Welcome to Theme Park Insider! Join the community or log in
Theme Park Insider
Facebook Twitter YouTube Email Newsletter

New 'Polar Express' overlay for Wild Arctic at SeaWorld

Written by
Published: November 20, 2007 at 12:33 PM

SeaWorld Orlando has announced that starting this Friday (and running through Jan. 1), its Wild Arctic attraction will replace its ride simulator introduction with a new film themed to "The Polar Express." That makes what is normally themed to be a trip to an arctic research station instead a trip to Santa's north pole.

I'm looking forward to reports from our Orlando-area readers on this latest holiday-themed ride overlay. I'd also like to hear from readers about other ride theme overlays for the Christmas that they know about. The two I remember off the top of my head are Haunted Mansion Holiday and It's a Small World Holiday at Disneyland. Surely there are others. (I'd like to get a complete list for a Vote of the Week this weekend.) Thanks.

Readers' Opinions

From Bruce Lane on November 20, 2007 at 7:51 PM
(Sigh...)

Trust Sea World to take a great movie, and twist it so that it becomes nothing more than a marketing vehicle for them.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised. Their history has shown them to be masters of twisting anything they come in contact with that has even a hint of emotional content that they think they can repackage and resell...

I'm glad, however, that it's still possible to have a most enjoyable holiday season DESPITE Sea World and other commercial entities, and I would hope that all the board's readers have such.

Happy travels.

From Rob P on November 21, 2007 at 8:20 AM
What a Grinch. 'Tis the Season and all that..

Christmas is a special time and I think it's great to have the theming of some rides adapted to suit the Season.

If guests are visiting at this time of year one can safely assume that , in the majority of cases , it's because they actually like the special Season and all it has to offer.

So I disagree.It's not exploitation or cunning marketing or anything particularly sinister. It is, however,trying to get into the spirit of things and if it draws in the crowds and makes them money then so be it.

The alternative is for the Parks to lose money and close down.They are , ultimately , businesses not charities.

Anyway may I wish a Merry Christmas to you all at TPI.

From Robert Niles on November 21, 2007 at 9:23 AM
I'll take the flip side: I *hated* that movie! The visual look suited still images beautifully, but provided leaden action. And the conductor's final line: "it doesn't matter where you're going, just so long as you get on board," makes my skin crawl. That might be the most repulsive lesson I've yet seen in kid lit.

That said, a north pole/Santa overlay for an Arctic-themed attraction strikes me as a no-brainer. I just wish SeaWorld had found a better example than Polar Express, but I know I'm in the minority with my opinion on the flick, so it's probably a good business move for them.

From Gareth H on November 21, 2007 at 10:11 AM
I hated the Film, the charectors all seemed Soleless with their dark hollow eyes.. It actually seemed quite a demonic zombiefied film.

But anyway, I think it would be quite a good idea, so I'll be looking forward to seeing it ni the first week of december when I visit.

Do you think they can do anything with the awful Pirates 4D at Busch?

From Andrew Swanson on November 21, 2007 at 6:10 PM
FWIW, The Luxor in Las Vegas has a 4-D Polar Express attraction. I haven't made it down there to check it out yet but I'm assuming it's going into the simulator that normally has the Spongebob ride. I also don't know if it's the same attraction as Seaworld's but it would appear so. If I make it down there, I'll be back here with a review.
From Missy Renee on November 22, 2007 at 8:45 AM
I just have to add another comment about the Polar Express movie. I, too, found the movie very disappointing. I was a big fan of the book, and just didn't get any "magic" from the movie like I was hoping for. There just wasn't enough material in the book to make a feature-length movie. So any theme park attraction based on the movie is not going to be exciting news to me.

Even though I thoroughly enjoyed Sea World, I found Wild Arctic to be my least favorite attraction. It may have just been timing, but the polar bears never made an appearance, and I wasn't overly impressed with the rest. I have never liked motion simulators, and kind of resented having to go through the pre-show. Instead of re-theming the pre-show, how about just doing away with it (at least for the people who would rather just walk through the exhibit at their leisure)?

From Ed Newman on November 26, 2007 at 10:47 AM
We were down at Sea World for Thanksgiving weekend and came across this "surprise" on Friday, 11-23. We were anticipating a ride on "Wild Arctic" and had mixed feelings about this change. My wife is a fan of the movie, but I can take it or leave it. First of all, they only had one of the simulators set up for this so The line moved VERY slowly. What would probably be a 15-20 min. wait for Wild Arctic was 35 mins for P.E. I have to get them credit for changing much of the theming on the inside. When you walked into the loading station, there was Christmas tree fragrance (pine) in the air and the outside of the simulators were changed to look like trains. All of the ride attendants were dressed like conductors. The inside also had a nice "look" with train windows and curtains. All that having been said, it's easy to say it was a "stretch" to turn this into a ride simulator. The only good parts were some steep up and down sections of train track. Other parts simply involved watching segments of the movie with limited motion. I would only rate this "4" out of 10 (but a B+ for effort). If you have small children, they would probably enjoy it. After you unload from the train, they have a nice little section called "Santa Claus town" (or something like that) with a big tree, decorations and the Jolly Elf himself waiting for the tykes (bring money for photos). From there you continue into the original Wild Artic displays.

This article has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.

Previous article: Vote of the week: Thanksgiving cranberry sauce



Planning a trip to Orlando?

Walt Disney World

Insider's Pick: Get all the best advice from ThemeParkInsider.com in one convenient book! Theme Park Insider Orlando 2014 offers you the insight, background, and how-to skills that will help you enjoy Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando like, well, a theme park insider. Save yourself time and money by learning how to visit the Orlando-area theme parks the insiders' way.

Get it! In paperback | For Kindle | For iBooks