Saturday, March 25, 2023

SeaWorld, Aquatica, and BuschGardens Announce Dates for 2014 Attractions

[quote]As part of its continuing commitment to new technology that enhances the guest experience, SeaWorld’s 50th Celebration will include new ways for fans to connect to the parks and each other though digital devices. The parks will be launching a variety of enhancements, from interactive apps that provide fun new ways to experience the park to new games and video content.[/quote]

Orlando, FL, USA (February 28, 2013)– SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment is getting ready for a multi-park celebration to commemorate a key event in the company’s history. The original SeaWorld park opened its gates for the first time in March 1964 on Mission Bay in San Diego.

SeaWorld’s 50th Celebration will feature a Sea of Surprises starting March 21, 2014. SeaWorld parks in San Diego, Orlando, Fla. and San Antonio will share the excitement throughout an 18-month celebration that highlights some of the most memorable SeaWorld experiences. 

For nearly five decades, SeaWorld has surprised and amazed guests with unique entertainment, thrilling rides and up-close encounters with marine animals. During SeaWorld’s 50th Celebration visitors will be invited to take part in the celebration through new interactive experiences, shows and pathway performances, even more up-close animal encounters throughout the park and the SeaWorld “Surprise Squad” treating guests with prizes every day.

SeaWorld’s 50th Celebration Sea of Surprises Highlights

  • Each SeaWorld park will feature a new entertainment element as part of the 50th Celebration.  While San Antonio will introduce a new ski show and Orlando will debut Madagascar Live! Operation: Vacation, SeaWorld San Diego will mark the occasion by completely transforming the park’s arrival experience. The creation of Explorer’s Reef, which will open on March 21 for the celebration kick-off, will immediately immerse park guests into an undersea oasis. This massive construction project is reinventing how guests will approach, enter and explore the park. The new arrival experience was inspired by waves crashing over a coral reef, as well as up-close encounters with marine life. Visitors will actually enter the park beneath an immense wave sculpture that is nearly 30 feet tall and 100 feet long. SeaWorld will also replace existing ticket booths with a beach-themed, concierge-style ticketing area that will provide guests with a single location to purchase admission and sign up for tours, animal interactions and dining experiences.

From the moment they enter the park, guests can connect with the sea through multiple touch pools featuring shark pups, rays, skates and delicate little cleaner fish. Encompassing more than three acres, Explorer’s Reef also will include new and innovative retail and culinary opportunities for guests. The multi-million dollar renovation effort will make entering SeaWorld faster and more efficient.

  • As part of SeaWorld’s 50th Celebration, there will be more surprise encounters with animal ambassadors throughout the day.  A pair of Magellanic penguins, a sloth or even a parade of flamingos could surprise guests at any moment at all three SeaWorld locations.
  • SeaWorld is known for amazing animal shows and each park will have something new for the 50th celebration. Even park pathways will come to life withspontaneous entertainment at unexpected moments, including performers with sea-inspired costumes and props, a bubble brigade and splash mob.
  • The SeaWorld “Surprise Squad” will roam the SeaWorld parks on a daily basis giving away prizes and special gifts. Guests could receive exclusive access to rides or behind-the-scenes experiences, celebration T-shirts or Shamu-themed merchandise, reserved show seating and more.
  • To showcase SeaWorld’s commitment to the environment and passion for protecting the ocean, a series of giant sea life sculptures will be displayed throughout the parks. SeaWorld commissioned environmental art group Washed Ashore for a collection of larger-than-life sea-themed sculptures— many weighing more than half a ton.  The materials used to creates these pieces come from the billions of pounds of garbage mostly plastics— that wind up in our oceans. These amazing works of art point to the urgent need to protect marine animals from such dangers and preserve their ocean habitats.  At SeaWorld San Diego (located near Cirque Stadium), the sculptures will depict a sea turtle, a tufted puffin, a trigger fish and sea lilies (sea animals that look like plants, but are related to starfish, sand dollars and sea urchins).


At Aquatica San Antonio, support columns for Roa’s Aviary went vertical this week.  Beginning May 2014, Aquatica, SeaWorld’s Waterpark, will introduce this 13,500 square feet aviary containing about 300 birds representing more than 50 species. The newest attraction will be one of the park’s serene offerings, giving guests the chance to float, wade or walk among hundreds of tropical birds. Some of the birds are considered threatened or endangered and the aviary will help in conservation efforts.

The aviary and new pools will be located on the Loggerhead Beach area of Aquatica, creating a new “waterfront beach” for guests to enjoy. Guests will be able to access the aviary by floating along Loggerhead Lane river, walking through Loggerhead Baech or wading in a new pool with a grotto-style waterfall. Guests will have the opportunity to hand feed birds as SeaWorld aviculturists and educators will be on hand to teach guests about these animals. When Aquatica waterpark closes for the season, SeaWorld guests will be able to access the aviary.

Aquatica Orlando announced a May 9 opening date for Ihu’s Breakaway Falls.  Guests will brave the watery free-fall on the all-new drop slide — the tallest, steepest and only multi-drop tower of its kind in Orlando.  The slide is named after Ihu, Aquatica, SeaWorld’s Waterpark Orlando’s colorful gecko, who searches for the biggest thrills, steepest hills and the coolest spills in the waterpark.

Busch Gardens Tampa announced a May 1 opening date for Falcon’s Fury and the new Pantopia themed land.  Located in the heart of Busch Gardens, the centerpiece of Pantopia will be Falcon’s Fury. The one-of-a-kind drop tower will stand at 335 feet and beckon guests from across the globe as it takes riders soaring straight down. At the ride’s highest point there is an element of surprise.  Like its bird of prey namesake, riders will pivot 90 degrees in midair to a face-down dive position. An instant later they’ll plunge 60 mph at 3.5 Gs straight down.

In addition to Falcon’s Fury, this completely reimagined land will be a creative haven that has been inspired by centuries of world travelers, offering something for every member of the family.

“In addition to the power and allure of Falcon’s Fury, Pantopia will celebrate the spirit of animals, welcome adventurers from the four corners of the earth, explore ancient lore and display fantastic architecture,” says Busch Gardens Park President Jim Dean. “Guests will find multiple portals and doorways and learn about the legends that have drawn journeyers from around the world to Pantopia. Plus, family favorites like the Scorpion, Phoenix, Bush Flyers, Desert Runners and the Kiddie Train will return.”

Joe Kleiman
Joe Kleiman
Raised in San Diego on theme parks, zoos, and IMAX films, InPark's Senior Correspondent Joe Kleiman would expand his childhood loves into two decades as a projectionist and theater director within the giant screen industry. In addition to his work in commercial and museum operations, Joe has volunteered his time to animal husbandry at leading facilities in California and Texas and has played a leading management role for a number of performing arts companies. Joe previously served as News Editor and has remained a contributing author to InPark Magazine since 2011. HIs writing has also appeared in Sound & Communications, LF Examiner, Jim Hill Media, The Planetarian, Behind the Thrills, and MiceChat His blog, takes an unconventional look at the attractions industry. Follow on twitter @ThemesRenewed Joe lives in Sacramento, California with his wife, dog, and a ghost.

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