Study Shows Unvaccinated People MORE Likely to Visit Theme Parks

in Theme Parks

carousel with cinderella castle

Credit: Disney

Just a couple of years ago, people thought about where they wanted to go on vacation and what it would take to get there. They thought about budgets, what kind of clothes they will bring, what fun things they might buy. They didn’t think about if they had enough masks, if they would need to show proof of vaccination, or whether they should go at all.

magic kingdom
Credit: Disney

However, we are now living in a pandemic world, and things have changed.

Some of the most popular vacation destinations are theme parks, and that hasn’t changed even with the pandemic. Most theme parks have a number of health and safety procedures to keep Guests safe, but a contagious virus can always find a way to sneak through, especially that there is a chance that a large number of theme park visitors may be unvaccinated.

The new Magic Kingdom Central Plaza area between Main Street, U.S.A. and Cinderella Castle is now open to guests. The new landscaping is the first milestone of a multi-phase project that features sculpted gardens, charming fountains and winding pathways. This area is designed to be reminiscent of castle gardens and offers extraordinary viewing locations for parades and fireworks. Magic Kingdom is located at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Matt Stroshane, photographer)
Credit: Disney

The New York University School of Professional Studies and the Family Travel Association recently conducted the 2021 U.S. Family Travel Survey and found that 70% of unvaccinated respondents planned to visit a theme park in the next 12 months. Theme parks were, in fact, their top destination choice.

That number is much higher than those that are vaccinated, of which only 50% planned to visit a theme park, per the report.

raptor encounter universal orlando
Credit: Universal

New Your University Professor and co-author of the survey Dr. Lynn Minnaert spoke to The Points Guy about the survey and offered an explanation of the results.

“Unvaccinated families are less likely to be deterred by crowds, which may play a role. They are also more likely to feel that health restrictions are unnecessary or overblown, and express frustrations over the many attraction closures COVID has caused,” Minnaert said via email. “It could be that they feel they are taking a stand by participating in activities that are seen by some as higher risk. In water parks, no masks can be worn, maybe that is appealing to some.”

Magic kingdom crowds on happily ever after finale night
Credit: ITM Kelly C.

Even though Florida theme parks like Walt Disney World Resort and Universal Orlando Resort have health and safety guidelines in place — for example, Disney World is requiring all Guests to wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status — they do not require Guests to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test to enter their Parks. And even though they recommend for unvaccinated Guests to wear masks at all times, they have no way of knowing who is vaccinated and who isn’t.

Guests wearing face masks at disneyland resort
Credit: Disney

President Joe Biden and his administration have encouraged large venues, such as theme parks, concert venues, and movie theaters, to require proof of vaccination or negative COVID tests for all people who want to enter. In spite of that, most theme parks do not require that kind of proof at this time, considering such testing requirements are not currently a federal mandate.

disneyland crowd levels september
Credit: Inside the Magic

Over in California, at Disneyland Resort, all Guests are also required to wear masks while indoors, but things at Universal Studios Hollywood will soon be different. Beginning on October 7, Guests 12 and over will need to show proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID test in order to enter the Park. However, Universal Studios Hollywood is actually implementing these measures because of a mandate passed in LA County, where the Park is located.

Universal Hollywood
Credit: Universal

Neither of the U.S. Disney Parks nor Universal Orlando Resort have indicated that they plan to require Guests to show proof of vaccination for entry into the theme parks.

What do you think about the large number of unvaccinated people that say they plan to visit theme parks? Do you think more theme parks should require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test? Let us know in the comments!

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