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SeaWorld, Busch Gardens parks to temporarily close due to coronavirus

by Brittani Tuttle

SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment announced today that it will be temporarily closing all their theme parks due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

coronavirus

UPDATE – 03/27/20: SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment has announced that the parks will now remain temporarily closed with no re-opening date yet announced.

As reported by the Orlando Business Journal, SeaWorld said in an SEC filing that it will temporarily furlough 90 percent of its workforce starting April 1. Employees will not receive pay during this furlough period, and the current length of this period is unknown.


The parks will close on March 16, and remain closed through the end of the month. The parks affected by the closure include:

  • SeaWorld Orlando
  • SeaWorld San Diego
  • SeaWorld San Antonio
  • Discovery Cove
  • Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
  • Busch Gardens Williamsburg
  • Sesame Place Philadelphia
  • Sesame Place San Diego
  • Aquatica Orlando
  • Aquatica San Diego
  • Adventure Island
  • Water Country USA

Busch Gardens Williamsburg will specifically be closing on March 14.

During the closure, essential personnel, including animal care experts, will continue to look after the health and safety of the animals in the parks’ care. The SeaWorld animal rescue and rehabilitation operations will also continue to operate.

SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment will continue to pay our full-time Ambassadors during this period.

SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment also shared a list of commonly asked questions and answers regarding the situation:

How long will the park be closed due to the coronavirus?
All our theme parks will be temporarily closed starting March 16 through the end of the month.

Will I be refunded for my ticket or experience?
Due to the recent change in operations, you will be refunded for any tickets or in-park experiences that you were not able to use during the time that the park was temporarily closed.

Can I reschedule my trip/event for a later date?
Yes, for guess whose plans are impacted by the recent change in operations, we will be allowing to rebook through 2021, without fees.

I booked my trip to SeaWorld through a third-party vendor, can you help me?
Guests who booked travel with a third-party reseller should contact the reseller directly for assistance.

I have a vacation package. Can I get a ticket refund if I cancel my trip?
We would be happy to reschedule your vacation package or provide you with a refund if you are within the 72-hour cancelation window.

I work for a for-profit company or organization. Will my deposit be reimbursed if:

  • I want to cancel my planned event due to coronavirus concerns?
  • My company/organization is restricting travel and we can no longer attend our planned event?

Please contact the park sales team for further information and assistance in rebooking your event.

I was planning to attend the park on a school trip or through an educational camp experience during the time the park is closed. Can I get a refund?
Due to the recent change in operations, we will refund school trips or educational camp experiences without penalty. Please contact the parks sales team for further information.

Can I get a refund on my…

  • Pass
  • ASD
  • All Season Quick Queue
  • Photokey

Annual passes, season passes, and membership products are non-refundable.

What are you doing to protect the animals in your care from coronavirus?
At this time, there is no evidence that coronavirus is transmissible from humans back to animals. According to the CDC, no animals in the United States have been identified with the virus. The welfare of our animal ambassadors is always of the utmost importance to us, and we are continuing to monitor developments closely.

Our veterinarians and animal care specialists have a world-class health monitoring program in place designed to detect illness as early as possible. In addition, our veterinarians have reviewed the list of symptoms coronaviruses cause in animals as well as response plans. Any new information provided by the CDC, Association of Zoos and Aquariums, American Veterinary Medical Association and local public health offices is reviewed daily by our veterinary professionals to determine whether the risk to animal health has changed.


Stay tuned for more updates on coronavirus-related closures as they are released, and check out our regularly-updating page with all current major theme park closures in the U.S.

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65 comments

Paula Amero March 13, 2020 - 3:20 pm

Will the concert still happen with Three Dog Night on Sunday?

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Drew March 14, 2020 - 3:31 pm

Will Three Dog night still be playing? If not, will tickets bought specifically for that be refunded?

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Steve Ashton May 2, 2020 - 8:49 am

Why doesn’t SeaWorld suspend fees for season passes like Disney has done.

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Alexis May 4, 2020 - 11:46 am

I agree. Just checked my debit card and they have been charging me since late March, and continue to charge me, as well as plan to charge me soon! We need to be refunded or extended like Disney or Universal because this is wrong, we aren’t even able to enter the park and we are being charged.

