As commercial enterprises that depend on attracting a maximum number of visitors in order to be economically successful, theme parks have generally been careful to avoid unpleasant, sensitive, or controversial themes (or aspects of a theme) that might offend or alienate potential customers. Due to official regulations concerning e.g. the wearing of masks in waiting lines and during rides, however, the pandemic cannot simply be “excluded” from the parks and remains constantly visually present, thus seriously undermining the companies’ efforts to keep the park grounds rigidly separated from the rest of the world. Particular operational decisions by some theme park companies have further aggravated the situation by allowing heated public debates about the pandemic and the authorities’ reactions to it to “spill over” into the parks. At the same time, an even partial return to the traditional politics of inclusion and exclusion may also no longer have the intended effects on visitors, but quite the opposite: it is the pre- pandemic level of crowding that now scares some visitors. The article therefore suggests better visually integrating pandemic-related signage and equipment in order to create a harmonious and reassuring atmosphere as well as relying on environmental cues rather than explicitly formulated rules to manage and direct crowds.
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"The “politics of inclusion/exclusion” in times of the pandemic,"
Journal of Themed Experience and Attractions Studies: Vol. 2:
1, Article 4.
Available at: https://stars.library.ucf.edu/jteas/vol2/iss1/4