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SeaWorld Orlando (SWO) Discussion Thread

P. 276: Penguin Trek construction update!

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Yeah, the old Kraken entrance was one of my favorites ever.


Yeah, same, I always liked walking through the cave to see the Kraken Eggs, it was always kind of a cool "hidden" aquarium at SeaWorld. But oh well, I'm sure the new entrance will look great what ever they end up doing with it.

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^^I feel like that padded compartment for the VR goggles is a perfect 'puke catcher'. Seriously, isn't it going to get gross?!!?


My first thought upon seeing that picture.

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I'm surprised that everyone liked sock puppet / paper mache Kraken so much?!?!? Sure, the cave with the eggs looks great, but the big sock puppet guarding it always looked a little C+ level park to me!


You're not wrong, but that also doesn't mean I didn't kind of like it a little bit. Besides we don't know what a Kraken really looks like, they might all be sock puppets in the wild.....




Also, I just noticed this picture on Google images of someone finish up painting opening year, they should have totally left a person in it's mouth as a thematic element.

Edited by Hilltopper39
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A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend one of the first showings of the new Dolphin Days show at SeaWorld Orlando. This show replaced the beloved Blue Horizons that ran at the Dolphin Theater for 11 years. As one of the first new shows under the new SeaWorld direction, Dolphin Days strips away most of the theatrical flair and story that its predecessor had, but manages to maintain the excitement and the awe of the previous show while giving guests a more educational, insightful look into the show's namesake stars. The Dolphin Theater has been left as is, with the last Blue Horizons show having finished on the day before this debuted--the show sets remain despite being mostly unused. The high diving platforms, acrobatic rigging and fountains of the previous show are in place but do not play a part in the show. New music joins the show experience as the trainers introduce each dolphin individually with their own unique trick that will catch the audience's attention.


Most surprisingly is the continuation of the dolphin trainers' in-water interactions with the dolphins... If not the increased amount of time within the show in which they do so. It is these very interactions that keep the new show from being overly preachy and educational, but further emphasizes the important bond between carer and caregiver that SeaWorld has so heavily focused on over the last few years.


Overall the show manages to accomplish exactly what SeaWorld intended... A less theatrical presentation that doesn't lose the value of what drew guests there in the first place. There's definitely more of an informational takeaway with this new show, but the tricks and the worth of lining up early and getting a good seat are still there. There's still the standard audience interaction and the splash zones are still used for a portion of the show... I walked away feeling relieved that this show is still very much in the vein of what I know and love about SeaWorld. Dolphin Days falls somewhat between the dolphin shows I grew up with and the modern show I spent the last decade loving as a young adult. The DNA of SeaWorld shines through in this show and while some may miss the cirque-esque theatrics of Blue Horizons, Dolphin Days is a worthy follow-up that does right by SeaWorld amidst today's changing demands from guests of a marine park.


On a totally separate track, this was also my first visit to SeaWorld's Seven Seas Food Festival. The successful event has already run at several of the other parks in the SeaWorld Parks family (it is a sister event to the food and wine festival at Busch Gardens) and it is off to a strong start for its first year. Encompassing the previous Bands, Brew & BBQ event and Viva La Musica, the new festival features a event-wide menu in additional to seasonal offerings tied to the previous events in which it includes. The festival runs mostly during the weekends but has also been running for select weekdays with a limited menu due to the festival's popularity. The event is running for a few more weeks so I strongly recommend stopping into the park to check it out along with the new Dolphin Days show!


Like with Blue Horizons, Dolphin Days has multiple shows each day.


Over on the festival side of the event (remember, the booths are mostly located throughout the park), the concert stage at Bayside Stadium is accompanied by a series of beer booths and a smaller entertainment stage.


The "superman" trick from Blue Horizons still takes place too!


A child from the audience is chosen to interact with a dolphin up close... And gets a little wet in the process!


And this signature trick still takes place too!



One of my favorite moments from the Blue Horizons finale returns when the dolphins all jump in unison across the theater.


The former Blue Horizons set remains intact even though its elements are mostly unused in the new show.


The pre-show features three humorous construction workers heckling guests as they enter the theater.


It is a welcome relief to see that the dolphins are still extremely active throughout the show.


The trainers still actively perform in the water with the dolphins, which is a great surprise as well!


The audience really seemed to respond to all of the tricks within the show!


The parrots from Blue Horizons still appear in the show, flying overhead which definitely catches guests off guard.


One of my favorite moments from the Blue Horizons finale returns when the dolphins all jump in unison across the theater.


