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SeaWorld Orlando Is Open! Here Is What You Need to Know Before You Hop Back

SeaWorld Orlando Reopening - PinterestWoo, it's time to splash back into the fun! All of the Florida SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment locations reopened June 11 after temporary closures due to COVID-19. This lineup includes SeaWorld Orlando, Aquatica Orlando, Discovery Cove, Busch Gardens Tampa and Adventure Island.

For the first day of reopening, we hopped over to SeaWorld Orlando to check out what's hoppening with all of the new post-COVID closure changes. Despite some rides and experiences being closed, we had a fin-tastic time! Now, I just wonder if the dolphins and sea lions were just as hoppy to see us as we were to see them ...

Reopening procedures differ from park to park, so be sure to check out our separate guides for Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando and LEGOLAND Florida. You can check the status of other major U.S. theme parks here.

SeaWorld Orlando | Reservations & Park Schedules | Busch Gardens TampaAquatica, Discovery Cove & Adventure Island

All the Details from Our Visit to SeaWorld Orlando

Upon arriving exactly at park open, it took a while to get through the parking toll booths, but everything after that was a breeze! We went through the temperature screening first. If you froget to bring a face covering, we noticed an ambassador (employee) was handing out free disposable masks before you entered the temperature screening tent. If a guest's temperature reads higher then 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, they will be moved to a separate tent for a second screening.

SeaWorld Reopening - Temperature Screening Tent

Once you pass the temperature check, you'll go through the usual bag check at security (which has plexiglass to protect both guests and ambassadors), and the entry turnstiles (which are now touchless — an ambassador scans your tickets through plexiglass). There are no paper park maps. Instead, you can scan a QR code to download a map on your phone.

Rides and Attractions

Rides queues have floor markings to remind everyone to stay six feet apart. On the roller coasters, parties are seated together with empty rows in between separate groups. For Infinity Falls, you still need to wear a face covering in the queue, but you can remove it on the ride itself as each party has its own raft — yes, even a party of one! Some rides, attractions and play areas remained closed, including:

SeaWorld Orlando Reopening - Sesame Street Meet and Greet

  • Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin (penguin exhibit is open)
  • Big Bird's Twirl 'N' Whirl
  • Cookie Drop!
  • Flamingo Paddle Boats
  • Journey to Atlantis
  • Manta
  • Rosita's Harmony Hills
  • Rubber Duckie Water Works
  • Sesame Street Party Parade
  • Sky Tower
  • Wild Arctic (animal exhibit is open)

While the Sesame Street Party Parade and Elmo and Friends meet-and-greet location are temporarily suspended or closed, you can still meet Sesame Street characters, who come out on their floats for photo opportunities throughout the day. You're still able to engage with the interactive features throughout Sesame Street Land.

Animal Exhibits

SeaWorld Reopening - Manatee Viewing

You'll notice social distancing floor markings to help people spread out at the animal exhibits as well. Pay close attention because some exhibits have one-way directional markings, like at Pacific Point Preserve where the sea lions lounge. The lower outdoor section of Dolphin Cove is closed off, but you can watch the dolphins play with toys from the main sidewalk or the underwater viewing area. The only animal exhibit that remains closed is the Stingray Encounter.  Public feedings have also been suspended.


SeaWorld Orlando Reopening - Row Closed at Stadium Show

The stadiums have modified seating arrangements that block off certain sections and rows. At the show's conclusion, everyone is asked to remain seated while the hosts dismiss people by section to avoid a mass exodus.

Restaurants and Retail Shops

SeaWorld Orlando Reopening - Gift Shop Entry Only

Like with other areas in the park, restaurants and retail shops have social distancing markers to keep capacity limited inside. There are designated entryways and exits to control traffic flow, so be sure to look out for those before you enter! Ambassadors and guests are both protected by plexiglass at the registers. Contactless payment is highly encouraged, but cash payment can also be accepted.

