SeaWorld to open new Shamu show next spring

Shamu will get a new show next spring at the SeaWorld parks in Orlando, San Antonio and San Diego.

The killer whale show will replace “Believe,” which debuted four years ago. There’s no word yet as to whether SeaWorld’s killer whale trainers will be in the water with the orcas in the new show.

The trainers have been out of the water since the February death of Dawn Brancheau at SeaWorld Orlando, forcing a hasty rework of “Believe,” a show which focuses on the interaction between killer whales and humans. I have seen the show twice since the rework, and the storyline just doesn’t work now, because the trainers were such a big part of it.

SeaWorld Parks President and CEO Jim Atchison told the Orlando Sentinel that the new show was in the works before Brancheau’s death, but the timetable for launching the new show has been accelerated. Atchison also said the safety review launched in February has influenced the new show’s development.

More details about the show are expected to be released in the next few weeks.

[Image credit: Flickr user Abi Skipp]


Free admission to SeaWorld, Aquatica and Busch Gardens for volcanic ash victims

Travelers from the United Kingdom, Ireland and Continental Europe who are stranded in the US are eligible for free admission to SeaWorld Orlando, Aquatica Waterpark and Busch Gardens Tampa.

Because of the volcanic ash flight disruptions, thousands of tourists are stuck waiting for their airlines to get permission to fly, and a free day trip to one of these parks could really help take some of the stress (and boredom) out of waiting.

To get your free tickets, you need a return airline ticket valid from April 14 through Wednesday April 21 (or until flights return to normal). One free ticket is issued for each airline ticket presented. The offer is also extended to airline crews. For more information on this very generous promotion, you can call 1-888-800-5447 or visit the SeaWorld parks and entertainment blog.

In a poor economy, SeaWorld raises ticket prices to just under $80

SeaWorld Orlando doesn’t seem to think the economy has suffered enough, because it just raised its prices by $4 to an insane $78.95, per person.

With just six rides and ten shows, SeaWorld assumes people won’t have a problem paying this, even though their new prices are just 5 cents lower than neighboring Disney or Universal, who have much more to offer.

Now, I won’t argue with anyone who says the park puts on a good show, and they are known worldwide for their amazing aquatic shows, but when you charge just under $300 for a family of four, you’d better put on more than just a “good show”. Once you add food and a local hotel, a trip to SeaWorld will cost over $500 for just one day.

In this economy I would expect parks to actually lower their prices, instead of raise them. Minor discounts are available to people who pre-order their tickets, but even with those discounts you’ll be spending far too much.

The park does offer a free visit on a second day, within 7 days of your first visit. If you are visiting the Orlando area and want to visit SeaWorld, Busch Gardens and Aquatica, the total bill will come to just under $550. Add their all day dining option for all three days and your credit card will take a $900 hit, and that doesn’t even include your flights and hotel. Too much? Tell us in the poll below!