Florida governor calls theme park openings a success story

Posted Thursday, August 27, 2020 9:04 AM | Contributed by BrettV

In a roundtable with theme park executives in Orlando on Wednesday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis touted the parks’ success in restarting operations and welcoming back guests during the coronavirus pandemic.

Read more from WKMG/Orlando.

Thursday, August 27, 2020 9:11 AM
Jeff's avatar

It's worth pointing out that the parks closed on their own accord, and entirely shouldered the burden of how to open safely. DeSantis had no role in it. In fact, he had no role in much of anything in Florida, it was the local municipalities and counties trying to figure this all out on their own. That's why we've had wildly inconsistent results. The rural panhandle counties are still having twice as many new cases per capita every day compared to the urban centers.

Loosening the capacity on the parks may be OK, but I'm not convinced we'll see attendance come roaring back. You can count out the international travelers, obviously, but I don't think someone from Iowa will be really excited to visit Florida with our recent headlines either. I think the recovery is a pretty long game, and "normal" doesn't return until the world figures out how to vaccinate.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Music: The Modern Gen-X - Video

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Thursday, August 27, 2020 9:13 AM
eightdotthree's avatar

The governor responded during the roundtable, saying he and his office are going to do what they can to help bring more business to the theme parks and tourist attractions.

Ok Ron. The only reason we were still considering our September trip was due to the way the parks were handling things. We ultimately cancelled because of the state's weak response.


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Thursday, August 27, 2020 11:34 AM

From a purely operational standpoint, I also don't see how loosening capacity restrictions is a good idea when attraction availability is still limited and major rides are running with empty rows. Say you get that random day where people show up. Sure you can safely admit them, but what kind of experience will they have waiting in a three hour line because Hulk is only loading 12 people per train.

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Thursday, August 27, 2020 11:52 AM
Raven-Phile's avatar

I canceled a solo photography trip a few weeks ago because of the restricted way the parks have been run. No park hopping and limited restaurants/lounges just makes things difficult when I only had a few days and wanted to do and see my favorite things.

I’d imagine it’s the same for most families who don’t have annual passes, and will be stuck paying full price for 1/2 a vacation.


R.I.P LeRoi Moore 9/7/61 - 8/19/2008
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Thursday, August 27, 2020 2:24 PM
ApolloAndy's avatar

We're sort of considering it (not really) because of the reports of relatively short lines. Some of the headliners might be up around an hour (as opposed to two or three) but most of the other A-D ticket attractions reportedly have walk on conditions. From what I gather, they're not even hitting their capacity limits anyway (or is that only for non-AP capacity?), so I'm not sure what the point in expanding capacity is.


Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

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Thursday, August 27, 2020 2:35 PM
kpjb's avatar

I've been popping in on the app just out of curiosity, and the Pandora stuff and even Smugglers Run have been hovering around 20-30 minutes.

It's the airports/restaurants/etc that are keeping me away, not the parks. I trust their covid policies, and I don't need a meet and greet with Mary Poppins if I can get 5 spins on the Millennium Falcon.

EDIT: I just checked, and both Pandora attractions are at 10 minutes. Smugglers Run is at 30. If I lived in Florida and had my own house to go back to in my own (possibly electric) car, I'd be all-in.

Last edited by kpjb, Thursday, August 27, 2020 2:37 PM

Hi

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Thursday, August 27, 2020 2:48 PM
Tommytheduck's avatar

I was told by 2 local AP holders (and you can correct me/them) that even with the lower attendance, the Star Wars rides are now operating at reduced hours and there is a limit of one ride per day on ROTR no matter how low the crowds are.

I was considering a single day visit in Sept or Oct purely for SWGE, but if that's the case, why bother?

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Thursday, August 27, 2020 3:08 PM

That is correct, and you still need to be at the park at park open to sign up for the virtual queue, and many days the slots are gone in less than a minute.

They do an afternoon release now at 3 or 3:30 and it's the same.

