Discovery Cove and Aquatica
SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment
---- THE LATEST BUZZ ----
(8/19/14) New 2015 Sea Lion Show Details (MORE...) / Photo Trip Report (MORE...)
(8/12/14) SeaWorld Orlando's Last Polar Bear Dies (MORE...)
(7/30/14) SeaWorld Orlando Confirms Sea Lion Show To Close (MORE...)
(6/17/14) New Sea Lion & Otter Show This Fall/Winter (MORE...)
Attraction Rehabs - The following information is not guaranteed to be 100% accurate.
Sea Lion & Otter Show - NOW CLOSED through Early 2015 (New Show Install)
Park News - (8/19/14) Orlando Parks News takes a look around SeaWorld Orlando this week that includes some pictures of the Antarctica attraction queue that is now kind of a cluttered mess from the look of things.
(8/12/14) I missed this last week, but SeaWorld Orlando’s last polar bear, Johnny, has unexpectedly died at the age of 24. He had been sedated for a physical exam prior to his death and they believe he may have suffered cardiac arrest while recovering from the procedure. The average lifespan of a wild polar bear is said to be 25-30 years.
Apparently Johnny was the last Polar Bear in the care of SeaWorld Orlando, and at this time there are no longer Polar Bears on exhibit in the Wild Arctic attraction. SeaWorld has not confirmed if they plan on obtaining a new one or not at this time.
(5/22/14) The SeaWorld Parks have launched all new version’s of their official park smartphone Apps (Discovery Guides) earlier this year, and the improvements just keep on coming. I’m told that the ability to purchase QuickQueue to cut to the front of the line will soon be coming to the app itself, which means you can upgrade your experience from within the actual line you are trying to skip.
Other new additions include GPS enabled park maps, real-time updates of park show schedules and special events, current ride-wait times, the ability to receive broadcasted park notifications and special offers, and soon will also give you the ability to order your food online from select locations so you don’t have to wait in line to order.
You can download the official Discovery Guide apps for the SeaWorld, Busch Gardens and Sesame Place parks for free in both: Apple (App Store) and Android (Google Play) flavors.
(5/20/14) Both Busch Gardens Tampa and SeaWorld Orlando have raised their ticket prices this week. Admission to Busch Gardens Tampa is now $95 for both adults and children, though there are many discount offers available online if you buy in advance. Admission into SeaWorld Orlando is $95 for adults and $90 for children (3-9). Parking is $17, and $22 for preferred parking.
(5/2/14) The Orlando Sentinel reports that SeaWorld Orlando has raised their parking fee to $17 this week and $22 for Preferred Parking. Parking also rose at Aquatica to $13.
2014 - Sea of Surprises / 50th Anniversary Celebration - (3/17/14) A few new details about what SeaWorld Orlando will be doing for the chain’s 50th Anniversary celebration were sent my way this weekend. Look for all Crew Members to spot a new special 50th Anniversary name tag this summer. The 50th logo is also being added to the lighthouse out front right now, the entrance sign to the parking lot, as well as a secret new “statue” of some kind going in front of the Cypress Bakery.
The 50th logo will also be placed on a giant themed wrap being added to the Skytower cabin right now, and you might want to keep your eyes open while inside the park for secret ‘prize patrols’ roaming the park bearing gifts. I’m told there is also going to be some kind of quiz game you can play on a mobile phone, where if you score high enough, you can win a free Shamu Ice Cream Bar. Other attractions being added this summer include a new night show at Shamu Stadium, some kind of “Wagon” in front of Nautilus Theater that will spray guests with water, a new character roaming the park in a ‘mobile bubble lab’ who is seeking to create the ‘perfect bubble’ and much more.
(6/12/13) A new 18-month long celebration event called A Sea of Surprises will kick off on March 21st, 2014... marking the 50th Anniversary of the grand opening of the original SeaWorld park in San Diego. All three SeaWorld parks in San Diego, Orlando and San Antonio will join in the epic celebration that will see a variety of special experiences added, new shows, pathway performances (aka: Splash Mobs), animal encounters and you may get a visit by the Surprise Squad who will be wandering the park treating guests with special prizes each day.
New giant sea life sculptures will also be put on display and the parks will offer new enhancements and digital services and special park apps to provide a new way to experience the park. Look for the official details to be released, piece by piece at the official 50th Celebration website starting this fall. As for now... check out this video preview of what’s on the way.
2014 - Aquatica: Ihu’s Breakaway Falls -
(5/20/14) Ihu’s Breakaway Falls is now open and Screamscape’s local man on the spot, Keith, was on site to take the plunge. I’m sorry this review is a little late, we were having some communication issues involving this story that were just resolved. In any case, lets see what Keith thought about Ihu’s Breakaway Falls!
“Last Thursday, I got to be among the first to ride Aquatica’s new Ihu Breakaway Falls waterslide attraction. These slides literally take your breath away. The thrilling drop, the high speed turns and twists make this an attraction only for the true-thrill seekers. It is definitely a 10 on the thrill-meter for sure.
