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Robert Niles

2010 Best Theme Park Attraction nominee: SeaWorld San Diego's Pets Rule

Published: February 26, 2010 at 5:12 AM

SeaWorld San Diego's Pets Rule! joins the 2010 Best Theme Park Attraction Tournament field as the fourth seed in the Best Live Show bracket.

SeaWorld San Diego's Pets Rule!

Pets Rule! gives the spotlight to dogs, cats and other domesticated animals. Personally, I haven't seen the show in a while, but here's what I wrote about it in 2002, when I reviewed its opening for the Los Angeles Times:

"Dogs jump and fetch, cats scramble, and pigs strut as their trainers engage them all in sometimes complex, but always amusing, choreography. Of course, this being a SeaWorld show, the folks sitting up front have to get wet. Without Shamu and a big water tank, a runaway hose does the trick here. It's the climax to a gag where the audience learns an important "pet rule": Always get the human giving you a bath wetter than they get you."

At SeaWorld Orlando, this show plays as Pets Ahoy!, with some variations in the script and stunts.

Having animals that many visitors know as pets and companions changes the dynamic from SeaWorld's usual fare. The awe-inspiring impression of seeing exotic animals is lost in this show, but it gains an emotional punch from the animal's familiarity. Audience members, kids especially, often have a stronger emotional connection with the Pets Rule! pets, especially within the context of seeing so many other exotic species during their day at SeaWorld. Throw in some fun stunts and tricks, and you've got the recipe for high reader ratings, pushing Pets Rule! to its top-four status.

But can it hang on in the tournament and avoid an upset? Tell us your thoughts, in the comments.

Replies (7)

Anthony Murphy

Published: February 26, 2010 at 6:39 AM

I have seen the Pets Ahoy at SWO and it is one of the stronger animal shows at the park. Since I can assume they are comprable, I could see this going pretty far since it is a higher seed. However, I know its up against some of the big boys of theme park shows!
Rob P

Published: February 26, 2010 at 6:55 AM

I'm afraid that this show pales in comparison to "Animal Actors" at Universal Orlando.
"Pet's Rule" is okay but not a show that encourages me to see it more than once.
Derek Potter

Published: February 26, 2010 at 8:57 AM

Silver Dollar City also had one of these shows for a while. I don't think they have it anymore though.

While on the subject, it's too bad that we aren't seeing any of the Silver Dollar City shows on this list. I'm pretty sure a couple would be worthy of nomination. I guess we can chalk it up to mega-infatuation with Orlando.

Published: February 26, 2010 at 9:50 AM

what about critter castawys at BGT. they won a iaapa in 2009
Joshua Counsil

Published: February 26, 2010 at 12:00 PM

4th seed? Really?

Don't get me wrong. It's not a bad show, but the 4th seed? Ahead of Waterworld, Finding Nemo, Katonga, Sea Lions Tonight, and other worthier shows? Wow. I guess you can teach an old dog... old tricks.

I'd give it a 6-Fair, at best.

Manny Barron

Published: February 26, 2010 at 10:43 PM

Pets Rule is a fun energetic show with lots of animals. It really is a charming show but the 4th seed seems a bit to high for it. The 10-14 range would have seemed about right, but nevertheless it's an entertaining show that is always worth a look at SW of San Diego.
Mark Migliaccio

Published: March 2, 2010 at 10:36 AM

This show is OK, but Finding Nemo should pull the upset here.

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