Discovery Cove and Aquatica
SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment
---- THE LATEST BUZZ ----
(9/19/16) New KrakenVR Details and More 2017 Additions (MORE...)
(9/27/16) Kraken VR and Others 2017 Changes (MORE...)
(9/9/16) Rumored 2017 Plans and a Dolphin Baby Boom
(9/8/16) Incredible Discovery Cove Florida Resident Special Offer (MORE...)
Attraction Rehabs - The following information is not guaranteed to be 100% accurate.
Nothing is known at this time...
Park News - (9/9/16) Discovery Cove has announced that the park has been experiencing a dolphin baby boom as of late. Five dolphin calves have been born at the park all within a 30 day time period.
Kona, a girl, born Aug 3 to mom Roxy,
Titan, a boy, born Aug 6 to mom Calypso,
Nero, a boy, born Aug 7 to mom Nueces,
Star, a girl, born Aug 14 to mom Stella,
And now Storm, sex not determined yet, born Sept 2 to mom Hailey.
Guests to Discovery Cove may catch a glimpse of the new babies in the coming weeks, but the park has not yet announced when they will be seen on a regular basis.
(9/8/16) Florida Residents, SeaWorld has one sweet deal for you right now. A FL Resident discount ticket to Discovery Cove that includes the Dolphin Swim Package is now starting at just $219 per person (includes dolphin swim as well as your full day experience at Discovery Cove that also includes your meal with beverages as well as use of a wetsuit and snokel gear for the day, a free locker, towels, sunscreen and more.
And it is the MORE part that we are focusing on right now, because those book their package now will also get a pass for unlimited admission into SeaWorld Orlando AND Aquatica now through to January 31, 2017. Follow the link for details.
(8/3/16) SeaWorld Orlando, Firehouse Subs and Coca-Cola are honoring Florida first responders for their bravery, sacrifice and service with a special opportunity to spend a day at the park with their families. Now through August 31, first responders can register to receive free admission to SeaWorld Orlando through September 30.
In addition to complimentary admission, qualified first responders receive up to four discounted tickets for friends and family for just $49.50 per person, a savings of 50 percent off general admission. Qualifying first-responders include: Florida Fire Rescue First Responders, Florida EMT/EMS Employees, Florida Law Enforcement Offiers and Florida 911 Dispatchers.
If you qualify, visit SeaWorld.com/FirehouseSubs for more information on how to register.
(7/7/16) Beat the Central Florida heat this summer at Aquatica. Beginning this Friday, Aquatica will offer another way to cool off with Island Nights presented by Coca-Cola. Taking place every Friday and Saturday night through August 6, guests can enjoy an evening celebration of summer with a special Island Nights soundtrack, extended park hours, a daily happy hour from 5 p.m. to park close, an evening menu sizzlin’ with flavor at Waterstone Grill and an evening kick-off party with a DJ and dancers. Event included with park admission to Aquatica.
(7/4/16) Discovery Cove is turning 16 years old this week, and to celebrate the park is holding a Sweet 16 Sweepstakes that you wont want to miss. Follow the link to enter the contest and the winner will get a huge grand prize package that will allow them to take 15 of their friends with them on a trip to Discovery Cove. The package includes round-trip airfair for the entire group, two-nights hotel accommodations, transportation and a VIP guest package that will see the entire group swim with dolphins, use of two private cabanas at the park, meals, snacks and tickets to both SeaWorld and Aquatica during your stay. You can enter once a day between now and August 14th, with the winner to be announced on August 15th.
Just be sure to invite me along for the trip as one of your 15 guests if you win... because you know we're best buds, right? I remember visiting Discovery Cove myself the year it opened and it really was a mind-changing experience that I've recommended to everyone to try at least once in their lives. Not just the park itself, which is incredible, but the opportunity to swim with a dolphin is such a special one... your perception about them will change forever when you find yourself face-to-face with them in their world and realize just how clumsy in the water we truly are by comparison.
(6/3/16) From June 10 to Aug. 7 SeaWorld Orlando will host the Summer of Mako themed summer-time promotion. In addition to the Mako coaster itself, other new attractions on the way include the Shark Touch Pool at the relaxation station near Wild Arctic, various Interactive Games spread around the park including the Mako Challenge, a park-wide text message based scavenger hunt. Over at Shamu stadium they will put on Shamu Celebration: Light Up The Night in the evenings starting on June 18th. The Waterfront area will become home to a block party and more.
