Pennsylvania’s Hersheypark is aiming to reopen in July, assuming the state signs off on its plans. 

Under the park’s reopening plan, season passholders can visit first on July 1 and 2 before the general public is allowed inside on July 3. 

The amusement park — which was the 19th most-visited park in the U.S. in 2018, according to the Themed Entertainment Association — says the reopening will come with similar safety guidelines as those implemented at other theme parks, all aimed at limiting the spread of the COVID-19 virus. 

Advance reservations will be required to control capacity, physical distancing will be enforced throughout the park, and all guests over the age of 2 will be required to wear a face mask. 

But Hersheypark will also be returning with a new roller coaster: Candymonium, a 210-foot-tall steel coaster from Bolliger & Mabillard that will hit speeds of 76 miles per hour. 

“On behalf of the entire team at Hersheypark, we can’t wait to kick off our 114th season with familiar favorites and exciting additions like Candymonium,” said Hersheypark General Manager Vikki Hultquist. “As we prepare to welcome guests back to our clean and green destination for family fun, we want them to know that their health and safety has been and always will be our top priority at Hersheypark.”

Anaheim could consider a Disneyland gate tax

The COVID-19 pandemic has decimated local government budgets that rely on hotel and sales taxes — and in Anaheim, California, a new tax on Disneyland can help reduce the deficit.

According to Voice of OC, a nonprofit news organization covering Orange County, California, the city of Anaheim has a projected $75 million gap in its budget. Much of that deficit can be attributed to lost tax revenue thanks to the pandemic shutting down the resort area around Disneyland. 

To help fill that hole, local politicians think the city should consider a $1 gate tax on Disneyland tickets. 

“I think it’s a great idea, it’s something that we should’ve implemented a long time ago. The influx of tourists … they all put wear and tear on the streets and all the infrastructure. So $1 a person is not going to make or break if they come here or not,” Anaheim resident and City Council candidate Jeanine Robbins told Voice of OC. 

Robbins also said the proposal has been nixed before, blaming Disney’s allies on the City Council. 

“It has been talked about for a long time and it’s something residents have always been in support of but Disney has always fought it and as long as Disney controls the City Council, it never goes near it,” Robbins said. 

Disney’s influence on the Anaheim City Council was the subject of a series of Los Angeles Times articles in 2017. 

Disneyland has been closed since mid-March, but has proposed reopening its resort in phases starting July 9 with the Downtown Disney complex. 

Cell phone data shows light attendance at Universal Orlando since reopening

If cell phone data is any indication, theme park fans are not exactly rushing back to Universal Orlando while the COVID-19 pandemic continues. 

Bloomberg reported that data on cell phone signals from Universal Orlando parks suggest crowds are about 20 percent of what was seen in the same time period last year. The data, provided by SafeGraph, did suggest that the June 3 and 4 previews for annual passholders saw heavier crowds than the reopening to the general public on June 5. 

Like all theme parks, Universal is limiting capacity at its theme parks to allow for physical distancing, though it is not requiring advance reservations like local rivals SeaWorld Orlando and Disney World.

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