SeaWorld Wild Days During January 2014

Jack Hanna Weekend
SeaWorld Wild Days
Returning again in the Spring of 2014, Jack Hanna will host talk sessions with guests during the Jack Hanna Weekend at SeaWorld Orlando.
A long time partner of SeaWorld, Jack will entertain and inform as he explains his connection to wildlife over the weekend of January 11th and 12th 2014.

Sea Rescue Weekend
The popular ABC show makes a visit to Orlando along with host Sam Champion on January 18th and 19th 2014

Penguin Lovers’ Weekend
Hosted by Julie Scardina, to celebrate these amazing amphibious flightless birds!
Julie shares her experiences of her continental adventures in search of conservation and animal welfare on January 25th and 26th 2014.

The weekends are free to regular park guests.


SeaWorld Groupon Discounts

One Ocean Shamu Show SeaWorldThere’s a battle of wits going on right now between SeaWorld execs and the various ‘haters’ of the marine life themed parks.  As the Bands Brew and BBQ controversy keeps drumming away, the music industry seems to be drawn into a debate that at times seemed to have passed by in recent months.

The Blackfish movie took a fairly hard swipe at SeaWorld’s practices and the public kind of grimaced, but seemingly carried on their business (in the main).
Sure, SeaWorld would have been much happier without the scathing documentary being aired left right and center, but the SeaWorld Parks do appear to have weathered this sea storm better than they might have hoped.

The news this week that SeaWorld were offering hefty Groupon discounts on tickets to be used over the Winter deserves some thought.  Initially it could be easy to assume that SeaWorld are panicking, but my guess is that they know that this hefty attack on their PR is perhaps winnable, despite the pressure on the Bands Brew and BBQ event due to start in early Feb of 2014.
If they can continue to weather the storm, and appeal to any guests ‘on the fence’ by 40% discounts, they might win the battle and the war over Shamu!

Going forward, SeaWorld might put on a defiant front, but behind the scenes we will expect that SeaWorld might invest their funds in ‘non performance’ animal exhibits and attractions.  A battle won today, does not mean that the future battles will be as easy!


Spice Road Table Restaurant is coming soon to Epcot!

Tingis Sampler


There’s a very good reason why Epcot lands in second spot for attendance figures.
As a much more cultured and laid back theme park, Epcot really does appeal to the inquisitive side of our natures.  Sure, I love some of those great rides and attractions, such as Soarin and the slightly ‘dumbed down’ Test Track (that’s another long story!), but for me, the appeal is the concept of travel that makes a visit so special.
The World Showcase evolved at Epcot, just as the Travel industry really took off, and truly drew out that curios appeal in far flung places ‘that we’ve heard about’ but never quite visited.
Epcot’s Morocco is to me, the best of the locations along Epcot’s World Showcase, and there’s a very good reason why, (I think!).
The Morocco Pavilion is probably the most painstakingly created of the ‘countries at Epcot’ much of that detail by ‘Royal decree’.  King Hassan II insisted that Disney created a truly authentic pavilion, using trained Moroccan artisans that adhered to the importance of Islamic beliefs.  (Notice that you will not see any human depictions around the pavilion’s many mosaics?).
The whole experience is rather overwhelming, it has perhaps the most authentic feel to it, not even rivalled for authenticity by its nearest ‘competitors’ such as the Norway, German and UK pavilions.

Disney have lifted the Moroccan experience beautifully it seems with the upcoming addition of the Spice Road Table restaurant at the lagoon side.
Expected to open some time in January of 2014, this new ‘small plates’ restaurant looks set to lift the quality levels of Epcot’s already great reputation even higher.

With lamb sliders, rice stuffed vine leaves and mussel tagine, guests can choose to take a seat either indoors or out thanks to the 120 terrace seats and 60 booth places indoors.

I can’t wait to try this place!



SeaWorld’s Shamu Show Woes Continue


Update: 19th Dec 2013
Only Justin Moore and Scotty McCreery remain on the billing so far, leaving 10 of the 12 original dates cancelled or unfilled.

Update: 11th Dec 2013
Cheap Trick also announce that they will not perform in SeaWorld’s 2014 Bands Brew & BBQ festival.

Original Article

The Music Industry appears to have succeeded where all others have failed.

Towards the end of November, the band ‘Barenaked Ladies’ pulled out of SeaWorld’s annual Bands Brew & BBQ music festival.
This popular music festival that runs from early February through early March has been immensely successful in recent years and adds a much welcome opening to the year’s big events around Orlando.

Depending how you look at things, it sadly looks very unlikely that this music event will be going ahead in 201, or perhaps any future year, so long as SeaWorld continue with the ‘Shamu Show’ more formally known as ‘One Ocean’.

Since the ‘Barenaked Ladies’ fans brought pressure upon their band to pull out of the SeaWorld music festival, Wille Nelson, Heart, and most likely more will turn their backs on SeaWorld as momentum gathers against the publicity gathered by the Blackfish movie.
We don’t see any let up in cancellations, nor do we predict any brave souls stepping in to replace those missing bands.

