Six Flags Magic Mountain thrives amidst pandemic after one year closure


After being closed for over a year, Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, California soars in popularity once again after being closed for over a year. Even strict COVID-19 guidelines couldn’t keep eager Californian’s from visiting a family favorite. 

Six Flags closed Mar. 13, 2020 after being ordered to do so by Governor Gavin Newsome due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

And on Mar. 16, 2021, The Newsom Administration released “Blueprint refresh” which would allow theme parks to reopen by Apr. 1, 2021 and explained the strict guidelines they would have to follow. Six flags took hold of this date, knowing Los Angeles county is in Tier 2 and opened as soon as possible, unlike other theme parks. 

Closing time will have patrons leaving a little before sunset at six p.m. (DESTINY RAMOS MARIN/ La Plaza photo)

In Blueprint Refresh, Governor Newsom stated that theme parks will operate at 15% capacity until stated otherwise. Or when the county has reached a higher tier level. Blueprint Refresh also stated that park employees are not able to have any contact with patrons at entrance during security and while handling food and drinks, as well as not having parties of 10 or more enter the park at once. 

Six Flags handled the strict regulations very well. While handling food and drinks, employees switched gloves in between customers and handed patrons their items through a sanitized tray. And don’t worry, attendees are able to bring their drink cups for free refills. When you go for a refill, present your cup to the employee through the flexi glass and they will hand you a regular drink cup filled with the beverage of your choice. Then all you will need to do is pour your drink into your refillable cup and enjoy your beverage.

Most of the rides at the park are opened, except for the few that do not meet the criteria for safe riding. Rides such as Gold Rusher, Full Throttle, Batman: The Ride, Tidal Wave, etc. were closed for safety purposes. Although it is exciting to ride roller coasters again, some of the open coasters would present a problem for attendees.

For each ride, social distancing would allow less than half of the full capacity to ride. For instance, The Riddler’s Revenge can ride a total of 32 people before restrictions. After social distancing, a maximum of 16 can ride, with four rows used and four unused. The amount of people that ride always depends on the people in a single party, similar to practices before the pandemic. Bigger parties are no exception to the social distancing rule and will be split up if needed to. 

Advice to any and all future attendees: Do not trust wait times shown on the app. The times are mostly wrong, and do not include the amount of time in between disinfecting the ride and socially distancing riders. For example, the ride X2 could have a shown wait time of 35 minutes. With separating riders, disinfecting the cars, and having many empty rows, the wait time could actually be close to an hour and a half and two hours.

Also, employees cannot (and will not) tell you whether or not you are able to scream. Screaming is a reaction and not something one is able to control. With masks on the entire ride, screaming is not a problem and everyone should be able to enjoy the ride the same as before the pandemic. Masks will not affect your ride.

Everyone has different views when it comes to attending theme parks, before and after the pandemic hit. Some may have felt there were always too many people attending at the same time before the pandemic. Some may feel that there are still too many or very few people attending the park now.

Redlands East Valley High School senior Jessica Garcia said, «I liked attending the park because it reminded me of how life was before COVID-19 and I disliked how a lot of rides and food places were closed and they had less employees at the park.» 

Beattie Middle School sixth grader Mariah Marin said, “I liked the mask stations and how sometimes we would get extra soda when we asked for a refill, and I disliked how long it took us to get on a ride and that the app lied to us.” 

The only thing the park can improve on is social distancing. Social distancing outside of rides is non existent. Although there are social distancing markers all over the park, attendees do not follow them in lines or anywhere else in the park and are not enforced by park employees. 

With the proper precautions taken, having theme parks open is not a big problem as some believe it is. Having theme parks open after a year is finally a dream come true. As the pandemic continues, there’s no telling what will go right or right, so it’s best to enjoy what we have at the moment. Time will tell whether or not theme parks will stay open or not. 

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