Don't get me started on this. The benefits of having spectacular animals that can easily be seen by millions of people, including kids, far outweigh both the logistical and moral challenges of keeping them in a cage. Are they ideal conditions? No. Are they bad? Absolutely not. The trainers and veterinary care specialists know what they're doing and have a deep love for the individual animals they work with. And what's the end result? Millions of people waking away awe-stricken and inspired to preserve the habitats that the animals are native to.
So what do the activists fight for? They say the animals need to be free, that we don't have a right to keep them locked up. They say it's better to see the animals in the wild. I get it. I understand the moral argument. But traveling to a place where you can get up close and personal with wild animals like you can with the animals SeaWorld is 1)more expensive 2)so rare you can almost guarantee it won't happen to you and 3)1000x more environmentally destructive. So, naturally, less people are going to do it. Well, now where's the motivation to preserve the environment in which the animals live? People naturally aren't going to be nearly as worried about something they don't have a personal experience with. That personal experience is what SeaWorld provides. And they do one heck of a job at it.
If there are any doubters here, I hope you understand why SeaWorld is 100% morally justified in what they do. Luckily, here on TPR I'm mostly preaching to the choir.
Hey, I was looking at the SEAS Platinum pass for next year, and I see that it includes 2 free guest tickets (on select days). So my question is, could I use those at a different park than I got the pass from? E.g. purchasing it from SeaWorld San Antonio, using the free tix at BGT/SWO.
Nope, if you get the SA pass, all your freebies are in SA. Also they specifically bar residents of the states where they have their other parks from purchasing a SA Platinum Pass. The fine print in some places will say that pass is only for TX residents, but I've bought one and used one, and I live in MO. So with you also being a Midwesterner, you're probably ok since SA would be your closest Sea World, but it wouldn't hurt to check with the park.
I can also confirm that the free and discount tickets that you get with the Platinum Pass or Membership are only to be used at the park you purchase from and the other parks in that state. So if you buy from SW San Antonio or Aquatica San Antonio, the freebie tickets and discount tickets can only be used at those parks when they become available for use. The same goes if you buy it at one of the FL parks; you can only use them at the FL parks (during non-blockout months/dates).
With Platinum purchased at any park, you do get admission, parking, in-park discounts and such as always. Many of the local park benefits or added bonus perks however are only available to those who purchased from a park in that state. Even preferred parking, ride again privileges and reserved show seating are park/state specific, though they do allow it depending on who's working that day (I've heard some say they get it, and others say they were denied at the FL parks from people who had purchased from BGW, SWSA and other parks out of state).
In a surprising piece of news late today, it was announced that Gustavo Antorcha, the CEO of SeaWorld Entertainment for the last seven months has resigned. Marc Swanson, Chief Financial Officer will serve as Interim CEO effctive immediately with Gus assisting the company for a smooth transition of leadership.
SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE: SEAS), a leading theme park and entertainment company, today announced a leadership transition. Gustavo Antorcha has resigned from his positions of Chief Executive Officer and member of the Board of Directors. Marc Swanson, who serves as Chief Financial Officer, has been appointed interim Chief Executive Officer. Elizabeth Castro Gulacsy, who serves as Chief Accounting Officer, has been appointed interim Chief Financial Officer. Ms. Gulacsy will retain her role as Chief Accounting Officer. These changes are effective immediately. Mr. Antorcha has agreed to assist the Company to ensure a smooth transition.
"We thank Gus for his contributions and wish him well in his future endeavors," said Scott Ross, Chairman of the Board of Directors. "We know Marc and Elizabeth will be excellent leaders in their new roles and will continue to successfully drive the business forward. Marc has been with the Company for 19 years and has a deep understanding of the Company, its parks and its strategy. He has been a key contributor to the success of the business for several years. Elizabeth has been with the Company for 7 years and has extensive knowledge of the Company and its financial profile."
Ross continued, "The strategy we have in place is working and we have made significant progress. We look forward to continuing to execute on this strategy and driving a meaningful increase in value for all stakeholders."