At restaurants, seating is spaced out to accommodate physical distancing. Tables and chairs are sanitized frequently. Paper menus replace traditional menus at table-service restaurants. Condiment and topping stations are closed, and utensils come pre-packaged. We had to ask for a spoon for our açaí bowl from Cypress Bakery.

Face Coverings and Relaxation Areas

SeaWorld Orlando Reopening - Family in Masks

SeaWorld doesn't have too many face covering restrictions, so you can wear any style as long as it fits securely over your nose and mouth. Face shields are allowed, but you should bring a backup mask if you want to go on any rides.

SeaWorld Orlando Reopening - Face Covering Relaxation Area

If you need a break from your mask, go to one of the three face covering relaxation areas. You can find one by Wild Arctic, another near the Sea Lion and Otter Stadium and the last one across from Shark Encounter (with a lakeside view). The two larger relaxation areas (Wild Arctic & Shark Encounter) have plenty of seating available.

Reservations and Modified Park Hours

SeaWorld Reopening - Screenshot of Registration

Initially guests were required to make reservations on each park's website prior to their visit. This is still true if you purchase tickets directly through SeaWorld OR you are using a Fun Card or annual pass. In hoppy news, reservations are not required if you purchase your tickets through us! Plus we can save you some green when you buy. Click here to see all of our discount SeaWorld Orlando tickets. Children under 3 years do not require a reservation or ticket for entry. To meet physical distancing guidelines, all visits to the Florida SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment parks must be pre-scheduled using a reservation system found on each park's website. Guests with tickets, Fun Cards or annual passes must make a reservation prior to visiting the park. Guests will need to bring their reservation e-ticket and their original ticket, Fun Card or annual pass to the front gate for entry into the park.

Busch Gardens Tampa Reopening Guidelines

Busch Gardens Tampa - Kumba

Busch Gardens Tampa has implemented similar park health and safety measures to protect employees, guests and animals. These include health and safety guidelines and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control, such as face coverings and temperature screenings.

Overall Park Enhancements

  • Face coverings will be required for all employees and guests ages 2 and older. Guests will be encouraged to bring their own face coverings. At Busch Gardens Tampa, parking trams with modified seating will be operating for certain parking areas.
  • Physical distancing will be promoted throughout the park by ground markings and signage. Contactless payments will be encouraged, and plexiglass will be installed in high-traffic areas.
  • Cleaning and sanitization will be increased significantly in high-contact areas, including numerous hand sanitization stations.
  • All employees and guests must undergo and pass temperature screenings before entering the park.
  • Employees will receive new training on new park operating procedures, which includes guidance from the CDC and health advisers.

Specific Enhancements to Key Operational Areas

  • Guest Arrivals and Ticketing: There will be enhanced cleaning protocols in arrival areas, and spacing will be increased for touchless turnstiles.
  • Restaurants: Seating layouts will be arranged to accommodate appropriate distancing. Tables and chairs will be sanitized frequently. Paper menus will replace traditional menus, condiment and topping stations will be closed, utensils will come pre-packaged and buffets will be adjusted or closed. Busch Gardens Tampa will not be offering any buffets. Additional grab-and-go options will be added.
  • Retail Shops: Queues in shops will have floor markings for physical distancing. There will be designated entry and exit points.
  • Animal Exhibits and Interactions: All open animal viewing spaces will have markings for physical distancing in queues. Certain tours and interactions will be limited to one party at a time. Only tours that allow for physical distancing will operate, and certain animal interactions may be modified.
  • Public Spaces: Hand sanitizer stations will increase throughout the park, as well as consistent signage. In certain areas, guest flow will be directed in a single direction. Venues will be configured with modified seating and cleaned after each event or presentation.
  • Rides and Attractions: Queues will have markings for physical distancing. Single rider lines will be removed, and modified seating will be implemented. Hand sanitizer will be available at the entry and exit points of all rides, and the frequency of cleaning and sanitizing ride vehicles will be increased. Open play areas will be temporarily closed unless they meet physical distancing measures.
  • Parades and Meet and Greets: Certain parts of parades and meet and greets will be limited or removed. Any parade components that involve guest interaction will be updated or removed. Character interactions and photo opportunities will be modified.
  • Summer Camps: Upon reopening, Busch Gardens Tampa will not be running its summer camps.