For those planning to visit around the July 4th holiday the park will feature concerts by Lee Greenwood on July 2 and July 3 at Bayside Stadium at 6:30pm each night. There will also be a major fireworks show on the evening of July 4th that will feature music from the 13th Army Band, Florida National Guard.
Across the way at Aquatica, the waterpark will bring back Island Nights Presented by Coca-Cola starting on July 8th through Aug. 6th. “Guests can enjoy a special Island Nights soundtrack, extended park hours, a daily happy hour from 5-7 p.m., an evening menu sizzlin’ with flavor at Waterstone Grill and evening kick-off parties with a DJ and dancers on Friday and Saturday nights.”
(3/30/16) Wild Gravity Travels has posted an interesting rumor near the end of their latest photo report from SeaWorld Orlando. They claim that the park's Dolphin Cove exhibit may close in the fall for a major refurbishing project that could see it closed for up to 8 or 9 months. Nothing has been confirmed yet by the park, but you may want to get your dolphin fix in now while you still can.
2016 - MAKO / New Roller Coaster - (6/3/16) Good news from SeaWorld Orlando, Mako quietly soft-opened for a few limited runs on Thursday to park guests. Those allowed to ride were given a "Soft Opening" ticket to present, good for one ride. No word on if this will be a daily thing or not between now and the official opening.
(5/29/16) An interesting photos update came in over the weekend to WildGravityTravels as the construction walls around Mako were removed, giving us a great look at what the overall themed area will look like when it opens next month. One really interesting item is that some of the coaster supports near the queue are being repainted to have a new textured rust-colored outer coat. They've also posted a good look at the Guy Harvey painted mural on the wall of one of the buildings.
(5/23/16) While Mako has yet to open to the general public, many employees were lucky enough to be the first to experience Mako late last week and Screamscape was able to get a couple of quick anonymous reviews of the new coaster to share. Keep in mind that the coaster's themed entry area and queue are still under construction at this time, and where not seen during the ride preview.
"The new Mako coaster at SeaWorld Orlando takes a special place as Florida's first true Hyper Coaster. While it shares the same height as nearby sister park's Busch Garden's dive-coaster Sheikra, Mako is built for speed and air time. The B&M designed Mako climbs a quick and smooth 200ft to attain 73mph on it's first decent. Primarily an out and back circuit with several hills that maximizes that "out of seat" feeling Hyper Coaster fan's love. As one rider stated "I think you spend as much time out of your seat as you do in it" and another enthusiastically added "it's the first new coaster in a while that was just pure fun to ride." After several runs in both the front row and back, I would agree, Mako is such a smooth and fast ride it not so much invites you to throw your hands up at each hill but almost demands it. Utilizing B&M's over the thighs lapbar design, a certain feeling of freedom adds to the experience, the front row seats offering a slight edge in excitement - even for me a traditional back row rider. From the first high speed drop, through the nearly inverted first turn all the way to the final winding elements over the path and lake below Mako offers a few surprises along the way. Mako is not only a great addition to SeaWorld Orlando's coaster stable, a great fit between the gliding intensity of flying coaster Manta to the exciting floorless inversions of Kraken but it also finds a place in the Central Florida coaster skyline by offering coaster fans visiting from around the world an opportunity to experience a smooth, fast and excellent Hyper Coaster. Mako towers above them all."
Well said, Mako sure sounds like a blast, and a ride that coaster lovers visiting Florida are going to just have to come to SeaWorld to experience the unique sensations for themselves... because as my final guest review put it so eloquently, "My ass lifted out of my seat and I thought I was going to die!"
(5/19/16) The latest construction photos from the Mako ride area have been posted to WildGravityTravels this week.
(5/11/16) Our friend JohnnyUpsidedown went on a special tour of Mako this week where they got to go in behind the construction wall and get up close to the new coaster, into the station as well as the nearby buildings. The park is also auctioning off the first rides on Mako as part of a fund raiser for Give Kids The World Village. You can read up on the details about how you can bid on the first seats by following this link.
