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SeaWorld Orlando re-opens with loose rules and limited rides

by Tharin White

After going to Universal Orlando’s reopening last Friday, we were eager to go to SeaWorld Orlando. While Universal wowed us with clear signage, compliant guests, short waits and an updated app, SeaWorld appeared unprepared.

seaworld orlando

Numerous attractions, like the Manta roller coaster, were down for multiple hours. Many guests did not listen to mask or social distancing rules, and the rules were not enforced. In addition, the SeaWorld Orlando app contained broken links and incorrect information.

We went today hoping to jump on a few rides, grab some food and see a show. While, yes, we did technically do that, it was certainly a different experience than expected.


temperature screening

We arrived and went through the same temperature process that has been implemented by Universal and Disney. This process was simple and well-organized. Guests were assigned to select areas, waited, and then got their temperature scanned. Afterwards, we went along with the queue toward the security checkpoint. This area was slightly altered with more social distancing markers and a SeaWorld ambassador helping to control the queue.


seaworld orlando

SeaWorld Orlando had signage everywhere about the rules and the new procedures. From going to Universal Orlando and to Disney Springs, I can also state that SeaWorld had more safety announcements and rule boards than their competitors. But signage and announcements are not a replacement for enforcing rules.

This is where we noticed a major error in the system. There was simply no one enforcing the rules. Guests are allowed to take off their masks to eat, drink, and smoke in designated areas, as well as in Face Covering Relaxation Zones.

We counted any guest we saw today that had no excuse to fully take off their mask—these are guests that did not have a snack, weren’t in a dining location, or weren’t adjusting their face covering. In total, we counted 106 guests who fully removed their masks without reason. We also counted six SeaWorld ambassadors who had their mask below their nose. Two of them were working in a quick service dining location.


sea lion high

This photo was taken during the 4:00 p.m. Sea Lion High: The New Class animal show. Once the show began, over 40 percent of the crowd took their masks off. Despite this, I will admit that guests were good at staying six feet apart. There were also markers on the seats to show distance.

The show’s performers added in light-hearted jokes about being closed for months and needing masks. They even called out a guest and told him to put his mask back on. But, after sitting down, the guest took his mask back off; only one member of his family was wearing a mask during the show. When the show ended, guests were dismissed in groups to diminish crowding.


seaworld orlando

In the Sesame Street land, some attractions were open. But others, like the water play area, were closed to help make guests stay safe.


social distancing

This photo, taken in the load area of Super Grover’s Box Car Derby, showcases how the ground markers work. For every attraction we went on, SeaWorld ambassadors also told us a specific row to head to.


seaworld orlando

Throughout the park, there was plenty of free hand sanitizer. There was also a station at the entrance and exit of each attraction. SeaWorld Orlando asks that guests use their hand sanitizer before riding, unlike Universal who had team members specifically give it to guests before boarding. While hand sanitizer was plentiful at rides and dining locations, we saw very few guests actually using it.


wild arctic

While many high-contact areas were closed, one area stood out to us: the ice touch area inside of the Wild Arctic exhibit. Not only were most of the guests touching this ice without using the hand sanitizer, but guests were actually encouraged by SeaWorld ambassadors to feel the cold temperature of the ice. As seen in the photo, many guests were not wearing masks.


seaworld orlando

We also checked out the other icy-cold themed area of the park, the Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin attraction. The ride was not running today, but guests could still come in to see the penguin exhibit. The line was estimated at 20 minutes, but we got inside in 10 minutes.


penguins

Inside we were greeted by the most energetic penguins we have ever seen. In fact, all of the animals that we saw today were full of energy. It seems as though they missed the guests as much as we missed them. The penguins swam, squawked, dove and jumped more than any time I personally have ever witnessed. The animal ambassadors in the exhibit also seemed delighted to be back.


seaworld orlando

While the QR code located on signage around the park did make it easy to pull up a map, the SeaWorld app left us a bit confused. The app had showtimes that were different than what was posted in the park.


We also were unable to load wait times in the app after numerous tries throughout the day. We tried using our cellular service, the in-park Wi-Fi and a different phone to help fix the issues to no avail.


seaworld orlando

Upon arriving to rides, we often learned that the rides were closed or had wait times that exceeded 50 minutes. Now, we do understand that social distancing and cleaning will affect the wait times on rides. It is natural for fewer riders on a vehicle to equal higher wait times. But that didn’t appear to be the case when visiting Universal Orlando’s theme parks. In fact, we note in that article how the wait times were exceedingly low.


stingray lagoon

Our best assumption is that even though less guests were admitted today, there was also a cap on ride capacity and less things to do than normal. With all three major coasters going down at one point for weather, the park was full of guests looking for others things to do. When weather was not an issue, the park was offering only half of their normal attractions.

Throughout the day, guests could not ride Manta, Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin, Journey to Atlantis, Big Bird’s Twirl ‘N’ Whirl, Cookie Drop!, Sky Tower, or Wild Arctic. Many interactive areas were closed, like the Stingray Lagoon seen above.


seaworld orlando

On a different note, we were very happy with how SeaWorld presented the Sesame Street characters. They were brought out on their floats from the daily parade (the parade is currently put on hold to diminish crowds gathering). The characters and their attendants were full of energy and did a really good job interacting with everyone from afar.


merchandise

SeaWorld also had new merchandise inspired by social distancing and the park’s reopening. Guests were encouraged to use contactless payment methods at merchandise locations, but cash was still accepted.


