It’s really exciting that the theme parks are tentatively getting ready to open. Alton Towers is opening partially this weekend and most of the Merlin parks will be opening from the 4th July, including Thorpe Park. I was thinking about it yesterday, and I’d honestly love a little wander around the gardens at Alton Towers Resort. If there was any way possible we could go NOW I would. I’ve missed it so much.

But the thought of going to a semi-open, heavily socially distant theme park is leaving me a little… confused.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t really like being surrounded by swathes of people – I struggle with theme parks that are absolutely rammed. I avoid the Fireworks at Alton Towers because of that. So, I guess having fewer people around will be nice in that respect. I just worry about the vibe, the atmosphere, just being a bit stilted, and solemn. I find going to the supermarkets at the moment stressful, I’m constantly wandering around panicking if I’m too close to others, or if they are too close to me. I find myself instinctively holding my breath, only really stopping when I’m back in my car.

I just don’t know if I can do that at these places I really love.

I like the shared experiences of theme parks, not even with friends and family. With the people around me. It’s fun to overhear the queue line conversations, the silly “I heard a kid stood up on this ride and got his head chopped off” rumours. Talking to randoms about the rides. Listening to the gasps of people who haven’t seen the Wicker Man pre-show before. I just worry that everyone will be so consumed with social distancing, the fun stuff will be muted.

The thing is I REALLY want to support the theme parks, big and small, they will have struggled immensely without an income. If some of them aren’t supported enough, we might lose them. Could I forgo my concerns to help these places that bring me joy? I really want to. I really do. But equally, I’d rather put the dog in daycare and boarding when I can have a full on, hard core run around a theme park and get the most possible out of my day.

I might leave it until they’ve been open for a few weeks, so the staff have had time to get used to the ‘new normal’, and all the new procedures and protocols can be refined. The parks have all their plans, but it will take a little while for everything to bed in. As well as there being new staff, the old staff will have to learn new ways of operating – it’s going to be hard. I really hope the general public are kind to everyone.

I know I won’t miss out on new rides and attractions, those new arrivals for 2020 will be ‘New for 2021’ now, which is a shame. So even if I do swerve the parks for a few weeks, I won’t have to endure weeks of enthusiasts posting on social media how good / bad / ugly the new rides are.

Despite everything, I really think I need my theme park fix – I’ve not been to one since a very wet day at Chessington in October. I miss rides, I miss the atmosphere, I miss making vlogs and saying hello to the lovely theme park nerds I’ve got to know over the years.

I don’t really WANT to go on socially distant trips to theme parks, but I think I NEED to.

How do you feel about the situation? What are your plans? Drop a comment below.

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