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SeaWorld Orlando (SWO) Discussion Thread

P. 268: Inside Look event photo report!

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It's good to hear that every company isn't distancing themselves from SeaWorld. I didn't see this posted so I'm adding it to the thread. This is from Southwest Airlines:

 

Over the past few weeks we’ve observed a number of Customers and community members reach out to Southwest Airlines regarding our partnership with SeaWorld. We want our Customers to know that we’ve heard your concerns and we do not take them lightly. I felt it was necessary to share our position on the partnership and hopefully address any concerns.

 

We have a longstanding relationship with SeaWorld that is based on travel and bringing families together. We are engaged with Sea World related to the recent concerns being raised. We are in a listening and education mode with the goal of upholding our commitments as a good corporate citizen. As a responsible member of the community, we support several organizations and events that are devoted to maintaining the natural world.

 

At this time, our partnership with SeaWorld will continue. If you’d like to know more about Southwest’s commitment to the triple bottom line of Performance, People, and Planet, please read our Southwest Airlines One Report at www.southwestonereport.com

- See more at: http://www.blogsouthwest.com/update-on-seaworld-partnership/#sthash.AwNwVu5d.dpuf

 

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Antarctica Explorers Wed at SeaWorld® Orlando’s Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin®

 

ORLANDO, Fla. (January 10, 2014) -- A true “white wedding” was held today at SeaWorld® Orlando as two Antarctic explorers shared their vows at Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin®, the park’s cool rendition of the icy continent. Heart-warming and bone-chilling extremes could be felt as the couple, who met in 2012 while working in Antarctica for the New Zealand government, was married in the 32-degree, snowy penguin habitat.

 

Just inches from the bride and groom were 250 members of the bridal party – a colony of king, Adélie, gentoo and rockhopper penguins – all dressed in their black and white “tuxedos” fit for the occasion.

 

“Antarctica is such a beautiful and intense environment. When you experience that with someone, the bond you create is rare. Having our wedding here at SeaWorld in this realm that so perfectly captures the essence of the continent brought me right back to the day Jeff and I met,” said the bride, Susanne Grieve.

 

The couple “wintered” together in 2012, braving average temperatures of minus 76 degrees Fahrenheit. Fresh produce and mail were two of the many conveniences the couple went without during their time in Antarctica.

 

Grieve, who now teaches conservation, preservation and archaeology courses at East Carolina University, hopes to one day return to the frigid continent where she had previously worked with the Antarctic Heritage Trust to protect late 1800s explorers' legacy, including the bases and the artifacts they left behind. The groom, Jeff Rawson, still works for the New Zealand government and just recently returned from Antarctica. Rawson’s work focuses on supporting scientific research on climate studies and ice core sampling.

 

“Having our wedding at SeaWorld’s Antarctica really represented the place we built our relationship. It was so fascinating to see the elements the designers replicated from this continent only a handful of people would ever typically be able to experience,” Grieve said.

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Today I attended the first day of SeaWorld Orlando's "Wild Days" event that is focusing on educating their guests on the rescue and rehabilitation facilities and efforts of SeaWorld. I'll get into a bit more of this below, but I'd like to start this off with a rant, because I'm just so frustrated with everything I've been seeing and reading over the past few months, and I feel this needs to be said...

 

Start Rant...

 

You know, it's interesting, I've now had to delete probably 200 comments and ban about 75 people from our Facebook page due to *insane* rantings from people about Blackfish.

 

FACT! You can't just sit in front of your TV, stream a 90 minute movie off Netflix, and then all of a sudden become an expert on something that people spend their LIVES dedicated to, learning about, and educating others.

 

So many of these Blackfish followers simply ignore any of the recent commentary that has been published about the film: the trainers that were misled by what the movie was going to be about, commentary that was not included because it wouldn't contribute to the one-sided "story" they were trying to tell, and how the director asked the trainers not to talk about the movie until "after the Oscar awards season."

