New rules and guidelines as theme parks set to open

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Eileen Ogintz, syndicated travel columnist and creator of TakingtheKids.com shares what you need to know before you go to the theme parks that are set to open this season.

Theme parks, including those in Orlando, California and Elitch Gardens are reopening but for now, the experience won’t be the same: Reservations are required and there will be reduced capacity at pools as well.

Masks, social distancing  and frequent hand sanitizing are required, with lines, food service, seating all now designed to enforce social distancing.

In California, when theme parks including Universal, Disneyland and Legoland re open at the end of April, only Californians can visit—at least in the beginning.

Experiences in some cases have been changed—rather than character hugs and photo ops, for example, at Walt Disney World, you may see and interact with your favorite characters from a distance at a pop up experience.


Good news for Elitch Gardens season pass holders: 2020 passes have been upgraded to VIP passes for 2021 including free parking and friend tickets, among the perks. Pre-K passes from last year will be honored this year.

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