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Christine May 9, 2020 - 12:17 pm

they have been doing this to me as well, i have called and emailed and they have not returned my calls and emails. have you been able to talk to anyone, if so can you give me the number or email. thank you

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Cynthia A Rawlins May 3, 2020 - 1:26 pm

So you are taking money and not providing any service for it? I’m going to contact legal resources about getting my money refunded. If your not providing a service what am I paying for?

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Stephanie May 14, 2020 - 9:51 pm

They are extending passes payments. If you haven’t deferred your payments then once the park is reopened, you will get a credit. Per their website:

Members who completed their initial term of their EZpay contract prior to park closure and did not defer payments, will have their payments after the re-opening of the park waived for a period of time equivalent to the length of closure. EZpay members who are within their initial commitment of their contract and did not defer payments, will have the payments after their initial term is completed waived for a period of time equivalent to the length of closure. For EZpay members who completed the initial term of their contract during park closure and did not defer payments, the payments after we reopen will be waived for a period of time equivalent to the length of closure.

Additionally, we will be offering all active Pass Members complimentary rewards and special benefits as a token of our appreciation. Pass Members will receive additional bring a friend days so that your friends and family can join in on the fun and spend an unforgettable day with you exploring the parks and your favorite attractions. Additionally, as a sign of our appreciation for you, our loyal Pass Member, we will be granting complimentary membership tier upgrades for all active Annual Passes for the remainder of 2020 as well as additional SeaWorld Pass Member events.

Active Pass Members will receive their additional perks automatically prior to the parks reopening.

Pass Members who are deferring payments or are not up to date with their payments are not eligible for these rewards or the extension of time. Pass Members who are currently on a payment deferral plan and elect to reinstate their monthly payments by May 17, 2020 will be eligible to receive these pass rewards.

I am an ez pay pass holder and I have been being billed up til this month and my membership says expired but I did not cancel my membership. I have tried calling but their recording says closed and I emailed and haven’t received anything back.

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Agnes tano March 13, 2020 - 6:20 pm

If Annual passes and season passes, are non-refundable, the park should extend the expiration dates for all these passes. This should be the fairest for those who have paid for the enjoyment ANY TIME for example ,The Spring Break.
Thank you

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Rosie March 14, 2020 - 12:11 pm

Yes, I agree!
Disneyland is extending the passes according to how many days they are closed due to Coronavirus.

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Marlene April 7, 2020 - 12:02 am

I totally agree. Other non pass members get a refund. I’m sorry where is the loyalty for those of us who have had annual passes since 1999

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Shannon Darouse March 18, 2020 - 9:52 pm

My season passes should be refunded that I ordered last week for me and my children. When you guys open back up I can re order. There is no telling how long everything will be closed.

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Toby April 9, 2020 - 10:50 am

Of course BG is happy to take our monthly money, now when we need it more than ever, for a luxury we can not only no longer afford, but one we couldn’t enjoy if we wanted to… My family has had annual passes for over 10 years now. Passes and payments should be suspended until the park is allowed to re-open. People need the extra money now. They don’t need more days to go to the park next year or whatever compensation they will try to say is fair. When the park does finally open, regular people will be trying to work as much as they can to make up for the lost income. People are already running out of money, like right now. What good is an extra month or 2 of Busch Gardens going to do them? The fact is, we’re forced to pay for something we cannot use. This has never happened in all the time we’ve had our passes.. Pretty lousy deal we signed up for. This will be my family’s last year with passes. If Corona is going to come back next year, this is just going to happen again. That goes for all the theme parks. No reason to have almost $100 (or more) a month tied up in worthless park passes during a global pandemic, but hey, hope a CEO somewhere gets another bonus after it’s all said and done.

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Virginia April 16, 2020 - 7:56 am

You are absolutely right! I agree with you 💯 percent, my cousin has Disney Passes an at least Disney is not changing them the monthly payments, until they are open again, that’s exactly what seaworld needs to do! They shouldn’t charge us the monthly payment for our passes!! That is a rip-off at this pandemic moment that is going on!!!

