My Disney Experience app has been updated with new features amid the ongoing closure of Disney theme parks due to the coronavirus pandemic. The app is designed to entertain people stuck at home during lockdown.

The new features include highlights from the parks’ shows and parades, recipes inspired by Disney Parks’ menus, PhotoPass wallpapers and activities that teach participants how to draw much-loved Disney characters like Mickey Mouse.

In coming weeks, the My Disney Experience app will be adding further features, including videos, games and fun facts about Disney.

On top of the app, Disney is offering a free ‘Imagineering in a Box’ online learning program, which includes interactive lessons, specifically focused on theme park design and engineering.

The program combines videos and case studies with interactive activities to help provide a fun learning experience centred on theme park design and operations.

Disney World is remaining closed until further notice due to the COVID-19 pandemic.



Dollywood has been providing vital items to help the community of Tennessee during the coronavirus pandemic. The theme park, which is temporarily closed due to the outbreak, has provided the Sevier County Food Ministries with a cheque for more than $16,000 to help boost the organisation’s supplies before it began to face unprecedented demand.

The theme park’s wardrobe and costume shop teams are producing reusable face masks to give to patients, nurses and doctors at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital. The wardrobe team created 350 masks in just one day, as the costume shop team produced 250 adult masks and 250 children’s masks over just two days. The teams are continuing to make the masks from home.

Eugene Naughton, vice president of Dollywood Park Operations, said: “We are blessed to have talented hosts working in our wardrobe and costume shops.

“East Tennessee Children’s Hospital reached out to us to see if we could help, and as soon as we received the call, our teams started working. We knew this was the right thing to do, and our hosts have done an amazing job producing these masks. We’re just glad to do our part.”

Dollywood’s safety team has also been busy, providing 200 ponchos to the Sevier County Emergency Management Agency, Pigeon Forge Fire Department and the Sevier County Ambulance Service, which have been desperately needing such protection due to the ongoing medical supply shortage. As Naughton explained: “When we heard they were in need of this vital personal protective equipment, we knew we had to find a way to assist.

“These folks are on the front lines every day and we have to do all we can to keep them safe. We have a close working relationship with these groups—in fact, a number of our EMTs on staff also work for these local agencies—so we’re honored to be able to help them in this way,” Naughton added.



Sun Group, a leading developer of entertainment sites in Vietnam, is working on new attractions during the sustained closure of sites due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Sun Group sites were closed throughout March until further notice. The closures are allowing the company to work on new attractions, which they plan to roll out when the virus is no longer a threat.

The new projects will also help revive the tourism industry in Vietnam which has taken a significant hit in the wake of the pandemic.

The first phase of the Japanese-style Yoko Onsen hot spring resort in Cam Pha is due to open in 2020. A three-wire cable car project is also set to open on Cat Hai Island in the second quarter of 2020.

Sun World Danang Wonders is scheduled to open for July to September and is currently undergoing renovations.

Dang Minh Truong, chairman of Sun Group, commented on the work the company is carrying out during its parks’ closures: “With all of the aforementioned plans in the pipeline for our enterprise, and together with the timely and practical support policies of the Vietnamese government and ministries, we believe that Sun Group will soon overcome this difficult period and make a significant contribution to tourism in Vietnam and help our country revive and grow in the post-COVID-19 period.”



Since China’s fight against coronavirus started to slow down, theme parks and amusement sites across the country have started to open their doors once more.

Many of the theme parks opening to the public have strict measures in place to prevent further outbreak of the virus. Before being admitted into the park, visitors are required to have their temperature checked and to show their health QR codes and IDs.

Reservations must be made in advance and visitors must wear a mask. Certain theme parks have introduced a no cash rule and payments should be made via mobile payment to maintain a non-contact service.

Shanghai Haichang Ocean Park reopened on March 20 but closed again on March 30 because of Shanghai’s strict policy to counter the coronavirus.

A number of other of Haichang Ocean Parks are reopening, including those in the Qingdao and Yantai, Shandong province. The parks have stringent real-time monitoring in place to control the number of visitors entering the indoor and outdoor areas of the sites.

Shanghai Happy Valley reopened on March 20. During closure, the theme park carried out upgrades, including the maintaining and adjusting of equipment and giving everything a deep clean.

Members of staff have also been trained for non-contact service. Signs have been placed around the park reminding visitors to keep a distance of at least 1.5 metres from each other.



SeaWorld has announced changes to its leadership, following the resignation of CEO, Sergio Rivera.

Rivera’s announcement that he was resigning as CEO was made just days after SeaWorld said 90% of its employees would be furloughed during closures in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a company press release, Rivera resigned because of disagreements over the board of directors’ involvement in the decision making at SeaWorld.

Marc Swanson has stepped in as interim CEO of SeaWorld and will serve as CEO at least until the parks reopen, which are temporarily closed because of the pandemic. Swanson was chief financial officer and treasurer at SeaWorld and has worked for the company for nearly 20 years.

Employees at SeaWorld parks were temporarily furloughed without pay from April 1. According the company officials, staff are eligible to receive unemployment benefits.

During the parks’ closures, the animals continue to be looked after, company officials said.



Extreme Engineering, an industry leader in engineering design, is providing face shields to help protect people from contracting the coronavirus.

