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Sea world's new shows - Corny?

Sea World Orlando: Now i like sea world and its one of my favourite parks but does anyone else think that the new shamu show is kind of cheesy?

From Ryan Watts
Posted May 25, 2006 at 8:53 AM
I recently went to sea world and watched their new shamu show (Believe) and their whale and dolphin show (Cant remember name).

Now i like sea world and its one of my favourite parks but does anyone else think that the new shamu show is kind of cheesy? I was sat there cringing at some of the stuff that went on it that show. The shamu bit in the believe show for instance, where every body has to get up and to the shamu dance.....what was that about?
What about all the connection between boy and whale bit....and i believe..i believe..i believe ect......Ok so the trainers have some sort of vauge connection with the whales, that being the trainers have fish....and the whales want it so they will do a trick for it. I wonder if the whales would do it if they were getting no fish.
I Just think the whole theatrical route is a little bit corny and i preffered the old educational way they did it.

I also saw the whale and dolphin show.....and that seemed a little bit random....I just didnt get why everybody was dressed up as a parrot aswell as running around and pretending to fly. I Just dont get it. I wanted to see whales and dolphins but for half of the show i see people dressed up as parrorts running around the stage and playing about on trapezes (sp?). It seems vaugely reminisent of a circus show. I did like the bit where the real parrots were let off and were flying around, that was cool. But to have the dolphin trainers dressed up as parrots on a dolphin show....i just dont get it....it just seemed like a time filler....totally out of context with the whole theme of the park.

Anyway these are just my opinions but i really did prefer the old shows. I do like the Clyde and seymour sea lion show. That was very well done.


Comments in chronological order. Most recent at the bottom. Scroll down to respond.

From Erik Yates
Posted May 25, 2006 at 6:11 PM
Sea World is going for a more showman type atmosphere in order to compete. You can thank a thousand dancing Cinderellas for that. I also think that it has a lot to do with the whole "cirque" movement that has become popular. While attendance at the Shamu show is always high, it was slacking a bit. With the new shows, it gives something that people dont expect. There are rave reviews for these shows at other websites. I enjoy them personally, but I do miss the education aspect of it all. I hate it when people call the whales in the show, baby shamu's. Or when people call the Sharks in Terrors of the Deep Great Whites. Read a book people.

From Bruce Lane
Posted May 28, 2006 at 11:56 PM
Hi, Ryan,

Before I get started -- would you mind dropping me your E-mail address in a private message? I'd like an opportunity, if you're willing, to discuss what appear to be some misconceptions you have (probably attributable to Sea World's awful presentations) regarding animal training. It's not really on-topic for the board, so I'd prefer to take it elsewhere.

Now, with that out of the way... What you've reported doesn't surprise me at all, though I hadn't heard about the parrot suits. That's really going over the edge. It truly sounds like Sea World is stretching the bounds of the laws requiring SOME type of educational content, in marine mammal public display, to their breaking point.

If it's any comfort, I can tell you from personal (and bitter) experience that Sea World treats EVERYone in their audiences that same way, no matter who you are or what your background is.

To explain further: I've been a member of the International Marine Animal Trainers Association (IMATA) for the last 20 or so years. In 2002, Sea World Orlando played host for the organization's annual conference, a week-long event that sees animal care staff, trainers, prospective trainers, students, and exotic-animal specialists get together from, literally, zoos and oceanariums all over the planet.

In short: This is a group of career professionals that, collectively, knows animals, facilities, training and husbandry very well indeed. In fact, I would estimate that the combined experience of everyone who attended the 2002 shindig exceeded half a century.

We were all invited to a night party at the park at one point, and part of this party was billed as being a "special" whale show. I assumed, as did many others in the group, that this would truly be a 'special' show, geared towards the fact that the entire audience were colleagues in the oceanarium field as opposed to typical tourists, and I was looking forward to it for that reason.

Nothing could have been further from the truth, unfortunately. We were all subjected to a generic "Shamu" show, complete with stage names, hokey dialogue, an equally hokey soundtrack, and an utter lack of the slightest educational content. My friends and I kept wondering why the park had even bothered, if all they were going to do was patronize people who are their peers.

Another sore point: It's a long-standing tradition that IMATA conference attendees get free run (within reason -- you find a staffer and ASK before you enter a controlled area) of the conference's host facility during said conference. Many people in the party group, myself and my friends included, expected that we'd be able to take a quiet walk around the park itself after the festivities had died down.