We've got a few extra details about the Mako experience as well. In addition to learning more about sharks while in the queue, designed to look like a shipwreck. As riders move through the queue they'll "discover a unique sound system" that will enhance the experience, playing a custom Mako score that will follow them from the queue, into the loading bay and even as they leave the station and begin the ascent up the lift hill. At night special lights will accent the coaster trains, the themed realm around the ride, and the track, simulating the look of fish scattering by the approach of a Mako on the hunt.
Remember, Mako officially opens on June 10th.
(5/3/16) You can see a sneak peek at the official Mako commerical SeaWorld will be running for the new coaster, as it was shown during a park presentation this past week.
(4/26/16) The latest construction update for Mako at SeaWorld Orlando has been posted by Mako Madness, where some new themeing for the Sharks area has been added around the pathway. They even caught a few humans (not guests) taking test rides on Mako.
(4/19/16) WildGravityTravels has posted an extensive look at the Mako construction site this week, with a good focus on the park side construction projects underway for the near water dive at the end, themeing around the entrance/exit, what looks to be a new gift shop, plus plenty of shots of the ride testing as well. Check it out.
(4/16/16) The first Mako train was put on the rails for a test run the other day and boy did it fly around the tracks. SeaWorld was kind enough to send us the POV footage of this insane test run, so check it out below, because Mako will officially open to the public on June 10th.
A reader visiting SeaWorld a few hours ago noticed that an entire Mako train was now loaded onto the transfer track, sitting just outside the station. Looks like the decorated front shell on the lead-car was removed for some reason however.
(4/5/16) We have an official opening date for Mako now, as announced by SeaWorld, Mako will open on June 10th. Of course, I've got a hunch that we could see Mako quietly soft-open sometime in May as things are progressing quickly, so stay tuned!
Meanwhile our friends at Mako Madness have posted a new Mako progress video, with a look at a new Mako Rising show that they just started putting on in the Nautilus Theater. This may be a first for a park to put on a live stage show with guest interaction to promote a new roller coaster on the way.
(3/29/16) WildGravityTravels has posted a nice photo update for Mako at SeaWorld Orlando, as they work on finishing up the attraction.
(3/26/16) Mako Madness is back with a new video construction update for Mako at SeaWorld, now that the track circuit is now complete and some early themeing is now going into place. In other news, it seems that SeaWorld Orlando is now offering a free AP to Aquatica for Florida Residents who purchase a regular AP to the main park for $168 between now and April 24th. The pass is good for 12 months, includes free parking and has no blackout dates. It sounds like just the ticket for those who want to get plenty of rides in on Mako over the next year.
(3/16/16) With the Mako layout now complete, I figured it was time for one more look at the nearly mile long coaster, but from a new point of view. WildGravityTravels took a bunch of new photos of Mako during an aerial flight over the park. Make the jump and check it out.
(3/14/16) Pixels at the Parks is back with another Mako construction update, showing off the now complete layout in photos as work crews are putting on the final touches to the massive ride.
(3/12/16) Good news, the Mako track layout is now complete, and Mako Madness was on hand as the last piece was lifted into place yesterday afternoon. You can see the video below.
(3/8/16) One of our readers sent in some great new shots of Mako I had to share today, including one that I believe was shot from the Skytower giving us a great look at the front end construction work.
(3/7/16) The latest Mako construction photos have been posted to PixelsAtTheParks, where it looks like the finale track helix over the water area has now been installed. At this point I think the only track left to be installed is at the far end for the hammer-head turn.
(3/3/16) One of our local readers sent in three new pictures of Mako taken this week, two showing off the twisted approach to the water and the newest picture showing off the addition of the twist and dive segment to the edge of the waterline.
(3/1/16) Mako is making a lot of progress and it wont be long until the installation of track is complete from the look of things. You can see the latest construction progress video below from Mako Madness.
(2/23/16) A new Mako Madness construction update has been posted. Check it out below.
(2/18/16) SeaWorld Orlando was kind enough to get back to me regarding the question of why the Mako trains will have only 7 cars. According to the official response, "The 7-row trains on Mako will provide a more nimble and dynamic ride experience, better connecting your movements to those of the quick and agile Mako shark!"
(2/17/16) SeaWorld Orlando unveiled the shark themed lead car to the first Mako train on Tuesday afternoon and boy is it a mean looking coaster train. Inspired by the look of the Mako shark itself, the coaster car features similar looking features, such as the five gill slits, eye placement and a “sleek, hydro-dynamic look”. When finished, Mako will feature a total of 3 trains, each with a lead car that will look like this, and seven total passenger cars per train, for a total of 28 riders per train.
