California Theme Parks See Weekend Tickets Sell Out on Reopening

Walt Disney Co.’s original Disneyland resort in California is sold out for weekends through May, an indication of pent-up demand for leisure activities as the pandemic eases in the nation’s most-populous state.

Universal Studios in Los Angeles opened its gates Friday and was sold out for the first three days. Legoland, in Carlsbad, doesn’t have spots available this Saturday and Sunday. Six Flags Entertainment Corp., which operates the Magic Mountain park north of Los Angeles, also didn’t have tickets available this weekend.

Theme parks in California began reopening this month for the first time in more than a year. They are doing so under tight restrictions that allow only state residents to visit and limit attendance to 25% of normal capacity. Many parks are requiring reservations for the first time, something Disney resorts chief Josh D’Amaro said benefits both the company and guests.

“Reservations systems getting into the theme parks have allowed us not only to cope with this Covid era we’re in now, but it’s actually allowed us to be a lot more planful and predictable about the guest experience,” D’Amaro said in an interview last week. “We know the guests are responding very well to the experiences they’re having inside of our parks.”

Disney opened its four theme parks in Orlando, Florida, last July, requiring advance purchases for specific dates.

Online Apology

Disneyland began selling tickets to the general public on Thursday. Many of those trying to obtain spots got an online apology from the company saying they would have to wait due to the high demand. Many weekday tickets are available.

On sold-out days, guests can still buy a more expensive “park-hopper” ticket and designate California Adventure, the company’s neighboring park, as their primary destination. They could then enter Disneyland after 1 p.m. The company said tickets could still become available due to cancellations and other factors.

SeaWorld in San Diego has tickets widely available and was offering for them for as much as $30 off the regular $96 price on some days. Cedar Fair LP’s Knott’s Berry Farm reopens next month, with tickets going on sale April 26.

Theme-park attendance during the seasonally strong summer months should accelerate as the vaccine rollout continues and demand for outdoor leisure activities increases, Fitch Ratings said in report Friday. The bond rating company expects regional attendance to recover to 60% to 70% of 2019 levels in 2021 and reach 100% in 2022, as the broader U.S. economy recovers and vaccine penetration expands.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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