SeaWorld and Busch Gardens Parks Postponing 2020 projects to 2021

SeaWorld Entertainment Inc, which owns the three SeaWorld parks as well as the two Busch Gardens parks, released their earnings for Q2 of 2020 yesterday. Not surprisingly, the earnings didn’t look good since the parks were closed for most of the second quarter due to the pandemic. But there were a few interesting tidbits in the press release relevant to coaster fans.

2020 Coasters Move to 2021

In their “COVID response” section, they mention postponing “to 2021 the opening of rides that were still under construction and originally scheduled to open in 2020.” Texas Stingray at SeaWorld San Antonio opened before the pandemic hit the US, but new coasters at the four other parks have yet to open. Several of the coasters had already started testing, including Iron Gwazi and Emperor, but there must have been a good amount of work left on them.

Back when SeaWorld announced their new for 2020 rides last August, I think it’s safe to say they had the best lineup of new attractions. All of the new SeaWorld coasters planned for this year — Iron Gwazi at Busch Gardens Tampa, IceBreaker at SeaWorld Orlando, Pantheon at Busch Gardens Williamsburg, and Emperor at SeaWorld San Diego, along with Texas Stingray — made our list of 10 most anticipated coasters opening in 2020.  Looks like we’re going to have to wait until 2021 for most of them. But, at least it means 2021 should be a good year for new coasters!

Busch Gardens Williamsburg Re-Opening

Another exciting piece of news, we got a hint about Busch Gardens Williamsburg re-opening! From the release, “The Company expects its Busch Gardens theme park in Virginia to commence a phased reopening in early August 2020 and continues to monitor guidance from federal, state and local authorities to determine when it can reopen in California.” So, Busch Gardens hopefully in August, SeaWorld San Diego TBD depending on California.

Pantheon back when it was under construction. BGW may re-open, but don’t expect Pantheon this year.

Cash Situation

Another interesting tidbit in the release, we now know that SeaWorld’s financials should be OK. There had been reports about them missing payments to vendors and contractors earlier in the pandemic. It looks like they managed to work most of those out. They also said that their cash burn is down to $12 million per month, and they have cash and cash equivalents on hand of $376 million. So there shouldn’t be any short term cash crunches for the chain.

Obviously sad news about coasters being postponed, but it isn’t too surprising. Pushing to open new coasters towards the end of the season, with travel down so much, doesn’t seem worth it. Crossing our fingers that the pandemic situation is better next Spring, the four new coasters can be part of a big marketing push to get people back to the parks. And good news the parks seem cash stable.

In the meantime, if you want more details you can check out the full earnings release here. Their earnings call is August 10, so we may get some more details on this then. And, as always, make sure you’re following us on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest theme park news.





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