Opening weekend at £37m Gulliver's Valley theme park is fully booked after big cut in capacity
The new £37 million Gulliver’s Valley theme park in South Yorkshire is fully booked for its opening weekend, after its capacity was cut drastically.
The eagerly awaited resort in Rotherham will finally welcome its first paying guests this Saturday, July 11, having had to postpone its planned spring opening due to coronavirus.
Its capacity has been reduced to a tenth of that originally planned, as part of wide-ranging measures in place to prevent the spread of Covid-19 – but bosses hope to increase the numbers allowed in over coming weeks and months, provided they can do so safely.
Julie Dalton, managing director of Gulliver’s Theme Park Resorts, insisted there had never been a better time to visit a theme park, with customers having to spend less time waiting in queues for the venue’s 50 rides and other attractions.
“It’s very exciting and quite emotional to see people in the park, with children enjoying themselves and the music playing. It’s an amazing feeling,” she said.
"Children need to come out at some point and enjoy themselves again because they’ve been cooped up too long.
"We’ve worked really hard on making sure our visitors are safe, with temperature checks, reduced numbers and increased cleaning among the measures in place.
"It’s actually a really good time to visit a theme park because you won’t be standing in queues for hours!”
Ms Dalton said the park hoped to increase its numbers gradually but would reduce them again if necessary and did not expect to be at full capacity until next summer.
She said the friends and family days had gone ‘really well’ and helped them fine-tune social distancing measures like the signs and one-way systems which will be in place.
She added that the water rides had proved most popular so far and said all rides and other attractions outdoors would be open from day one, along with some indoor facilities, but soft play areas would be closed for now in line with government rules.
Despite the reduced visitor numbers, more staff than originally planned have had to be recruited to ensure the park can open safely, with Ms Dalton saying ‘budgets went out of the window at the end of March’.