 

And today, many people have ignored what I think is a HUGE deal and speaks volumes... and that is that Jack Hanna got up in front of a crowded theater at SeaWorld, with Dawn's parents in the audience (the trainer that was killed by the Ocra which was the main subject of Blackfish) and openly talked about her death.

 

Jack said:

 

"Dawn who lost her life here is a friend of mine. I did her memorial service. Her family is here today in the audience. They came to visit SeaWorld because they LOVE SeaWorld. Dawn loves SeaWorld. Her life was SeaWorld. The whales were her life. And things happen in life. She dedicated her life to what she believed in. It would really mean a lot to me if we could give a round of applause for that family, and for what they have done and for what SeaWorld has done over the last 40 years. Thank you."

 

The family was at the park celebrating her life-time dedication to marine animals, their support for the park and what they do, and it's all being discussed by a man who has also spent a lifetime dedicated to animals and is an expert in the field.

 

Yet the Blackfish people want to ignore all of that and instead take the word of some Hollywood woman who pieced together a version of a "story" based on a subject matter she knew little about before working on the film that would make her a lot of money and possibly get her a career-changing award.

 

It amazes me how humanity is unable to see the true agenda behind Blackfish and buy into what the filmmaker says just because she's "on television."

 

Have we really not advanced at all as a society?

 

It's just embarrassing.

 

/end rant

 

Wild Days takes place over three weekends in January and it's a way for guests to better connect with animals and the world they share. The event includes interactive shows and up-close animal encounters with the leaders of SeaWorld's animal rescue and rehabilitation facility. SeaWorld has rescued and released more than 22,000 animals and over these three weekends they will share some of these stories with their guests.

 

Jan 11-12 is "Jack Hanna Weekend" with a show specially for the event where he will share is connection to the wildlife. Jan 18-19 is Sea Rescue weekend where many members of the rescue team will share their stories that are also featured on the TV show of the same name. Jan 25-26 is "Penguin Lovers" weekend where SeaWorld Animal Ambassador Julie Scardina shares her stories about the parks commitment to animals and wildlife conservation.

 

Here's some photos from today's Jack Hanna weekend day...

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Today we hung out at SeaWorld for the kick off of their "Wild Days Weekends!" During Wild Days families can enjoy three weekends of interactive shows and up-close animal encounters and meet the leaders in the world of animal rescue and rehabilitation, celebrate penguins and immerse themselves in what they love about SeaWorld.

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Our tour began in the rescue and rehabilitation area. We got to check out some of the rescued sea turtles.

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They are currently nursing several sea turtles back to good health before they are released back into the oceans.

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In these pools, they can closely monitor each animal and give them the special attention each one needs.

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Since each sea turtle has a different reason why they are here, they are kept separate so they can be cared for individually.

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This is some of the equipment used to bring larger animals out of the water and back to the rescue facility.

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A safe and secure transport vehicle is very important!

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Here you can see some of the manatees in their pool. This manatee, for example, was struck by a boat (see the propeller marks on it's back) and was rescued by SeaWorld Orlando. It had broken ribs, could barely breath, and will be brought back to good health before it is released.

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Several dolphins are here as well being nursed back to good health.

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Once they have been brought back to good health, they will be released back into the ocean.

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The goal of SeaWorld's animal rescue operation is "rescue, rehabilitate, and return." - John Peterson

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Baby manatees at the SeaWorld rescue facility being raised to good health before they can be released.

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About to see Blue Horizons with an intro about the care of their pilot whales.

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The US government chose SeaWorld as a home to these rescued pilot whales based on their animal care facilities.

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Trainers at SeaWorld working with stranded pilot whales that the US government chose to house at the park.

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Shows at SeaWorld are amazing. They educate, entertain & expose people to animals they normally would never see.

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Some aerial acrobat fun at SeaWorld Orlando's Blue Horizon show.

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That's a ride I want to go on!

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KidTums loves hanging out with the dolphins!

