When SeaWorld announced their newest park, coming to Abu Dhabi in 2022, they said that it would be the first SeaWorld branded park with no whales. While that was a huge step forward in the company’s vision to rebrand themselves, we speculated that it could mean that they will still have the signature Orca experiences, just not with live whales. In other words, we said that because the Orcas were such an integral and beloved part of SeaWorld, the park would find a way to keep them as an active part of the park, without actually having whales in the park. Our solution was simple, the park could simply ride the current wave of technology and use VR to bring you closer to the whales of SeaWorld than ever before. That was just a guess on our part, after all VR seems to be the route that many other parks are heading, including SeaWorld. Later this summer, SeaWorld Orlando will unveil their all new VR Kraken.
When SeaWorld San Diego announced that they will bringing a brand new coaster to life in 2018. The San Diego Tribune had a great piece that not only covered the new coaster, but also the new additions of 2017. Towards the end of the article, the subject switched to the new experiences, including the all new Orca Encounter. The new experience will have the animals performing in daily educational shows, instead of the theatrical shows that SeaWorld has been known for. There will be a variety of different educational experiences around the whales as well. But the biggest bit of news comes from Brian Morrow, VP of Theme Park Experience design. The park is expected to open a new VR experience that will feature the parks whales.
From the article:
“Think of it as a five-minute movie where the guests can go virtually under water and above water with the whales, with a headset and up-close images of these animals,” Morrow said. “The test footage is breathtaking.”
The new experience will be an additional fee, and will take guests face to face with the animals. In short, this could very well be adapted to the new Abu Dhabi park in 2022, as we speculated. More importantly, it shows the direction that the park is looking to take their guests.
Early in 2016, SeaWorld announced that they would be ending the breeding program for their whales, leaving this generation of whales as the very last Killer Whales at SeaWorld parks. Many speculated how you could continue the park, which has based its very existence on up close animal encounters. It seems we have the answer. The new Orca Encounter is set to premiere later this year at SeaWorld San Diego, and will continue venture to the other two SeaWorld parks by 2019.
Stay tuned for more from SeaWorld, and be sure to get social with us on Facebook and follow along with us on Twitter @BehindThrills for the latest updates!
For our latest theme park videos please be sure to subscribe to us on YouTube!