2010 Best Theme Park Attraction nominee: SeaWorld Orlando's Believe
SeaWorld Orlando's Believe
joins the 2010 Best Theme Park Attraction in America tournament
field as the 15th seed in the Best Live Show bracket.
Believe debuted in 2006, the latest version of SeaWorld's killer whale show. The show blends video footage and audio narration with the in-pool performance by SeaWorld's killer whales and their trainers... and, yes, everyone sitting down close usually gets soaked. (The show also runs at the SeaWorld theme parks in San Diego and San Antonio.) Here are some highlights, courtesy SeaWorld:
I got to spend some time with the killer whale trainers in San Diego a year ago, and watched some of the backstage preparation with the whales (none of which actually are named "Shamu," by the way.) Personally, I've always gotten a kick out of TH Creative's description of what I also consider the most impressive moment in the show:
There's that point in the show where a trainer goes under water and and one of the [killer whales] comes up behind him and they burst through the surface with the trainer perched on the animal's nose. The trainer goes into the air and dives back into the water.
Okay, to complete that manuever the trainer [first] goes underwater and at one point has to look back over his shoulder and see this creature the size of a bus coming right up behind him.
How exactly does Sea World reprogram that trainer's most primal DNA to make certain that when he is flying through the air he is not screaming like an eight-year old girl?
The big knock on the current version of the show, which might explain its position in the bottom half of the draw, is that it doesn't offer the same percentage of whale tricks as previous shows. The narrative overlay about pursuing one's dreams, some readers claim, distracts from the spectacle of watching killer whales spin and flip like a cocker spaniel, drenching the audience in turn.
Recent SeaWorld shows seem to have followed a similar path, scaling back animal tricks in favor of trainers delivering messages about the importance of conservation and animal care. Some see that as a knock, others as a step forward. Either way, we'll find out if "Shamu" can swamp his competition when voting begins in the tournament, in March.
Please share your thoughts about Believe, in the comments.
I'm one of the people that can't stand this new version of the Shamu show. Shamu shows used to be a lot more fun back in the day. I could care less about the narrative part that this new version is trying to tell. I only see the more upbeat night time versions of the Shamu show when at Sea World. Believe will have no chance of beating the 2 seed.
Yeah, I liked TH's description, too. Really puts it in perspective.
I agree that I don't like the 'believe' show. I would rather see more whale tricks or learn more about the whales. Instead you get a show about how the trainer loves their job. Honestly, I could care less that the trainers love their job. I'm glad they do but I'm here to see the whale and learn about marine life...not your life.
There will always be that little voice in the back of your mind telling you that all zoos are morally wrong. Seaworld is , to all intents and purposes, an aquatic zoo with bucketloads of interaction and entertainment thrown in.
I've been going to SeaWorld Orlando since it opened in 1972, and although I do miss an educational component to Believe (although I hear that in addition to this show, SWC is offering a daily educational program) I LOVE this show. Why? Because it is based on the true story of Ted Griffin, the first person to ever capture and train a killer whale. The fascinating story is told in his book "Namu, Quest for the Killer Whale." It really was his dream that the whales inspire people to take better care of the planet and stop shooting, maiming or killing marine mammals in general. They did a pretty good job of capturing his (and their) feeling. I'll vote for it.
I like "Believe"-- but I don't think it'll do very well in the voting. I don't think any shows including animals will do well because trainers don't want to push the animals in crazy directions just b/c it'll raise the enjoyment of guests.
Gets me thinking....
I'm ok with the amount of tricks. I just don't need the story about how the trainer likes their job or the audience participation hand motions. I can't stand either.
Gotta love the episode of South Park this season ("Whale Wh*res") on this subject, as well as the one a few seasons ago ("Free Wilzyx"). If you haven't seen them, I recommend them, particularly the latter. It takes a lot of slight jabs at SeaWorld, while the former take on the subject of whaling.
Rob, I appreciate your counter-comments. I could go into a long and detailed counter-counter of each point you make, but instead I'm going to ask that you do one thing.
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