You have the choice of four different slides, each offering a slightly different experience. There are three drop pod slides: Orange, Blue, and Green, and one traditional slide: Purple. They all feature a straight drop off start followed by a fierce set of high speed spiraling turns taken at extremely high speeds.
Tip! Hold your nose and take a big breath before you drop if you can.
If you are up for the 126 step journey to the top of the tower, you are in for the thrill of your life!”
Chatting with Keith about his experience shortly after he took the plunge, it sounds like Ihu’s Breakaway Falls may have set a new threshhold for the amount of thrills the human body can handle on a traditional body slide. He described the out of control experience to me as pure chaos from start to finish, and only when it was over did he feel like he could finally catch his breath. Having taken on many impressive waterslides alongside Keith over the years, his comments speak volumes to me about the intensity of Ihu’s Breakaway Falls. Sounds like Orlando has a new king of the “slide” mountain.
(4/26/14) Aquatica opened Ihu’s Breakaway Falls to park guests briefly yesterday and shot some video of the action and guest reactions that was posted to Facebook.
(4/22/14) A new video showing off the progress on Ihu’s Breakaway Falls was posted by Aquatica this week. This one includes a view from the top and shows off the massive custom roof being put onto the top of the tower.
(4/10/14) Screamscape sources tell us that Aquatica is set to begin employee ‘testing’ of Ihu’s Breakaway Falls as early as April 22nd. You can’t beat getting paid to test ride the new waterslide. Good times…
Meanwhile the park has also installed the last slide section earlier today and sent out a new photo of it being hoisted into place.
(4/7/14) The latest picture of Ihu’s Breakaway Falls sent in shows off a fairly complete looking slide tower at this point. Looks like the three main slides are in place now, droping through the floor of the tower, with the 4th non-DropPod purple slide still awaiting to be attached to the top of the tower.
(3/28/14) A great new picture showing off the progress made on Aquatica’s new waterslide was sent in this week. You can see a couple different colored tubes rising up from the ground to the tower, but for some reason they have removed the Drop Pod they put in place last week.
(3/21/14) Aquatica reports that they have installed the first of the three ‘Breakaway Box’ units (aka: Drop Pods) onto the top of Ihu’s Breakaway Falls tower. (See photo)
(3/14/14) A few new details have come out about Ihu’s Breakaway Falls. The slide tower will offer FOUR entirely different slide paths… the three at the top that start off inside the drop pods plus a forth open slide experience. Watch Part 1 of the new Behind the Falls video series about the making of the attraction below.
(3/6/14) Vertical construction on Aquatica’s new slide has begun, and is already towering into the sky as seen in this new picture sent in by a reader.
(2/24/14) Aquatica Orlando has confirmed the details for the new Ihu’s Breakaway Falls, features three different high speed enclosed drop slides that wil begin with sliders facing each other from the confines of different drop pods, at the top of a 105 foot tower. Each of the three slides is supposed to offer a different twisty layout on the way down, and what I really like is that apparently the drop sequence will be random. You wont know which pod will drop first, or in what order. Look for Ihu’s Breakaway Falls to open on May 9th. Watch the promo video below!
(11/13/13) Aquatica Orlando will open Ihu’s Breakaway Falls in 2014. According to the text sent out with a new video teaser, “Get ready to brave a watery free-fall at Aquatica Orlando's all-new water thrill slide coming in 2014 -- Ihu's Breakaway Falls. The drop slide will be the tallest, steepest and only multi-slide ride of its kind in Orlando.The slide is named after Ihu, Aquatica Orlando's colorful gecko, who searches for the biggest thrills, steepest hills and the coolest spills in the waterpark.”
Unfortunately that’s all the details we have available at the moment… so stay tuned!
2015 - Clyde & Seamore’s Sea Lion High - (8/19/14) ParkScope dug up a new trademark filing from SeaWorld Parks this week, which seems to give away the name of the new Sea Lion show coming to SeaWorld Orlando as “Clyde & Seamore’s Sea Lion High” along with a link to some great concept artwork of how the new stage might look.
(7/30/14) As rumored, SeaWorld has confirmed that the current Sea Lion & Otter show (Clyde & Seamore Take Pirate Island) will close for good after the last performance on August 10th after a record setting 15 year run. Screamscape sources tell us that the show venue will be closed for at least a month, maybe longer, for renovations and to install a new show that has yet to be named. If Screamscape’s June 17th rumor holds true the new show was tentatively titled, “Clyde & Seamore: Back To School”.
(6/17/14) Screamscape sources tell us that the Sea Lion & Otter show will indeed reopen from this fall’s rehab with an all new show, tentatively titled, Clyde & Seamore: Back To School.
(6/16/14) I’m hearing that the Sea Lion show will close for a lengthy rehab sometime this fall. No word on if this is just a refurbishment of the existing facility, or if they will finally add a new show.
