ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — If you want thrills, memorable moments or a bit of magic, Central Florida has you covered.
SeaWorld Orlando recently gave Channel 9 hours of access to show guests what to expect if you visit for Spring Break.
There, the rides are great, but the animals are the stars.
“No marine mammal, to record, has ever gotten COVID,” said Jon Peterson, Vice President of Zoological Operations at SeaWorld.
If you’re coming to SeaWorld for an animal interaction, like petting a stingray, you can still do that. The park is just asking that you stay socially distanced from other humans.
All three big Orlando parks follow some universal rules, such as placing hand sanitizing stations throughout the area and social distancing, even on rides.
“We also set up our show schedule and run our rides so that we’re able to spread guests throughout the park throughout the day,” said Kyle Miller, park president of SeaWorld Orlando, Aquatica and Discovery Cove.
Masks are mandatory for employees and guests, even on roller coasters.
“I double-mask and I wear a special mask,” said Cathy Brown, who was visiting SeaWorld from Michigan. “Being over 65 and (having) underlying illnesses, I was a little nervous.”
Miller said if a guest decides they don’t want to wear a mask, “they can’t visit the park.”
When you visit SeaWorld, you still need a ticket. It’s now scanned without contact, but you also need a reservation.
It’s the same at Disney.
At Universal, however, it’s first-come, first served.
While Miller said SeaWorld hasn’t had to turn guests away since operating at a limited capacity, Disney and Universal have.
SeaWorld is running between 50% and 60% on a given day, Miller said.
Disney is operating at about 35% capacity. Universal hasn’t released its numbers.
Parks are also turning people away if you have a fever. SeaWorld even invested in a thermal camera, which uses a hot plate to detect temperatures at 100.4 degrees and above.
With all those people come germs, so cleaning is nonstop.
“Behind the scenes what guests don’t see are our cleaning squads at work,” Peterson said.
The three big parks are offering live concerts again. Character interactions are less up-close and personal, but still happening. The big three are also putting on festivals to attract guests.
Cox Media Group