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SeaWorld Orlando (SWO) Discussion Thread


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Just in the past 4 years theres been 2 "incidents" 1 being fatal. But with 3 parks 3 shows a day at least well say thats like 12,000 shows. So in 12,000 shows you have 1 death, and one other incident.

Geez man, when you put it like that the odds don't sound THAT great. It's like, you might as well gather together all the Orca trainers from all the Sea Worlds, have a staff meeting and tell them "If all of you stay working at this park for the next four years...one of you will die. And one of you will have serious injuries."

 

I mean, I've had better odds driving on the Los Angeles freeways for the past 20 years! Who would've thought!

 

--Robb

 

 

Mission Space has killed more people then Shamu!

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AMEN!!! It's so dumb to me that a company (Premier) which made headlines and won awards and praise from all of us for taking OTSR's OFF of rides that didn't need it is now needlessly putting OTSR

Is this like spanking the monkeys?

The Ice Breaker animated POV looks pretty good, I think it will have a good amount of airtime and may be a surprise hit! With that being said can someone PLEASE explain to me why Premier insists on pu

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I disagree, I have seen some really awesome Believe shows. I think you just have to get it on a day when the whales are up to performing well. They have minds of their own and may or may not decide to perform the behaviors properly.

 

I saw Believe in Orlando two and a half weeks ago and I thought it was absolutely wonderful. Maybe I caught the whales on a good day, or maybe I don't see enough shows to be properly critical of them - but I loved the show, I was impressed.

 

I hope the trainers will be able to rejoin the whales in the water soon - hard to imagine the show without this element. I think that's what made the show so special in my eyes - witnessing the magical bond the trainers seemed to share with these amazing creatures. I'm sure it must be strange for both the trainers and the whales to suddenly have this separation between them.

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^^ Yeah, let's face it. The Shamu show has sucked for about 10 years now. And WTF was with all the "ritual chanting" at the San Diego version???

 

I disagree, I have seen some really awesome Believe shows. I think you just have to get it on a day when the whales are up to performing well. They have minds of their own and may or may not decide to perform the behaviors properly. The chanting is the funnest part!

Well, I'm not a show person to begin with. So if I have to chance it to go on some magical day where the moons are aligned just right for the giant fish to not be their usual boring self, screw it... I pass.

 

I'll be riding Manta while the rest of you show people are waiting for "maybe" a good show to happen. I've given Believe one chance at each Sea World park and I thought it sucked every time.

 

--Robb "And the chanting is only fun for people who think that funnest is a word!" Alvey

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^I'm the same way...

 

I didn't really feel like there was a need to add a sappy story to the show to begin with. So once I have seen the show once, I have no interest what-so-ever in seeing it again unless I am playing tour guide for someone who hasn't been to Sea World before.

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Believe was meh. But it was amazing, I caught the ONE show where the trainer finally gave away his wooden-fluke necklace. I never thought I'd witness that in person!

 

And the Shamu chant isn't something to be criticized. Legend says that once it is bashed, all of the orcas rise from the sea and bitch slap you with their flukes.

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I saw the Shamu's Holiday Night in San Diego last December. It was the WORST show I have ever seen! It must have been different from what you saw in Orlando in 2008.

 

I don't think that was the same show, at least it wasn't called that in Orlando. The name of that show escapes me, but they had an incredible saxophone player playing holiday tunes while people were taking their seats and the show ended with a massive gospel choir standing behind the pool. I thought it was spectacular, as did most everyone I heard talking about it on the way out.

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I saw the Shamu's Holiday Night in San Diego last December. It was the WORST show I have ever seen! It must have been different from what you saw in Orlando in 2008.

 

I don't think that was the same show, at least it wasn't called that in Orlando. The name of that show escapes me, but they had an incredible saxophone player playing holiday tunes while people were taking their seats and the show ended with a massive gospel choir standing behind the pool. I thought it was spectacular, as did most everyone I heard talking about it on the way out.

 

San Diego's was similar to that, but the night I saw it also included a sign language version of every song. Also, the "actors" for the show were really cheesy, and the Orcas only came out once or twice. Our audience was pretty drag. I wish I saw Orlando's version!

