SeaWorld Orlando is restoring Thursdays to its operational calendar. 

Since the park reopened in June following a nearly three-month COVID-19 shutdown, it has remained closed on Tursdays and Thursdays. Interim CEO Marc Swanson said in June that the reduced schedule would allow SeaWorld staff more time to clean. Now, the park will be open on Thursdays through Sept. 6. 

The new schedule will not change the rest of the park’s procedures aimed at limiting the spread of COVID-19. Day guests and those with existing annual passes and Fun Cards will still need to make a reservation in advance to gain entry to the park, in order to manage its limited capacity. Physical distancing and the use of face masks are also still required. 

In preliminary results for the second quarter of 2020, SeaWorld said it expects to report a $105 million net loss and a 95 percent year-over-year drop in revenue. 

Epic Universe permits still being filed despite official ‘pause’ on construction 

In a hopeful sign for Universal fans worried that the COVID-19 pandemic means the Epic Universe theme park will never get built, smaller projects appear to be ongoing on the site, according to construction permits. 

According to the Orlando Business Journal, more than 21 permits on the Epic Universe site have been filed with Orange County over the past two weeks. The permits cover retail, restrooms, and commercial buildings on the property. 

Universal’s official stance remains the same: the project is on “pause” until the fog of uncertainty created by the pandemic clears. 

“”We are prioritizing daily operations and shorter-term projects and continuing our pause on longer-term projects such as Epic Universe as we allow the tourism industry to recover,” Universal spokesperson Tom Schroder said in an emailed statement to Theme Park Tribune last week

Splash Mountain ride vehicle sinks

Splash Mountain has plenty of warnings that guests will get wet. Being submerged, however, was not mentioned.

So it must have been a surprise Sunday when a ride vehicle carrying five guests began sinking in the ride’s Riverboat finale scene. 

An unnamed Disney spokesperson confirmed to Spectrum News 13 that all five guests were able to exit the vehicle safely. 

Splash Mountain is due to close at some point in the future to remove its current story, based around elements of 1946’s “Song of the South” — a film long criticized for its racist and offensive treatment of Blacks and sunny portrayal of Southern plantations. It will be rethemed to 2009’s “Princess and the Frog,” the first Disney film to feature a Black princess.