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These social distancing sharks were added to the moving walkway portion of the Shark Encounter exhibit.

In my opinion, I feel that SeaWorld had good ideas, but didn’t commit fully to them. There was plenty of signage and hand sanitizer, the new safety procedures were played over speakers in multiple places in the park, there were ground markings and pre-built queues ready for large crowds—but I think they opened too early. The park appeared understaffed and some employees didn’t even listen to the mask rules.

Overall, it appeared that the face mask and social distancing rules were not that important. We noticed very little compliance to these rules and even less enforcement. Ride capacity was down, and numerous big attractions were closed. This resulted in longer lines with more guests in the areas that were open. It also did not help that inclement weather plagued the park sporadically throughout the day. I am a passholder and brought a guest today, but, had I been a single-day ticket holder, I most likely would have headed to guest relations for a refund or a ticket for a later date.

I am hopeful that SeaWorld can take lessons learned from their first day and improve. They have the means set in place to succeed and many ideas are good. The first move, in my opinion, is to increase the amount of SeaWorld ambassador’s in high-contact areas and to begin enforcing the rules. This was only the first day and lots can change overnight.


universal orlando

Some guests may take the relaxed rules as a bonus, though. In a recent article, we spoke about what it was like to wear a mask all day at the theme parks. Hundreds of comments poured in about not liking masks and not wanting to endure them in the Florida heat. Being in a park that doesn’t enforce the rules may come as a positive to guests who do not like the mask requirement.


seaworld orlando

We want to hear your opinions: Do you prefer a park that seems to relax the experience like SeaWorld Orlando, or one that sticks to it like Universal? In what way do you want to experience the theme parks? Let us know in the comments below.

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99 comments

Thomas Sheehan June 11, 2020 - 11:11 pm

I don’t think people realize that the pandemic is not over. Common sense would tell them to follow the rules so they reduce their chances of catching the virus. The park needs to retrain its ambassadors to make sure the rules are enforced. If they don’t do it, the park is not safe. If the guest do not want to follow the rules, then they must exit the park. I am a annual passholder and I will not.visit the parks until it is 100 percent.safe.to go. From what I read about the opening, I may not get there till Halloween.

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Nate June 12, 2020 - 3:11 pm

Sounds like you will never get to go again, if your going to wait for it to be “safe” again. There is always going to be sick people around even after this bad flu goes away. Covid is just a bad flu by the way. If someone doesnt want to wear a mask, it’s their choice, if you don’t like it, stay home, you’ll be “safe” that way.

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Anna M Eversole June 12, 2020 - 4:31 pm

I agree as well as being American citizen and should be here right to choose whether or not you want to wear a mask there is sick people that you encounter on a day-to-day basis when you walk out your front door and go to the grocery store you are going to encounter such people you also have to go to the pharmacy to get medications where you were going to encounter sick people you go to the emergency room you’re going to encounter sick people you got to go to work there’s going to be somebody there who doesn’t want to stay home because they are sick might just be the common cold but guess what covid is a bad flu yes depending on your situation it could be more dangerous to you than others but therefore if you don’t want to take them with you should not go to places where you may encounter those situations

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joe June 12, 2020 - 8:48 pm

You are not entitled to not wear a mask at private establishments. It doesn’t matter whether or not you are American.

If McDonalds has a posted sign that says “No shirt, no shoes, no service” then they have every right to kick you out for breaking that rule. It’s not your right as an American to go to mcdonalds and get service while breaking their rules.

Likewise, if they have a sign that says “No shirt, no shoes, no mask, no service” Guess what? Same rules apply. Don’t wear a mask, get told to put one on or get out.

I don’t go into your house and think I’m entitled to break your hosue rules. You don’t got my house, seaworlds, busch gardens , universal or disney’s house and break their rules. You should get tossed.

Regardless of what you think of COVID, they ahve their rules. Follow them, stay home, or get out. Welcome to America, your rights stop where mine begin.

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R Pettit June 13, 2020 - 11:00 am

Not sure you fully have a grasp on the Bill of Rights. While you are correct that private establishments can enforce their own rules, you as a person have no “right” govern others with your fears. You do have a right to stay home if you wish. Others can go outside if they wish, maskless and with as many people as they wish while standing as close together if they wish. If SeaWorld isn’t enforcing their rules and that scares you don’t go. If someone else doesn’t go somewhere because a business is forcing them to breath in CO2 and bacteria while walking around in FL summer heat, they can choose not to go there either. My liberties don’t end where your fears begin.

Norah J. June 13, 2020 - 3:02 pm

This is why the numbers of new COVID-19 cases is substantially increasing each day and will continue to do so. Not because of more testing.
People are no longer social distancing or wearing masks. Everyone thinks things magically went back to normal because FL is now basically open for business.

Gitty June 12, 2020 - 4:47 pm

I agree 100%

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F June 12, 2020 - 5:59 pm

Otherwise heathy people on a vent is not a “bad flu”. I worked with a 50 year old otherwise healthy adult that could not stand up today. I have never had a “bad flu” that left me on a vent and so weak I was unable to stand, but tell yourself whatever makes you feel better. Mitigation strategies only work if everyone follows them.

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Amanda June 12, 2020 - 6:07 pm

And then there’s science. 🤦🏼‍♀️

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Paul R Guzinski June 12, 2020 - 7:02 pm

Actually Nate, Sea World is PRIVATE property and makes the rules. If YOU don’t like it then YOU actually stay home. FOLLOW THE RULES!