 

Robb "And the chanting is only fun for people who think that funnest is a word!" Alvey

 

"Funnest" isn't a word? Where did my English teachers go wrong?

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"Believe" at San Diego was really hard for me to watch. I seriously had to turn my head from the show a couple of times because it was that hard to watch! It just made me uncomfortable and I was embarrassed to be there. It was so cringe-worthy and awkward.

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I was at Sea World for the first show since her death,I was sitting in the Platinum pass area right behind about 4 rows full of other park employees and even what I think were a few family members.The tribute to her was at the beginning of the show and didn't last long at all but several of the employees and other trainers couldn't hold back their tears,it was pretty sad.Once the rest of the show started the mood somewhat changed, like she would have wanted it to go on.I've never been a huge fan of any of the Shamu shows,but seeing as how I was in Orlando staying at a hotel that was walking distance to the park I had to be there for that one.My favorite shows at Sea World are the Sea Lions Tonight and Pets Ahoy,I always find it amazing how they get those dogs,cats and even a mouse and a skunk to do those commands.The best part of the day was getting 4 rides in a row with no wait on Manta as the park was very empty due to 40 something degree weather with light rain and a totally gray sky.Even the all you can eat BBQ for their Bands,Brew and BBQ festival which last year was absolutely mobbed only had a couple dozen people eating at a time.I know the weather had a lot to do with how dead the park was but supposedly there were PETA protesters outside the park which I don't think had much impact on people visiting the park that day,but you never know.

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I was watching the closing of the Olympics last night and saw a commercial for Clash of the Titans and at one point they said something about a Kraken and I was like "That's not a Kraken! They need to go to Sea World to see what a Kraken looks like," and my roommate is just staring at me.

 

Off Topic- but WHY did NBC decide to cut away from the closing ceremonies for the preview of a new show? The new show wasn't live, but the ceremony was- ugh. It makes me miss living in Buffalo where we could watch Canadian TV :{

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I wonder if they would care about whales at all if they hadn't first seen one at SeaWorld before?

 

And who cares about a letter from Matt Damon?

 

"dear mr. sea werld.. i think whales should be free. i also like mooses. love, matt damon"

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^I think he was trying to make it look like a grade school letter to the park

 

^^That is exactly the point I was trying to make with this quote, which I think Sea World might have actually used in the past:

 

"We only conserve what we love, we only love what we understand, we only understand what we know, we only know what we are taught.”

Baba Dioum, Senegalese Ecologist

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http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/breakingnews/os-brancheau-funeral-20100301,0,201358.story

 

As the Rev. Thomas McCarthy finished his homily Monday for SeaWorld whale trainer Dawn Brancheau, at least a dozen candles flickered to represent the "light" she gave to her work, family, friends and faith. "We must honor her by giving the light she has given to us," McCarthy told about 200 people who gathered at St. Rita of Cascia Shrine Chapel for Brancheau's funeral. "This is not the end for Dawn. This is a transition."

 

Brancheau was killed Wednesday when Tilikum, a 12,000-pound killer whale, pulled her into the water by her ponytail as at least two dozen tourists watched in horror. The incident happened near the end of a session with the whale, the largest in SeaWorld Orlando's collection. Tilikum has been involved in two other deaths since 1991, but SeaWorld plans to keep him.

 

Brancheau was born in south suburban Evergreen Park and raised in Cedar Lake, Ind. The youngest of six children earned her the nickname the "little caboose," her nephew said. Her late father was Charles Lo Verde, who led Laborers' Local Union 1092 which represents Chicago water and sewer workers, among others.

 

The emotional funeral featured inspirational songs, music that Terri Lenz said was carefully chosen to fit Brancheau and her fun-loving personality. Lenz sang "Wind Beneath my Wings," a song she said Brancheau's family requested.

 

Mary Burgess and Mary Speckhard, who knew Brancheau since they were second graders, said the animal trainer never forgot the small things like birthdays and sending Christmas cards. "When you were with her, she made you feel . . . she just loved you," said Speckhard, 40, of Fort Wayne, Ind.

 

Brancheau is to be buried at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery. A memorial service for her is to be held in Orlando, but that has not yet been scheduled.

 

Donations can be made to the Dawn Brancheau Memorial Fund, c/o US Bank, P.O. Box 809231, Chicago, IL 60680-9231.