Wrong again. Park staff kept everyone corralled in a near-claustrophically tight area until it was time for the shuttle buses to take us back to the hotel.

So, there you have it. If Sea World treats its peers as they did, at least in terms of show presentation, what chance do you think the general public stands?

Keep the peace(es).

From Lisa Costanzo
Posted May 31, 2006 at 12:39 PM
I agree. The movie about the boy carving the whale tail was just another way to make money with a new product. Then the trainer carring out the oar confused was over the limit. The arm waving thing was too weird. getting on the big screen was cool, though.

THe best part was the animated penguins talking about shamu.

From Lisa Costanzo
Posted May 31, 2006 at 12:39 PM
I agree. The movie about the boy carving the whale tail was just another way to make money with a new product. Then the trainer carring out the oar was over the limit. The arm waving thing was too weird. getting on the big screen was cool, though.

THe best part was the animated penguins talking about shamu.

From Bruce Lane
Posted May 31, 2006 at 10:33 PM
'Animated Penguins?!'

So now Sea World training staff can't be bothered even to talk about the very animals they're presenting during a show, the very ones they claim to care so much about? That little task has been delegated to digitized flightless waterfowl?

Did it ever occur to any of the nut-cases who designed the current shows that penguins are PART OF A WILD ORCA'S NORMAL PREY?! Given their size in reference to the whales, I'd say they'd be the orca equivalent of cocktail wieners.

I have to say, though, I'm impressed. This little bit of silliness, combined with the (apparently) circus-like 'Blue Horizons' show (guaranteed to have little or no relevant animal content), means that Sea World has hit a new low, even for them.

I didn't think that was possible.

I'll say this much. It's going to be REALLY interesting to hear and see their training staff try to justify that dreck at the next IMATA conference.

Keep the peace(es).

From Bruce Lane
Posted May 31, 2006 at 10:51 PM
Oh, one additional bit of trivia, provided in the interests of popping one of Sea World's favorite illusory bubbles.

The whale originally named "Shamu," the very one that became the park's cartoonified mascot, died a very long time ago. August of 1971, to be exact.

Good night, all...

From andrea larry
Posted June 4, 2006 at 6:26 AM
and some more triva, the currently 8 killer whales livng a seaworld orlando. the names are katina,tilikum,kalina,tamia,takara,taku,ikaika, and trua.

kalina is the very first killer whale born in at seaworld or any marine park for matter, making her the very first baby shamu.

trua, whos's name means believe in icelandic, was named after the shamu show "believe"

shamu,namu,ramu,kandu,and baby shamu are all stage names

shamu means she-namu. namu was name of first killer whale ever to be kept in capivity and shamu was his mate

and altogher seaworld has 21 killer whales lving at three diffrent parks

From Bruce Lane
Posted June 4, 2006 at 9:54 PM
Thanks, Andrea. It's good to know the park will share at least that much info with those who ask (as you obviously did).

Still plenty of room for improvement, though...

From steve lee
Posted June 10, 2006 at 10:59 PM
Bruce, I just did some research over at Snopes, and I thought you also might want to let everyone know that Santa Claus isn't real and there's a person inside the Mickey Mouse suit. As for your bit about the trainers not bothering to talk about the animal they're presenting, I have to ask this of those who've seen the new show - are the animated penguins a variation on the jealouspenguin website, or are they actually presenting educational information on whales?

From Bruce Lane
Posted June 11, 2006 at 9:54 PM
Geez, Steve... You forgot to ask about the Tooth Fairy. Now I'll have to go reasearch it myself... ;-)

Anyway... You ask an interesting question. Without having seen the actual show (and I'd be nervous about having anything in my stomach before doing so), but having checked out 'jealouspenguin.com,' I wouldn't be surprised if the same person thought them both up.

Got Qwoob?

From Erik Yates
Posted June 17, 2006 at 8:43 PM
Just got back from Sea World, and while I enjoy the new shows I have to say that I'm getting a little tired of them. And Sea World knows it. For proof check out the last show of Clyde and Seymour of the day: Sea Lions Tonight! It is completely different from all of the shows, well....they have Sea Lions and Otters and the rude mime. The show makes fun of everything in Sea World from the Kraken to Blue Horizons to yes, even Believe. The part in the shamu show where the kid gets picked out of the audience and given a special gift is also parodied beautifully. It scared the living crud out of some more kid who wasnt expecting it. Overall the shows do have an artsy fartsy flair, and are growing tiresome....but they are a good draw for new people. Clyde and Seymour though, it was such a great and funny show I had tears coming out of my ears. Its great to see that a park doesnt take itself as seriously as others do.