Consequently, as a passholder, the next day with availability that I can make a reservation at Hollywood Studios is Thursday, September 24. And after that, it's Thursday, October 1. The next weekend day I could get would be Sunday, November 1 and the next Saturday is Saturday, November 14.

I also can't get into Magic Kingdom until Tuesday, September 15 or Animal Kingdom until Thursday, September 10. Epcot has full availability outside of this weekend and all three days of Labor Day weekend.

To contrast, resort guests have full availability (save for Hollywood Studios over Labor Day weekend) and single day tickets have availability at everything except Hollywood Studios for most days.

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Thursday, August 27, 2020 3:13 PM
Jeff's avatar

That availability was a reinforcing factor in cancelling our passes. As I've said, I give them credit for doing what they can, but the product as it stands is not what you paid for. We kept track, and felt like we were getting the most bang for the buck at around 30 visits a year or more, and a significant concentration of those came during F&W with concerts. It's just not worth it for us right now, regardless of risk.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Music: The Modern Gen-X - Video

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Thursday, August 27, 2020 3:20 PM

My day at Animal Kingdom last week made me feel like they definitely could have added more guests to the park and it still would have been comfortable and not at all busy. I understand reserving the dates for resort guests and single day tickets, but then releasing more AP windows 24 or 48 hour out.

They'd obviously rather have higher spending resort guests there, but it makes me wonder if they truly would rather not have AP holders at all with the little bit of in-park money we might spend rather than having us there making the place more crowded.

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Thursday, August 27, 2020 5:04 PM

I'd travel to Florida right now if (a) flights were available and (b) I could be sure that people around me would wear masks. Unfortunately neither is true.


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Thursday, August 27, 2020 8:14 PM
Jeff's avatar

You risked entering North Korea and got on some rides there. I'm not sure I'd describe you as a typical international traveler. 😊


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Music: The Modern Gen-X - Video

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Friday, August 28, 2020 3:17 AM

I resemble that remark!


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Friday, August 28, 2020 4:12 PM

I guess that answers the question I posed the other day. The Bobs have decided that perhaps there is some value in getting more guests in the parks, even if a significant number of them have already paid and don't spend a whole lot when they are there.

Or the passholder complaints just got to be too much.

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Friday, August 28, 2020 6:20 PM
Tommytheduck's avatar

Richard Bannister said:

I'd travel to Florida right now if (a) flights were available and (b) I could be sure that people around me would wear masks. Unfortunately neither is true.

Well I can tell you as an employee of a certain hated LCC that flights are indeed available, but still being sold to capacity.

95% of people on planes are complying with mask rules, but I've had to have more than one passenger removed before even closing the aircraft door for non-compliance, and a few cases of non compliance in flight. In most cases in flight, the offender is moved to the back of the plane and told that it's because "they are making others around them uncomfortable" and they then usually comply. In one case I made sure a woman on my flight was denied boarding on her connecting flight, but this lady was batpoop psycho.

As for at the parks, it's my impression that the FL park guests are pretty much compliant from reading here and listening to a competing podcast.

My only park visit since Covid hit was a few days ago to Family Kingdom in Myrtle Beach. It was a 45 minute credit stop, only because I'd never been. You couldn't get me out of that hellhole fast enough! South Carolina is a "masks are encouraged" state and Family Kingdom's own website says exactly that. One ride op was maskless and talking directly at me about how he was 70 years old, high risk, needed to work, but since the chance of dying is only .000000000000000000001% he's not wearing a mask.

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Friday, August 28, 2020 6:37 PM

Gonch's dad works at Family Kingdom?

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Saturday, August 29, 2020 2:19 AM

I don't live in the United States.

Domestic flights may be available, but international flights for the most part are not.


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Sunday, August 30, 2020 8:55 AM

eightdotthree said:

The governor responded during the roundtable, saying he and his office are going to do what they can to help bring more business to the theme parks and tourist attractions.

Ok Ron. The only reason we were still considering our September trip was due to the way the parks were handling things. We ultimately cancelled because of the state's weak response.

Same with us. Ours was July when Florida was adding over 10K cases a day.

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