For what it is worth, for some reason the Mako trains are a bit shorter than what B&M normally builds. Every other B&M Hypercoaster features trains that either use 8-cars per train (32 riders) or trains with 9-cars per train (36 riders). 9 Cars per-train was the normal for all the early designs (even Apollo’s Chariot at BGW), though all the newest designs for Cedar Fair all feature 8-cars per train. I’m not sure why they cut the Mako trains a little short, other than maybe for budget reasons. Anyone on hand at the unveiling able to ask why?
Mako lead car unveiledPosted by Screamscape on Tuesday, February 16, 2016
(2/15/16) The latest MAKO construction update has made an interesting new discovery, some straight Mako track pieces spotted with what appears to be trim brakes.
(2/5/16) A new Mako construction update with some really great still photos has been posted to WildGravityTravels this week. Check it out.
(2/1/16) February is here and Mako's construction is moving right along at a rapid pace now. You can see the latest in the video from Mako Madness below.
(1/25/16) The latest Mako construction video footage can be found this week from our friends at Mako Madness who report that a lot of new track has been installed and with a new focus on the turn before the now finished speed hill.
(1/21/16) An amazing new construction report for Mako has been posted by Mako Madness who actually rented a Helicopter for a quick flight around the construction site to give us a new look that we haven't seen before. Check it out below.
(1/14/16) Screamscape was sent a couple of new Mako construction shots taken Tuesday afternoon, as the crews are now installing the first drop.
(1/11/16) A new video from the Mako construction site has been posted by Mako Madness as the first drop is starting to be installed. Check out the below, and you can also find a new photo update posted to PixelsAtTheParks.
(1/6/16) BREAKING - Mako’s Lift Hill was topped off around 12:30pm according to our photographer who sent in the latest pic.
(1/6/16) What is believed to be the last flat section of lift hill track on Mako was spotted being hoisted up by cranes this morning (see picture). The crown of the lift is expected to go up later today as well, weather permitting, and we hope to have another photo of this later.
(1/5/16) Work crews were preparing their equipment to put the crown of Mako's lift hill on top on Monday, which means that it will likely go up sometime on Tuesday. A few new photos of the site can be seen on Facebook.
(12/24/15) The latest Mako construction video has come in showing off the installation taking place for the bottom of Mako’s first drop, as well as the pouring of new footers for the backend and turn-around for Mako’s layout.
(12/22/15) I've got another Mako construction shot to add today from "Hello Kitty" showing off the next piece of the lift hill now in place.
(12/21/15) A pair of new pictures were sent in to Screamscape over the weekend showing the work crews hoisting a tall lift-hill support piece into place as Mako gets taller by the day. Special thanks to "Hello Kitty" for the photos.
(12/16/15) A new Mako construction update showing off the quickly rising lift hill structure has been posted to PixelsAtTheParks.
(12/9/15) I'm told construction on Mako is about to kick into high gear as several sections of the lift hill have been brought onto the site to be lifted into place over the next couple of days. Check out the latest pictures over at JohnnyUpsidedown, who also has some good pictures of the maintenance / train storage building structure that has been the focus of attention lately.
(11/11/15) PixelsAtTheParks reports that the new Pass Member Lounge at SeaWorld Orlando has soft opened and has posted a bunch of pictures showing off the inside. When you are done with that, you can also see the latest Mako construction shots as well.
(11/6/15) Looks like Mako has finally started vertical construction with the first sections of the ride supports now in place, and a track section nearby ready to be lifted into place according to a photo update posted to PixelsAtTheParks.
(11/4/15) SeaWorld has also released their new official logo for the 2016 Mako roller coaster.
(10/29/15) A new Mako construction update for SeaWorld Orlando has been posted to Pixels at the Parks. Unfortunately the project is still in the ground phase and has yet to go vertical.
(10/26/15) One of our readers who happens to be a truck driver, got caught up in a traffic jam on I-75 passing through Kentucky and happed to be right alongside a load of Mako coaster track heading south to SeaWorld Orlando over the weekend and send in a couple of new fantastic pictures of the precious cargo for everyone to enjoy!