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Kai kami June 12, 2020 - 11:36 pm

I’m going to Universal for the first time in July and the pandemic isn’t even close to being over. Do I feel safe still going? You bet Im not waiting to go when things get safe because I believe they are safewhen everyone wears masks and follows proper sanitation along with social distancing.

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Alisa J Sharpe June 13, 2020 - 9:41 am

This is NOT a “bad flu”. Anyone who thinks so is just plain ignorant!! Educate yourself and wear a damn mask!!!

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Bri June 13, 2020 - 11:35 pm

As an Ambassador I can tell you that we have the right to refuse service if you are breaking the rules. Just as any establishment. The reason cases are higher is because people such as above you feel you should get to choose. While yes you have the right to choose, we do as well. If you DONT want to wear the mask, then YOU can stay home. If rules are not followed they will wind up having to shut it down again. The privilege you are showing by stating it is a right is astounding. Yes there are kinks, as is any new regulations. But get used to the masks as that has become the new normal.

As a final word, if you DONT WANT to wear the mask: STAY HOME! Where you have EVERY right to NOT wear the mask.

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Mike August 1, 2020 - 5:59 am

Wearing a mask will never be normal, despite how many robotic zombies keep uttering the phrase.

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Vanessa luttrell June 15, 2020 - 12:37 am

I went today and the only place that was screened was getting in . Once your in the park nothing is under CDC guidelines however if you get to hot don’t get the mask get the face covering that’s goes over your neck it is much cooler. I do understand that the Covid 19 is out there however there are many more viruses out there as well. If we get our system immune to the Covid your body will fight it off. Use the sanitation that is out there at the parks it’s plenty I used it in myself and kids all day long if you take your own precautions you should be fine. Face mask are not good for you it creates bacteria back in your system so if your not going to keep it on at least stay away distance wise. You can’t stop life because of a virus you have to beat it staying active well enjoy.

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Rich June 25, 2020 - 11:45 pm

My family and I are going July 4th I’ll let you know if it improved on everything.

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Lori July 20, 2020 - 12:40 pm

Every person has a right weather or not to use a mask. Sea World has a right to run their place as they wish. If you dont like it, Do Not Go!

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Janet June 12, 2020 - 12:31 am

SeaWorld Florida is a Certified Autism Center, and is making the accommodation for persons with autism that a mask is not a requirement. You simply cannot tell visually if people are on the Autism spectrum, so your count of people not wearing masks is not a valid indicator of those breaking the rule.

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Ashleigh June 12, 2020 - 9:19 am

40% of people have autism? Or only people with autism visited the park that day?

Or the much more likely scenario? People don’t like to be inconvenienced and are being selfish?

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Michele Rose June 12, 2020 - 12:42 pm

Bingo. Let’s be honest, if you’re willing to support Se World in the first place you probably are selfish and easily inconvenienced. No surprise there- if you think it’s okay to lock WHALES in what amounts to a bathtub for their entire lives but you won’t wear a mask you are definitely selfish. I hope SeaWorld cant survive the Pandemic. They need to free the whales or shut it down.

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Paul R Guzinski June 12, 2020 - 7:04 pm

Michele Rose….free the whales? So that they’d die when released? They were born in captivity. Releasing them would be the wrong freaking idea. Stop commenting and join a Peta page instead.

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Kris June 13, 2020 - 3:56 pm

Not all the whales are BORN in captivity! Some actually come from the wild! And those which do come from the wild are being tortured with small tanks and deprived of food if they don’t do what they are trained to do. Yes the ones born in captivity would die if released. But they all came from an animal that’s was ripped out of the wild from family and home.

Still the USA June 12, 2020 - 1:38 pm

If you are worried about the virus, why are you at a theme park? If you feel unsafe, inconvenience yourself and stay home. Don’t force people to wear a mask, most of which are not N95 and have very little proven effectiveness. Quitting smoking and going for a jog, are about 10x more effective than wearing a mask, but people don’t won’t to committ to hard work. Instead, they would rather complain about people not following a ridiculous rule. If you don’t like it, stay home. This is the USA and you can’t force people to do something even if you think it’s right.

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NinjaChemist June 12, 2020 - 2:12 pm

My only regret is I have but one like to give. I’ll guarantee more people will die from heat stroke, than not wearing a mask.

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James Farina June 18, 2020 - 5:10 pm

Exactly. If you dont feel safe you should not be in a theme park.

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WeatherMike July 10, 2020 - 8:00 pm

Thank you for your comments! You hit the nail on the head. The last time I remember we still live in the USA and still have our rights and should not be forced to wear a stupid mask. I use to work in Security at SeaWorld and saw Europeans and other guests that were fat and out of shape and smoke like chimneys. People have this false sense of security with masks. I can’t breath with a mask on and will pass out in the Florida heat. I have not worn a mask yet since all this crap started and am out every day and have never been sick. You see people everywhere touching their face with mask on, wearing it the incorrect way, touching everything. If you want to be safe from everything you need to live in a bubble the rest of your live and have no immune system. Just my two cents 🙂

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Be kind to animals June 13, 2020 - 2:40 am

People are still paying to see unhappy, sensory deprived ocean mammals who were ripped away from their natural, peaceful existence and families to swim in tiny tanks and perform for their food? What’s wrong with these people? Ignorance? Feelings of entitlement? Say no to captivity. You don’t like it. They don’t either.

