We have heard some major plans for a lot of theme parks, both in Orlando and beyond. What we haven’t heard about is what is happening at SeaWorld, either in Orlando or any of the other parks. With the end of 2016 coming faster than we’d like, the rumors are also starting to come a little faster.
The VR craze is sweeping theme parks all around the world. It’s soon coming to not only SeaWorld, but other parks in the chain. SeaWorld Orlando is rumored to do a VR makeover on Kraken. The rumor is that you will fight a giant sea beast as you sail over the rails. The same system is also rumored for SeaWorld San Antonio’s Steel Eel
Our friends at Screamscape report that there’s rumor of a new bubble show at SeaWorld Orlando. While a stand alone bubble show seems a bit…strange. What we’ve been told is that this will be part of a new series line up, similar to SeaWorld San Diego’s “Summer Vibes” series. The shows will take place in the Nautilus theater, and will include the Gazillion Bubble Show, which has been touring all over the country. It features huge bubble demonstrations, cool lighting effects, and of course the killer smoking bubbles. It’s like a magic show…only with bubbles. There will be other acts as well, all family friendly, but more than your typical acts like Choo Choo Soul. Instead of being aimed at toddlers, it will be aimed at ages 4-12.
An all new show is also rumored to debut this summer at all three SeaWorld parks, with it starting at SeaWorld San Diego. “Electric Ocean” will be themed to the love of the sea, but will more high energy. You can expect water fountains, lighting effects, light fireworks and even projection mapping. The thought is that it will debut summer of 2017 at all three parks. It will not be centered around Shamu, as the company is still trying to shift your eyes away from the whales, and towards the whole ocean. There’s no word if this will be a fun show, or if it will be all about conservation.
Next year will also see the start of the shift from entertaining to educating Shamu shows, as SeaWorld San Diego is slated to end their theatrical Shamu shows this year. Next year will see the first of the three new educational shows (not first ever, don’t be stupid) and redesign of the habitat for the whales. The rest of the parks are scheduled to phase out the shows by 2019, with Orlando being the last park to adopt the plan. San Diego’s transition should be well received, but the rest of the chain will remain to be seen how well the shows do. This is a move that has not been very welcomed by passholders, but cheered by activists.
Also on the front for SeaWorld Orlando are a couple of massive upgrades to their existing rides. The biggest was to be Journey to Atlantis. The ride is going down for a lengthy rehab near the end of 2016, and will not be back up until the first part of 2017. While there will be a major overhaul to the ride systems, there is rumor that the ride could get retracked with some new elements on the coaster section. We won’t know for sure until SeaWorld either announces it or reopens the ride.
Wild Arctic was also rumored to get a major reworking in 2017, with special attention being paid to the Polar Bear exhibit. The last polar bear at SeaWorld passed away a few years back, and the park has not brought a new one in, so the thought is that the park will completely re-do some of the existing animal habitats to make them larger. There’s also rumor of a new ride film being brought in for the ride, along with an upgrade to the outdated ride system. The new ride would be 3D and would have several different varients that would ensure for a different experience with every time you ride.
2017 will see larger emphasis on shows for the entire family, and you could see an extension of some of their more popular events, as well as some new ones coming to the park. There’s a rumor that SeaWorld Orlando will get the popular Seven Seas Food festival from SeaWorld San Antonio, which includes smaller musical acts and an emphasis on food from different parts of the world. Add this to the Bands, Brew, BBQ as well as Viva La Musica, and you’ll have major events that cover every part of the spectrum for food.
Of course, none of this has been officially announced, so it’s not happening as of now. All of Orlando’s theme parks, not just SeaWorld Orlando, have seen a decline in attendance this year. SeaWorld Orlando announced a huge drop in attendance, and the company’s profits came in lower than expected as well. Add this to the large investment in Mako this year, and you could see SeaWorld Orlando sit 2017 out with just some smaller additions, especially since SeaWorld San Antonio is adding an all new coaster, and SeaWorld San Diego is adding a new interactive kids attraction.