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Felicia April 17, 2020 - 2:21 pm

Disney is the biggest money sucker of all time and yet somehow Seaworld Parks has managed to surpass them. Charging when the park is closed is pretty low. Especially since they furloughed all their employees, without pay.

Rose April 29, 2020 - 6:50 am

I have Disney Passes as well and they paused their account debits. Originally they were going to extend our passes the amount of time that we couldn’t use them. Is BG going to at least extend our passes for the time they weren’t available?

Rebecca Louke April 16, 2020 - 1:17 pm

I agree. You need to stop taking money from people’s accounts until park reopens. And credit us for last 2 payments you have taking.

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Victoria Morris May 1, 2020 - 12:20 pm

Yes… EZ Pay payments should be cancelled… They normally come out of my Account on the 28th and haven’t come out yet and it’s May 1st so maybe they did suspend payments for now

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James Patton May 26, 2020 - 5:59 pm

As Director & Chief Executive Officer at SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc., Sergio (Serge) Rivera made $11,327,755 in total compensation. Of this total $91,154 was received as a salary, $22,500 was received as a bonus, $1,749,372 was received in stock options, $9,426,825 was awarded as stock and $37,904 came from other types of compensation.

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Victoria March 26, 2020 - 11:03 am

Yes bc we have the top passes for everything plus the fast passes so if we still paid only fair to add the months closed to the passes to equal a full year we could go.

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Lynde Bigsby June 4, 2020 - 11:20 am

I’ve read about the annual passes and the regular day tickets is the fun card considered a day ticket? Will my family be allowed entrance past 12/31/20 just trying to figure it all out. Thanks!

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Laura March 30, 2020 - 11:16 am

Yes we were actually looking for this response. Sure they’re non refundable, but I am hoping they will extend the pass the same amount of time the park was closed for sure.

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crystal barbagallo July 8, 2020 - 4:25 pm

I bought tickets ahead of time the day I realized we wouldn’t be able to go on vacation from NH I called for a refund so March they told me it would be two weeks yup it’s July now and nothing $500 out the damn window

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Kiela March 31, 2020 - 8:55 pm

I agree, I’m paying monthly fees for 2 people for 2 parks. I’m confused on how I’m currently being charged monthly fees and the parks have been closed since March 16 2020. I think it would be fair to stop charging my account and extend our visit for a couple of months. Ijs.

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Felicia April 17, 2020 - 2:23 pm

They didn’t hesitate to suspend the pay for their employees though!

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Elaine Nault April 22, 2020 - 3:23 pm

I agree they should extend our annual passes for the months we were not able to go!

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Yvette March 13, 2020 - 6:55 pm

How can i request a refund?

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Katrin Rosinski May 6, 2020 - 11:59 pm

We can’t get through and I heard it is a 1000 hrs which equals 25 days. We either get hung up on or automatic reply.
We bought one day tickets for the both of us and now we canceled our trip because we can’t use them.

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Lisa March 13, 2020 - 11:25 pm

I was planing on visiting during my kids’ school break. Will I be able to get a refund on tickets I’ve already purchased?

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Ashley March 14, 2020 - 5:36 am

Pass members need refund too we pay the most and spend the most. Good way to lose your guess forever hope they do.

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Kiela March 31, 2020 - 8:59 pm

I agree, I’m looking forward to access to block out days and extended days for days closed.

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denny knepper March 14, 2020 - 10:44 am

Who can I contact to get a Refund? I can’t seem to reach a person.

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Katrin Rosinski May 7, 2020 - 12:00 am

Neither can we. I am waiting too. I tried all day long.

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Joe March 14, 2020 - 12:24 pm

PUBLIC RELATIONS 101: refunds to most valuable customers. The optics look pretty bad on this.

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AshleyJ March 14, 2020 - 8:59 pm

I was suppose go on the 18th. I will want a refund. Call wait was 9 hours and then they cut me off when they closed. I’ll be trying again in the morning.

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Nikole March 16, 2020 - 8:08 am

We ordered a pre school pass for my son that had to be activated by March 31st.. Are you going to extend the date since its closed till April 1st?