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Kimberly June 12, 2020 - 10:18 am

I understand that completely. Although I don’t have Autism I do have Asthma and trying to breathe in a mask is extremely hard for me as well. I can maybe wear one 10minutes at the most before it feels as though I am suffocating and I’m fighting for my breath. So, I can just image how uncomfortable and upsetting it could be for someone with Autism.

I will be visiting the parks next year with my family during the spring with the molder temperatures😏.

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DJ June 12, 2020 - 11:41 am

Then sad to say that person should not go for the time being

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NinjaChemist June 12, 2020 - 2:31 pm

You know, OR, those too afraid to leave the house should stay home. I’ve had Covid-19 and recovered (had to test negative to return to work). Me wearing a mask has no practical purpose. You’re asking me to risk heat stroke, so that you can feel better about going outside.

BTW, it’s been 6 months, where are the N95 masks? It makes much more sense to protect the 0.01% who are vulnerable (or just want to protect THEMSELVES), than to ask the millions to put on a show for the appearance of ‘doing something’. I’m not anti-mask (OMG, I can’t believe the world I live in, where this is relevant). Early on, grocery stores were zoos and I think it’s a good idea for everyone to mask up while engaged in hand-to-hand combat for bread. However, asking everyone to endure the Florida summer in a mask, outside, for little (no?!) benefit is a bit much.

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Sherry June 13, 2020 - 8:57 am

Well thank you for that cause I am looking at this article just before I bought tickets for my autistic grandsons. They are not going to wear a mask. The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits anyone with a disability from being made to wear one and disclose their disability to anyone. It is up to a $ 75k fine for a corporation to ask them to disclose their disability. With that said I have only wore a mask in a medical setting and refuse to wear them anywhere else. I have done my research and the evidence does not support all the over the top measures that have been taken.

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Dave June 15, 2020 - 12:53 pm

With regard to masks, generally the ADA prohibits places of public accommodation having restrictions that would limit access to an individual with a disability. However, the ADA does allow restrictions when an individual would pose a direct threat to the health or safety of others.

As of March 2020, the EEOC has declared that the COVID-19 pandemic meets the direct threat standard, based on guidance from the CDC and public health authorities regarding the risk of community spread and institution of restrictions. IMPORTANT – This standard may change and so businesses must stay up-to-date.

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Ashley Cook June 12, 2020 - 12:49 am

We went opening day for both Sea World and Universal studios. We prefer UO and plan on going a bunch this summer. We were disappointed and SW and decided not to take our mom this weekend as previously planned. So many people ignored the rules, and it might lead to them shutting down. Like you said, they are understaffed and were not ready for opening.

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D June 13, 2020 - 6:14 am

Enforce the rules. Protect us.

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June June 12, 2020 - 1:35 am

Make the parks operate seasonally; opening during cooler weather months to make mandatory face masks more comfortable to wear. No heat, no excuse to remove them.

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WeatherMike July 10, 2020 - 8:06 pm

That’s a good idea, but pretty hard to do in Florida. Because the summer months are the busiest time of the year when kids are out of school and people vacation to Florida. And parks make the most money in the summer months. If they closed down in the summer they would go out of business.

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Chrissi June 12, 2020 - 5:14 am

We attended opening day at SeaWorld yesterday as well and we found it quite miserable. Partly because of the heat and face masks but mostly because the rides were not up and running. I would definitely perfer everyone follow the rules and wear a face mask, I saw many people with them off. But I will say my teen daughters mask was a little too big for her and sometimes slipped below her nose and she was told by several employees to pull it up. I think the day would have been more enjoyable if the rides were open, there just wasn’t that much to do. We are passholders and I doubt we will return until it is safe not to wear a mask. It just wasn’t worth the aggravation. Great article!

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KC June 12, 2020 - 2:28 pm

Hoping to go to SeaWorld next year, but we might cancel a Disney trip and go to SeaWorld instead this fall if SeaWorld has more relaxed rules.

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Chris June 12, 2020 - 6:14 am

None of the issues described surprise me. For years, SeaWorld (as a company, not limited to SWO) has had numerous great ideas, and then implemented them very poorly, either due to budget cuts or incompetence, I’ve seen both. It’s sad, because I love SeaWorld, and I hate to see them continue to make the same mistakes.

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WILLIAM K HECKATHORN June 12, 2020 - 7:06 am

Enough with the rules about wearing a mask outside, in the heat and humidity. After visiting universal yesterday, I will never go back there because of that rule and the constant badgering. Enough is enough. Are we all scared that we must be told what to do, how to do it and when.

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Sue June 12, 2020 - 1:18 pm

Covid 19 has been out long before our government or anyone started implementing any mask or disposal glove wearing . CDC already stated many times a mask effective and is not going to protect you from being infected from a virus that’s airborne. Attending amusement parks you accept all risks taken including catching diseases, infection, viruses and or colds.
It should be a choice not mandated. Enough is enough. Stop the fear mongering.

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Jobe David Gilbert June 12, 2020 - 1:22 pm

Enough is enough. We’ve had it. This has gone on long enough. The people deserve the truth. Are the chemicals in the water REALLY turning frogs gay? SeaWorld knows the truth and they aren’t telling us.

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Annie Ewbank June 12, 2020 - 6:59 pm

Thank you so much! Amen to that.

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Michael June 12, 2020 - 7:36 am

When I am at a park I will be telling people to put their mask on… Follow the rules or get out!!!

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Ashley June 12, 2020 - 12:36 pm

Lol, you should stay home if you are so paralyzed by fear!

