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SeaWorld's limited reopening frustrates some passholders

Posted at 5:29 PM, Aug 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-28 22:03:28-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — As Seaworld San Diego reopens its doors this weekend, an East County grandmother and passholder says she and her grandson won't be making a visit.

Visiting SeaWorld is one of Rose Becker's favorite things to do with her 4-year-old grandson Vincent.

"He just loves walking around and looking at the dolphins, orcas, and sea lions," said Becker.

So when SeaWorld announced they would be reopening, she got excited.

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"I was planning on taking him Sunday. Was so excited to hear SeaWorld was back open. My grandson was so excited ... and then my excitement, down to frustration," said Becker.

She was frustrated because of the cost. SeaWorld is opening through its weekend Zoo Days Bayside BBQ and Brews events. It's reservation only with a limited capacity. The park's attractions will be limited to outdoor animal exhibits and shows. A ticket will include food, drink, and merchandise.

Passholders like Becker get a complimentary ticket but must pay for the lanyard for the food and beverages. She would receive a more-than-50% discount, but Becker still has to shell out $50 for Vincent and herself, a cost she can't afford.

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"I'm retired and on a limited income ... I'm very frustrated and angry that I can't take my grandson to go visit SeaWorld, when it's open to the public who wants to pay for a special ticketed event, and not to us who have been paying all this time as passholders," said Becker.

She's not alone. In the past few days, ABC 10News has received emails and Facebook messages from passholders upset about having to pay for the extra cost.

"We're being treated like second class citizens in essence," said Becker.

SeaWorld plans to hold the weekend events until late September, and then reassess a true opening. The park has announced it will be extending expiration dates for passholders and upgrading them to the next tier of benefits.