Each year, SeaWorld Orlando debuts some new rides, some new events and new activities. What’s new at Seaworld Orlando in 2017?
Interacting with the Animals
“Natural Encounters” rather than “Theatrical Shows”
SeaWorld Orlando, and indeed all the SeaWorld parks, will be undergoing a “sea change,” as Shakespeare puts it.
After decades of pressure from animal rights groups, SeaWorld decided in 2016 to end its program of breeding killer whales in captivity for its parks. This means the killer whale shows you’ll be seeing for the next few years will be the very last, as SeaWorld ended its wild whale capture program, over 40 years ago. In addition, the killer whale shows are going to change to exhibit more natural behaviors of the orcas, rather than the theatrical shows where they are trained to jump out of the water to fetch balls and so on.
SeaWorld is dedicated to improving man’s relationship with the sea, and that is one of the main goals of its parks. The Dolphin Nursery at SeaWorld Orlando is undergoing a redesign to enable guests to get closer views of mother and baby dolphins – without impinging on them detrimentally.
The nursery is being fitted out with large scale windows to enable excellent views of the dolphins, and there will be multiple levels of these viewing areas, to enhance the experience for guests.
The vets who care for these animals are getting new equipment, too, which will enable them to look after mom and babies more easily.
“Kraken Virtual Reality Roller Coaster”
The Virtual Reality (VR) experience that is the Kraken roller coaster ride is scheduled to open in summer 2017. The over-arcing plot is that riders will set out on a “deep sea mission” in which they will encounter both extinct sea creatures – such as mosasaurs and plesiosaurs, and legendary creatures, including of course the Kraken. (A Kraken is generally depicted as a gigantic squid.)
The Kraken roller coaster will be 149 feet high at its highest point, and the train itself will go as fast as 65 mph – with seven inversions! SeaWorld’s virtual reality system is going to be state of the art, with the VR headsets integrated into the system both mechanically and electronically. If the Kraken is successful SeaWorld plans to introduce other VR rides into their parks in future.
This end-of-the-day show is designed to be a closing spectacle before the park closes each evening. As the name implies, the ocean will come alive with a light show, dance-music and a parade of sea creature-costumed characters. The finale will be a blaze of fireworks.
A new show will make its debut at the Nautilus Theatre and play during the summer months. SeaWorld is keeping the theme of this show under wraps at the time of this writing, but we’ll update you when we hear more news.
“Seven Seas Food Festival”
On 14 selected Saturdays from 11 Feb – 13 May 2017, the Seven Seas Festival will be held. Foods from around the world – Asia, Latin America, Europe, Polynesia, and the Middle East – will be available at “culinary marketplaces” throughout the park for guests, as well as over 55 types of craft beers, wines and specialty cocktails. In addition to this foodies’ delight there will be live music concerts.
SeaWord will present their “Hallowween Spooktacular” every weekend from 30 September to 29 October 2017. It’s a family friendly event and kids will enjoy the many activities designed especially for them. There’ll be trick or treating at several candy stations throughout the park, and kids will have the opportunity to work with arts and crafts, with a sea theme of course. Guests are encouraged to come in costume – but the costumes must abide by a dress code, and only kids under the age of 12 can wear masks. Sesame Street fans can meet the Cookie Monster at the Seafire Grill! It’s necessary to reserve meeting the Cookie Monster in advance, however.
“SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration”
It doesn’t start until 24 November, and runs only until 31 December 2017, but it’s perhaps time to make your plans now if you’d like to vacation in Orlando during the winter months to check out this Christmas Celebration which made its debut in 2016. This celebration features the cast of the iconic cartoon from the 1960s, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer – Rudolph, Clarice, Bumble, Yukon Cornelius and the Abominable Snow Monster.
Scheduled to open in summer 2017 is the Flamecraft Bar, a restaurant and bar which will be situated along the waterfront area, close to the SeaFire Grill.