2015/2016 - New Attraction and Future Expansion Plans - Rumor - (10/23/13) Aquatica continues to tease their #NothingTaller campaign for the new 2014 attraction, this time with a new teaser video. This new video, without showing much, teases the idea of a Drop Pod style device, which doesn’t make a lot of sense as there are plenty of drop slides in the area taller than 105 feet. Plus there is the matter of those previously leaked plans to consider that appear to show something more like a raft style Boomerango style slide experience and not a body slide with a drop pod. Curious...
t wont be a problem it seems as the plans show that the exit road from the parking lot that runs by here will be removed and relocated to exit further to the south. Take a look at the first image and you’ll see a very large new attraction has been designed to connect next to the exit of Omaka Rocka and across the road and into new untouched property. The parking lot here will also be changed a bit, and looks like they will add a new bus parking lot, more regular parking as well as a new exit road that may send all the exiting traffic down towards the hotels to the south of the property, allowing for the park to eventually expand to fill out the rest of the available property. You’ll notice an employee access road has also been drawn in around the entire expansion perimeter, just as it services the perimeter of the existing half of the park.
Of course I do have a theory… perhaps a somewhat tall drop slide experience is on the way in 2014 and those Boomerango style plans are perhaps destined for a larger 2015 expansion. After all, it is nearly the end of October and they have yet to begin construction on them, so it would be difficult, if not impossible to build something as impressive as those plans seemed to indicate for Spring 2014.
(9/27/13) It looks like Taruka Rush wont be the name of the new attraction in the works for Aquatica Orlando. SeaWorld Parks has let their trademark registration for that name die and so far has not filed for a new replacement. Keep your eyes open.
(8/4/13) The Screamscape Spy Network came through again with a look at the Aquatica Expansion Plans. These plans go beyond just adding a new attraction, but instead seem to set up the park for a whole wave of future expansions over the next decade. Going back, it looks like our first report may have been right about the location of the new slide going between the wave pool and Omaka Rocka.
While this isnt’ a big space… tha
Now lets look closer at the new attraction itself. It’s kind of complicated, and I’m going to make a few educated guesses based on what we’ve seen SeaWorld build at Aquatica in Orlando as well as in Texas. Essentially I think we may be seeing a merger of sorts of the Texas park’s two major attractions concepts: Stingray Falls and Wahalla Wave. Wahalla Wave is a ProSlide Tornado Wave (Proslide’s take on the Boomerango concept). Stingray Falls is a family raft slide, than ends with a trip below the surface where you float through an underwater viewing tunnel to look at Stingrays and tropical fish before the ride comes to an end.
The new attraction tower appears to be the starting point for two separate Tornado Wave style slides, where the riders were drop into the half-pipe style structure, reverse direction and both enter into a splashdown pool, where both will connect to the start of what looks like a lazy river portion of the ride. From here, I can only guess that riders will continue the journey in their rafts down through a twisting course, past possible new animal exhibits and possibly underwater viewing opportunities before disembarking their rafts.
This should provide a high-throughput opportunity for all guests to experience a true Aquatica style waterslide and animal habitat experience. Currently the only such attraction in the park is the Dolphin Plunge slides, which always has some of the longest lines in the park. Guests in the lazy river can also briefly pass through an underwater viewing area looking into the same exhibit area to see the occasional slider whiz past through the clear tubes, as well as passing by another underwater viewing panel into a tropical fish exhibit.
SeaWorld Parks has filed the name “Taruka Rush” with the US Trademark office back in September 2012 and to date and is still listed as being active, even though they haven’t used it for anything yet. Sounds perfect for this new attraction and themed area I think.
???? – Blue World Project / Killer Whale Habitat Expansion – (8/19/14) While the San Diego park will work on their version of this first (from 2015 to 2018) similar habitat expansions were promised to come to both the Orlando and San Antonio parks soon afterward. It’s too early to say what they will get here, but take a look at what they are building in San Diego, it will give you a good idea of what you can expect.
The Future - Wild Arctic Replacement - Rumor - (7/20/11) We’ve talked a bit about rumored future projects said to be on the way for SeaWorld Orlando over the next couple of years, but what else may be on deck long term? Apparently the new management has come to terms with the fact that Wild Arctic just isn’t a big draw anymore and said to be pondering possible solutions to the problem.
Unlike any other simulator ride, it just isn’t as easy as reprogramming the ride itself to use a new movie because the ride exits into the massive Wild Arctic themed animal habitat area, so a new Arctic themed ride may be the only item to fit the bill. While I’m sure they could rework the flow of traffic through the building if necessary with some structural modifications to turn the structure into two separate attractions (New Ride and Animal Habitat) I’m not sure if they area ready to take the easy way out just yet. They also have to consider that whatever they do in Orlando, they will likely end up doing in California as well to the Wild Arctic attraction there, and find a way to make it work for both.
The one item still keeping Arctic the same for the next few years is the special deal the park signed to convert the ride into a Polar Express ride for the holiday season, which has been quiet a popular attraction with the guests, and likely a big reason behind the reason they are looking into new ideas for the future. I’m told that this winter is actually the last year for the Polar Express contract, though the holiday attraction is so popular, an extension is likely to be signed for keep it going for a few more years.