What Disney (and Universal) Can Learn From SeaWorld…

sea world disney world universal studios orlando theme parks
Credit: SeaWorld Orlando/Disney Parks/Universal Studios/Canva

Imagine if you had planned and planned…and planned your dream theme park vacation. You’ve poured tons of money and time into your perfect trip. Then BAM! The unpredictable hits.

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castle storm

Credit: Disney

Maybe it’s a hurricane or a summer day with extreme heat over 100 degrees or even regular inclement weather that destroys your plans. “Too bad, so sad” seems to be the response many will get from theme parks regarding weather events such as these. But that may be changing…

RELATED: Disney Weather “Extremely Intense This Year,” Guests Advised to Visit During Cooler Months Instead

SeaWorld’s New Policy

SeaWorld Entertainment has announced a new policy called “Weather-or-Not Assurance.” The generous new policy will allow guests a return visit at the park for FREE if their plans are interrupted due to weather-related actions.

Tropical Storm Nicole

Credit: NOAA

Marisa Thalberg, chief marketing officer of SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment, stated, “When guests book and look forward to making memories in one of our SeaWorld parks, we want them to feel fully assured that if Mother Nature winds up having other plans that day – even if for as little as an hour – they will be able to come back another day, on us.”

SeaWorld Orlando Roller Coaster

Credit: SeaWorld Orlando

Weather Assurance Details

The policy applies to SeaWorld Park and all parks under their umbrella, including Busch Gardens Tampa. What exactly does the policy include or cover?

– If rides are closed for over 1 hour due to lightning, strong winds, heat, rain, or snow.

– If the park closes early or operating hours are impacted due to inclement weather.

– If the park temperatures reach a heat index of 110 degrees or higher.

All you need to do if this happens to you is fill out a form on their website and request a free ticket for a return visit. Although there are some restrictions (as typical with policies such as this), they mainly include group sales tickets or special packages.

Additional information on the industry-changing policy can be read on SeaWord’s website here.

Happy National Roller Coaster Day! Our Top Roller Coasters in Orlando

Credit: SeaWorld

With recent extreme weather conditions impacting attendance at Walt Disney World Resort and Universal Orlando theme parks in the past year, this is an idea the massive resorts may want to consider. While both Disney and Universal have their own weather policy in place for situations such as a hurricane, it doesn’t compare to the new action taken by SeaWorld Entertainment.

RELATED: OFFICIAL: Entire Disney Park Finally Closes in Response to Dangerous Weather Pattern

Central Florida has seen record temperatures, extreme heat advisories, floodings, and more in the past year. There’s also no guarantee that these weather events will improve (including Disneyland and Universal Hollywood on the West Coast).

Guests Are Cancelling Trips to Disney World Due to Unpredictable Florida Weather

Credit: Disney/ Canva

Will Disney and Universal Follow?

Disney and Univeral might do well to follow SeaWorld Orlando’s lead. Although both theme park resorts have higher attendance and make more money than SeaWorld Orlando, can either of them afford to lose business in today’s economy?

universal studios globe and attractions at orlando resort

Credit: Discover Universal

RELATED: Guests Trying to Book a Stay at Universal Resort Hotels Disappointed to Find THIS Instead

SeaWorld Park’s policy may not shake the Earth with attendance. But it may chip away at it. In any event, it’s an exciting step forward for the theme park industry – and hopefully, it will become the new theme park standard!

About Steven Wilk

Steven has a complicated relationship with Disney. As a child, he visited Walt Disney World every few years with his family. But he never understood why kids his age (and older) were so scared of Snow White or Alien Encounter. He is a former participant of the Disney College Program (left early…long story), and he also previously worked in Children’s publishing, where he adapted multiple Disney movies and TV shows. He has many controversial opinions about Disney…like having a positive view of Michael Eisner, believing Return of the Jedi is superior to The Empire Strikes Back, and that Toy Story Land and Galaxy’s Edge should have never been built (at least not at Hollywood Studios). Every year for the past two decades, Steven has visited either Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Aulani or went on a Disney Cruise. He’s happy to share any and all knowledge of the Disney destinations (and he likes using parenthesis a lot…as well as ellipses…)