The SeaWorld and Busch Gardens theme parks will go ahead with modified Halloween and Christmas events this year, even as it pushes its line-up of new roller coasters to 2021, the company's interim CEO said today.
"We know how much these are loved by our guests, and we're confident we will deliver compelling, exciting, and most importantly safe events with relevant and appropriate operational changes," SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc.'s Marc Swanson said of the company's fall and winter event plans during an investors' conference call today. "More details will be forthcoming as we finalize those plans."
Rivals Universal and Cedar Fair have canceled their big Halloween events for the year, including Halloween Horror Nights and Knott's Scary Farm. Six Flags has not explicitly canceled its Fright Fest and Holiday in the Park events but said that it will evaluate those on a park by park basis.
Swanson also said that the company will not open its water parks in Williamsburg and San Diego in 2020. SeaWorld San Diego remains closed indefinitely as the state of California has not approved theme parks to reopen yet. The company's other parks have reopened, although Busch Gardens Williamsburg is only hosting special events with extremely limited capacity.
Looking ahead to 2021, Swanson said that the company will rely on its planned 2020 new coaster line-up to help drive attendance in the new year.
"We felt this was going to be our best lineup of new attractions in our history. And so many of those are now going to carry over the next year: Iron Gwazi, the coaster in Tampa; Icebreaker, the coaster here in Orlando: Pantheon in Williamsburg; Emperor, [the] coaster in San Diego. We feel really good about the 2021 lineup of rides coming to the parks, so we're excited to continue to make progress towards that."
Swanson said that the company might look to use some of the cash it has borrowed to acquire additional assets.
"There might be situations where there's market dislocation or competitors in industry who aren't able to weather the storm. So whether it's a waterpark, a hotel, or something like a park that we could look at and convert to a Sesame Place, for example, those are the type of things we're talking about."
As previously announced, SeaWorld Entertainment reported a loss of $131 million for the three months ending June 28, 2020 on revenue of $18 million and attendance of just 300,000 guests, as a result of its parks being closed for most of the quarter due to the pandemic.Tweet
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