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Joan March 22, 2020 - 1:09 am

I have been trying to figure out if current passholders or memberships will be extended out since there has been time lost due to the virus concern. Other companies are spreading pixie dust by the way of extention of annual passes. I’m hoping you will as well. This determines if we’re getting them again or making a universal move.

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Kelly March 26, 2020 - 10:20 am

Well they are not delaying taking the payments out… And I just received a bank ring on my phone and looked and it was our season pass payment coming out. Definitely would be nice if they did not take that out right now or until It is open back up again.

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Shaqulia March 23, 2020 - 8:49 pm

When will you guys open back up

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Juan Abarca March 26, 2020 - 2:27 am

My wife and I purchased annual passes recently. Can we get an extension

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Brittani Tuttle March 26, 2020 - 11:11 am

You’ll have to contact the park you purchased passes for to see if they will offer that.

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Michele Cintas-Todosi March 27, 2020 - 6:09 pm

I purchased annual passes and registered them the week before the Coronavirus Pandemic. We have not used them whatsoever. I would expect that Sea World would have each pass member’s information to follow usage and Sea World would extend each and every pass for the amount of months which are not useable due to this Pandemic. Please respond, hopefully with a positive reply. Thank you.

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Jasonette Algarin March 28, 2020 - 11:39 am

I purchased 4 annual passes 2 weeks before the Pandemic haven’t been able to use and still being deducted from my bank. I been calling and waited hours for a rep with no one to answer.

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Peter A Fuhr March 29, 2020 - 9:00 am

Just had a payment taken out for a pass i can not use. Just goes to show the corporate greed seaworld entertainment is showing its loyal pass holders. This will be the reason i do not renew next time. All of the other parks have suspended pass payments as they understand we shouldnt be paying for something we can not use. You guys just suck and i hope everyone cancels their passes.

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Brian March 30, 2020 - 11:32 am

Active annual passes, season passes, and membership products to SeaWorld and Busch Gardens parks will be automatically extended for a length of time at least as long as the temporary closure period. No action is required on your part.

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Sharnese Goodwin March 31, 2020 - 7:39 am

Where did you get this information from?

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dave April 24, 2020 - 2:15 pm

If you purchased your passes right out (like a fun card) then “maybe” they can extend the months on the pass, but if you have an annual pass and are making payments monthly with EZ PAY then there is no way to extend months because at the end of the 12th month in the agreement period the system just continues the payment and reactivates your pass for the next yearly cycle.

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HARPER March 31, 2020 - 3:31 am

If the park remains closed for months then season pass holders should be guaranteed a refund or a reduced rate refund. That non-refundable disclaimer is invalid if the business isn’t providing a service for the majority of the duration of the purchased pass;
it’s defined as theft.

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Kevin McBurnette March 31, 2020 - 6:44 pm

The parks should stop all auto drafts on the expat system until the parks open. They had furloughed 90 percent of their staff but still taking 100 percent of their customers money

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Kiela March 31, 2020 - 9:04 pm

Same thing I said, I was upset because my family planned to visit adventure island which opened on March 13th but we never got a chance to visit due to the coronavirus. Like you mentioned, the parks systems are still withdrawing funds from my account.

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crystal barbagallo April 8, 2020 - 3:03 pm

I was told I would be refunded for the 9 one day passes we bought for our vacation in April that we are now not going on due to the virus and lost out on 5k for the rental house on VBRO the way things are being handled with this virus is absolutely crazy. I am all set with spending my money in FL.

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Roland April 13, 2020 - 12:39 am

Well i guess im not renewing my yearly passes. I see that sea world only thinks about the money. Park is closed and still charging me.

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Lily April 13, 2020 - 3:42 pm

Pass members shouldn’t be charged if we’re not able to enjoy the parks. They should put accounts on hold and start charging when they reopen

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Randy April 14, 2020 - 3:57 pm Reply
Debra J Hunsberger July 7, 2020 - 5:43 pm

Thanks for the info Randy!

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Ashley April 14, 2020 - 5:35 pm

They are still charging for my annual passes. No information anywhere about extended passes whatsoever. wtf!