(9/1/15) I missed this before but SeaWorld Orlando finally released the full official POV animation of their new Mako roller coaster. Check it out below.
(8/31/15) JohnnyUpsidedown is back with a new MAKO construction progress page and some great new pictures showing off the new coaster construction site and progress made so far.
(8/25/15) A fun new MAKO construction update has been posted to Pixels At The Parks as load after load of MAKO track arrived at the SeaWorld Orlando complex, or perhaps more specifically, in a grassy field near Aquatica if I'm not mistaken.
(5/28/15) A few more details (and pieces of artwork) on MAKO were sent my way. For starters the coaster will be the centerpiece of a new 2-acre shark themed area that will include Mako,
Shark Encounter, Sharks Underwater Grill, new shops, shark and shipwreck theming and new educational experiences. The entire "realm" will be themed to look as if you are underwater and near a shipwreck taken over by group of sharks. After dark, special lighting will be used to accent the new land, including the coaster's track and trains. Mako will also use a unique sound system to enhance the experience, and not just for those on the coaster itself. The full "score" created for Mako will be heard as it follows the riders out of the station and up the lift hill, and custom "surround effects" for the musical score will "fill the realm, changing as the coaster dives through the area."
The coaster itself will feature a total of 9 airtime hills along the route, full of the negative g-forces that coaster lovers crave. The ride will also feature custom themed Mako trains.
(5/27/15) SeaWorld Orlando just confirmed that their new 2016 Hypercoaster will be named Mako. It will stand 200 feet tall, hit speeds up to 73mph and have a 4,760 run length, designed by B&M for airtime and speed as the centerpiece of a new shark themed area of the park.
This addition of MAKO will make this the third B&M coaster at the park.
(5/22/15) MAKO… remember this name, as SeaWorld has filed for a new trademark to use this name for a new future attraction. While there is no way to know for sure which park or planned attraction, this name is a perfect fit for SeaWorld Orlando’s upcoming plans for a 200 foot tall coaster. To be fair, SeaWorld also files paperwork for a second name, “Reef Hunter” as well, but that just doesn’t sound like a coaster to me. And if that wasn't enough, a third name was also just filed for on May 15th called “Strikewinder”. Again...sounds kind of like a waterslide to me, but you never know...
Mako fits in perfectly with the kind of names used for coasters previously at the various SeaWorld brand parks, falling right in line with the likes of: The Great White, Steel Eel, Kraken and Manta. As for Reef Hunter… it almost sounds more like some interactive shoot-em up dark ride like Knott’s new Voyage of the Iron Reef. Or I could see Reef Hunter being used as the name for a new waterslide too perhaps at one of the waterparks like Aquatica. More as we find out.
(5/13/15) SeaWorld has let it be known that they will release the details about the park’s upcoming 200 foot tall roller coaster project on May 27th, which they are using the hashtag #nothingfaster for on Social Media. Two weeks to go… now lets see what kind of details surface from the rumor mill between now and then.
(4/24/15 - UPDATED) I’ve been hearing rumors for weeks now that a large new roller coaster was being planned for SeaWorld Orlando. While the exact location isn’t entirely known, it seems that it will run along the backside of the park’s South-East side, possibly running out and along I-Drive for the outer leg of the journey. This matches up with the rumors I posted months ago about survey crews doing work alongside and behind the Nautilus show theater, and rumors that the behind the scenes work trailers between the theater and Shark exhibit would be removed in the near future and relocated to the other side of the theater. It is also work mentioning that the old games area next to Shamu Stadium has also been demolished, which could also be related to this project.
As for the coaster itself, I’m told it will be from Mack Rides who made all the Journey To Atlantis rides, the Manta coaster in San Diego and is rumored to be making the coaster for Busch Gardens Tampa in 2016. While I’m not 100% sure on this bit, rumor has it that the coaster will be lauched, like Manta in San Diego, but with a much larger layout. In fact, while I don’t know exactly how aggressive the layout will be, or how many inversions, it may be a good idea to look up videos of Blue Fire at Europa Park or Helix at Lisberg to get an idea of what you may be able to expect.