Joan Jett has formally written to SeaWorld’s CEO Jim Atchison asking for her ‘I Love Rock & Roll’ hit to be removed from the Shamu Rocks show.

“I’m among the millions who saw ‘Blackfish’ and am sickened that my music was blasted without my permission at sound-sensitive marine mammals,” the letter says.
Jett calls for the park to release the animals to coastal sanctuaries.  “This move would show that your company is truly family-friendly,” the letter says.

As I’ve mentioned on a number of occasions, SeaWorld needs to change and fast, and the upcoming Bands Brew & BBQ mights facilitate that change sooner rather than later, however, I can’t help think about some of the artists that have knowingly supported SeaWorld over the years.  Why the sudden change of heart I wonder?

Irrespective of my dislike of animal cruelty, or whether I feel that SeaWorld have been remiss, there’s no doubt about it that some of the fickle music industry players, were all to happy to turn a ‘blind eye’ until their pockets risked being affected.
Is this the first time that Joan Jett had been made aware that SeaWorld used here song each evening?  Of course not.

That, I guess, is the way of the world but now it looks as though SeaWorld are about to feel the pinch as the heat is turned up on its park operations.

The outcome is inevitable that the last ‘One Ocean’ shows towards the end of the Christmas and New Year holidays will be the very last ever.  It is fairly hard to imagine, given the current public sentiment, that it can ever return.  If you love it, make the most of it now.
Beyond the One Ocean show, I’d also recommend planning to catch Blue Horizons and Clyde and Seamour which could almost certainly become gradual notes in the history book as SeaWorld Parks respond to criticism of the animal performances.
It won’t simply stop at the Shamu Show, and it most likely won’t stop with SeaWorld as the spotlight brightens on theme park animal exhibits and performances in general.

It kind of makes you wonder if this is why Disney have been keeping so many new theme park developments ‘in the wings?’

Another small but not insignificant blow for SeaWorld

In November the band ‘Barenaked Ladies’ pulled out of SeaWorld’s annual Bands Brew & BBQ music festival scheduled to launch at SeaWorld Orlando in February of 2014.
The Blackfish movie was revealed as the root of their decision not to play in this popular annual event.

Today, the Orlando sentinel announced that country singer Willie Nelson was pulling out of the same event due to scheduling conflicts.
It would be wrong to tie Nelson’s cancellation to Blackfish, but SeaWorld fans might be just wondering if this is the start of an ongoing trend.

Over the decades, music has proven to be a potent political weapon and the power of millions of very influential young spenders can change the course of major political paths.
Bob Dylan knew only too well the power he wielded over politicians.

As always, we hope that SeaWorld come out of this difficult time, both stronger and better, but for now, it seems clear that Blackfish simply won’t go away.

The Start of A New Era For SeaWorld?

One Ocean Shamu Show SeaWorldThe Orlando Sentinel recently reported that the Shamu Show ‘One Ocean’ would take a seemingly lengthy break from the New Year.
Oddly timed perhaps, the surprise maintenance work is reported to tie in with essential repairs to the main show pool at Shamu Stadium.

Dine with ShamuDuring the closure, which is expected to last a whopping 3 whole months, the Dine with Shamu event also takes a break.  Instead, SeaWorld will apparently use the extra ticket dining area for a Shamu up Close event that so far hasn’t been given any details.

With a raft of adverse publicity, a huge sell off of shares by the current majority stakeholders Blackstone, it is more than understandable that observers might jump to conclusions and start reading more into the shutdown than the press releases might suggest.

Many observers are expected, and in many cases hoping that SeaWorld takes the negative publicity surrounding the controversial Blackfish movie as an opportunity to move away from live animal performance towards rescue and care.
As a proud fan of the SeaWorld theme park, with no prejudices towards it whatsoever, I too confess that it really is time for change.
My dream I guess, is that this unusually lengthy ‘rehab’, is a ‘toe in the water’ as the park’s management evaluates the gate attendances during the closure.
Perhaps if the closure goes well, confidence to change the format of the huge Shamu Stadium’s offering will encourage SeaWorld to do the right and inevitable thing.

A really great, large scale ‘natural’ environment would certainly give the existing killer whales a better quality of life.  They can’t be returned to the wild, so SeaWorld can’t be criticised for doing the best of a not so great job.
Thinking about Pacific Point, and more recently Antarctica Empire of the Penguin, the park operator appears to be doing a fair job of creating more natural and spacious habitats for their wonderful animals.

Let’s do our best during the close of the One Ocean show.
I for one, will be visiting regularly, and encouraging my friends, family and our blog readers to do the same, to support the possibility of a really great move that SeaWorld must be long overdue in taking!

Good luck SeaWorld and even better luck to those magnificent Orcas.