The Smokehouse Tavern (one of the seasonal booths) offered the park's signature spare ribs (a favorite tradition of my family's that I've always indulged when I can) and a Yuengling-infused grilled kielbasa sandwich!


At the Caribbean Market, the Shrimp Cake, Seafood Ceviche and the Cinnamon Slow Roasted Pork Belly were all winners!


The Florida Market (my favorite booth of the event) featured Coconut Shrimp, Shrimp Mac & Cheese (my favorite savory dish of the event), a Fried Kataifi Orange and the Key Lime Martini (my favorite dessert of the event). I came back for seconds!


The Mediterranean Market features Sea Scallops Provencal, Smoked Cured Salmon, a Grilled Lamb Chop and the Dark Chocolate Guinness Mousse Parfait, all of which were awesome!


The Bacon & Cheddar Hushpuppies from the North Atlantic Market were my second favorite savory item out of the entire event menu. The Grilled Venison Sausage Slider was a great option too!


The Pacific Coast Market has some of the most unique menu items of the event including the Braised Pork Cheek and the Grilled Cheese Pound Cake (an item brought over from the sister event at Busch Gardens Tampa).


The braised pork cheek is wrapped in banana leaves and served with a savory apple polenta and red wine reduction. Such a great dish!


The Ahi Tuna Tartar (bottom left) and the Hawaiian Pineapple Dream Cake (top right) from the Polynesian island Market both impressed... The Hawaiian Pineapple Dream Cake was a standout of the entire event!


The Gulf Coast Market's Braised Short Ribs, the Cheese Grits & Shrimp Casserole and the Wild Berry Chocolate Bread Pudding were all great as well!


Both the Polynesian Island Market and the Gulf Coast Market enjoy a convenient location in the shaded structure to the right of the entrance of Wild Arctic.


Over at the Korean Market, the Korean Beef Taco and the Roasted Sweet Potato Taco were both a large and particularly flavorful! The Watermelon Slushy with Soju, Ginger Liqueur, Simply Syrup and Lime Juice was perfectly smooth and refreshing!


The Chicken & Sausage Gumbo from the Gulf Coast Market was another win for the event.

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Thanks for the report, Adam...the new Dolphin Days show (I found myself humming the song Dancing Days by Led Zeppelin - lol) looks like a hit & the food offerings at the Seven Seas festival look like they're trying to compete with some of the great offerings at a certain park just down the road.

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Nice report! Glad to see someone else loving dolphin days as much as I did. I was down there for the first day of the new show and got to see the very first one and my gf and I both enjoyed it more than blue horizons. We both really loved the food festival as well, we ended up doing the 15 item deal and it lasted us for 3 trips since we didn't spend the whole day any of the days.

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The Seaworld/Busch parks really know how to crank out some amazing looking food for these festivals/events.


I really like Kraken, and I don't mind the current Kraken entrance. I'm really not a fan of VR so I'm glad these parks are making it optional. The VR always looks pretty cheesy, though I admit it's cool what they can do with technology. That, and I'm not fond of putting anything on my face that was just on someone else's face in the hot/humid weather of the southern US...

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That food looks great!


Thanks for the report about the dolphin show. I actually think I would like Dolphin Days better than Blue Horizons. I came away from Blue Horizons wishing there was more of the dolphins in it. When they announced Dolphin Days I was worried there wouldn't be any sort of dolphin tricks or acrobatics but I'm glad they have kept it. Watching the dolphins jump and flip in unison mesmerized me as a child and still mesmerizes me as an adult.

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Good to know that the Dolphin show is still good to watch and not boring. The food looks really good. I may have to check my local area Seaworld in San Antonio and see if their food festival is just as good. Great report.

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SeaWorld's Pilot Whales get a new home at Shamu Stadium


SeaWorld Orlando’s four pilot whales have a new home in Shamu Stadium, where guests should soon be able to see them.


SeaWorld moved the whales Friday from the dolphin stadium, where they had performed in the Blue Horizons show that recently ended. Shamu Stadium will provide them with more room, SeaWorld spokeswoman Aimee Jeansonne-Becka said.


Three of the whales — Ava, Ace and Piper — were part of a mass stranding in South Florida in 2012. Fredi was rescued after being stranded in the Florida Keys in 2011. NOAA has deemed the whales unreleasable.


Since they’ve been at SeaWorld, they’ve gained a lot of weight — 1,000 pounds apiece. They tip the scales at between 1,400 and 2,000 pounds each.


The pilot whales are separated from the orcas at Shamu Stadium but can see them, Jeansonne-Becka said.


Once the pilot whales become acclimated to their new surroundings, guests should be able to see them from the underwater viewing area. An education ambassador will share their story with visitors. There are no immediate plans to make them part of the killer whale show.