Mr. Antorcha said, "While I may have a difference of approach, I continue to believe in SeaWorld's strategy, mission, team and prospects. Marc and Elizabeth are fine leaders, and I am confident in their abilities to guide the Company forward."
Mr. Swanson said, "I am honored to serve as interim CEO and to continue to drive our strategy forward. We will continue to focus on improving our execution with enhanced marketing and communications initiatives, more effective pricing strategies, the introduction of new compelling rides, attractions and events and relentlessly seeking and executing on cost and capital efficiencies. I'm incredibly excited about the business and the opportunities we have before us to continue to entertain and inspire our guests and significantly increase shareholder value."
The Board of Directors has engaged a leading executive search firm to assist in the search for Mr. Antorcha's successor.
Additional Background on Marc Swanson
Marc Swanson has most recently served as Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer of the Company since August 2017. Prior to that Mr. Swanson served as Chief Accounting Officer since 2012 and served as interim Chief Financial Officer from June 2015 until September 2015 and as interim Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer from August 1, 2017 until his permanent appointment later that same month. Previously, he was Vice President, Performance Management and Corporate Controller of SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment from 2011 to 2012, the Corporate Controller of Busch Entertainment Corporation from 2008 to 2011 and the Vice President of Finance of Sesame Place from 2004 to 2008. Mr. Swanson is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Orlando Science Center.
Mr. Swanson holds a bachelor's degree in accounting from Purdue University and a master's degree in business administration from DePaul University, and is a Certified Public Accountant.
Additional Background on Elizabeth Castro Gulacsy
Elizabeth Castro Gulacsy has most recently served as Chief Accounting Officer of the Company since August 2017. Ms. Gulacsy also served as Corporate Vice President, Financial Reporting, a position she was promoted to in 2016 after serving as Director, Financial Reporting from 2013 to 2016. Prior to joining SeaWorld, Ms. Gulacsy served from 2011 to 2013 as Chief Accounting Officer and Corporate Controller for Cross Country Healthcare, Inc., where she also served as Director of Corporate Accounting from 2006 to 2011, and Assistant Controller from 2002 to 2006. Prior to that time, Ms. Gulacsy was an Audit Manager for Ernst & Young LLP.
Ms. Gulacsy holds a bachelor's degree and master's degree in accounting from the University of Florida and is a Certified Public Accountant. She also currently serves as a board member of the SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund.
The following news was released shortly after the news of CEO Gus Antorcha's resignation...
SeaWorld Entertainment has laid off 100 employees at its Orlando call center, the company confirmed Monday.
The layoffs, which take effect immediately, comes the same day SeaWorld announced its CEO Gus Antorcha had resigned after seven months on the job.
"SeaWorld undertook a careful review of our operations and made a business decision to restructure our call center operations," a spokesperson said in an email to Spectrum News. "This move will allow us to better and more efficiently scale our call center to meet customer demand, especially during peak months."
With the positions eliminated at the Orlando call center, operations have shifted to a third-party vendor, SeaWorld said.
"We don't anticipate any interruption in park guest services and guests can continue to expect the same world-class customer service from SeaWorld," the spokesperson said.
SeaWorld said the company is offering severance benefits and outplacement assistance to employees who were laid off.
Monday's layoffs are the second big round of layoffs at the company. In April, SeaWorld laid off an undisclosed number of workers across the entire company. At the time, a spokeswoman said the decision was made to improve "performance and efficiency."
SeaWorld, which is based in Orlando, operates 12 parks, including Aquatica Orlando, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, SeaWorld San Antonio and SeaWorld San Diego.
The company, following years of backlash from the 2013 film Blackfish, has continued to bounce back with increased attendance and revenue.
It’s kind of aggravating that they refused to promote John Reilly to give the position to Antorcha, so he left. Now Gus leaves and they are left completely empty handed! I really wonder what the difference of approach was. If it was related to the direction of the parks (and whales/animals) or if it was unrelated entirely.
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