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Legoland Reopens to Thin Crowds with Social Distancing in Place

Guests at the Winter Haven, Fla.-based resort weren’t required to wear masks and only a few did.

(Bloomberg)—Legoland, the first big Florida theme park to reopen after three months of shut down from the coronavirus, drew thin crowds on Monday.

Guests at the Winter Haven, Florida, resort weren’t required to wear masks and only a few did, said Denise Preskitt, who runs the theme-park website and was there for the reopening.

“I wouldn’t say it was the slowest I’ve seen, but it was slow,” Preskitt said. “The boat ride was a walk-on.”

Legoland, a unit of U.K.-based Merlin Entertainments, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The $19.3 billion U.S. theme-park industry has been shuttered since March due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Resorts begin reopening this week, starting with those in Florida.

In Orlando, Comcast Corp.’s Universal Studios will reopen to employees and some season-pass holders this week, with the general public joining them on June 5. Six Flags Entertainment Corp. will start opening in Oklahoma City that day, with SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. targeting June 11 for its Florida properties.

Walt Disney Co., the world’s largest theme-park operator, is holding out until mid-July to bring back its resorts, with management saying it wanted to take “baby steps.” The company halted new bookings for hotels and restaurants as it works on a reservation system to enter the parks on specific days. Other operators aren’t requiring reservations to attend their theme parks.

Cleaning Seats

Jay Scutt, who runs a YouTube channel devoted to the parks and also visited Legoland, said the wait for one ride lasted half an hour even though there were only a handful of people in line. Ride operators were putting as few as two people in vehicles that could seat many more, and were wiping down seats and surrounding areas after each group of guests.

“They’re being extremely thorough,” he said.

Water fountains at Legoland were turned off, with one bearing a sign that said it was in “time-out for today.” Areas where kids could play with Lego bricks were shut down, as were photo-ops with park characters, according to Preskitt. In restaurants, guests were encouraged to use credit cards, rather than cash, and were urged to wear masks.

“Masks not only protect, but they’re cool and mysterious (just ask ninjas and superheroes),” a sign read.

Admission to Legoland was $90 for a one-day ticket bought online and $95 at the gate.

Universal Studios extended a promotion of as much as $65 off a three-day ticket for Florida guests until the end of June. It originally was supposed to expire April 2. Hotel rooms at Universal resorts are being offered for as little as $79 a night, according to the company’s website.

Cancellation fees, which can run $200 or higher, are being waived through the end of August.

To contact the reporter on this story: Christopher Palmeri in Los Angeles at [email protected].

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Nick Turner at [email protected]

Rob Golum, John J. Edwards III

© 2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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