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.
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…
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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).
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?
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!