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Jack Hanna: "Dawn, who lost her life working with the Orcas... Her family is here at the show today. The whales were her life. And things in life happen. Let's give a round of applause for her, her family, and the rescue efforts of SeaWorld." it was amazing to see the family of the employee was at the show today to celebrate her dedication to the animals and to show their support for SeaWorld.

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Jack Hanna had is usually collection of awesome animals!

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"The Bald Eagle would be extinct today if it wasn't for the efforts of parks like SeaWorld that are dedicated to rescuing and helping animals." - Jack Hanna

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"Thank you SeaWorld for making a difference. Educating the world about animals." -Jack Hanna

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Shamu Up Close offers a unique experience to get closer to Orcas at SeaWorld while the theater undergoes renovation.

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I actually REALLY LIKED this demonstration and kind of wish it could continue on!

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It was a 15-minute continuous show that you could come and go as you please. The trainers talked about the animals and the programs that SeaWorld has.

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And then you got to see them jump around!

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They are absolutely amazing!

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There's Shamu....just hanging out on his back!

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These creatures also jump around in the wild. Many people say they are just making them to "tricks", but that's not true. They are just doing things they would normally do in the wild anyway.

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The underwater viewing area was fantastic! I love this part of the Shamu Stadium.

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It's impressive and it makes you realize just how MASSIVE the tanks are they keep these animals in.

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Shamu came by to wave hello to everyone! =)

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KidTums had a great time with the different games they had set up around the park to help teach children how to be an "everyday hero" when it comes to animals.

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And on our way out, KidTums saw the "Attractions Magazine" car and went "That car is AWESOME!" and wanted a picture with it! lol (How's it going, Matt?)

 

Please check out the Wild Days Weekends at SeaWorld. It's important to spread the word of the GOOD the park is doing. And please feel free to post this update to any blog or social media network you interact with.

 

Thank you!

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Edited by robbalvey
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Looked like a wonderful event. I'm hoping to see this as a repeating event (annual/semi-annual) rather than what *some* people could assume is a one-time affair to try and save face in light of recent press.

 

Hopefully this gains even a tiny fraction of some attention.

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Looked like a wonderful event. I'm hoping to see this as a repeating event (annual/semi-annual) rather than what *some* people could assume is a one-time affair to try and save face in light of recent press.

 

Hopefully this gains even a tiny fraction of some attention.

I hope so. What's sad is that SeaWorld shouldn't *have* to save face or present what they do. I feel like it's almost a waste of their time to have to remind people "Hey guys, we do a lot of AWESOME things for animals!"

 

But unfortunately, this is what humanity has come to.

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The credibility of the people on Facebook is astounding. Here is a great example:

 

Craig said: "You are delusional if you think for a moment that intelligent people will believe your propaganda just because you put out a paid advertisement on Facebook . It's disturbing to think that people still need to watch trained animals to be entertained. I dislike your tactics."

 

My reply: "Ummm....correct me if I'm wrong Robb, but I don't think Theme Park Review was paid at all to put this up. Theme Park Review does not endorse theme parks or even get paid by theme parks (I bet Robb and family even paid admission to the park for the event). The folks at Theme Park Review are dedicated to providing the most honest reviews of theme parks. And based on the pictures posted at , Theme Park Review has found evidence that SeaWorld is doing their part to not only entertain guests, but also to rehabilitate marine animals. I think the most important thing that SeaWorld is doing is educating the general public about marine life and how to save the creatures of the ocean. I and Theme Park Review support SeaWorld in everything they do to help these creatures that probably would not have had a chance in open waters."

 

I rest my case.

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^ People are INSANE. They will just post stuff like "F**K SEAWORLD!!!!" and in their minds this is acceptable. You have never once seen us say anything like that towards the film or any of the people involved. All of our posts are thought-out, constructive, and educated.

 

These people honestly believe that because they watched a 90 minute movie they now know MORE than people who have made animal care their life's work.

 

And to me, that's is just INSANE.

