CONEY ISLAND, Brooklyn — New York’s beloved amusement parks at Coney Island reopen their gates to guests on Friday after being shut down since 2019 due to the coronavirus pandemic. After the traditional “Blessing of the Rides” at 10 a.m., both Luna Park and Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park opened at 11 a.m.
The parks will only be open on weekends through May, but then from Memorial Day through Labor Day, the parks are open seven days a week.
This will be the Coney Island amusement parks’ 101st season. Sadly, they weren’t able to celebrate the 100th-anniversary last year, as parks were closed for all of 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions. Face coverings, temperature checks, and frequent cleanings of rides and common areas will be mandatory to keep returning visitors safe.
Also new this year: tickets will be sold in advance while the parks operate with staggered entries and exits. Luna Park is offering wristbands as tickets, which guests must reserve online ahead of time and guarantees them a set two-hour period of unlimited access to the park.
Deno’s Wonder Wheel is offering a similar online reservation system for park-goers to pick a two-hour period to enjoy the rides and attractions. Plus, they’re working on a way to sign up for a ride specifically on the Wonder Wheel, which was made for social distancing. It was built during the last pandemic a century ago. Plus, a new thrilling roller coaster called the Phoenix is being built at Deno’s, which they hope to have up and running for the 2021 season.
The highly anticipated reopening comes after Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced in February that outdoor amusement parks in New York could welcome guests back at 33% capacity starting April 9.