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Expert On Theme Parks Says Precautions During Reopening Will Be Crucial

Host Matthew Peddie speaks with Robert Niles of ThemeParkInsider.com.
Host Matthew Peddie speaks with Robert Niles of ThemeParkInsider.com.

When the first of Florida’s theme parks reopen next week, Robert Niles predicts they will be taking a cautious approach towards welcoming visitors back.

“On the attractions themselves, that’s a managed environment. Once they enter the queue for an attraction, it’s relatively simple as a concept to keep people spaced apart,” Niles said. “It’s out there on the streets of the theme park where the challenge [arises].”

Universal Orlando Resort announced last week that it's planning a June 5 reopening with limited capacity and measures to enforce social distancing. Legoland in Winter Haven siad it will be reopening on June 1. 

And both Walt Disney World and SeaWorld Orlando will present their proposals for phased reopenings before an Orange County task force on Wednesday. If Demings signs off on them, the plans will be sent to Gov. Ron DeSantis for approval.

Robert Niles was a guest Tuesday on the State We’re In, a Facebook Live show from WUSF and WMFE in Orlando. He runs , a website geared towards covering theme parks around the world. Niles worked at Walt Disney World in Orlando while he was in college and graduate school.

He also writes a weekly column for the Orange County Register, a newspaper in Southern California.

Niles said one of the challenge theme parks will face is the number of visitors they can allow in before social distancing can no longer be maintained.

Along with limiting the number of people in the parks, he said they’ll likely need to hire more workers to enforce social distancing measures.  

“It’s not about recalling the people you furloughed. It’s about bringing in more people,” Niles said.

To see more content, visit The State We’re In’s Facebook page.

This story is produced in partnership with , an initiative using community engagement to inform local journalism. It is supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Copyright 2020 WUSF Public Media - WUSF 89.7