Six Flags has joined fellow theme park operators like Disney and Universal in beginning to establish guidelines for reopening. As part of its plans to do so, Six Flags announced a new guest reservation system Wednesday aimed at enabling its theme parks to avoid overcrowding by managing the number of daily visitors. But will Six Flags theme parks be open this summer? While Six Flags is beginning to roll out reopening procedures, the company has yet to share any firm dates for reopening.
"The health and safety of our guests and team members is always our highest priority and in the current environment, we certainly want to take extra precautions to create a safe experience for everyone," Six Flags President and CEO Mike Spanos said in a recent press release. "We are excited about reopening our parks and getting back to the business of fun; however, we want to do so in the safest possible manner."
In an effort to manage crowd size at parks, Six Flags will require all guests to make a reservation for their visit at sixflags.com/reserve after purchasing their ticket. According to Six Flags, the new reservation process should take no more than seven minutes. Guests will begin by entering their ticket number, online order number, membership or season pass number, and then selecting the date and time they'd like to visit. Guests will then be asked to watch a video detailing Six Flags' new social distancing and sanitization procedures and acknowledge their understanding of the theme park operator's health policy. As part of the reservation system, guests will also be able to pre-pay for parking and order masks to wear inside the park.
"By having guests pre-register before they visit, we can plan ahead with proper staffing and sanitization measures, including ensuring that guests and team members maintain safe social distancing throughout the day," Spanos said Wednesday.
Guests who find the day they'd like to visit completely booked, will be able to join a wait list in case of guest cancelation or the last-minute release of additional reservation spots. Diamond and Diamond Elite Members will automatically be added to a "priority wait list," while other Six Flags Members and season pass holders will receive priority waitlist spots over single-day ticket buyers.
Members and season pass holders will also be granted temporary exclusive access to Six Flags' new reservation system once it goes online. "After a set period of time, other tickets holders will be invited to make reservations, too," Six Flags noted in a new frequently asked questions section on its reservation website.
At the moment, Six Flags is not accepting reservations and no specific date has been given for when guests can expect to begin making reservations. Instead, the company has said only that its reservation system will go live for each park shortly before operations are expected to resume at that park.
Mark Kupferman, Six Flags' vice president of insights and interactive marketing, acknowledged that some guests might find the new reservation requirement less than ideal while speaking with USA Today, but said it was ultimately about attempting to make things as safe as possible. "People used to be able to just buy a ticket and show up," Kupferman told USA Today. "Now it's going to require a little more advanced planning and effort. It's not optimal, but it is absolutely going to be worth it for the guest. It's about helping people feel good when they come to the parks so they can enjoy their day and not spend it worrying."
Six Flags operates more than 20 theme parks spread across Arizona, California, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, and Texas. Internationally, the company also operates theme parks in Canada, Mexico, and Saudi Arabia. All of the company's U.S. theme parks have been closed since mid-March as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, and to date, the company has not announced any firm reopening dates.
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