The Covid pandemic made the past 14 months a literal roller coaster of a ride for both theme parks and their fans.
Parks shut down or didn’t open at all last spring, and although some did reopen by summer, it was with strict capacity limits and stringent health and safety measures that put off some customers and definitely dented the fun factor for others.
Here’s a look at how things are shaping up in 2021 for this part of the travel and tourism sector, and how prospective visitors can make the most out a theme park vacation as the pandemic winds down.
Pre-pandemic, things had been going well for the sector. The top 20 North American theme parks drew 159,108,000 visitors in 2019, 1% more than the year before, according to the 2019 TEA/AECOM Theme Index and Museum Index.
To draw even more visitors, park operators were rolling profits back into much-hyped, big-budget new attractions like the Jurassic World Velocicoaster at Universal Orlando Resort’s Islands of Adventure in Florida and the Marvel-themed Avengers Campus at Disney California Adventure Park in Anaheim.