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http://www.monstersandcritics.com/people/news/article_1537554.php/Matt-Damon-tells-of-shock-at-SeaWorld-trainer-s-death

 

Hollywood star Matt Damon is supporting a campaign to close down SeaWorld in Orlando, Florida, after the tragic death of a killer-whale trainer at the theme park. Dawn Brancheau, 40, was killed by Tilikum during a show at the city's SeaWorld aquarium.

 

Damon spoke out about his shock at the trainer's 'horrible' death, insisting all marine mammal parks like SeaWorld should be 'shut down' altogether. He said: 'I think they should just shut them all down. I've never been a fan of places like that.' Damon's comments come as animal-rights campaigners at the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) have also made an appeal for the closure of SeaWorld.

 

PETA has teamed up with US showbiz veteran and The Price Is Right host Bob Barker to write to SeaWorld owners The Blackstone Group.

In his letter to Blackstone boss Hamilton James, Barker wrote: 'The death of the trainer at SeaWorld did not have to happen, and I must appeal to you to take strong action now so that it never happens again. 'I urge you to make a humane move now and to start moving the captive orcas and other marine mammals to transitional coastal and wildlife sanctuaries. 'This is not the first time that a trainer has been seized, thrown against the walls of the tank, and held down to drown. I cannot imagine what the sight of such a hideous event would do to a child in the audience... The only thing that people learn from visiting a SeaWorld theme park is how miserable life is for animals held there.'

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"I know you guys just spent almost $3 billion buying this parks...but due to one unfortunate accident, I think it's best you close these parks down immediately."

 

I really hate celebrities.

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Celebrities, is there anything more important in life than doing what they ask, I don't think so! They know everything about politics, religion, animals and how all of us "regular" people should be living our lives. I listen, bow and do what ever you say MATT and BOB.

 

It's almost as bad as politicians like Mr Earth Al Gore telling us all how we need to be greener while he goes back to his mansion and uses more fossil fuel to heat, cool and light it for one month then most of us use in a year. LOVE IT!

 

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"I know you guys just spent almost $3 billion buying this parks...but due to one unfortunate accident, I think it's best you close these parks down immediately."

 

I really hate celebrities.

 

It's all about the headlines--that's it.

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He said: 'I think they should just shut them all down. I've never been a fan of places like that.

 

I think this line pretty much sums it up how much of a inflated ego some celebrities have.

 

Matt Damon's not a fan, time to pack it up and go home.

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It's all about the headlines--that's it.

 

The main difference between celebrities and everyone else is that celebrities get press coverage of their opinions.

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http://www.orlandosentinel.com/business/os-seaworld-shamu-trainer-death-osha-20100301,0,3890879.story

 

SeaWorld has a policy forbidding its killer-whale trainers from having "dangling hair" that the animals could grab onto, according to records from a workplace-safety investigation at the company's San Diego theme park. Investigators with the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health, examining a 2006 incident in which a trainer was injured when an orca grabbed him by the feet and held him underwater, found that SeaWorld trainers are "not allowed to have dangling hair or any accessories on their bodies that the whales might be able to grab when they are around the pool." But a veteran trainer at SeaWorld Orlando was killed last week when, authorities say, one of the park's orcas grabbed Dawn Brancheau by her long ponytail, pulled her deep into his tank and drowned her. The tragedy -- spelled out Monday in dramatic detail by witness statements released by the Orange County Sheriff's Office -- has prompted fresh scrutiny of SeaWorld's safety practices, including its hair-length policy.

 

SeaWorld said Monday that its policy was designed to prevent "free-flowing hair" and that trainers could still have long hair as long as it was tied in a ponytail, as Brancheau's was. The company said the rule was meant to reduce risks other than being snatched by an orca. "Free-flowing hair has the ability to flow in front of your eyes, blocking you, or, most importantly, it gets in front of a killer whale and becomes a distraction," said Chuck Tompkins, corporate curator in charge of animal behavior for all of SeaWorld's parks. He added that the risk of a long ponytail being grabbed was lessened because "all of the water-work animals have been trained not to pull on hair."

