SeaWorld Orlando Update: A Rough Reopening Day (PART 1)

Yesterday morning, SeaWorld Orlando officially reopened to all Guests after a three-month closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Sadly, after visiting the park, we realized that that the park was not completely ready to reopen to the public, as many of the new safety measures that were in place were not implemented properly.

We would like to start by reminding our Readers that we love SeaWorld's theme parks and we have always done our best to support them; that being said, we cannot hide the fact that the park has done a poor job preparing for its reopening. That's not too surprising as the park did not hold a Team Member or Annual Passholder preview, opting instead to show the park to a very limited number of media members that had the chance to learn about the new safety measures without actually seeing them in action with a large number of people in the park.

By contrast, Universal Orlando had Team Members test all the new safety measures for two days before allowing Annual Passholders to return to the parks. Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure had already been open for four full days before the general public was allowed to return.

In any case, let's take a look around the parks to see what's new and what could (and should) be improved.

First of all, the toll booth transaction process did not change at all. While Universal's Team Members now ask Guests to hold their own pass and ID, SeaWorld still requires Team Members to handle tickets and still give Guests a receipt even if they have complimentary parking as one of their annual pass benefits. This is ironic since SeaWorld has been working very hard to be more eco-friendly in the past.

Additionally, the touchless thermometers used by SeaWorld didn't work very well so the Team Members have to get very close to the Guest to get an accurate reading of their temperature.

It also appears that Team Members may be experiencing some issues scanning Guest tickets from behind the new plastic barriers. Many of them were standing right in front of Guests to scan their tickets. Again, it's ironic to think that this process might have been "safer" before the pandemic as Team Members could stand on the side of the turnstile at the very least.

All in all, I have to admit that the entry process was far from being flawless, but it's important to keep in mind this was day one. That said, could this have been handled better with preview days? Absolutely.

Let's start exploring the park:

All of the outdoor attractions were temporarily closed due to inclement weather conditions. This didn't have any impact whatsoever on our visit as it's something that happens frequently during summer.

Being an exhibit that focuses on touching animals, SeaWorld wisely decided not to reopen to Stingray Lagoon for the time being. The exhibit should reopen in the future, though. Just remember to wash your hands!:

The Dolphin Cove was also closed:

This Team Member was interacting with the dolphins, but at first it seemed like he was trying to fill the pool!:

Now we get to one of the biggest problems we encountered. The majority of people watching the shows did NOT wear a mask during the entire performance. Despite what some may think, Guests are required to wear a mask at all times while visiting the park, except when in designated areas and when eating at a dining location. We were very surprised to see so many not wearing a mask.

As a reminder, we are just sharing our observations based on the current park rules:

The Dolphin Days show was great:

We appreciated the fact that the park added these social distancing markers in the theaters:

What's also great is the way the theaters are emptied. Guests can exit one row at a time to avoid having large crowds trying to leave all at once. The process seemed to be very smooth and organized.

SeaWorld's parks are the only ones utilizing these hand sanitizer dispensers:

Certain areas of the park were empty, while other parts were surprisingly crowded:

Journey to Atlantis is currently closed (as clearly stated on the park's website). We love this area of the park!:

Kraken: Unleashed was operating. While the wait time was 45 minutes, we observed a train being dispatched every 3-4 minutes, which is not that bad. Every train is thoroughly cleaned and sanitized, which is actually something that Universal Orlando currently does not do. +1 point to SeaWorld:

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