minimize the possibility of infection.

Some, but not all rides require socially distancing of “1 or 2 meters” according to the park's website. In the waterpark, Vandland, “there is access for a maximum  number of guests in changing rooms and individual pools.”

Also using technology in its reopening, the U.K.'s Green 4 Solutions altered the Eden Project's online booking system for pre-booking of a time-slot entry, and food purchasing. In Cornwall, The Eden Project is a popular attraction and had closed in March. It reopened July 4th with safety measures in place that include capacity limitations as well as online ticketing. The Green 4 system creates electronic tickets and manages capacity using Widget technology.

The system also helps reduce queues at the on-site restaurant as well as for entry; guests can also purchase refreshments and food from a take-out menu. The Eden Project can deliver food outdoors at a set time and location.
iPads have been mounted to allow visitors to self-scan their tickets; signs providing information on visitor safety are posted.

At Efteling Park in the Netherlands, 1.5 meters of social distancing is marked throughout the park; guest capacity again is limited, and admission is allowed only with an online reservation. Extra hygiene measures are in place, including frequent disinfection and cleaning; hand sanitizing stations; and PPE as appropriate. Once again, informative signing is in place; the park warns that if COVID-19 safety standards are not followed “we speak to guests.” Contactless payment is also in place.

Guests are told that they will not receive staff assistance with getting on and off rides to allow for social distancing. And the park's Single Rider queue and Babyswitch for parents are currently not available. Guests are not allowed to leave a queue or attraction once waiting to board. Shops have restricted capacity and social distancing in place as well as contactless pay or pin payment. These restrictions are also in place at the park's dining venues. Bathrooms are noted as having queue restrictions in place, as well.

Extended summer evening hours allow more guests to visit the park without exceeding limited capacity requirements.

In Brussels, the Mini Europe theme park/outdoor museum has been open since mid-May. As is true at most of the other parks, guests are required to make advance reservations prior to visiting. Facial covering is required, and social distancing of 1.5 meters “between households” is in place.

These types of restrictions – limited capacity, reduction or elimination of live shows and events, social distancing, and face masks – will undoubtedly be in place as the U.S. parks continue to open.

Further safety and technology features are sure to evolve as well, both abroad and in the U.S. Already the Z+ division of Zamperla has developed new safety products including a People Counter, intelligent temperature testing device, and a Welcome Modular Tunnel.

The latter can be customized to include options such as a non-toxic disinfectant module; a hand sanitizer module, a temperature scanning module, or an information module with guidelines and required in-attraction behavior indicated on a large multimedia screen.
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