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LoisBarton June 13, 2020 - 12:39 pm

Well you could tell me all day to put my my mask on and I would not do it. Due to a medical condition that prohibits me from wearing one. Which by law I do not have to disclose. So when someone does not put on their mask exactly what are you going to do?

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Matt Roseboom June 13, 2020 - 1:05 pm

The theme parks have the right to make anyone leave the park if they aren’t abiding by the rules. But we don’t know if they will take it that far.

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Krystal Cattani June 12, 2020 - 7:40 am

I’m a season pass order of SeaWorld parks as long as I have to wear a mask I will not go. I will go to their water park though because I don’t have to wear a mask.

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Mike June 12, 2020 - 8:00 am

Time to shut them down until they comply. You think they would be on top of their game. They are hanging on by a thread as it is.

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A June 12, 2020 - 8:53 am

We went to SW and no one was enforcing the mask rule, we only rode one ride, and most of the restaurants/stalls were closed. We also noticed that after the humidity and rain, the Social Distancing stickers that were on the ground had started to peel up. Some of them had been completely destroyed and kicked to the side.

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Marlie Westervelt June 12, 2020 - 9:18 am

You’re not going to get into debates with every person that doesn’t have a mask on or has their nose sticking out. I wouldn’t want them being the mask please and harassing me about it either. People are doing the best they can I think.

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Dan June 12, 2020 - 9:41 am

Good to see people livimg their luves. No madk, no other restrictions. It os a flu. Nothing more.

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Redletta June 12, 2020 - 12:32 pm

Absolutely. I am so tired of the “mask police” who post needless stories about this stuff, just to have a reason to tattle tale. Love life, people. Go if you want to, Stay home if you don’t.

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Jason Gereau June 13, 2020 - 4:21 pm

“Tattle Tell” not tale

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A June 16, 2020 - 2:43 pm

tattletale
[ˈtadlˌtāl]
NOUN
tattle-tale (noun)

a person, especially a child, who reveals secrets or informs on others; a telltale.
synonyms:
informant · betrayer · traitor · Judas · collaborator · double-crosser · fifth columnist · double agent · spy · infiltrator · plant · turncoat · rat · squealer · stool pigeon · stoolie · telltale · tale teller · whistle-blower · snake in the grass · canary · snitch · peacher · [more]

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Dan June 12, 2020 - 9:41 am

This is just a flu. NO MASK NEEDED!!!!!

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Kevin H Jones June 12, 2020 - 10:39 am

“Flattening the curve” did nothing but prolong the misery. Those that have had it, and I believe my wife and I both did before it became public knowledge. It was rough, but we would have antibodies and could not pass it or get it again. The possibility of folks who are asymptomatic passing along the virus are rare, no matter what kind of back pedaling the WHO do about their statement to that effect. Masks are more of a hazard to those who wear them than they are protection for those who don’t. And is some citizen Gestapo type wants to come up to me and try to get me to put a muzzle on just because he is scared, I am punching him in the face. This world has gone to hell in a handbasket, everyone thinking they has some kind of rights to not catch a damn illness. Jeez. I will not be held prisoner to jackass’ fear. I am just fine to social distance as needed, as I really didn’t like people before all of this, but the way I see it, if I die or some on the edge “fraidy cat” dies due to this thing, at least we don’t have to go on living on this earth with each other.

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SLGM June 12, 2020 - 11:29 am

I hope no one you know does from it or has to have a lung transplant. And I’m not talking about seniors. A friend of mine is in her 30s with no other health issues & had it for a month before she was able to get back to her life & will have complications for the rest of her life. Good luck to you & your family.

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Taunya June 12, 2020 - 9:45 am

It is ridiculous to have to wear a mask outside. Just stay away from people. If you are afraid of catching the virus then stay home! Employees don’t need to be the mask police.

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Walt June 12, 2020 - 10:12 am

Instead of coming to the park and finding a bunch of stuff to complain about, how about you stay home? Also, if I saw a pic of my family that was taken without my consent you’d be taking that down or hearing from my lawyer, one or the other pal!

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Susan June 12, 2020 - 10:36 am

We are passholders for SW and I don’t think we will be going until they start enforcing the rules and make it safer for the public to go. We will go to the other parks who are enforcing the rules.

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Mel June 12, 2020 - 10:58 am

We are coming to Flordia for the first time this July to meet the areival of a new grandbaby. We have never been Flordia and heard ut is hotter then you know what. We are from Pure Muchigan and HATE the hymid climate of Flordia!! It gets dang hot here in the Summer aome times I can not imagine wearing a mask in the Flordia heat people are going to have heat stroke etc… Can you imagine at 86 plus % humidity wearing a dang mask breathing heavy vecause uts hot as you know what and breathing your own carbon mentoxide all day no thank thank you! For us Michiganders we will NOT go anywhere face mask are in forced forsure out doors!!!! For real !

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Sam June 12, 2020 - 11:00 am

Good. I have not beem to seaworld but may go if they are not enforcimg the stupid false sense of security masks. I am disney person all the way but with them enforcing masks i most likely won’t go there until thats gone. I guess seaworld can have my money. The govenor said masks are not required. He isnt makimg masks required when kids return to school. Its a person personal decision to wear or not to wear and should not be forced for many reason as everyome has already said. I am a healthcare provider and also a high risk individual and i still make the educated decision to not wear a mask. Good job seaworld for not cavimg to media hype.

