And so the InBev era begins at the Busch theme parks...
By Ted Lund[Editor's note: This was submitted to the discussion forum, but I moved it up to the front-page Blog Flume. FWIW, I haven't independently confirmed anything below yet, so I'm deferring to the author for now.
Published: November 23, 2008 at 4:28 PM
Editor's Update: Busch denials.
Editor's Update 2: From someone whose judgment I respect with contacts whom I know: "I had spoken to one of Sea World's most senior animal training staff about this very issue. He told me that, honestly, he's heard nothing that would indicate anything at Sea World is going to change, at least as far as animal care and management is concerned. InBev seems quite content to get out of the way and let the experts do their jobs, as it were."]
Interesting words from several different employees from within SeaWorld Orlando and the areas affected by the recent sellout of AB (these folks are credible and have been right up to this point):
1. No buyers for the park at this time. Busch family was pursuing a deal to buy the parks, but that seems to have fallen through.
2. The iconic Clydesdales and Budweiser donkey have been sold. They were not a part of the actual AB Clydesdale operation, but rather were property of the parks. The donkey has already left the building — the horses are being allowed to stay until Jan 1.
3. Jan 1 seems to be a big day in the parks. The Hospitality House will close for good on that day. All AB employees (the folks in the Brewmasters Club actually work for AB marketing) in that area are gone. No more Brewmaster's Club or two free samples.
4. Jan 1 is also the day that all of the old AB Eagle logos are coming down. No word as to whether or not they'll be replacing them with the new AB-InBev seagull-on-acid logo. They've already nixed the "Here's to our Heros" segment from the Believe beginning (the one featuring the IVth). Although they are keeping the other segment of the intro, it will be interesting to see if that goes away on Jan. 1 as well.
If you enjoyed the parks under the 20 years that AB has owned them, (I am presuming these changes are going to be company wide)... now through Jan. 1. is the time.
The beer thing at the SeaWorld parks doesn't really bother me, but I remember in the early 70s going to Busch Gardens Africa for my birthdays with my parents and riding "the world's longest escolator" ride to the brewery tour. I just can't imagine BG without the "Busch."
Very sad day indeed if this is true — which I believe it is.
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