From Anthony Murphy
Posted June 25, 2006 at 6:47 PM
Yes, the show is a little strange! I think they are trying to do a special Disney feeling that only Disney can pull off (barely!). I did enjoy the music. Anybody know where I could find it?

From Sloan Massey
Posted July 5, 2006 at 6:36 PM
Sea World isn't trying to pull a Disney World. They just wanted to show the special bonds between whale and trainer, but I guess they got too overwelmed with the idea. I saw the show too, and the orcas, being my favourite animal since I was 4, and hopefully my co workers in my future career, were not as focased on as much as the trainers were, so I was highly dissapointed. And Sea World kept mentioning on their site that they have so many new "behaviours"(that's what Sea World calls all the tricks), but watching the show, and knowing almost all of the names of the behaviours from the Shamu Adventure, I hardly counted Three. Atleast all 8 orcas got to star in it, but Trua and Takara hardly had anything to do with the show, as Trua, being the baby, has no idea what he is doing, and has no one to redirect him.
I really miss The Shamu Adventure.

From Sloan Massey
Posted July 5, 2006 at 6:45 PM
And By The Way, Andrea,

It's Taima. Not Tamia.
She's Tillikum's Girl Friend.

From Anthony Murphy
Posted July 5, 2006 at 6:53 PM
When I say Disney I mean mushy and magical. Disney itself sometimes doesn't get away with it. I will agree that it had a good premise, but it just was weird to me!

From Erik Yates
Posted July 6, 2006 at 2:45 PM
I finally saw the believe show.....bleh. Too showy and too mushy. I agree. The best show in the park has got to be "Sea Lions Tonight". They pick at their own shows and even they know that the show is sappy. Love it.
Just a little bit too much for a park that has been priding itself on the conservation aspect of things.

From Donna McIntyre
Posted April 12, 2007 at 12:02 PM
I came across this board looking for online images of Orcas. I was a little dismayed at the reviews here.

I adopt an Orca from the whale research museum in Washington, (he is Eclipse J-14 , Jpod) I get monthly updates,photos, etc. I also have a personalized plate on my car for protecting fla killer whales.

I saw the Believe show last year, and I have to say, theatrics aside, to see just how close a killer whale and a trainer can become is INSPIRING. If they can bridge that gap between the species, then anything is possible.
That is probably the closest I will ever come to experience that bond.

I am not a trainer, and honestly, I don't like that they are in captivity, but it gives us a chance to learn about them, to better help the ones in the wild.

The show, to me, showed me possiblilty, and hey, they are beautiful animals, why not dress it up a bit?

I'm sure all of you being professional trainers and whatever saw alot of flaws, but I wonder...if you were professional magicians, would you sit around busting on David Copperfield or Chris Angel?

Thought not. Call me when you have your own stadium and killer whale show. I'll sit in the splashzone.

From Bruce Lane
Posted April 12, 2007 at 10:57 PM
Hi, Donna. Welcome to the board and, speaking as a WA resident, thanks for supporting the Whale Museum. They can always use a boost.

You raise some interesting points. While I agree that it's important to demonstrate the bond that can (and does) develop between animals and trainers, I've never felt that Sea World has done it right.

In fact, I don't think ANY park, no matter how hard they may try or how 'enlightened' they might be, can ever fully illustrate something like that "right" because it just won't mean much if you've never actually experienced it. It's an incredibly subjective thing, and no two people will ever interpret it quite the same way.

The problem I've always had with Sea World is that they (at least their Marketing department) never realized this. They think they can package and sell that particular sensation to the public as a never-ending commodity. In doing so, they cheapen the 'real thing' at best, and destroy it at worst.

Think about it: Their entire business model is built on "branding" (as in brands on a store shelf, nothing to do with cattle) their animals, and then presenting that "brand" to the public. Think "Shamu" and "Dolly."

The big problem with this approach is that this is about as far from an accurate picture of the true nature of the animals, and the true nature of their relationship with the trainers, as you can get.

