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SeaWorld Orlando majorly improves COVID-19 operations

by Tharin White

Last week we went to the reopening of SeaWorld Orlando after its temporary closure due to COVID-19. We were not impressed, and noticed loose rules and limited things to do. We went back this week to see if things had changed, and we can say that the original social distancing and mask plans are now being upheld.

seaworld orlando

SeaWorld Orlando has done a full-180 on how it operates compared to their opening last week. Today, we were met with quick lines, helpful employees and rules being enforced. It was a much more pleasant experience that aligns closer to what was normal at SeaWorld prior to the temporary closure.


face masks

Before even heading to the security checkpoint, SeaWorld now offers face masks for sale. For guests who forgot theirs, or perhaps want to try a different style, this was helpful. We noticed three different parties buying the specialty themed animal masks. It was certainly a popular stop for guests coming into the park.


seaworld orlando

On opening day, many rides were closed and the ones open had 50+ minute waits. Today, even on major coasters like Mako, the wait times averaged 15 minutes. The SeaWorld ambassadors running the attractions were working far more efficiently. The entire process, from loading and unloading guests to cleaning the ride vehicles, was done much faster. Because of the social distancing needs, many rides are running with a limited capacity; this is expected and will add obvious increases to wait times. That being said, it appears the ambassadors are back in the swing of things.


social distancing markers

We also noticed more social distancing markers throughout the park. They were even extending outside of the normal queue for Infinity Falls.

Along with more markers, we also noticed less guests. Certainly opening day brought a lot of people in, but perhaps it was too much for day one. Today it took seven minutes to get from the park signage on the road to scanning our pass and parking our car. This is much better compared to 30+ minute waits that were experienced by some on the first day.

We felt that the entire park was more peaceful overall and had more control over the guests. The guests who were there also did a generally good job of following the rules as well.


seaworld orlando

Not every guest wore their mask the proper way, but overall, it was a vast improvement to the park’s first day reopened. We noticed an interaction between a SeaWorld ambassador and a guest, where an older man was not wearing his mask and was asked to put it back on by the ambassador. The man explained that he was getting very hot. The ambassador responded with numerous locations to take mask breaks and nearby shade. She also gave him a free water bottle.


fries

We went to get food to evaluate how the quick service lines were being handled. Even though we got our food right at lunch time, we were met with a short wait. The ambassadors were also seen cleaning numerous areas. To get condiments and cutlery, guests now have to ask when receiving their meal. It is also important to note that water fountains around the park have been disabled. Instead, guests are encouraged to get free water from any dining location.


seaworld orlando

The SeaWorld Orlando app still appears to have trouble displaying wait times. The maps and show schedules were accurate and easy to use, but the ride times were a bit of a guess all day.


mako

Overall, SeaWorld felt like a totally different park than what we experienced on reopening day. Yes, some attractions didn’t open today, but most were closed on purpose due to social distancing. Yes, some waits were extended as compared to pre-quarantine expectations. But, for things that SeaWorld can control, it was a significant improvement.

We are hopeful that this will continue, and that over time more rides and interactive elements will open when safe to do so. Today was a fun and relaxing trip to SeaWorld Orlando, and we are excited to return.

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12 comments

Lorraine Jackson June 18, 2020 - 8:55 am

I am coming end of July I am a little scared…my son wanted to go…so to make him happy I said yes ..I am from Ohio…when wearing masks is there anywhere you can go to take off mask for awhile…no water anywhere ?

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Rick June 18, 2020 - 12:04 pm

All your answers are actually included in the article.

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C June 18, 2020 - 1:41 pm

If you read the article closely, it says that there are places to go take your mask off and free water is available at any dining location. If you aren’t comfortable coming you are going to stress yourself and your son out the entire trip. I went last week and it’s hot, and the masks make it worse, but we still had a good time. Guests not staying far enough away were our biggest concern

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SUe June 18, 2020 - 6:59 pm

MY suggestion is stay home way to many people coming don here and the numbers at each going up very days numbers are would just stay home it would be better veis me day if tourist would just stay home it would be better thy need to close the parks until the numbers go down again its crazy. NOW orange co mask are mandatory

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Stephanie June 18, 2020 - 7:24 pm

Yes, there are mask break areas available where you just need to continue social distancing.

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Jose June 18, 2020 - 2:27 pm

Just went yesterday it’s a joke they’re not really enforcing the mask rules at all. A lot of the rides are closed. If you’re coming from out of town don’t because you’re not gonna get the true experience..

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Nikkk June 18, 2020 - 5:06 pm

I totally agree we live here in FL visited 2 different days we went to Aquatica nobody had on mask and after standing in the hot sun then getting your temp taken is a joke of course your temp will be higher it’s hot outside if they scan when taking money at the gates then it would or should be accurate. However mask it was rare that I seen anybody wearing one some of the workers didn’t have them on neither. When we went the children play park was even closed so this was no fun for a 2 year old. Just protect yourself at least your doing your part and you can always distance yourself from people at a water park but at sea world everybody is jumbled together and some of the rides were operating with all seats taken again just keep yourself safe. They do have sanitizer stations all over the place always full so when you get on and off the rides just use it on you and the kids and if your going enjoy yourself fear nothing but fear itself.

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Kim June 21, 2020 - 9:14 am

Aquatica is very different. You can’t wear masks in water, which is basically the whole park.

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Pam June 18, 2020 - 5:54 pm

Totally agree. We went Monday, and it was ridiculous. Average ride wait time was 80 minutes. Zero social distancing in lines. Nobody wearing masks in the shows, even though employees were going aisle to aisle telling them to put them on. We’ve been to Busch Gardens, Adventure Island & Universal, and Sea World was hands down the worst. Not worth the effort or money. We will not go back.

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Shannon Nelson June 19, 2020 - 11:22 am

It would be great if the reservation system would work correctly. There is also much debate over whether or not the platinum pass benefit Of re-ride in use right now. Seaworld says it’s still currently active, yet when you go to the parks ride operators deny that benefit.

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Kelley June 21, 2020 - 8:25 am

I’m a Platinum holder and bought my 5 year old autistic, non-verbal granddaughter a platinum pass. Sea World and Aquatica websites claim to certified as Certified Autistic Centers. My granddaughter refuses to wear a mask. I was told at Sea World yesterday that my options were to go into a quiet room or come back another day (customer service manager) and that security may remove me from the park. What a joke. I would estimate 75% of guests were either not wearing their mask correctly or not at all. Security approached No one. I will be contacting Sea World headquarters as we won’t be going back to Sea World. Oh and don’t get me started on the New Litter Issue the disposable masks are creating. Guests who don’t care about others were leaving their used masks in the sand at the wave pool at Aquatica. Dusgusting!!! How does that protect Anyone??

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Chris August 7, 2020 - 9:52 am

SeaWorld and Aquatica passholder here. Aquatica, with a few acceptions (inside restaurants and bathrooms), is an OUTSIDE attraction. Being near someone outside without a mask presents an extremely low risk of virus transmission. The inside of buildings, without adequate ventilation, is where the real risk is because the virus particles can build up in those spaces. We’ve perfected going to the bathroom without breathing (it’s quick!), and are looking forward to going to Aquatica tomorrow and enjoying our cabana rental.

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