SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc., one of the world’s leading theme park and entertainment companies, has announced a phased reopening (with capacity limitations) of SeaWorld Orlando, Aquatica Orlando, Discovery Cove, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, and Adventure Island on June 11, 2020. This announcement completes the list of when the Major Central Florida Theme Parks Plan to Reopen.
As the theme parks plan to reopen, those plans will include enhanced health and safety protocols for cleaning and sanitizing, physical distancing, face covering requirements, and temperature screening, as well as a focus on contactless payments. A new online reservation system will also help manage capacity so that guests can enjoy a safe and fun experience while maintaining physical distancing. The phased reopening plan was approved by the State of Florida.
In their announcement, SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc.’s interim CEO Mark Swanson, thanked Governor Desantis, Orange County Mayor Demings, Orlando Mayor Dyer, The Members of the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force, Tampa Mayor Castor, and Hillsborough County Administrator Merrill for their support of tourism in Central Florida as they prepare to open their Central Florida Parks.
Over the past two months, we have worked with state and local health officials, third party medical and epidemiology experts, and attraction industry leaders to enhance our strict health, safety, and cleanliness standards. We are committed to the health and safety of our guests, employees, and animals in our care, and will continue to follow the guidance from health officials as conditions evolveMark Swanson interim CEO SeaWorld Entertainment Inc.
Online Reservation System
To help manage capacity to maintain physical distancing within the parks, all parks will require advance online reservations. Guests will be asked to visit the reservation pages of park websites (listed below) where reservations will be required to guarantee entry given anticipated demand. Reservations will be available starting at 10:00AM ET on June 8, 2020.
All guests with existing tickets, Fun Cards, or Annual Passes must make a reservation using this system in advance in order to manage park capacity and maintain physical distancing so you can enjoy your day. They have reserved daily capacity for their valued Pass Members and Fun Card holders. Once you receive your reservation confirmation via email, you must bring that confirmation along with your single-day ticket, Fun Card, or Annual Pass to enter the park.
You do not need to use this system if you already purchased a date-specific single-day ticket.
I took a look at all 5 park’s hours for June-August of 2020. What I found is that each park will be closed at least 2 days a week throughout the summer months.
- SeaWorld Orlando 10am-6pm closed Tuesday and Wednesday
- Aquatica Orlando 10am-5pm closed Monday and Wednesday
- Discovery Cove hours not listed closed Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday
- Busch Gardens Tampa Bay 10am-6pm closed Tuesday and Wednesday
- Adventure Island 10am-6pm closed Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday
All animal exhibits will be open at SeaWorld Orlando. Line queues, viewing area, exhibit capacity and guest flow through exhibits may be adjusted or modified to maintain physical distancing. Guests will be able to enjoy presentations with modified seating to follow physical distancing measures; certain schedules and formats may be temporarily adjusted to maintain physical distancing requirements. For a list of temporary changes, please visit the park website.
As part of modified operational plans built into the Discovery Cove re-opening timeline, certain components of animal meet-and-greets will be temporarily modified or unavailable. A special beach side dolphin presentation will be available to Discovery Cove guests with Signature Dolphin Swim reservations in lieu of the fully immersive experience to help maintain physical distancing.
In all open animal viewing spaces at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, they will add markings to queues to indicate required distancing. Certain animal interactions will be modified and only tours allowing for physical distancing will operate. Some tours and interactions will be restricted to one-party at a time.
When will You Visit a Central Florida Theme Park?
I am not a passholder to any of these 5 parks so, unless there is a media event, I won’t be visiting any time soon. I could really enjoy a day at any of these parks though. I have a work event on June 11th so I wouldn’t be able to be at any of the re-openings any way.
It’s ok though. I am just happy that the Central Florida theme parks plan to reopen in the near future and the travel business is starting to come alive again.