Aquatica Orlando, Discovery Cove and Adventure Island Tampa Reopening Guidelines

Aquatica and Discovery Cove in Orlando and Adventure Island in Tampa will have increased cleaning and sanitization of high contact surfaces, such as ride vehicles, rafts, tubes and life vests. To ensure physical distancing, guest capacity will be limited in pools and lazy rivers, and lounge chairs will be spread out appropriately. All rafts and ride vehicles will be limited to a single party, so groups will not be mixed together.

We hope you'll find this information hopful as you plan your next visit. Do you have any questions about the reopening procedures at the Florida SeaWorld parks? Let us know in the comments below. 

Related: Planning a Vacation During an Uncertain Time

Hoppy planning!

Keep hopping, Mommy Frog!
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1–50 of 211 comments
Aug 10, 2020 at 4:52 a.m. Cassandra D Says...

I would love to visit soon.

Aug 10, 2020 at 4:29 a.m. RR Says...

We want to go post-pandemic.

Aug 10, 2020 at 4:28 a.m. Buddy Garrett Says...

Great post. It is nice to know what to expect when you visit.

Aug 10, 2020 at 4:27 a.m. KC Says...

I regret never going there

Aug 10, 2020 at 4:15 a.m. Cherry Says...

We have always wanted to go there.

Aug 10, 2020 at 3:44 a.m. Rajee Pandi Says...

Love to go to that trip

Aug 10, 2020 at 3:05 a.m. Candace P Says...

It looks as if they have everything under control!

Aug 10, 2020 at 2:08 a.m. Delores Harris Says...

I've been to Sea World CA, next up Orlando! Glad to see the health precautions.

Aug 10, 2020 at 12:12 a.m. Jamie Says...

We have never been to Sea World and would absolutely love to go!

Aug 9, 2020 at 10:51 p.m. lindsay henige Says...

Can't wait to take my daughter!

Aug 9, 2020 at 10 p.m. Shanna Seay Says...

Definitely recommend using this website you will get amazing deals on tickets!

Aug 9, 2020 at 9:44 p.m. lorna seay Says...

Best way to get great deals and stay in the know!

Aug 9, 2020 at 8:37 p.m. Megan Wilson Says...

Thank you for sharing the details! Hope things get back to where you can enjoy the parks 100%!

Aug 9, 2020 at 8:20 p.m. Rachel Edmunson Says...

I can't wait until we can visit again!

Aug 9, 2020 at 6:20 p.m. Betty Curran Says...

I'm looking forward to a trip soon. Thanks for the information.

Aug 9, 2020 at 4:07 p.m. DEBRA DONNELLY Says...

LOOOOOOOOOVE all the new changes Sea World has made over recent years!!!

Aug 9, 2020 at 3:56 p.m. Kelly Freeman Says...

Thanks for the update !

Aug 9, 2020 at 3:28 p.m. Mary Richard Says...

Can't wait to visit and buy one of their cute face masks with the dolphin smile!

Aug 9, 2020 at 7:49 a.m. Amanda Hamilton Says...

I would love to take my son, he has Autism and never been before.

Aug 9, 2020 at 7:08 a.m. Erah McMullen Says...

Can’t wait to visit in spring 2022!

Aug 9, 2020 at 3:30 a.m. Rema Begum Says...

This place is amazing!

Aug 9, 2020 at 12:55 a.m. Mya Murphy Says...

I would love to go.. Just as long as it's safe.

Aug 8, 2020 at 4:41 p.m. Karyna Says...

Would love the opportunity to take my family here!

Aug 8, 2020 at 3:37 p.m. cynthia Beauclair Says...