UPDATED: SeaWorld Orlando has confirmed the new coaster for 2016, and it will be a big one, standing 200 feet tall. Check out the official teaser announcement from SeaWorld below:
Something is stirring beneath the surface at SeaWorld Orlando, preparing to rise from the ocean depths and soar to thrilling new heights. Get ready for the frenzy of SeaWorld’s new 200-foot-tall coaster. In 2016, this thriller will take its place atop the food chain as Orlando’s tallest, fastest and longest coaster. More details on the new addition will surface in late-May. SeaWorld is a one-of-a-kind theme park with a variety of attractions including awe-inspiring animal encounters, thrilling rides and spectacular shows. Follow #nothingfaster as the frenzy starts.
2017 - New Additions and Attractions - Rumor -
(9/29/16) While SeaWorld Orlando confirmed all the rumors about the VR experience being added to their fantastic Kraken roller coaster, there was some extra news that did concern me a bit. In the announcement they mentioned that the plan was to add the VR gear to the Kraken on a full time basis, which has led to many Screamscape readers to question if the option to enjoy the traditional ride experience, minus the VR headgear, would still be possible for those who don’t like, or don’t care for the VR enhancement.
According to the official park description of the Kraken Virtual Reality (VR) Roller Coaster experience, “Guests will embark on a deep sea mission alongside sea creatures inspired by extinct and legendary animals of the past, including the mighty Kraken. A custom digital overlay with uniquely designed headsets, fully integrated both mechanically and electronically into the coaster train delivers a new one-of-a-kind adventure. The addition of VR to this fan-favorite brings a new level of excitement and interest in Kraken, giving guests the opportunity to experience the coaster in a completely new way.”
While the idea of adding the system to the ride sounded good as a way to speed up the loading issues that have been the biggest complaint so far about similar installations at other parks, the simple truth is that the headgear needs to be cleaned and sterilized after each use, plus the units do require recharging as well to keep everything up and running. With that in mind, I’m not sure exactly what SeaWorld was planning on changing or attaching to the trains that could possibly speed up this process. From the sound of things, the hardware being used may not be the same Samsung based VR Gear system we’ve seen before, and perhaps if the headgear is attached to the train, it could perhaps just quick-lock into some kind of head-band the riders can put on and properly fit to their head while in the queue before being loaded onto the train, with power to the headgear coming from a battery built into the train itself.
I’ve reached out to the park for some clarification on these issues, but have not yet heard back.
Also in 2017 some other new experiences and additions are coming soon, including the new Kraken VR Coaster experience, which you can read all about by clicking here. Other new additions include an updated and more interactive Dolphin Nursery attraction. It will offer, “Large-scale acrylic windows will offer up close viewing, including multiple levels to give kids a face-to-face perspective with dolphin calves. New slide out areas and lifting floor will also allow for easier access to mom and baby for the veterinary and animal care teams. The next generation of multi-purpose digital displays will allowSeaWorld educators to share information about dolphin behavior, biology and conservation with our guests by interacting with video from the team’s educational and animal care content.”
Starting in late 2016 however the park will welcome Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer & Friends to the park. “Beloved Christmas character Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and friends, including Clarice, Bumble, the Abominable Snow Monster and Yukon Cornelius, and Rudolph themed attractions will be making their debut as part of the 2016 Christmas Celebration at SeaWorldOrlando.” Look for them all to return for Christmas 2017 as well, with additional Rudolph themed experiences.
In February 2017 the park will host the Seven Seas Festival, a popular music and food event that will be expanded to run over a total of 14 weekends in 2017, offering food items inspired by the food and of Asia, the Caribbean, South America and the Mediterranean. Plus the beer, offering a variety of international, local and seasonal craft brews on tap.
The park’s popular SeaFire Grill theme will be expanded with the addition to the new Flamecraft Bar in Summer 2017, adding a new dining location along the waterfront area, as well as a place to sit and enjoy a beverage, featuring 16 seasonal craft brews and a new menu.
Also the park will have a new way to end your day in Summer 2017 with the launch of Electric Ocean, a new end-of-day spectacle event. “As the sun goes down, the lights and energy go up, offering guests a different kind of fun after dark. The ocean comes to life with bioluminescent lighting, music and pathway entertainment, immersing guests in a glowing sea of wonder.”
SeaWorld will also offer a new show in the Nautilus Theater for Summer 2017, starting Memorial Day weekend. Details about this new experience will be released at a future date, but I wonder if this has anything to do with that “bubble show” rumor I reported on not too long ago.
