ORLANDO, Fla. — After an almost three-month closure because of the coronavirus pandemic, SeaWorld will reopen its parks this week with new measures designed to safeguard employees and visitors.
What You Need To Know
- SeaWorld Orlando, Aquatica, Discovery Cove reopening Thursday
- For now, parks will be open 5 days a week; closed on Tuesdays, Thursdays
- No word yet on when guests will be able to ride new coaster Ice Breaker
- RELATED: Busch Gardens Reopens With New Coronavirus Safety Plan
In Orlando, SeaWorld Orlando, Aquatica, and Discovery Cove are welcoming back visitors Thursday, and mandatory face masks and temperatures checks are among the changes visitors should expect.
On Wednesday, SeaWorld Orlando invited Spectrum News to the park to see how the safety measures have been implemented.
One of the first changes visitors will notice happens before they even arrive at the park. SeaWorld has launched a new reservations system for its parks. Visitors with existing tickets, Fun Cards, or Annual Passes will need to book a reservation in advance to gain entry to the park. Those with date-based tickets will not need to use the reservation system.
The new system will help SeaWorld manage park capacity, which will be reduced to 30% initially, executives said. The park will also only be open for five of seven days per week -- an online calendar shows the park closed on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
The turnstiles that visitors are used to seeing at the entrance have been modified. Tickets will be scanned by SeaWorld employees who are separated from visitors by plexiglass to limit contact. SeaWorld is also encouraging visitors to use Apple Pay, Google Pay, or a similar payment method to further limit contact.
All visitors ages 2 and older will be required to wear a face mask while at the park. They will also have to undergo a temperature check. Anyone with a temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher will not be allowed entry.
Both inside and outside the parks, visitors will be met with physical distancing markers designed to keep people six feet apart. Physical distancing protocols have also been implemented at ride queues and restaurants.
Instead of traditional menus, single-use paper menus will be used for the time being.
SeaWorld has eliminated paper park maps. Visitors will be encouraged to access the maps digitally through their mobile phones.
Also, select attractions might not be open or be available during the initial reopening. But for the rides that are open, visitors will need to keep their masks on when riding. However, SeaWorld execs said modifications will be made over time.
SeaWorld’s newest coaster, Ice Breaker, won’t be opening Thursday. The company hasn’t said when visitors will have a chance to ride it.
Busch Gardens Tampa Bay and Adventure Island, two of SeaWorld's other Florida parks, also reopen to the public Thursday.
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