When SeaWorld Orlando announced their special event, Flicks & Fireworks, I knew we had to be there. This drive-in fireworks and movie experience in SeaWorld’s parking lot sounded like a fun, and safe, outing.
By Dani Dennison Meyering
Flicks & Fireworks at SeaWorld Orlando is a limited-time special event, only offered this weekend. But it may be offered in the future. Tickets are $50 per vehicle, $40 for pass members. Following the instructions in the email that was sent with our tickets, we arrived around 7:30 p.m. Saturday night. The parking lot opened at 7:45 p.m. as expected. SeaWorld smartly utilized their smaller parking lot on the far right side, near their educational center.
The parking process was rough around the edges. Only one manager was directing cars to turn into the lot, no one was directing cars into lanes or spots. Cones meant to block off certain spots or allow for spacing were obeyed for the most part, but a number of fellow patrons moved cones in order to make their own space.
Two inflated movie screens flanked either side of the parking lot. Large outdoor speakers provided ample sound, and guests were invited to tune to 100.9 FM to hear the audio in their car. A handful of local food trucks parked in front of the educational center proved a popular activity during the hour in between the parking lot being open, and the fireworks beginning.
The popularity of the food trucks was nice to see; local businesses could make some needed revenue. However, SeaWorld didn’t do anything aside from signage to encourage proper physical distancing as people waited in line to order or receive their food. Masks are required by all patrons over age 2 by Orange County government mandate, but about a fourth of the guests we saw were not wearing masks or wore them improperly. This lead us to keep our distance, head back to our car, and enjoy the food we brought with us just in case we felt uneasy.
The fireworks began at 9 p.m., shortly after a glorious, colorful Florida sunset. The Light Up the Night fireworks show could easily be seen from the parking lot, and the show’s audio was piped in over the outdoor speakers and on the designated FM radio station. As our toddler exclaimed gleefully at the brilliant sight, my husband and I stole a happy glance at each other.
Immediately following the fireworks, the movie tech team, Premiere Outdoor Movies, did a fantastic job starting the movie right away. The audio sounded great and the movie “A Dog’s Purpose” was in focus. We brought some camp chairs with us and sat beside our car underneath the cloudy night sky. It felt good to be out, and to do so in a manner that was safe for us – staying close to our car.
If SeaWorld offers Flicks & Fireworks again, I’d be tempted to return with my family. However, I would be even more mindful that many guests were not following the safety guidelines and that parking isn’t always managed well. We would also bring our own food in case physical distancing and masks were not being followed as people lined up to order at the food trucks.
Kudos to SeaWorld Orlando for their creativity. Kudos to Premier Outdoor Movies for a quality presentation. It is my plea to SeaWorld Orlando that they fine tune their operations and continue to teach their managers how to ensure their guests are safe.