So our first visit back to SeaWorld Orlando after the re-opening from Coronavirus lockdown was... um... "not great." I contemplated actually writing something about our short visit today because I'd like to go again next week to give them another chance, but there were just so many things that I found shocking today that I just had to write about it...
First of all, at least there wasn't any line for parking at 1pm in the afternoon:
If anyone followed along any of the Orlando bloggers or "MBF's"(Must Be Firsts) as I've been calling them lately, they created a GIANT CROWD reported to be an hour long wait to get through the parking booths yesterday on their opening just to be the "first" to post their YouTube vlogs or Instagram selfies. Personally, I just don't understand this. Here we are 24 hours later and there is no line to get in.
I will say, however, this was probably one of the better experiences we had for the day.
By now, everyone knows the standard issue "compliance rules" for parks and COVID-19. Wear Masks, Temperature Checks, Stand 6 feet apart... yes we get it... we know the drill. Except when that's not exactly the case. I feel this is more representative of what we saw today at SeaWorld:
They may require masks to get into the park, but I'd say we saw MAYBE 15% of the people actually wearing them, and none of their employees telling anyone to put them on, aside from the entrance turnstiles to the park.
Social Distancing? Forget it! We saw so may queues where guests were all crammed on top of each other and once again, no employees doing anything to fix that situation.
Where they were doing social distancing was separating guests out on attractions. But to the point where operations were actually negatively impacting your visit to the park. Some attractions were already loading guests SO SLOWLY and then only filling trains less than half in some cases. We saw several Infinity Falls rafts going around with **ONE** person in them! I get they are trying to be "safe" but there has to be a better way? And why is SeaWorld "picking and choosing" where they want to follow their own COVID guidelines?
We make it into the park (is it just me or does EVERYONE have issues scanning their tickets & passes to get into SeaWorld/Busch parks?) and while it's busier than I would have expected, it wasn't that "busy" until you got to an area with rides.
"You won't see that for another twelve minutes!" we joked as we saw Manta dispatch. And we weren't wrong. The coasters we saw operate were dispatching trains every 9-12 minutes, And running their coasters at half capacity. I mean, if your'e going to run your rides at half capacity, maybe at least TRY to operate them a bit more efficiently to get more people through?
While the park wasn't overly busy, lines for rides were INSANE. This right here is a perfect example of what we saw all over the park:
- No social distancing at all. - A "free-for-all" wearing a mask. - Ride queues that seemed a lot longer than they should have been due to some really bad operations. - No employees that seemed to be doing anything to help with any of the situations above.
Needless to say, we didn't stay for very long nor did we ride anything. I just didn't want to put myself into a situation crammed in with people who weren't social distancing, weren't wearing masks, and at one point we saw a family who had a "Service Pit Bull" with them. Seriously?!?!?
With all the small annoyances brought upon by our day, you know what WASN'T actually annoying? Wearing the mask in the 92 degree Florida heat like many people said it would be. We were both wearing thin, disposable medical masks. They were comfortable and not invasive or annoying at all.
While it was a beautiful day to take a walk around the park, most of the time when we looked around, the park looked like this....
Not many people around... not many rides actually running. When you got closer to rides, tons of disorganization everywhere with people on top of each other, most of them not wearing any masks.
I just don't get it. With there being reports of more cases all over the US at the moment, why wouldn't you just do the simply thing and wear a mask? But then again, when this is the example SeaWorld's CEO is setting, what do you expect?
Anyway, we are going to go back again next week. Hopefully we will have some better news to share. I get that this was only their second day of operation, but with Disney Springs being open almost a month and Universal being open a couple of weeks now, they have plenty of examples in the area to look at. I most certainly haven't seen any of these issues at Disney Springs and they are only a few miles down the road!
I most certainly do applaud Disney for taking more time to really get things right in their park. I have much higher expectations for when Disney opens July 11th, but I also understand that, at the moment, Universal & SeaWorld are the only major theme parks open in town, and I'm sure once Disney opens all the focus will be there, so those guys need to grab as much of that business while they can while the fire is hot!
