10 COURIER LIFE, APRIL 2-8, 2021
Deno’s Wonder Wheel
Amusement Park in
Coney to reopen April 9
The Wonder Wheel ride and an amusement part on the seaside Coney Island boardwalk.
BY ROSE ADAMS
Coney Island’s own Deno’s Wonder
Wheel Amusement Park will reopen
during weekends this summer starting
on April 9, the park’s owners announced
on March 30.
“It’s exciting, but at the same time,
we know that we have a responsibility
to open safely. And that responsibility
comes before anything else,” said DJ
Vourderis, whose family has operated
the famous Wonder Wheel and its surrounding
amusement park since 1983.
“We’re just happy to be a glimmer of
light at the end of a very dark tunnel.”
To ensure the safety of park-goers,
the amusement park will operate at 33
percent capacity, require social distancing
and mask-wearing, and install
plexiglass and air ventilation systems
in many of its rides.
Attendees are also asked to make
reservations online in advance with
a timed entry, or they can get on a
standby line for times that are sold
out. Once inside the park, thrill-seekers
can purchase tickets for the rides
and stay for up to two hours, said
Vourderis, who added that the park
may change its rules as the season progresses.
“It’s mostly staggered entry, and
we’re going to see how it goes,” said
Vourderis, noting that the state still
hasn’t released reopening guidelines
for amusement parks. “We still haven’t
offi cially received the guidance, we’re
just going on the mayor’s announcement.”
Word of Deno’s guaranteed reopening
comes more than a month after
Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared that outdoor
amusement parks could reopen
at reduced capacity beginning April
9. The news brought a sigh of relief to
the Coney Island amusement district,
which suffered a tough economic blow
after the season-long closure of the
parks last year.
The owners of Luna Park — who operate
the Luna Park amusement park
and the Cyclone and Thunderbolt rollercoasters
— have not yet announced
their reopening, and did not respond to
a request for comment by press time.
According to Vourderis, all of the
rides inside Deno’s Wonder Wheel
Park will open, including the indoor
“Stop the Zombies” ride, which will
host only one group at a time and will
be equipped with air fi lters, and the
namesake Wonder Wheel.
Daredevils can also look forward
to the new Phoenix rollercoaster — a
68-foot-tall, moderately intense rollercoaster
that will open beside the Wonder
Wheel in a few months.
As is custom, the Vourderis family
will kick off opening day with their
annual “Blessing of the Rides,” where
elected offi cials and locals will gather
for a ribbon-cutting ceremony. DJ said
that the family hoped to adjust this
year’s event to honor the city’s essential
“We would like healthcare workers
to be the fi rst ones on the Wonder
Wheel,” said the park operator.
The Blessing of the Rides will double
as a mini celebration for the Wonder
Wheel’s 100-year anniversary,
which landed last year. However, the
family will wait until a later date to
fully celebrate the ride’s centennial,
“When it’s time to celebrate the
100th anniversary, when things are really
under control, we will. Now we really
have to be cautious,” he said. “We
know we are still in a global pandemic,
and that things are not normal yet, but
are happy to give people a chance to
enjoy an outdoor space and hopefully
remind everyone what it feels like to
To reserve a ticket, visit www.Denos-
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