SeaWorld Announces New Attractions for SeaWorld Orlando in 2017!
Yesterday, SeaWorld announced quite the list of new additions to their parks across the country for 2017. All three SeaWorld parks and both Busch Gardens parks will be getting new attractions in one form or another for the 2017 season and it is very exciting considering the hardships the company has faced over the past few years. I’m very happy to see they are persistent with moving forward on new and better things for their parks! Here’s what’s coming to SeaWorld Orlando!
Rudolph’s ChristmasTown at SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration
SeaWorld Orlando’s Christmas Celebration is one of my favorite Christmas events in Florida, and you can find out why here. Right before SeaWorld announced this new addition to their Christmas Celebration, I had heard they lost the rights to The Polar Express and it would not be returning to the event, which made me very sad. But I am excited to see these classic characters coming to the park.
Debuting at 2016’s Christmas Celebration™, these favorite Christmas characters will be joining in on the celebrations at SeaWorld Orlando. Featuring Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, guests will also have a chance to meet Clarice, Bumble, the Abominable Snow Monster and Yukon Cornelius. These Rudolph themed attractions will be also be returning in 2017!
New Improvements for the Dolphin Nursery
For the summer of 2017, SeaWorld Orlando’s Dolphin Nursery will become more interactive for its guests. They will soon have the chance to be closer than ever to mother and baby dolphins in brand new, inspiring ways.
These new additions to the Dolphin Nursery include a large-scale acrylic window viewing area with multiple levels for the ability to see different perspectives and the chance to come face to face with the dolphins themselves. And similar to their other tanks in the park, a new slide out area and lifting floor will be installed which will allow the veterinary and animal care teams easier access to the animals.
And lastly, SeaWorld will be adding digital displays which will allow educators to share information with their guests about dolphin behavior, biology, and conservation in new ways by interacting with video from underwater cameras, educational content and animal care videos.
Debuting next summer during their summer event, Electric Ocean is a brand new, end-of-the-day spectacle. After the sun goes down, the new nighttime entertainment will come to life with bioluminescent lighting, music, and pathway entertainment, which will immerse guests in a high energy glowing sea of wonder.
Nautilus Theatre – New Show in Summer 2017
This definitely has my interest piqued! The Nautilus Theatre is located in the back of the park by Mako and once housed A’lure The Call of the Ocean, a Cirque du Soleil like show, which was incredibly entertaining and, if I remember correctly, very impressive. But the show closed a few years ago without a replacement. Finally, it’s time!
This brand new experience, which name has yet to be released, will be an entirely new experience at SeaWorld Orlando and will debut Memorial Day weekend. It has been announced as a dedicated summer show, which sounds like it will not be a year round attraction. I’m sure more details will be released as we get closer.
Kraken to Receive Virtual Reality Addition
Coming in 2017, SeaWorld will be bringing us its first digitally enhanced ride experienced on their famous Kraken roller coaster and will be the only VR coaster experience offered in Florida. For this new adventure, guests will embark on a deep sea mission alongside sea creatures inspired by extinct and legendary animals of the past, including the mighty Kraken itself. The new experience will also directly tie into Journey to Atlantis, located right next door.
For this VR experience on Kraken, a custom digital overlay with uniquely designed headsets has been designed. They will be fully integrated both mechanically and electronically into the coaster trains to deliver this new one-of-a-kind adventure.
Kraken is an exceptional roller coaster in and of itself. It’s one of the best Orlando has to offer and also the only floorless. I’m on the fence of the VR additions to roller coasters which are currently sweeping the nation, most notably at the Six Flags parks. (I feared Universal Orlando was going to be adding it to their Incredible Hulk roller coaster.) The two main arguments against VR headsets on a roller caster the rides are just great without needing the VR added onto them and load/unload now takes longer for each train due to riders now having to properly put on the new headsets. I haven’t experienced these yet, but will be soon. As for Kraken, it could be a very interesting experience whether your in favor of or against the VR.
Seven Seas Food Festival
One of the things the SeaWorld and Busch Gardens parks are quickly becoming known for are their food festivals. In 2017, SeaWorld Orlando will expand their popular music and food events to a total of 14 weekends as part of the Seven Seas Festival. Guests will have the chance to try culinary offerings throughout the park inspired by street food from Asia, the Caribbean, South America, and the Mediterranean. And as expected, guests will even be able to indulge in a variety of international, local, and seasonal craft beers on tap. This is sure to become a favorite food festival among SeaWorld guests.
Flame Craft Bar
The SeaFire Grill, located on the waterfront area, is about to get a brand new dining establishment located right next door. The Flamecraft Bar will feature 16 seasonal craft beers, as well as an all new menu for guests to enjoy. Whether you’re there to grab some lunch or sample some new craft beers, the Flamecraft Bar sounds like a great addition to SeaWorld’s lineup of dining establishments. It is expected to open summer 2017.
New Annual Passholder Benefits
SeaWorld parks certainly loves its annual passholders. This past year, SeaWorld offered its passholders some great new benefits and even built a brand new passholder lounge for them. Now it looks as though SeaWorld plans to add even more value to their annual pass. Coming in 2017, they will be plan to add even more perks for their APs as well as a brand new passholder lounge located inside Aquatica, SeaWorld’s water park. This exclusive pavilion will feature concierge service, complimentary suncreen, a private entrance to Banana Beach, private animal encounters, as well as some additional offers not yet released. It is expected to open around Easter 2017.
That’s it for SeaWorld Orlando in 2017. However, there is an additional announcement which I want to point out. Coming to SeaWorld San Diego next summer is a new Orca Encounter. The new experience will veer away from the theatrical aspect and instead focus on orca enrichment, exercise, and overall health.
The new Orca Encounter will be based on killer whale behavior in the wild: what they eat, how they hunt, how they navigate and how they communicate, helping guests gain a deeper appreciation and respect for the orcas and empowering them a sense of determination and purpose to help preserve the future of these majestic animals. This new encounter will have the feel of a live documentary and look at broader themes such as research, rescue, conservation, habitats and distribution, husbandry and care, and social structures.
This new Orca Encounter experience opens in SeaWorld San Diego next year in 2017, followed by Orlando and then San Antonio by 2019.
So there you have it. SeaWorld Orlando is getting quite a bit of new and exciting things for the coming seasons and I for one am very excited to see some fresh breath coming to one of my favorite parks. What are you most looking forward to?