Jeansonne-Becka said the water at Shamu Stadium was temporarily gradually adjusted over several days to a safe water temperature for both species to help with their acclimation. Both orcas and pilot whales are found in overlapping habitat areas in the wild, with similar temperature ranges, she said.


Pilot whales, like orcas, are members of the dolphin family. They are second only to killer whales in size. They have the same level of intelligence as bottlenose dolphins and are easily trained, according to the American Cetacean Society.

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  • 2 weeks later...

A lot of this is already known, but for those catching up....

SeaWorld: Kraken losing its head, gaining new entrance, queue

The makeover of the Kraken roller coaster at SeaWorld Orlando goes beyond the addition of virtual-reality headsets. Look for real-life physical changes as well for the area around the attraction when it reopens in June.


Among the changes: The enormous eel-like kraken creature – big enough for people to walk under and for the coaster to speed through -- near the ride’s entrance has been dismantled. There’s a new kraken in town, explains Brian Morrow, vice president of theme-park experience for SeaWorld Parks & Resorts.


The mythical beast that will be seen via virtual-reality headset on the ride is a different species of kraken than the slithery one that originally inspired the thrill ride, which debuted in 2000, Morrow said. So, for consistency’s sake, the old big blue figure had to go before the new Kraken Unleashed name kicks in.


“We had to make sure that the creature that’s represented in physical form at the entry of the ride matched” the VR version, he said.


“All you see of the new kraken are her tentacles, because she’s based off a squid and not an eel,” Morrow said. “Now, we’ve made it a little more interesting with suction cups and teeth inside the suction cups.“


Those pinkish tentacles at the entrance are to the scale of the sea monster passengers will view in the VR experience.


She’s kind of a big deal.


“She’s very big and upset that we’re there,” Morrow said of the ride’s future story line.


Retheming of the queue will help set the scene of the onboard visuals. Park visitors will walk through scenes that represent a sea base off the shore of the Greek island of Mykonos that was established by an adventure capitalist, Morrow said. It’s designed to look like a repurposed fishing village, essentially rented out for an eco-tourism enterprise.


Also new to the queue will be media for storytelling and for explaining, via digital animation, how the VR equipment is used. The new Kraken story takes place in a (virtual) submarine, where passenger will explore an underwater geological formation.


“It’s very easy to understand. It really helps the virtual world that we’re going to put the guests inside of make more sense because the practical world is matching,” Morrow said. “That way it’s not so jarring when you put the headset on. This is what theme parks do. We’re place-makers.”


What you won’t see at the ride’s re-opening: Educational moments in the “Save the Kraken” vein. SeaWorld emphasizes real-life animals and their associated wonders, but the entire park doesn’t have to be all-nature, all the time, Morrow said.


“Kraken and [Journey to] Atlantis fill that gap of imagination and legend and wonder without feeling the need to do too much education,” he said. “It’s like recess in the school day. You get a break and then you go back into the learning world.”

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^I've been taking them for 10 years.....I will miss the ol "papier-mâché" Kraken at the entrance. While I don't care for the VR coming, I am interested in seeing how the new entrance will look once completed.

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A federal judge has ruled in favor of a Pinellas County man who sued SeaWorld Entertainment over automatic renewal of passes purchased through its monthly EZPay program.


Jason Herman sued SeaWorld in 2014 over the automatic renewal, claiming a breach of contract. The contract does not remind visitors of the automatic renewal toward the end of their first annual passes.


The contract says the passes would renew automatically except for any “paid in less than 12 months.” Herman’s lawsuit points out that customers such as him actually do pay for the annual passes in less than a full year. Herman, for example, made his first payment on March 18, 2013, and his 12th one on Feb. 18, 2014.


“Plaintiffs bargained for a one-year pass, not a pass of indefinite duration,” Judge Mary Scriven said in her ruling last month granting Herman’s motion for summary judgment as to liability against SeaWorld. Scriven also granted the plaintiff’s motion to make the lawsuit a class-action case.


Neither SeaWorld nor Herman’s attorney would comment.


SeaWorld has filed a petition with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. SeaWorld disclosed the legal action in a quarterly report it filed Tuesday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.


On one hand I think that Sea World was giving passholders a good deal. If you kept auto pay the monthly fee would be the same and you didn't need to worry about increased prices every year. On the other hand it was NOT well advertised that the passes would automatically renew. It took me a few months to realize that my pass was still active not because I had forgotten when I originally picked it up the previous year but because it was renewing each month. I consider myself pretty savvy about theme park things and even I got caught by this.


