As Hurricane Irma approaches the United States this week, there is a chance that the storm could impact the state of Florida. Resultantly, many people are probably wondering if and how the hurricane could impact their Orlando-area vacations. In particular, if you plan to visit SeaWorld Orlando, keeping up with Hurricane Irma updates will be critical.
There is certainly a possibility that SeaWorld Orlando could be impacted by the storm, though it is too soon to know for certain. According to ABC News, Hurricane Irma has been upgraded to a Category 4 storm, meaning that it's gaining incredible — and potentially destructive — strength. On Monday, Florida Governor Rick Scott issued a state of emergency to allow the state to prepare for potential Irma impacts.
SeaWorld Orlando has certainly not been immune to the impact of hurricanes in the past. For example, in 2016 the park, along with many other Orlando-area attractions, completely shut down for a day due to Hurricane Matthew. If Hurricane Irma does end up impacting SeaWorld Orlando, the park and its affiliates have what they call a "Peace of Mind" Hurricane Policy in place. The policy notes that if a natural storm or hurricane approaches Orlando, Tampa, or the hometown of a ticket holder, the organization will reschedule or refund any vacation package or individual park tickets booked through one of several vacation booking agencies, as well as several websites, including seaworld.com. Ticket holders will not be charged cancellation fees for changes due to hurricanes.
Moreover, if guests are already at the park and SeaWorld Orlando decides to close due to inclement weather, the park will provide guests with alternative tickets. These tickets are known as Sunny Day Tickets and they are issued to guests if rides are closed for more than one hour due as a result of bad weather — and if a guest has been in the park for less than five hours when the closure occurs. If a guest has been in the park for more than five hours and an inclement weather closure occurs, he or she can request a 50 percent- off return park ticket valid for 1 year from the issue date. For further details on the inclement weather policy, guests can check out SeaWorld's website.
Hopefully Irma will not have a substantial impact on Florida, however the possibility certainly exists. Thus, it is important for you to be prepared for the possibility of inclement weather if you have plans in Florida later this week (or, of course, if you reside in the state). Be sure to follow weather updates and note the storm's path and, if you are headed to any theme parks, like SeaWorld, check park websites for weather-related news.