I hope we get to go have fun soon

Aug 8, 2020 at 1:45 p.m. Elizabeth Miller Says...

My daughter has wanted to go so bad. We were going over spring break but of course with everything, it got cancelled, We are so hoping to get there in the next month or two but it is nice to see the precautions as well as they have masks just in case.

Aug 8, 2020 at 1:17 p.m. Mary Meadows Says...

Can't wait for this Pandemic to be over so we can go!!!

Aug 8, 2020 at 11:34 a.m. Alexis Says...

Great stuff!

Aug 8, 2020 at 11:25 a.m. Amanda W Says...

Love your deals!!

Aug 7, 2020 at 10:40 p.m. Shirhall Says...

I love the detail you provide with each park on their COVID Guidelines. Sharing your personal experiences helps with expectations at the parks!

Aug 7, 2020 at 10:39 p.m. Charles M. Says...

Visited both SeaWorld Orlando and Busch Gardens Tampa after reopening and I am satisfied with their guidelines and offerings! I will be back soon.

Aug 7, 2020 at 5:58 p.m. Ashley Mains Says...

I haven't been to Sea World in years! This was so informative, thank you!

Aug 7, 2020 at 5:13 a.m. Andrew P Says...

I'd love to go back once it's definitely safe!

Aug 7, 2020 at 1:25 a.m. Jan Says...

Always love visiting SeaWorld Orlando, I can't wait to get back.

Aug 7, 2020 at 12:19 a.m. Mandi Gaines Says...

My family loves SeaWorld. We would be so excited to win a trip!

Aug 6, 2020 at 6:39 p.m. @vdrusprm Says...

Undercover Tourist has an understanding of what people need to know so they feel safe about returning to the parks during this unprecedented time.

Aug 6, 2020 at 6:20 p.m. Daishawn Says...

So glad the resort is back open. Hope they stay open so we can visit for my daughter’s 6th birthday????????

Aug 6, 2020 at 3:49 p.m. Kyle Fujimoto Says...

Our family loves Orlando and Under Cover Tourist!

Aug 6, 2020 at 2:15 p.m. T.Escoto Says...

Hope to visit very soon!

Aug 6, 2020 at 5:35 a.m. Constance V Says...

Looking forward to seeing the changes!

Aug 6, 2020 at 12:57 a.m. DanieB Says...

I’m excited to be able to visit Universal, only been here a year and COVID has made it hard to explore my new state

Aug 5, 2020 at 11:41 p.m. Alpal Says...

Love SeaWorld! I’d love to go!

Aug 5, 2020 at 11:37 p.m. Teri Finegan Dalco Says...

one would think that water parks with all the chlorine would be somewhat safer than other places too, since it is self bleaching

Aug 5, 2020 at 9:59 p.m. Fran Landry Says...

Lots of great information so thank you!! Would love to win!!

Aug 5, 2020 at 1:35 p.m. Ryan Says...

While I've been to Orlando several times, SeaWorld was one of the places we just never went to. I think the new procedures are about as good as a theme park can get, within the parameters of the "new normal" without making the experience alien and threatening. Good luck to them, keeping their doors open!

Aug 5, 2020 at 12:20 a.m. Donald Says...

Would love to win!

Aug 4, 2020 at 9:20 p.m. Linda C Says...

I love SeaWorld!

Aug 4, 2020 at 9:20 p.m. Rebecca Simons Says...

Last time we went to Orlando Sea World we had the best time. We make incredible memories with our kids.

Aug 4, 2020 at 8:57 p.m. Stephanie Colclough Says...

Sea World is great....Cant wait to return.

Aug 4, 2020 at 4:53 p.m. Jessica J Says...


Aug 4, 2020 at 3:55 p.m. Michael Says...

I would love to go back, liked Sea World in 2019, but will wait for the social distancing and mask nonsense to go away. When Theme Parks get more like normal will come again without all the CDC crap.

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