(9/27/16) While the SeaWorld parks are set to make official announcements about they have in store for 2017 sometime on Tuesday, most of the information has already been released in the weeks (and months) prior in one form or another, so very little should be surprising. USA Today however looks like they got an early exclusive on the complete run-down, where they confirm that Kraken will be adding VR headgear sometime in 2017 where riders will get a close-up introduction to the legendary Kraken. They also confirm that unlike other VR Coaster installations that we've seen this past year they are attempting to integrate the gear into the trains themselves somehow in order to speed up the load-time issues that have come along with the VR enhancement elsewhere.
They also mention that the Orlando park will also modify the Dolphin Nursery area with bigger windows, slide-outs and underwater camera feeds to help guests see them better.
(9/9/16) Screamscape sources tell us that SeaWorld Orlando may be planning to add their own VR Coaster enhancement experiences sometime in 2017 to the park's Kraken (B&M Floorless) roller coaster. If the rumor is true, the theme of the VR experience will actually be an encounter with the mythical Kraken beast that the ride is themed after which could prove to be a very cool experience.
What else may be new in 2017? I don't know the details but some kind of new show described as a "Bubble Show" may also be in the works. I'm not sure if this is more of a large scale bubble display kind of thing, or just a performer on a stage who can make funny shapes bubbles with smoke in them. Anyone know more?
One more thing work mentioning... and this will affect guests sooner than the rest, but I'm also hearing that Journey to Atlantis will likely close down for an extended rehab in late 2016 and remain closed until sometime in February 2017. Time to get your JTA fix in now while it's still warm.
2018 - Sea Rescue Dark Ride - Planning - (4/14/16) With Mako opening in 2016, I'm told that the next BIG capital project for the park wont happen until 2018, With the Dolphin Cove rumored to close for a big rehab from late 2016 to mid 2017, one rumor claims that the Sea Rescue themed dark ride concept could begin construction soon after on this side of the park for a possible 2018 opening, as the ride's theme would tie into the Dolphin exhibit as well as the Manatee Rescue area just beyond.
(11/10/15) The latest updates from the SeaWorld presentation go into more detail about what they have planned to happen at SeaWorld Orlando. For starters they have teamed with the Evans hotel company to both look into ideas to build hotels as well as buy existing properties and have Evans manage it for them at their various parks. In Orlando, I would say both ideas could be possible given the number of existing hotels nearby as well as space available to build upon on property they already own.
Panasonic has also signed on to be a major corporate sponsor with the parks going forward. Another deal was also signed to bring the Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer characters to the parks starting by Christmas 2016. With this in mind, I would assume that 2015 will be your last year to ride The Polar Express version of Wild Arctic.
Not a lot of hard detail was given about the future beyond here, though there was something mentioned about swapping the order of their existing plans around for major and minor new attractions for the park. One idea mentioned was a Sea Rescue themed dark ride experience. A similar concept was also mentioned for the San Diego park in 2017.
2019 - Orca Encounter - Planned - (3/17/16)
SeaWorld has announced that starting today they will end their Orca / Killer Whale breeding program, and that the animals currently in the park’s care will be the last generation of orcas at the SeaWorld parks. They did note that at least one of the whales, Takara, is currently pregnant, so there will be at least one more baby to be born, keeping in mind that they have a gestation cycle of 17-18 months.
SeaWorld also announced that their new “Orca Encounter” program that will see the park’s current theatrical style show in San Diego transformed in 2017 into an educational experience focused on enrichment, exercise, education and conservation, will be followed by similar updates of the facilities at the San Antonio park (assuming in 2018) and then the Orlando park by 2019.
SeaWorld also announced today a broad new partnership with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) to protect our oceans and the animals that call them home. The company is committing to educating its more than 20 million annual visitors on animal welfare and conservation issues through interpretative programs at the parks and expanded advocacy for wild whales, seals, and other marine creatures.
“We are pleased to join with HSUS on the significant issues facing marine mammals and their ocean homes,” said Joel Manby. “The work done by zoological facilities like SeaWorld is critical for the protection of animals in the wild, especially marine mammals. To that end, SeaWorld has committed $50 million over the next five years to be the world’s leading marine animal rescue organization, to advocate for an end to the commercial killing of whales and seals and an end to shark finning.”