 

--Robb

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Looked like a wonderful event. I'm hoping to see this as a repeating event (annual/semi-annual) rather than what *some* people could assume is a one-time affair to try and save face in light of recent press.

 

Hopefully this gains even a tiny fraction of some attention.

I hope so. What's sad is that SeaWorld shouldn't *have* to save face or present what they do. I feel like it's almost a waste of their time to have to remind people "Hey guys, we do a lot of AWESOME things for animals!"

 

But unfortunately, this is what humanity has come to.

I my Facebook, I posted an article you linked regarding the interview with the trainer who had been lied to. Someone I knew posted with a captivating response with "No no no, this article is all wrong. Check your facts." Very well-said in your FB posts. I can't believe how ignorant people can be despite the truth that is presented to them.

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These people honestly believe that because they watched a 90 minute movie they now know MORE than people who have made animal care their life's work.

What I find ironic is that the people in the film basically said, "Seaworld paid us to say what they wanted us to say!" and we as viewers are supposed to be like, "Yeah! That's so messed up!" Yet, they're being paid by the movie producers to say only what the movie producers want them to say.

 

If one of the points of the movie is to question the things we hear, then we should also be questioning the movie.

 

Also, I'm sorry if this has been brought up already, but I get REALLY irritated at the people who say, "free the whales!" Those people obviously do not know what happened with Keiko.

 

Yeah, let's just throw the whales that have been used to relying on humans for years (and many that have never seen the wild) into the literal cold. While we're at it, let's free your horses and dogs. They'll totally know how to survive out in the wild on their own.

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Also, I'm sorry if this has been brought up already, but I get REALLY irritated at the people who say, "free the whales!" Those people obviously do not know what happened with Keiko.

Ha! I literally JUST posted to our Facebook page about there where someone was all "FREE ALL THE WHALES" and I posted the link to the Wiki page about Keiko.

 

Uneducated people say uneducated stuff. And no matter how much you TRY to educate them, they won't ever listen. I mean, they WATCHED A MOVIE... They are "experts", right?

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I don't know if you guys have seen this, but there is a petition on change.org for the Oscars to deny Blackfish a nomination for Best Documentary. Their reasoning for this is that it is not a documentary by the Academy Award standards and that the movie could potentially do damage to the employees of SeaWorld and the animals that people want set free because of Blackfish

http://www.change.org/petitions/academy-of-motion-picture-arts-and-sciences-academy-awards-or-oscars-deny-a-nomination-of-best-documentary-for-the-film-blackfish-on-the-grounds-that-it-is-not-a-documentary

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I really love Wild Days. It was planned way before Blackfish was released though. Throughout yesterday all of the shows (only during select showtimes) where doing a extra 5 minute presentation about Wild Days. I'm not sure if this will go on throughout the event, or if it was just a one time thing. I'll see if it's going on today.

 

Robb, I saw you in the park yesterday, didn't want to say 'Hello' since I thought it would just end up being awkward since you may not have remembered who I was. Hope you enjoyed your visit. Haha.

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Also, I'm sorry if this has been brought up already, but I get REALLY irritated at the people who say, "free the whales!" Those people obviously do not know what happened with Keiko.

Ha! I literally JUST posted to our Facebook page about there where someone was all "FREE ALL THE WHALES" and I posted the link to the Wiki page about Keiko.

 

Uneducated people say uneducated stuff. And no matter how much you TRY to educate them, they won't ever listen. I mean, they WATCHED A MOVIE... They are "experts", right?

Exactly. To me, this is like me saying that because I watched a Transformers film, I know everything about CGI. This whole Blackfish bull crap proves that America is uneducated, and gullible. Our education system is plummeting straight into the toilet. At least there are some intelligent people left with common sense not to follow this Blackfish Cult.

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Thanks for posting the report, Robb...glad to see Jack Hanna there showing a sincere acknowledgement to Dawn and her family.

