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In revenue department news, on this hot summer's day the only drinks available are bottled water, and post mix soft drink in souvenir bottles for $10. We'll give them the benefit of the doubt that they sold out of bottled soft drinks rather than not selling the cheaper alternative as an evil money grab, but we'll be back next month to find out for all our valuable readers.
I was there in January and it seemed any drinks that guests wished to purchase had to purchased with the souvenir cup/bottle. There were no disposable cups available. Also they wanted to charge me $1 for a straw because they didn't have disposable ones. I think all of this may have been an environmentally based decision for Sea World in a hope that people would keep the souvenir cups (at least throughout the day) and thus reduce wastage. Alternately it could be $$$.
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We went in July 2010 and they only had the souvenir cups in the drink carts... so it's not a short term thing at all. One problem to that is that you can't tell what flavours they have available, and the cast member only knows based on the neck straps attached to them. As for straws, I know that back in 1996, Sea World only had paper straws, so that if they got into the water, they would not be a concern for the marine life, however, because the paper straws would collapse as they got wet, people would use more than one for every drink - and it would cost too much. Simplest solution was to remove the straws altogether, and it IS an environmental move as eating a plastic straw would not ne healthy for a lot of the marine life at the park. If you want a straw, i've no problem with them charging you for a "heavy duty" straw, that you're more likely to keep, than if they charged 10 cents for a cheap plastic one that you're more likely to throw away.

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^ What the caption refers to is that you can't buy 600ml bottles of soft drink any more from the vendors, and can only buy $10 souvenir bottles. Aside from making people who want a drink pay $10, those bottles are potentially filled 30 mins before sale, by which time the drink goes flat, and the ice melts. "Evil money grab" is perhaps an exaggeration, but what's happening here certainly is not environmentally motivated. This is a money grab, and not one that I think is customer friendly.

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