Five of the SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment brand properties will reopen to guests in Florida on June 11 – SeaWorld Orlando, Aquatica, Discovery Cove, Busch Gardens Tampa, and Adventure Island. With the reopening comes a number of new policies and procedures designed to keep guests and ambassadors (the company’s term for employees) safe.
“We thank Governor DeSantis, [and local government authorities] for their support of tourism in Central Florida as we prepare to reopen our Orlando [and] Tampa parks to the public on June 11,” said Marc Swanson, interim CEO of SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. “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 evolve.”
Read on for more specifics about the reopening procedures and policies, including reservations needed for arrival, guidelines on masks & temperature checks, and much more.
Operating Days & Hours
Part of the phased reopening process at the parks means they will no longer be open every day of the week, and at least initially, hours will be reduced. Following the opening weekend, each park will be closed between two and three days a week.
SeaWorld Orlando – Closed on Tuesdays & Thursdays
Aquatica Orlando – Closed on Mondays & Wednesdays
Busch Gardens Tampa – Closed on Tuesdays & Wednesdays
(Update 6/18 – Starting June 29, Busch Gardens will switch to being closed on Mondays & Wednesdays)
Adventure Island Tampa – Closed on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays
The reduced operating hours and days are until further notice, but may be changed based on demand and additional guidelines from local & state authorities in the coming weeks/months.
Reservations & Capacity
All guests, including those with annual passes, Fun Cards, and day tickets, will need to make a reservation online for the day they want to visit. Specifics are not yet available, but the reservations will open on each park’s website at 10 a.m. on June 8. Having reservations for arrivals ahead of time will allow for social distancing in the entrance area and to manage park capacity without guests showing up only to be turned away.
Once in the park, there will be capacity restrictions for some attractions, shows, restaurants, and animal experiences. Additionally, some attractions, shows, etc. may be temporarily unavailable upon the parks reopening. We now know that Iron Gwazi will NOT open with the park on June 11 according to responses on social media from the park. A specific opening date for the new roller coaster has not yet been set.
Masks & Temperature Checks
Face coverings will be required for all guests ages 2 and above and all ambassadors. At Busch Gardens and SeaWorld, guests will need to wear their face coverings in all areas except while eating, drinking, on water rides, or in designated rest areas.
At the water parks, guests will need to wear their face coverings in the entry area, in queues for restaurants, gift shops, and other designated areas. Masks do not have to be worn in other areas of the park but are recommended when guests can not social distance. Face coverings are NOT permitted on slides or in the water.
All face coverings must conform to CDC guidelines. Additionally, the park reserves the right to require guests to remove and replace face coverings that are deemed offensive, or tend to provoke, shock, or offend the community or any group.
Guests and ambassadors must have their temperatures screened upon arrival using the CDC temperature recommendation of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit. For those who do not pass the temperature screening, they will be escorted to a second location for a retest. If their temperature is confirmed, they will be denied entry and the park will work to re-accommodate their visit for an alternate date.
Social Distancing & Sanitation
Guests are encouraged to remain socially distant from other guests/groups while visiting. To help with this, signage and markers will be in place around the park to serve as a guide. Contactless payment options will be encouraged, although cash will still be accepted. Plexiglass or other barriers will be set up in locations where social distancing between guests and/or ambassadors is not otherwise possible.
Expect additional hand sanitizing and handwashing stations set up around the park, and guests are encouraged to use these often. Ambassadors will also be cleaning and sanitizing high touch and high traffic areas more frequently across the park.
Each website has set up a page with safety information and a link to frequently asked questions for guests to be fully prepared for the new guidelines when they visit the park.
For the latest on SeaWorld Orlando & Busch Gardens Tampa and other theme parks, attractions and more across the region, be sure to follow Touring Central Florida on twitter @androckb & @TourCentralFL, and like our facebook page.