After a one day employees-only soft opening, SeaWorld Orlando reopened to the general public on June 11, 2020, nearly a week after Universal Orlando Resort's reopening to the general public on June 4, 2020. And though Universal Orlando Resort has had, more or less, a successful reopening (even if foot traffic hasn't been exactly massive), SeaWorld became the second major theme park to reopen this week and has struggled a little bit to find its footing in a world still grappling with COVID-19. 

Masks wearing is required but not enforced

Image: SeaWorld

SeaWorld Orlando announced that as part of its reopening facemasks would be required for both employees and guests. However, it looks like enforcement of this requirement has been all but nonexistent, with social media reports indicating that both guests and Team Members were spotted not wearing masks during SeaWorld's first day back to operation. And unfortunately that is not the only operational shortcoming that was reported during SeaWorld's reopening. 

Social distancing challenges

Image: SeaWorld

Though SeaWorld Orlando has signage and speakers promoting social distancing in the parks, photos and videos of the park's opening day showed guests grouping together during shows and in enclosed spaces around the park. Though guests seem to spread out in queues (and rides are being seated in such a way that parties are all separated from one another), in areas where guests could congregate (gift shops, animal exhibits, etc.), they often did, and SeaWorld Team Members didn't seem to be trying to break up large groups. 

Guest frustrations

Image: SeaWorld

On SeaWorld Orlando's opening day, there were big crowds at the parks, and wait times for popular attractions like Manta, Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin, and Mako ballooned to over an hour during the day and experienced frequent downtime, creating a frustrating situation for guests. And compounding things, SeaWorld's app displayed incorrect information about not only wait times, but also showtimes as well. This situation would be frustrating in normal circumstances, but with the added pressure of guests trying to navigate the park safely on its first day of reopening, it created an extra challenging situation for guests. 



Wow. Harsh comments on here. We went today and I saw nothing which disputes what the blogger stated. Half the guests I saw were not wearing masks and there was no enforcement. Ride times are high because of cleaning and every other row not being used. If you are not in a group, they sit you by yourself. I got the entire front row on Mako by myself. Had to buy a QQ just to get on it because I was not waiting 65-90 minutes for it. Load procedures definitely need some work. Masks suck but their house, their rules. Wear it or don’t go. It sure makes me think how we are going to do Disney as AP.

I'm sorry but if you don't want to wear a mask don't go to places that enforce it. It's just like the no smoking rule.

I'm sorry but if you don't want to wear a mask don't go to places that enforce it. It's just like the no smoking rule.

If they are not following strict mask regulations I am ABSOLUTELY going to be visiting very soon..stop trying to spread fear

My family just got back from a trip to SW yesterday, their second day back. It appears they’ve got a few more things in order. 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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