Let's just do a better job of enforcing your own COVID rules, okay? Thanks guys...
Disappointing to hear this, mainly because the park has had time to learn from other parks that have recently opened in the US before them. I hope this changes on your next visit, and your next visit will be better!
I was afraid of guests pulling off their masks once inside the gates and not following the rules. I hope that the park will get better with their operations as well as enforcing the park rules. As you said, if Disney and Universal are doing it right, they need to benchmark them.
I will be interested to see how your next visit goes...hopefully much better!
This is why I don’t understand people’s aversion to virtual queuing. Does this really look better than being able to spread out around the park and wait for your time to ride? And seriously, what’s the point of only loading every other row on a coaster if everyone is packed together in the queue for an hour before getting on?
In fact, what’s the point of only loading every other row on Manta regardless? Riders are more than 6 feet apart as it is.
I don't think it's unfair to remove guests from the park who aren't wearing their masks or are improperly wearing their masks. This isn't rocket science. Cover the nose and mouth, super simple. If you willingly remove it or pull it down to your chin or to uncover your nose, that's a one-way ticket to the exit. Wanna really set an example? Passholders get it revoked.
This couldn't possibly be a more minor thing to ask of guests and the majority of this country is too goddamn proud to just be courteous. Unless there are strict rules that are enforced this will keep happening. FFS, this is a public safety initiative; it's not like we're demanding hazmat suits.
KBrylczyk wrote:This couldn't possibly be a more minor thing to ask of guests and the majority of this country is too goddamn proud to just be courteous. Unless there are strict rules that are enforced this will keep happening. FFS, this is a public safety initiative; it's not like we're demanding hazmat suits.
This is EXACTLY what Elissa and I were discussing the other day. How the f is it that the "mask" became such a hot topic??? I thought for sure it would be a "no-brainer" that people would wear it and we would have to put up with Instagrammers showing off their "new cool mask" and it becoming yet another accessory that people would brag about. The reality couldn't be further than that!
People literally are FIGHTING about this. ACTUALLY FIGHTING!!! And it disgusts me so much. Maybe it's because I've been going to Japan regularly for 20 years and I've seen people wearing them on ever single visit I've ever had there so it doesn't seem as foreign to me? I don't know.
But the mask is just so non-invasive. You're right, it's not like we are being asked to wear some hazmat suit, or just giant super uncomfortable piece of clothing, or even go get a weekly blood test, or many of the other things that COULD have become a reality in this.
It's a small piece of fabric across your nose & mouth. It literally is nothing. Yet we've had to ban so many people from our forums, socials, and other TPR outlets because of their just BATSHIT CRAZY PSYCHOTIC INSANE attitude against it.
I was at the point where I thought nothing shocked me about humanity, and then this happened, and now my feeling about humanity has sunk a whole other level that I didn't think was possible.
Last edited by robbalvey on Fri Jun 12, 2020 3:49 pm.
While you are at it on how not to wear a mask: Don't put it just over your mouth so it is easier to breathe out your nose. I see so many doing this, you might as well skip the thing. You aren't helping others or yourself wearing it that way.
robbalvey wrote:We were both wearing thin, disposable medical masks. They were comfortable and not invasive or annoying at all.
I do think a lot of folks don't have these...I often see thick cloth and polypropylene N95 derivatives...both are a lot hotter (though the latter is unquestionably more effective at reducing viral load on exposure). I think this is key to happily adjusting to these visits. I understand, though, that the park legally can't advise on your choice of PPE.
Are the park rules mask at all times? Here in NY the state guidance is indoors OR when unable to social distance. So basically if youre outside in a public space and no one is within 6 ft of you, you dont have to wear a mask. So I that would mean if im walking between rides and have no one around me, the mask can come off. Obviously private property can make different rules though so I suppose it depends on how the park wants to enforce it (or not enforce it).
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