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Samantha June 13, 2020 - 3:57 pm

It’s kinda sad how America talks so much trash on the facemasks, but when you look around the world other countries have them on in all kinds of setting. Unless you have a specific health condition, masks aren’t unsafe in the heat. That’s so ridiculous that people keep using that excuse. In California our summer’s are crazy hot and there is so much dust everywhere. In high school during cross country mountain bike races some of the people would wear a bandana mask just to be able to breathe. And this is in the middle of the day, when the temps are over 100°, and people are pushing themselves as hard as they physically can. It would get so hot that the race course had specific “wet zoons” for people to throw water on the racers as they went by. Using an excuse that it’s unsafe to wear a mask in the heat without a health condition is the same thing as saying, “I don’t want to be inconvenience,” which is what most of the people complaining about wearing one or saying anyways. The masks only really work if everyone is wearing one, and forget about the CDC and the WHO for a second and just listen to the healthcare providers who are actually working with the people who have gotten COVID19. How are they being protected and what are they telling you too do? Wear a face mask. And as always, when it’s hot out make sure to drink lots of water. Make sure to drink more water when it’s hot. Make sure to get extra electrolytes when it’s hot. As they say in Endurance Sports, “if your thirsty it’s already too late.” Meaning, if your thirsty your already getting dehydrated. So if your worried about being safe in the heat with a facemask drink lots of water!

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Micah June 12, 2020 - 11:07 am

My husband, children, and I will NOT wear masks anywhere. I would have had mine off as soon as we got through the entrance of I even wore one. I would claim I had a medical condition at the gates. They need to make the policy mask optional, but good on those 40% that did not follow the policy. More people need to follow sit to let all the theme parks know masks need to be optional if they want business to return.

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Ashley June 12, 2020 - 12:33 pm

Couldn’t agree more!

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JT June 12, 2020 - 11:09 am

$5 says this “article”/ dear diary post was written by someone named Karen.

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SLGM June 12, 2020 - 11:21 am

I don’t understand why it is so hard for people to be nice to other people & can think of only themselves. Orange Country is seeing a major increase in Corona virus cases & it is because of people who believe that they only count. They have found out that many people are asymptomatic & believe they are fine, but they are not. I have reservations for Sunday, but after your report I have decided not to go. I feel safe at Disney, but it seems that Sea World does not have as much respect for their guests.

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Aleta June 12, 2020 - 11:51 am

From the CDC and WHO, the virus is not heat resistant, meaning the UV Rays and the heat will kill off the virus germs. Now with that in mind, masks are not required outside from the state(not that I’m aware of unless that changed). If the state has it required, then it would be a different story. But because of the low chance of getting the virus outside, there is no need for a mask outside, especially in Florida. Now, theme parks should still require temperature checks, social distancing, disinfecting high touch surfaces and rides between use, and require masks INSIDE. Anywhere inside should require a mask, such as restaurants, stores, exhibits, basically anywhere inside. I would rather there be a encouraged mask policy with a Social Distancing Squad that Disney is going to do to make sure that everyone is social distancing and actually enforce it.

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JC June 12, 2020 - 12:10 pm

I prefer going to a park where the guests are actually following the rules. I felt comfortable at Universal. From what I am reading about SeaWorld’s guests, it just seems like they don’t care about anyone but themselves. And the employees can’t be bothered to enforce the rules. If nobody is complying, doesn’t the park risk closing again?

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Ashley June 12, 2020 - 12:32 pm

Are you going to wear a mask for years until the “magic vaccine” is developed, if that ever happens? This is insane and I’m happy that SeaWorld didn’t enforce this rule. We will not be going to the parks that do, wearing a mask whole day outside is definitely not healthy and not reasonable. People need to stop letting the fear control them, that only increases your chances of getting any disease!

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Samantha June 13, 2020 - 4:03 pm

People didn’t use to have to wear shoes all the time either. Im not saying that people should have to wear masks forever even though it hasn’t even been a year yet, but things do change over time for the health and safety of the population

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Terry June 12, 2020 - 12:36 pm

Those who don’t want to wear a mask: It’s not about YOU and YOUR rights and YOUR comfort. It’s about just being a DECENT person and being considerate of OTHERS. How hard is it to put others first before yourself! We don’t want anyone getting each other sick and that’s all it is about. If you don’t want to wear a mask, then don’t- but STAY HOME. NO ONE has the right to endanger someone’s health. THAT right is Most Certainly not guaranteed by the Constitution. Be a decent human being and not a selfish one. It’s not that big of an inconvenience to wear a mask and it is definitely not worth the risk of getting someone else sick because of YOUR stance.

It is so hard to teach our children to grow up to be good people when they see the example set by others who break the rules and have no compassion for others. Make the world a better place. Do your part to help others and maybe by sacrificing you will start to see things from a different perspective…..

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Stephy June 12, 2020 - 12:59 pm

This news is disappointing on the lack of enforcement.
As “parents” to my husband’s brother who’s autistic( 30years old/mentally aged 10-12), even he knows he must wear his mask in these places. At a certain point in Disney Springs last week he voiced that he was hot and so we went back to the car to take a break. He wanted to go back for treats and guess what? He put that mask back on so fast for chocolate chip cookies!
I agree, it’s inconvenient and hot! BUT, this is what it is. If you don’t want to wear it or don’t agree with the policy, that is absolutely your choice and right, but you have three options; Take it off in the designated areas, leave the park, or decide not to go. It just can’t get any more simple than that.
We all want to have fun at these places and if you feel like a mask would ruin the fun, no need in being miserable! Perhaps the parks aren’t the right place for you to currently be and try for a different time or place.

