We ventured out of our home this past weekend to go to our first theme park since the world decided to go to crap! We love coasters, so we decided to visit Six Flags Over Texas. When you enter the parking lot, staff placed cones to block off every other spot or every two spots.
When walking to the park, there were numerous signs reminding guest that face masks are required at all times throughout the park. There was no inconvenience during the temperature check process, guest walk through an air conditioned tent and a team member uses a thermal imaging device to check guest as they walk through. It was super quick and it didn’t feel any different then when walking to the park normally.
Before you arrive to the park, it is suggested that all guest make a reservation to attend the park. When making the reservation, you are asked to pick times and to arrive no earlier than 5 minutes before. However, when arriving at the gate, staff who were scanning passes/tickets did not ask if we had a reservation nor did they scan our reservation ticket for entry. This protocol honestly felt the most “COVID-thearter” to us, simply because of the park didn’t follow up on it’s own rules. Not the best start, but it could’ve been worse!
Throughout the park, all employees were wearing their masks properly. There were a hand full of times we saw other guest who were walking around with masks around their necks or only covering their mouths. We hardly heard staff enforcing guest to keep their masks on while walking throughout the park. This was really disappointing to us because we are relying on staff to uphold a certain standard, and they just weren’t able to do so. Unsure if this was just a lack of discipline or mandate from Management not to approach people not wearing masks correctly. One would hope it wouldn’t be the latter.
Hand sanitizer was placed all throughout the park, including before entering the line queue and when exiting the ride. There were also hand washing stations placed all throughout the park about 5 minutes from each other.
I want give a HUGE shoutout to the two ride operators for El Diablo!! As soon as guests entered the line queue, the ride operators made an announcement that masks are required at all times even while riding and to practicing social distancing while waiting. The ride operator also called out a specific individual over the intercom reminding them that their mask needs to cover their mouth AND nose. The ride operator did not dispatch until the individual complied. Although we previously were disappointed with team members NOT upholding mask regulations around the park; this immediately made us feel better. Wish it happened more often!
Once we got off the ride, ride operators made an announcement that they will be conducting their hourly train cleaning and guests will be able to board shortly. In almost all line queue’s the 6ft markers were more than 6ft apart giving an optimal amount of distancing between guest. Unfortunately, while waiting in line some guests did not comply with standing on the markers and there were no enforcements made by staff. Aside from not enforcing mask use while walking around the park, this singlehandedly could have been the most disappointing aspect of our visit. Unlike walking around in the park, you are very much stationary for long stretches of time without any park team members or management making sure rules are being followed. Honestly, if the park treated it as if it were line jumping; there wouldn’t be an issue.
Overall, we felt relatively safe while visiting the park with a good portion of guests wearing masks and staying distant. The park also had multiple mask break areas for guests to sit and relax if needed. We also saw multiple cleaning teams walking around the park with a wagon of cleaning supplies. But, at no point did we see staff cleaning hand railings in the queue lines and no other rides announcing their hourly cleaning. Even with the outliers, we were able to socially distance ourselves to avoid them. But to be honest, that isn’t the point. The rules are set by the park, which means those rules should be enforced by the park at all times. If you’re unable to enforce rules and regulations that are in place in order to keep people safe…well…you shouldn’t be open. While we completely understand it’s nearly impossible to keep all guests adhering to the rules during their entire visit, it would have been nice to see more initiative by team members in trying to uphold those rules. I will give the park a solid 7/10 for safety. If I would have seen more enforcement from staff to keep other guests distance while in line or to remind guests while walking throughout the park I would have given it a 9/10.
Jacinda Mitchell - THEME PARK DUO CORESPONDENT