 

We went to the Columbus Zoo this past year and LOVED it. I learned a lot about several different animal species and noticed that they also had several rescue and rehab areas for animals - it's probably one of the best zoos I have ever visited. Didn't see Jack there, but there were several photos of him and I know that he is a big part of what makes that zoo tick.

 

I'll have to post a trip report of it...if I ever get done posting my Indiana Beach trip report!

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Ok Ok Ok. Ive been following Theme Park Review for quite some time. Im subscribed to their youtube to catch every upload as soon as I can and I frequent the site often, but never posted anything as I never had an account. Until now I never felt obligated to post anything.

 

What initially caught my attention was Robb saying "have you not advanced as a society" in retort earlier in the post. Now, I understand where you came from on that, especially with people falling for the Blackfish propaganda and thinking they're suddenly experts on animal rights. I can't say much on the film, I haven't seen it, but I am very very much into animal rights and welfare and I feel the Seaworld controversy isn't clear cut black and white(ba dum tis)

 

First off, I can guarantee most people on this site(and naturally, in the world) don't give a crap about animals considering theres photos of dead ones in the shape of burgers, hot dogs, soups, pizzas, you name it every time you visit a park. So, this brings me back to "have we not advanced as a society", you only said that because people are attacking a theme park with cute whales in it. Im more than sure their conservation efforts are second or third to the fact of roller coasters and the flipping whales, because certainly if anyone wants to "advance society" you certainly wouldn't be stuffing your face with animals that you're claiming to care about. Advanced society sees animals as animals, not as food. Advanced societies research the effects of animal agriculture and would abandon animal products upon finding out because advanced societies would know its destroying our planet and steal every meager essence of an animals right. Granted, cows, chickens and pigs aren't probably worthy animals in your eyes, like the almighty Orca or dolphin.

 

Which brings me to...if you're so adamant about sea conservation, I suggest you never pick up another piece of seafood in your life. Why? Millions upon millions of sea life, including the cute little dolphins and whales, die every year because of commercial fishing. "By catch" is what happens when you release miles and miles of net into our ocean and trail it behind a ship..catching ANYTHING and EVERYTHING but hardly the intended catch. Whatever is caught that isn't your food, dies by drowning or is hauled up...then tossed back in the ocean, dead. Fishing alone kills more animals a year(not just fish caught for food, I'm talking turtles, dolphins, sharks, rays, etc everything at Seaworld) than sea world could even dream of saving..which brings me to my next point..

 

Seaworld sells seafood. For a company who thrives of rehabilitation you'd think they'd be pretty damn serious about not killing and eating animals they're trying to save. Or at the least, supporting companies that don't run our oceans BARREN with every net. Now they claim to buy foods from companies who farm fish(not wild caught), I don't know how true that is.

 

And as far as conservation...they do amazing jobs at it. Without a doubt. Since *inception, they donated 50million dollars to organizations! Thats amazing!...they only make over a BILLION dollars a year. The money they donate comes from federal grants, not from what the park generates. And they won't release an animal back to the wild if they deem it profitable. So it becomes the next Shamu.

 

Whales are INCREDIBLE animals. And the interests of humans(profit, entertainment) come way before any of the animals interests. Im not saying they're not cared for well(they have better medical care than i do) But living in a pool, no matter how big, steals the one thing every animal on this planet is entitled to...freedom. They are captives. Glorified slaves. There are plenty of ways Seaworld could benefit whales without having them perform tricks and flips for fat tourists and snotty kids. Whales need tight nit social family groups, whales like to hunt, whales like to swim miles and miles a day. They are denied this and its replaced with artificial enrichment with hoola hoops. If sea world had the captive whales interests in mind, they'd use their "research" to find ways to make conservation happen without exploiting animals. These animals don't showcase their behaviors in the wild, they are trained animals.

 

Seaworld is a business. A business first and for most. Also, I don't agree with randomly releasing captive animals into the wild(I hear thats what some people suggest after watching the film), but they certainly shouldn't be kept in tanks. The tanks are there for access with stadium seating, not the whales benefit.

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