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Jenda April 14, 2020 - 8:51 pm

I am shocked my passes to universal have been on hold they are. It. Harding is until they open back up. I pay my BG pass monthly I got my daughters paid in full so we get nothing?

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Linda Brown April 15, 2020 - 8:14 am

How to get refund for my tickets to seaworld orlando. I have called every phone number I can find and NO Answer-just round about recordings. I have emailed at least 4 times and NO response.

I want a refund!

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Lily April 17, 2020 - 9:43 am

I either want a refund for my passes or an email stating that my annual passes will be extended for another year. Completley ridiculous that I am still being charged for something I cannot even use! SeaWorld is making themselves look really bad right now and it’s dumb that I have to wait hour’s on the phone just to get hung up on! LESSON LEARNED…Next time I’m getting either a Disney or Universal annual pass. It’s more expensive for sure but at least you got 100% LOYALTY to back it up!!!

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Emily April 28, 2020 - 7:35 am

I agree. Those who have annual passes or fun cards should get an extension or partial refund. I purchased my passes on March 13th and the ticket counter said nothing about the closures and gladly took my money. I didn’t find out about the closures until I was in the park and one of the concession employees told me. Sounds like it could lead to a class action lawsuit from a bunch of unsatisfied consumers. Really dumb move when a lot of their business comes from locals that live close by and purchase tickets for their whole family. I’ll go with Disney next time.

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Nonya April 29, 2020 - 8:13 am

There is only one phone line that is currently working for Seaworld Orlando. You will have to put yourself on the call back list because the wait is really long each time I have called. Either 400- 1000 mins
However, I usually receive a call back that day.
I finally did get someone on the phone yesterday who told me that our refunds that we put in for on April 7th have not come back to us due to the fact that they Furloughed that staff. (accounting) I then said how are you getting paid. She said that payroll and accounting were different. So for passholders I assume their system is just set up to automatically take out the money. However, for people that need refunds unless FL governor lifts stay at home or allows more people in the work place Seaworld is being Ultra Sleezy about not paying people their money back.
I get they had to take out another loan, I get it…But that does not mean you get to keep my money in which I did cancel within the time frame in order to receive MY money back.
I am also thinking this is illegal in someway and will be reaching out to a lawyer. I feel as if it is fraud.
When we put our cancellation in we were told 7-14 business days, I called again two weeks later and was told that they are working down the line and getting around to everyone, Week later I was told that the accounting department is Furlough and that no refunds are happening. Now how the heck does that make sense. At least cross train your Payroll so they can do the accounting and refund people their money. Come ON NOW!!
The same day I put my refund in for Disney and Disney refunded my money three days later.
Seaworld is doing BAD BUSINESS, which is something they should not be doing considering all the issues they have had in the past. You have to do good business in order to keep business!!
I will be researching and reaching out to some high ups, as well as reaching out to a lawyer to see if there is anything that can be done.

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Dixie May 11, 2020 - 10:17 am

Please let me know what you find out, I canceled my tickets end of March and still have not received my refund.

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Mike May 3, 2020 - 7:11 am

When anyone or any company takes money out of your account and you don’t get the product or services they promised to provide it is called FRAUD. Yes you signed a contract for the passes and agreed to make monthly payment BUT once they made the decision to close the parks the payment were suppose to stop. Contact the Attorney General of file a complaint with them. The pen will always be mighty than the net or mouth. Bush Gardens should be ashamed of themselves for doing this to their customers when our country is suffering like this….Mike

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Irving May 4, 2020 - 5:35 pm

First I called and your wait time is 1289 mins who will wait that long? and yes why do you take money? you should suspend it until people can enjoy the yearly pass they pay for.

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Valerie May 6, 2020 - 3:22 pm

I had literally bought my passes days before Covid hit and now I am out 200+ dollars for something that I can’t even use I want my money back we should be legally entitled to a refund because they are not providing services rendered I don’t care their annual Past policy they need to give us our money back

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Duncan Moore June 23, 2020 - 4:37 pm

Still waiting for my refund for April 15th cabana reservation over $200 GRRRRR
I cannot return later this year or next year so I NEED A REFUND

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