 

The orca that killed Brancheau, a 6-ton killer whale named Tilikum, was not a "water-work" animal; trainers were forbidden from swimming with him because of his massive size and history. As such, Tilikum had not been conditioned to ignore hair tied in a ponytail.

 

SeaWorld says it is now re-evaluating all of its safety policies for working with killer whales. In the interim, trainers, who will not be allowed to enter the water with the animals until the conclusion of SeaWorld's examination, must keep long hair secured in a bun.

 

Controversial report

 

The description of SeaWorld's hair policy is included in a controversial report from California regulators following a Nov. 29, 2006, incident in which a killer whale at SeaWorld San Diego grabbed trainer Kenneth "Petey" Peters' feet with its jaws and repeatedly dragged Peters to the bottom of its tank. Peters suffered puncture wounds to both feet and a broken metatarsal in his left foot.

 

In the initial version of its report, the California workplace-safety agency, known as Cal/OSHA, warned that "swimming with captive orcas is inherently dangerous." "If someone hasn't been killed already, it is only a matter of time before it does happen," the agency warned. Investigators said SeaWorld should be prepared to kill one of its animals to save a trainer caught by an orca that is "out of control and not responding to other available control measures." The initial report, which did not accuse SeaWorld of any serious safety violations, nonetheless enraged the company. SeaWorld blasted it as "riddled with inaccuracies, speculation and superficial suppositions, information unrelated to the investigation and overreaching conclusions."

 

Cal/OSHA, after meeting with SeaWorld executives, ultimately backed away from that version of its report, withdrawing an "information memorandum" that included suggestions such as the lethal-force recommendation. It also winnowed a narrative summary of the accident and investigation from 18 pages to eight pages and deleted the most-damning passages. The agency even publicly apologized to SeaWorld for its initial report, saying it "regrets the difficulties it may have caused SeaWorld, its staff and its patrons."

 

In a statement Monday, Cal/OSHA stood by the amendments made to the summary report on the 2006 incident, saying "the original narrative summary contained a lot of detail that we felt was inappropriate and that scientific analysis could not support. We believe the statements were speculative in nature and went beyond the scope and relevance that the narrative summary is meant to provide."

 

But animal-rights activists say now the report is further proof that killer whales are too dangerous to be kept in captivity. "Three years ago, they were warned an orca was going to kill a trainer. And they didn't listen," said Russ Rector, a former dolphin trainer in Fort Lauderdale who has been critical of SeaWorld for years. "Instead of heeding it, they went after it to kill the messenger."

 

Witness statements

 

The chaotic moments surrounding Dawn Brancheau's death were detailed Monday in dozens of witness statements released by the Sheriff's Office. Some guests were attending the Dine With Shamu show, watching Brancheau and the whale by the edge of the pool. Other guests were in a lower-level viewing area, watching Tilikum through glass as he interacted with the trainer. Brancheau was face-to-face with Tilikum performing what co-worker Jan Joseph Topoleski called a "relationship" session when the orca bit down on her ponytail. "Within the span of two seconds, she was pulled into the pool, unable to get her hair released from his mouth," said Topoleski, 32, who was at the scene as a SeaWorld trainer-spotter.

 

Agitated, Tilikum circled the pool with Brancheau in his mouth, witnesses said. His tail moved wildly. Sirens rang out, and rescue workers rushed to deploy nets that would help them separate the orca from the other animals and keep Tilikum under control. Two rescuers wrote that they had trouble deploying one of the nets, which made progress slow.

 

Mark Barner, 23, of Orlando watched the rescue attempt from the Dine With Shamu show, where he was clearing tables. He said it took "what seemed like" 10 minutes to get the nets in place. As rescuers worked, an increasingly agitated Tilikum surfaced and dove with the trainer's body in his mouth, over and over again. He would not let go. Chahine Kish, 33, of Orlando also watched from the Dine With Shamu area. "I saw Tilly surface with a trainer in his mouth. He was becoming frantic himself." The whale would not let go, witnesses said, and other animals in the water nearby did not heed trainers' calls to move.

 

Rescue workers had to use nets to corral Tilikum into a series of pools. They pried open the orca's mouth twice before Brancheau was freed, according to the statement of Jodie Ann Tintle, 31, a senior animal trainer.

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