New attractions at SeaWorld parks put on hold until 2021

SeaWorld reports $131 million loss amid pandemic closures

A guest has her temperature checked before entering SeaWorld as it reopens with new safety measures in place because of the coronavirus pandemic, Thursday, June 11, 2020, in Orlando, Fla. The park had been closed since mid-March to stop the spread of the new coronavirus. (AP Photo/John Raoux) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

ORLANDO, Fla. – SeaWorld Entertainment suffered a net loss of $131 million during its second quarter compared to the same time last year due to coronavirus closures and, now, reduced capacity attendance and hours.

The entertainment company released its earnings for its second quarter and first six months of 2020 on Monday for all of its theme parks.

During the earnings call, SeaWorld Interim CEO Marc Swanson said new attractions at it’s Florida parks including Iron Grawzi at Busch Gardens and Ice breaker at SeaWorld in Orlando scheduled to open this year will now open in 2021.

“We feel really good about the 2021 lineup of rides coming to the parks,” Swanson said, later adding, “We felt this was going to be our best lineup of new attractions in our history.”

SeaWorld CFO Elizabeth Castro Gulacsy said construction on those projects were about 87% complete as of August.

All SeaWorld parks were closed from March 16 to June 5. The company began re-opening some of its parks on June 6 and by the end of the financial quarter, seven of its 12 parks were operating with limited capacity and hours.

The parks saw a drop in guests by 5.9 million compared to the same time last year.

The company attributed the decrease in attendance in the second quarter to COVID-19 closures.

Discovery Cove, a SeaWorld day resort and animal experience, showed promise amid the pandemic. Discovery Cove accepts reservations 18 months in advance and bookings for 2021 are 176% higher than the same time one year ago.

“We are also seeing some positive indicators with growth in our pass base led by our open parks since the end of May and our 2021 bookings at our Discovery Cove park up significantly compared to 2020 bookings at the same time last year,” Swanson said in the earnings release.

SeaWorld continued to rescue animals throughout the closures and has aided 430 animals in the second quarter of 2020.

As of Monday, nine of 12 SeaWorld parks have reopened.

SeaWorld does not have a re-opening date for SeaWorld San Diego. The entertainment company does not plan to re-open its water parks in San Diego or Williamsburg, Virginia this year.