This is not unexpected to have happened, but nevertheless is still not good news.
Here's a more direct story:
I wouldn't read much into this. The employees don't solely exist at work, and you don't know if they were licking door knobs at a bar. That they're doing contact tracing is surprising and welcome, and if their coworkers aren't infected, the spread may not have happened at the park.
I'm convinced that the way the parks are operating right now that they're safe-ish. I just hope they're making enough money to make it worth even being open.
The cliche of "I feel safer at a theme park than a grocery store" since parks started reopening, and lately the "stay home or else you're killing grandma" crowd has been tearing into anyone on social media that says it. But I find it to be quite accurate whether it's fact, perception, or a mix of both. I feel most major operators have found a balancing act that changes, but does not totally ruin, the park experience. Cedar Fair has always been cautious when it comes to things like safety, and their COVID protocols seem to be no different.
This is one of those things where the media writes the headline and then half of Facebook comments with "SEE THAT'S WHY THEY SHOULD BE CLOSED" or "THEY WILL CLOSE AGAIN BECAUSE OF THIS" without any sort of actual fact based analysis.
I'm still surprised that you see so much of the "killing grandma" crowd. I don't see those people very often. I also avoid Twitter.
I feel like it's primarily been the last few weeks as the Orange County numbers have skyrocketed. Nobody really seemed to mind when Universal opened, but the bad publicity for Walt Disney World has really surprised me. I'm not sure if it's because Disney is such a bigger name and gets significantly more response. Or because when UO opened the first week of June things were in such a better place here.
We had another record yesterday in Orange County, but I think it's still pretty clear that the origin of these increases are the young people humping each other in bars and, judging from the social media of my neighbors, having their pool and barbecue parties with 20 friends at a time.
^^So its not just me who is thinking this. Nobody batted an eye at Universal opening but as soon as Disney announces their opening people already jumped on the "keep everything closed" ship.
The employees don't solely exist at work, and you don't know if they were licking door knobs at a bar.
The local employee bar Louie's is still opening nightly so if a lot of employees are going there, it certainly increases chances.
That's what surprised me last week. Nobody said a word when Universal opened. A few people made a stink about SeaWorld doing such a bad job with the mask enforcement and social distancing (which was deserved). But WDW opens and all hell breaks loose with people berating the decision.
There seems to be a growing resentment towards Disney because of the perceived high cost of getting in, which I believe gives some the motivation to find fault in other business practices, such as reopening. They have alienated some lower to middle-class earners in America, but without impacting their core business at all. I think the same has happened at Cedar Point, to an extent, although they took measures to tap into a new market with the gold pass.
Outside of Harry Potter does the media or the average person care that much about Universal Studios? Don't know the answer but that could be why there has been far less media coverage. They also didn't open up during a huge upswing of cases in Florida like Disney did either.
We were scheduled to visit Universal Studios this upcoming week. We cancelled today since the cases in Florida are not losing any steam. Orange County added as many cases as Illinois did today. We're going to try for the third time in October.
In the meantime maybe Cedar Point or King's Island would be a good alternative.
Nationally you are probably correct but locally here in Orlando it was if Universal could do no wrong and anything Disney did was going against better judgment. As you mentioned it could be because Disney opened when cases were on the rise but it still seemed a bit harsh to come down on one park and not the other. For me it seems like Universal has been the example of how this could work as I have yet to hear any horror stories from the park or any mass outbreaks of Covid from employees and the park has been open for over a month I think. But I am sure as soon as one Cast Member from Disney is confirmed to have it, the media will implode on how Disney is a super spreader.
Again, there is no brand that can compare to Disney when it comes to what people think of when think of Florida theme park vacations, family entertainment, etc. But I didn't see anything like this when other parks opened.
And the weird thing is that, while the experience looks dystopian from the outside, and I still think my family's risk profile is too high, it seems like Disney is doing it "best," largely because of reservations and deliberate crowd management. Universal and Cedar Fair seem to be pretty close to Disney. SeaWorld started poorly but it sounds like they're doing a little better.
In addition to Disney being the gold standard in terms of entertainment, you have the overlay of income disparities with respect to the impact of Covid. That overlay has media and social media appeal.
Universal stopped requiring reservations because there was no demand beyond the passholder previews. I'm sure they will if crowds start to pick up again.
I've watched a lot of vlogs from both resorts and they seem to be working about the same. The main difference being that Disney still has their marching bands marching down Main Street wind instruments and all as well as a number of performers without masks (at a float's distance).
Did Universal ever require reservations, but for the AP preview days prior to being open for anyone?
I also see Cedar Fair has dropped reservations for Worlds of Fun and Dollywood has dropped them as well. Once the initial rush of people who wanted to go showed up for opening days/opening weeks, my guess is they aren't even coming close to hitting their capacity each day. Kings Island now allows passholders to hold as many reservation days as they'd like.
I see Disney sticking with it but possibly incorporating park hopping and/or unlimited reservations like Kings Island. I also see Cedar Point sticking with it. Even if they aren't selling out of reservation times each day, it seems like a good practice for them after all the heat they got last fall when the still active gold passes swarmed the park.
Since this has devolved into a Disney thread, (as they all seem to do:)
I was considering taking this time to make a solo trip to finally visit Star Wars GE. Then I talked to a guy who works there who said that the Lightsaber shop is closed, probably wouldn't get into the Cantina, and my Millennium Falcon rides would be solo with 5 empty positions unfilled.
So while it seems like the time to avoid all the BS that came with SWGE, it also seems like the experience wouldn't even be worth it at this point.
Smuggler's Run is definitely intended to be a shared experience. You won't score well if there aren't other button mashers in the cabin.
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