Five Major Central Florida Theme Parks No Longer Accept Cash Payments

by joeheg

In recent years, businesses such as restaurants, stores, and even public transportation systems have started to go cashless. This trend has a few reasons:

  • It can be more efficient for businesses to not handle physical cash, which can be time-consuming and costly to manage (cash needs to be counted, brought to and from banks, etc.)
  • Going cashless can help reduce the risk of theft and fraud.
  • More people are using digital payment methods such as credit and debit cards, mobile payments, and online transfers.

Central Florida theme parks are a major draw for visitors from all around the globe. Yet, some may encounter difficulties if their credit card doesn’t work in the United States or doesn’t offer sufficient coverage for the high expenses associated with theme park visits. In addition, I know that international visitors will often make a budget for their trip by exchanging their currency for US dollars before the trip. This helps them keep track of how much money they’re spending while on vacation.

That’s why it’s a big deal when major theme parks stop accepting cash payments. As of August 30, 2023, SeaWorld Orlando, Aquatica Orlando, Discovery Cove Orlando, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay and Adventure Island all went cashless. All five parks are owned by Sea World Parks Entertainment.

Here’s the press release from SeaWorld:

At SeaWorld Orlando, we want you to enjoy the thrills and wonders of our park in the simplest, most efficient, and flexible way possible. That’s why we are excited to announce that we are transitioning to cashless operations starting August 30, 2023.

Just swipe or tap your credit card, debit card, or smart device with Apple Pay or Google Pay everywhere you typically use cash. It’s faster, more secure, and convenient, so you can spend less time in line and more time having fun!

If you don’t have a payment card, we have you covered. Just stop by one of our easy-to-use Cash-to-Card kiosks located throughout the park to transfer your cash (free of charge) onto a Visa prepaid debit card that can be used anywhere Visa is accepted.

The workaround for people who prefer to pay cash is that you can purchase a prepaid Visa debit card at the park, which you can use instead of cash.

However, the card isn’t free. If you leave a balance on the card, you’ll be charged a $3.95 monthly fee after 92 days of inactivity.

…You will not be charged a fee to transfer your cash to a card or to use it for payment (in the park or anywhere Visa is accepted in the U.S.). If you use the card regularly, you will not incur any fees. Just keep in mind that after 92 consecutive days with no transactions, you will be charged $3.95 per month by the card issuer.

Prepaid cards can accept up to $500 but cannot be reloaded. If you need to load additional funds, you’ll need to get a new card. And don’t worry if you don’t use up the balance on your card. You can use it anywhere a Visa card is accepted.

It makes sense for theme parks to opt for a cashless system. Processing cash can be slow, and going cashless can speed up transactions. Plus, it removes the need for a security service to handle cash and transport it to a bank. The only locations where cash needs to be collected are the exchange machines, which are probably conveniently located throughout the park.

In the U.S., SeaWorld parks in San Diego and San Antonio, as well as Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, VA, Water Country USA and Sesame Place, all also under the Sea World Entertainment umbrella, had all already gone cashless. SeaWorld Abu Dhabi, which opened this past May, still accepts cash.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


Patrick September 14, 2023 - 1:13 pm

Hmmm… interesting thought.
But have you seen when you got some restaurants that charge you a fee for using a credit card? And you don’t know this until you are ready to pay. Who has a few hundred in cash when they go out.

dee September 14, 2023 - 6:39 pm

NOT IN CALIF.. ONLY CREDIT CARSA AND DIGITAL PAYMENTS the only way to keep track of all of us

Paula Witt September 17, 2023 - 9:56 am

This is very disturbing and in my opinion, unacceptable! This is just more of trying to force society into a cashless society. I will not comply. I am not going to be forced into a cashless society by those claiming the wonderful benefits and how much safer and easier it is. That’s crap! All that means is it’s easier for the government to track every penny we spend.


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