Teaming up with their strategic partners, Extreme Engineering has developed the ‘Extreme PPE Shield’, which can be ordered through the company’s engineering parts’ department.

The protective shields are fully adjustable, equipped with an adjustable headband with Velcro attachment. Recognising the high demand for PPE gear to be delivered quickly, Extreme Engineering is able to provide fast delivery times, even on large volume orders.

Jeff Wilson, CEO of Extreme Engineering, said the company wanted to support the crisis and that its factory is equipped to manufacture PPE products quickly and efficiently.

“Everybody knows a nurse, first responder or friend working with the mass public. Our team wanted to provide protection to these brave, hardworking individuals during these uncertain times,” said Wilson.

“Our company is offering the Extreme PPE Shield as a donation opportunity, allowing people to order and send the PPE shields to any person or organisation they desire. We even include free, standard ground shipping in the continental US on all donation orders,” Wilson continued.

A percentage of the proceeds will be donated by Extreme Engineering to UNICEF in the fight to beat COVID-19.



Animax Designs, a market leader in the creation of animatronic and interactive characters for theme parks and entertainment centres around the world, are now involved in the fight against the spread of COVID-19.

The Nashville-based company is producing masks and face shields to help protect people working in the medical profession.

As the disease escalated within the local Nashville, Tennessee community, Animax saw an opportunity to utilise its existing manufacturing equipment to develop specialist protective masks and face shields to help protect health workers on the frontline.

Chuck Fawcett, president and CEO of Animax Designs, commented: “I think this initiative fits very well with our purpose. We are in business to bring smiles to faces around the world. When children see those beloved characters literally coming to life in front of their eyes, it transports them into their own fantastical dream world.

“One of my favourite things is to watch the reaction of parents when they see this excitement in their children. Now many of those same parents are stepping up to the plate directly in the face of danger.

“They are on the front lines helping to care for and protect our community. We have an amazing opportunity to help protect those same parents when this is all over, they can once again see the smiles on their children’s faces,” Fawcett continued.



Carowinds, the 407-acre amusement park in Charlotte, South Carolina, is providing rollercoaster enthusiasts with the chance to experience virtual coasters and other rides from the comfort and convenience of their own home.

Thrill-seekers can experience the excitement of the Fury 325 and other rides by heading to

From the leisure of their sofa, viewers can enjoy being plunged down seven simulated drops on the Intimidator or experience a cyber jo-jo roll on copperhead Strike.

Virtual experiences of several of the theme park’s other rides are also available, including Vortex, Carolina Goldrush, Hurler, Drop Tower, Afterburn, Ricochet, Blackbeard’s Revenge and several others.

The virtual online experience is being offered during the COVID-19 outbreak, which has forced many theme parks and amusement parks to temporarily close or, like Carowinds, delay the opening of the 2020 season.



Parrot Island Waterpark in Fort Smith, Arkansas, is hopeful that the COVID-19 pandemic won’t delay opening and the resort will open on May 16.

The waterpark is due to commence the 2020 season on May 16 and stay open until September 7, 2020. Kyle Taylor, general manager of Parrot Island Waterpark, said: “We met with the city last week and decided to officially open May 16. We have a couple of other dates that we can switch to if we have to (because of the COVID-19 pandemic).”

Plans are also still in place for the arrival of a new slide. The tube slide, which will cost $121,500 will be the waterpark’s fifth water slide. The slide was expected to be finished in time for the start of the new season. However, due to the ongoing pandemic, the opening of the slide will be delayed.

“We thought we would be able to attach the slide the existing slide tower, but that can’t happen. So, they are going to have to put in additional tower, which will be good because it will allow for overall expansion of the park later,” said Fort Smith’s deputy city administrator, Jeff Dingman.



In the fight against COVID-19, the Quebec Institute for Logistical Innovation (IILQ) has joined forces with Connect&GO, developers on RFID wristbands for major worldwide events, in a bid to find reasonable solutions for dealing with the crisis.

Prior to founding Connect&Go, co-founder Anthony Palermo led RFID Academia, a leader in the development of RFID solutions for industrial and logistical applications in different industries, including healthcare.

In the wake of the escalating COVID-19 pandemic, IILQ approached Connect&GO to provide assistance in developing logistical solutions for hospitals treating patients with COVID-19. The care required for each patient infected with the virus has significant implications on the medical and human resources in hospitals.

IILQ and Connect&GO have collaborated to build an innovative application which enables the careful follow-up of a patient going through treatment for COVID-19. Featuring radiofrequency identification (RFID) technology, the app is designed to avoid contamination by tracking patients’ samples and the healthcare workers who assisted them, as well as the medical equipment that was used, medical waste, bed linen and more.

“This technology offers a number of advantages; it is cost-effective, easy to deploy and uses passive waves that do not interfere with the medical equipment,” said Palermo.

Dominic Gagnon CEO of Connect&GO, commented on the new development: “We never thought our platform would be used in a hospital setting, but this crisis has made us see things differently. Currently, our platform is being used in amusement parks to provide additional security for families by not allowing children to leave the park without the parent and by including allergy and emergency medical information in the profile associated to each guest’s wristband.

“Clearly, there are many similarities between these existing deployments and the current project we are developing for this unique situation,” Cagnon continued.