Plus if the claims about the wording of the contract is true (no renewal if paid in less than 12 months and everyone pays in 11 months) then it is a pretty clear contract case against the park. Probably why the judge granted summary judgement so easily.


In other news the Kraken is getting tentacles added...



New paint on the old eel body makes it a tentacle!

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^Hmmm...I know when I signed up with EZPay, I knew it was understood that it would continue to charge until I cancelled it after the first 2 years. I guess people just don't look at the fine print when they sign up for things.

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I've got to be honest, I didn't know mine would auto-renew and I was kind of wondering why I was still being charged. I just assumed maybe the payments were spread out over a longer time than I thought and it was such a small amount of money I haven't bothered to check yet.


Oh well, no complaints here. Now I don't need to process a new pass. I wouldn't think to sue the park though, the fact that I wasn't paying attention is totally on me.

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SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE: SEAS), a leading theme park and entertainment company, and Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street®, today announced the extension of their 37-year partnership to include the development of an additional Sesame Place® theme park in the United States.


The current Sesame Place theme park, located in Langhorne, Pa. between Philadelphia and New York City, is the nation’s only theme park based entirely on the award-winning educational program Sesame Street. The new license agreement between Sesame Workshop and SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment extends SeaWorld’s status as Sesame Workshop’s exclusive theme park partner in the United States, with the second Sesame Place theme park scheduled to open no later than mid-2021 in a U.S. location to be determined. After the opening of the second Sesame Place, SeaWorld will have the option to build additional Sesame Place theme parks in the U.S. The agreement also makes it possible for Sesame Street characters to continue to appear at the existing distinct Sesame Street lands inside the company’s two Busch Gardens theme parks and SeaWorld theme parks in San Diego and San Antonio, as well as a new Sesame Street land to be built in SeaWorld Orlando by fall 2022.


“We know that the magic of theme parks gives families a unique and powerful way to experience and delight in the Sesame Street characters,” said Jeffrey D. Dunn, Chief Executive Officer of Sesame Workshop. “Building more Sesame Place theme parks will enable us to connect with even more families and provide funding that supports our nonprofit mission.”


The Sesame Place theme park features a variety of exciting family rides, water slides, live character shows, a daily parade, and seasonal events that help bring the educational world of Sesame Street to life beyond the show. Sesame Place also extends Sesame Workshop’s commitment to social impact work with its Sesame Place Cares annual series of events both in and outside the park, including a 30-year partnership with Variety–The Children’s Charity, focused on providing events with a safe and fun atmosphere specifically for children with disabilities and their families.


“We share Sesame’s goal of educating and entertaining generations of children, and the extension of our partnership furthers SeaWorld’s mission to provide guests with experiences that matter,” said Joel Manby, President and Chief Executive Officer of SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. “We are thrilled to be able to grow the presence of Sesame Place theme parks in the U.S. and help our company diversify its brand portfolio and expand into new areas.”


“Expanding our Sesame Place theme park footprint will both deepen our relationship with longstanding fans and help us to connect with new families,” said Steve Youngwood, Chief Operating Officer of Sesame Workshop. “This partnership will also enable the Workshop to continue producing high-quality educational programming for the next generation.”


Under the terms of the new license agreement, the companies have agreed to extend their collaborative relationship through December 2031.






1. Why is Sesame Workshop expanding the number of its theme parks?


We are very excited that we are going to be expanding the number of Sesame Place theme parks in the United States. Currently, we have one very successful theme park in Langhorne, PA, and we think there is the opportunity to have more. Theme parks allow Sesame Street’s legions of fans to directly connect with their favorite characters, and by growing the number of Sesame Place theme parks, Sesame Workshop can engage many more preschoolers and their families. This will also help to provide additional funding for Sesame’s nonprofit mission and activities around the world, which would not otherwise be possible.


2. How did you choose your partner?


Sesame Workshop and SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. have been partners together in the Sesame Place theme park for 37 years. The SeaWorld Entertainment management team that operates Sesame Place understands the Sesame Street brand very well and does a great job at running the park. They are an ideal team to expand and build new Sesame Place theme parks with.


3. What diligence did you do regarding animal welfare practices?


We believe that animal welfare is very important. Before extending our partnership, we discussed the SeaWorld theme parks’ animal welfare practices and policies with their new management team. We also spoke with the Humane Society of the United States, which is working closely with SeaWorld and told us that they are very supportive of the steps and direction that the SeaWorld theme parks are taking regarding animal welfare. The SeaWorld theme parks are also accredited by the American Zoological Association.

Edited by jedimaster1227
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