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Kristi June 12, 2020 - 1:07 pm

I dont think that Sea World, or ANY other park should have to babysit quests.
We arent living under rocks. We know what’s going on and if you’re choosing not to mask up, youre decision, your consequence.

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Alyssa June 12, 2020 - 4:53 pm

That would be fine except your mask protects me. My mask protects you. If you don’t want to wear one.. you’re increasing my risk of getting it. I am a hospital worker and was an asymptomatic carrier. It was miserable and boring staying locked in my house for the 2.5 weeks that it took for me to test negative. Especially when I felt fine! I did it for everyone else. For those people with asthma that I have watched struggle for breath at my hospital. For the elderly who are all someone else’s loved ones. This virus is nasty.. whether it’s a flu or not. And masks are miserable. I spend 13 hours a day in one nonstop at work.. and still I’m wearing them in public. Not for me. For you. I don’t want to be the person responsible for taking someone else’s loved one away because I think masks are hot and uncomfortable. I see a lot of violence and death in my job. It makes me very sad that the world we live in isn’t even willing to be inconvenienced at a theme park to protect others.

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EL June 15, 2020 - 10:23 am

Thank you and Blessed Be.
I’m an Ambassador at SW, I’m do to go back to work. I have underlying health condition, I’ll go back but if I don’t feel safe there, I’m just walking out. I want to live to see my grandkid. The thing about this is the not knowing. Compation, courtesy and common sense.

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Tammy June 12, 2020 - 1:49 pm

I would prefer a more lax atmosphere having to do with masks. Yes, it is a plus that they aren’t enforcing it. I would come there over Disney or Universal.

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Ana B June 12, 2020 - 1:55 pm

I am glad to see that people are living
Wearing a mask is ridiculous. If your in fear or catching something stay home. People dont wear a mask in flu season, people dont wear a mask to not catch a cold. It is beyond stupid to require a mask. I will not visit any theme park if there is a mask requirement. We are all better off if we naturally build a immune to it. I am for NO MASK!

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Casandra June 12, 2020 - 2:30 pm

Can the people not feeding into the fear have someplace to go enjoy themselves? Jeezus. Let us live our life while you go have sweat dripping off your nostrils at Disney. Not everyone is scared to death. Smh

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Tina June 12, 2020 - 2:48 pm

Look, you are outside in the sun. Viruses do not live much beyond 30 seconds in that environment. Use the handsanitizers often and social distance. The masks aren’t healthy for long term use. You’re breathing in what you just exhaled.
Don’t pull the BS. We just saw 10’s of thousands of people protesting no social distancing, many without masks and no complaints. Get real!!

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Cherie Sylvestre June 12, 2020 - 2:51 pm

For those that don’t know the animals at Sea World were not captured in the wild they were born there. If they were to release these animals, they would die either by starvation, attack because they don’t know how to protect themselves or even worse go up to humans cause this is what they are used to. If you don’t like Sea World and what they do for sealife in the wild, don’t go. But please before you make judgment on a great company as this do your homework first.

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Katherine June 12, 2020 - 3:14 pm

I think people should just respect the rules and wear a mask if you want to go the parks for everyone to be safe . I totally understand that its very uncomfortble wearing it because its hard to breath in but the rules are the rules .Although I feel like there should be another way like as long as people are focusing on social distancing and washing their hands people dont need to wear a mask . But thats just my opinion . They are just making sure everyone is safe and healthy .

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Matthew Thomas June 12, 2020 - 4:07 pm

I don’t really care about the social distancing rules being enforced.

However, rides begging closed is a big problem for me.

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Tricia June 12, 2020 - 4:38 pm

My opinion: all of the parks should schedule some days where masks are required but also schedule some days where they are optional. Make sure it is well advertised and have people who go on the optional days sign a waiver. Get input from employees to see which days they are willing to work and honor that.
Speaking as a functioning adult on the spectrum who struggles with the sensory issues of wearing a mask and the anxiety from not seeing people’s faces AND has underlying medical conditions that make me vulnerable…I would choose to go on the optional mask days and accept the risk.

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Jack June 12, 2020 - 4:39 pm

All the park guest not wearing mask were obviously not in favor of them. Many of the people who did wear mask were also not in favor of them but wore the mask because they were told to. If mask were a good idea you wouldn’t have to force people to wear them. Mask do nothing to prevent disease. They are simply a means of making some people feel safer. If mask were not required you would see full parks in no time. I’m certain the day after the silly mask requirement is lifted park attendance will skyrocket.

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Tim June 12, 2020 - 4:47 pm

People are just selfish idiots, plain and simple. Infection rates are going back up, especially in Florida.

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Heather June 12, 2020 - 4:49 pm

I think the pandemic is major overkill. The fatality rate is far less than 1%. Absolutely no reason for all the restrictions except an out of control government. Masks won’t protect you. Hear kills the virus. If you are at risk stay home. Don’t blame other people for not being naive sheep. It was hot. The masks were miserable, especially the ones provided. Heat-related injury is definitely a bigger concern. On a separate note, you can’t expect a park that was required to be closed but still had to feed and care for thousands of animals to be able to afford to open at full capacity. I thought they had plenty of staff for what was open. Everyone was very friendly and helpful. I would have liked to see a full opening but I’m sure at limited capacity they simply couldn’t afford it.

