ORLANDO, Fla. — SeaWorld Orlando has reopened its park grounds with new guidelines to keep guests safe.
It’s a delicate restart for one more set of theme parks in Central Florida, with Discovery Cove and Aquatica slated for a 10 a.m. opening.
The reopening plan includes limiting capacity to about 30% and the parks only being open five days a week. It will be closed Tuesday and Thursday for disinfecting.
SeaWorld furloughed about 90% of its staff during the pandemic. Many employees returning will have a new task of helping to make sure that visitors keep their masks on and keep their distance from each other.
The biggest change is that reservations are mandatory for park entry.
Temperature checks will also be required. When guests and employees arrive, they’ll have to pass a temperature screening using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention temperature recommendation of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit.
The park is selling decorative masks, and there are plenty of hand sanitizer stations in place.
Animal interactions and parades are on hold for now.
Nathaniel and Lydia Hinson were the first in line for the reopening of SeaWorld.
“We love SeaWorld,” they said. “It’s our favorite park in all of Orlando, and we’ve been planning this since the park closed.”
And based on the line of cars at the gates, plenty others were ready to return.
Brittany Dugger said she was “not surprised at all” by the crowd.
“It actually went pretty quickly, so pretty pleased on how everything has been handled so far,” she said.
“It’s my dad’s first day here, so I’m really excited to show him around,” guest Chloe Cunningham said.
Her dad, Jim Wachter, said he was “blessed to be" at the park.
“It’s a beautiful day to try to get some normalcy back in our lives (and)to get out have some fun and spend some good quality time with our family,” he said.
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