SeaWorld Orlando’s new Sesame Street area is already undergoing changes.
When the six-acre land first welcomed guests in March, the Count-Around Playground — named after Sesame Street’s friendly vampire — was in place but not open during annual passholder previews or the media preview ahead of the March 27 grand opening. An April 1 video from Orlando vlogger The Tim Tracker noted that the area was still cordoned off.
Now the playground equipment has been completely removed, as first reported in an April 20 tweet from ThrillGeek.
Just noticed something. Count-Around Playground in Sesame Street is GONE. All that remains is the signage. ? pic.twitter.com/ATAesA2hK2
— ThrillGeek (@thrillgeek) April 20, 2019
SeaWorld Orlando spokesperson Lori Cherry said the park will make use of the space and a new play area is part of the plans.
“We will be providing a new dry play area in place of the existing play structure that will better appeal to our younger Sesame Street fans, and will also provide more seating in the center of Sesame Street Land for families and those enjoying the Sesame Sips drink stand and both Sesame Street themed food trucks (Yummy Yummy Nom Noms and ABC Eats),” Cherry told Orlando Rising in an email.
Cherry wouldn’t say why Count-Around Playground was removed or whether it was ever opened to guests.
“The decision was not related to safety,” she said. “That is all we are going to say on the attraction at the present time.”
The playground’s removal would represent only a small hiccup for the well-received addition to SeaWorld Orlando. Orlando Informer praised it as SeaWorld’s most detailed land to date, saying it “almost comes off as the kiddie version of Universal Orlando Resort’s deliciously-layered The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley.” The land opened with six rides (all rethemed from the old Shamu’s Happy Harbor section of the park) along with SeaWorld’s first-ever daily parade.
Rumors are already spreading about a larger expansion. According to theme park rumors site Screamscape, SeaWorld has drawn up plans to add a Sesame Steet dark ride to the area, possibly taking over space currently occupied by the Wild Arctic ride.
One option for SeaWorld is to clone an attraction developed by Jacksonville-based Sally Corporation, the manufacturers behind animatronic-based dark rides like Universal’s E.T. Adventure. The attraction, called Sesame Street: Street Mission, is an interactive dark ride where guests help gather “clues” on a hunt for a very important stolen cookie. The ride opened in PortAventura World in Spain earlier this month after being unveiled at last year’s IAAPA Expo at the Orange County Convention Center.