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NinjaChemist June 12, 2020 - 6:34 pm

You know, OR, those too afraid to leave the house should stay home. I’ve had Covid-19 and recovered (had to test negative to return to work). Me wearing a mask has no practical purpose. You’re asking me to risk heat stroke, so that you can feel better about going outside.

BTW, it’s been 6 months, where are the N95 masks? It makes much more sense to protect the 0.01% who are vulnerable (or just want to protect THEMSELVES), than to ask the millions to put on a show for the appearance of ‘doing something’. I’m not anti-mask (OMG, I can’t believe the world I live in, where this is relevant). Early on, grocery stores were zoos and I think it’s a good idea for everyone to mask up while engaged in hand-to-hand combat for bread. However, asking everyone to endure the Florida summer in a mask, outside, for little (no?!) benefit is a bit much.

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Joe June 12, 2020 - 7:04 pm

The writer of this article loves to complain a lot.

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Kris R June 12, 2020 - 8:21 pm

A few thoughts:

1) Unless SWO is requiring guests with medical conditions to wear wristbands or something, you cannot be sure if guests were disobeying rules or just couldn’t wear the masks;
2) Once the flights full of out of town guests are back, all bets are off at all 3 parks. I really will be shocked if any guest is thrown out of any park for failure to comply;
3) While numbers/percentages might be different, I have seen multiple pics and videos of guests who appear not to be complying at just about every park in FL;
4) I suspect that the worst part of the mask & distancing requirement will be dealing with our fellow guests. I fear the “Karen” type who will insist that a child is at least 2 and must wear a mask, or that we are only 5 feet from her, or that we clearly don’t have our mask on properly… As time goes on and the parks are more fully staffed I suspect we’ll see more lackadaisical compliance from employees at WDW and Universal too;
5) Assuming that SWO really is less strict than other parks (not sure its true), I don’t care. I want everyone healthy, but you go to crowded theme parks knowing lots of people are there. Once airports are bringing in guests from all over the world, think about all the people you’re exposed to. I would accept that infinitesimal higher risk from a few people not fully complying rather than an employee at a park I just paid $100+ a day to go in staring at my face, judging me, admonishing me, etc. I’m not speaking my time & money to be micromanaged, especially when all parks have fewer amenities, attractions, parades, and so forth.

The Central Fl residents do need to look at this differently . This review by Attractions was sadly myopic. I’m a paid subscriber to Attractions and love the magazine but this is disappointing.

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Matt June 12, 2020 - 8:47 pm

In my opinion it looked like they weren’t prepared for the reopening. It should have had more ambassadors. The annual pass holder’s didn’t receive the upgrade automatically as promised. I do understand that is difficult to wear mask at all times but if it is a rule to stay in the park it should be respected. Even though you are allowed to remove it to eat, drink or other things, but still you should maintain the social distancing.

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Nathan June 12, 2020 - 9:01 pm

My family just got back from a trip to SW today, their second day back. It appears they’ve got a few more things in order today. Almost everyone was wearing a mask. Many employees were asking guests to wear masks. All animal ambassadors and shop workers seemed to have gotten the memo about enforcing mask wearing…

Rides were running at reduced capacity- every other row on the coasters was closed, and only one party allowed per row. They were also wiping down seats after every run. Lines seemed a bit long- maybe just because they were running slower than usual.

We love Sea World, but trying to keep masks on our young sons all day was exhausting enough on its own. Bravo to their efforts on fixing the mistakes on opening day, and it was great to be back. They’ll hopefully have things running more smoothly given a few more days or weeks of operation.

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J June 12, 2020 - 10:34 pm

Yep, a mask requirement isn’t going to work very well and won’t last. I imagine most people foresaw that. Kind of silly anyway since it is ok to have it off to eat and drink, people will just have them off all day walking around snacking and trying to stay hydrated in the heat and humidity. People sweating, constantly making adjustments and touching the masks trying to get a breath of fresh air. Having it on is pointless. Really just an illusion of safety to make a few Karens feel better. Good for SW, hopefully they get the ride issues ironed out and continue to provide an experience that isn’t quite as restrictive.

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Shantel Harley June 13, 2020 - 11:35 am

It seems they mae have had good intentions but again im sorry the pandemic is not over its 100 + degrees outside and i definitely am not about to fall out with that hot a** mask on yes hand sanitizer is important but you cant punish everyone who ever wants to be safe can

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CB June 13, 2020 - 1:28 pm

All theme parks need to strictly enforce proper mask wearing and 6 ft distancing rules. If someone does not like that , they can stay home.

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Maria June 13, 2020 - 2:12 pm

I was at the park on opening day and had a much different experience. I was impressed with how they handled it all!!

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Olga June 13, 2020 - 10:34 pm

Same problems we noticed on our first visit,
Kids rides were not sanitized at all, Atlantis and Kraken completely shut down for maintenance? Like they had no enough time for three months We also had problems with passes that were not extended. We were tired of all this wait and not well organized staff. Had extremely pleasant Day at Universal. We’ve done all major attractions for 2 parks in 3 hours. Busch gardens has the same problems as Seaworld by the way

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TM June 14, 2020 - 9:32 am

Seriously, we are now basically conditioned to social distance. If someone gets to close you can politely ask them to back off or you can move yourself. With the 6ft rule, I am perfectly comfortable with no masks. If you need a mask, wear one. If you don’t want to touch the ice, don’t.

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