Ride closures and staff shortages: Are SA theme parks able to meet the Spring Break demand?

Worker-driven changes help local theme parks meet demand and prevent ride closures

Are staff shortages putting a damper on Spring Break in San Antonio? Two major local theme parks weigh in.

SAN ANTONIO – Spring Break is in full swing and this year, families are once again getting a taste of normalcy at theme parks.

Two of the most popular local destinations -- SeaWorld San Antonio and Six Flags Fiesta Texas -- said they’re prepared for peak season.

The national labor shortage across multiple sectors has pushed companies like Six Flags Fiesta Texas to offer competitive hourly rates.

“We have a variety of jobs starting as high as $15 or more,” said Jeff Filicko, the marketing & communications manager at Six Flags Fiesta Texas.

SeaWorld San Antonio has also felt the brunt of employee turnover.

“It’s always a challenge to get (employees) in,” said Adam Laredo, vice president of human resources at Sea World San Antonio. “We’ve had our challenges just like all the other employers out there… Right now, we’re offering up to $1,000 bonus for those who come and work over at the water park as a lifeguard. And we also have $750 bonuses for those who get hired into our food and beverage area.”

The incentives have helped the local employers to hire enough staff to meet the Spring Break demand and prevent any ride closures due to shortages.

“Right now (at SeaWorld San Antonio), no rides are closed right now due to staffing,” Laredo said. “We’ve been lucky to continue to maintain our ambassadors that have continued on because we’re now (open) year round.”

At Six Flags Fiesta Texas, Filicko said they’re nearly fully staffed.

“We’ve done things like brought in temporary workers to help some of our support positions,” Filicko said. “We move around our team members on a daily basis as needed.”

If a ride does have to close down, representatives for both local theme parks assure it’s temporary and likely related to weather.

“Last week’s cold weather did kind of take a few (rides) down,” Laredo said. “We have a lot to offer. So if the ride goes down for a little bit, which is very rare, there are some great shows, some great animal interactions, some great food to experience.”

As for Six Flags Fiesta Texas, Filicko assures the current changes are not in response to staffing.

“A lot of times it’s weather-related and the conditions here in the rock quarry are unique to our environment,” Filicko said. “Something like our railroad, the train is down, but it’s down due to construction for a brand new (ride) Dr. Diabolical’s Cliffhanger.”

“We may have to shift things around a little bit and there are sections of the park that do open a little later during the day, but that’s by design as the park fills up will open up those sections of the park,” Filicko said.

Regardless of the current staffing situation, both parks continue to hire employees to ensure families enjoy their visit.

To view current job opportunities at Six Flags Fiesta Texas, click here.

Click here to view current job openings at SeaWorld San Antonio.


About the Authors:

Alicia Barrera is a KSAT 12 News reporter and anchor. She is also a co-host of the streaming show KSAT News Now. Alicia is a first-generation Mexican-American, fluent in both Spanish and English with a bachelor's degree from Our Lady of the Lake University. She enjoys reading books, traveling solo across Mexico and spending time with family.

Luis Cienfuegos is a photographer at KSAT 12.