This is why, I think, people are so shocked when they see news stories about problems between animals and trainers at Sea World. It's because Sea World has given the public an illusory idea of who and what those animals are, and the incidents (such as Kasatka getting ticked off at one of the trainers last November, and dragging him along the pool bottom) don't fit in with those illusions.

In short: The park has no one to blame but their own Marketing and show production staff for the bad press. They brought it on themselves.

If the park dumped the Las Vegas-style shows, and started mixing real bits of education in there, to the point where people have a better idea of what to expect from the animals, I don't think they'd have half the problems with bad press that they do. The old Marine World park certainly didn't, and they had their share of orca-related incidents.

Oh, for the record -- I'm not now, nor have I ever been, a paid "professional" trainer. I chose not to enter the field in that capacity for various reasons, among them that I would not be able to support my home, my marriage, and my hobbies of choice on the payscale.

HOWEVER -- I have served, in a volunteer capacity, as a trainer's assistant at various facilities. Call it a year's worth of 'hands on' experience overall, coupled with nearly 30 years of 'unofficial' study and visiting various oceanariums and zoos all over the continent.

Keep the peace(es).

From Andrea Jackson
Posted December 24, 2007 at 10:43 PM
Okay...so as I read all the rants on Sea World and their new show Believe I realized how crazy and very judgemental people can be. I can say this as a person who saw the "Believe" show! I had a blast! It was fun. You want to know where the education part of it is? Then maybe you should sit down and watch the beginning. Since this is my first time EVER going to Sea World and seeing the Shamu show but not the first time ever seeing a dolphin/whale show I can say alot and a little at the same time.

The new show I believe is made to get one to realize what dreams can be. I am a college student who has put her life on hold to help everyone around her. I went there not knowing what to expect because I always heard how wonderful the 'Shamu show was' and how 'Believe' was not up to the "original shows".

After watching it and being able to understand where the trainers are coming from and what they are hoping to do with the shows now made me realize that the education started there but doesn't stop. And that all ya'll that are sitting here complaining about the show didn't even pay attention.

Now I know I am going to get a lot of bashings from this. But I believe that if you sit down and listen not with your ears but your heart you can truly see where Sea World is trying to come from with 'Believe'.

As for the Blue Horizons show (the one where everyone is dressing up as parrots and everything else) it's a story line. Again everyone wants to bash these shows but now one is truly "seeing" what they are. It's about dreaming and believing that your dreams come true.

Yes, so the older kids (meaning adults) that are there doesn't understand this on any level it's okay. Do you know how much of a once in a life time chance it is to be able to go and get chosen for the child to stand there and recieve a necklace that was swimming with orcas or dolphins? Hell, I wouldn't have minded being 10 again and having that chance.

I am majoring in Nursing and Minoring in Biological Sciences. My dream? Is to be one of those trainers for ya'll to make fun of. At least someone in the zoologoy departments are trying to understand this.

As for the one guy that says he is a cowhaterever...I would be a bit embarressed to have wrote what you wrote. Think about the time you went to Orlando for your conferences. Then you have to ask yourself what was the reason that they didn't want us going behind the scences?

If it's such a freaking bother for you to see the show or experiance the theme park don't spend the 52 dollars a person to get in. Go somewhere else that isn't educational and spend the money. Frankly, I learned more at this trip to Sea World then I could have EVER learned in a classroom. Not only about whales and dolphins but other wild life too.

Stopping complaining and bitching about what you didn't see or hear or felt or learned and really sit down and think about what you could have experianced. That day I went (which was only a few days ago) was the most amazing day of my life!

Thanks for those that stuck up for the shows at Sea World. It takes alot to do the shows and alot to pull people in. In fact the thing I found most interesting is being able to talk to the trainers afterwards. I found the same information that everyone else has online. But it's all in all a very fantastic show. I was able to feel it with the heart and soul rather than just hearing and seeing. I think for me it truly made all the difference.

But being at the show helped me to remember my dreams from a time I was way to young to realize that I would get off track. I really hope that one day I can truly be the one giving the educational stuff to the audience. I learned more things watching 'Believe' then I have in my biology classes in college. I have had some pretty wild teachers that have found a new species to being published writers. So if a 26 year old learned more then image what a 6 year old may learn. Sure they can't read just yet but it's up to the adult to tell them the words on the screen. Oh before I forget, my sister and I both were in the splash zone. Center aisles second row. I loved getting splashed. We had some really good laughs from the orcas.

So where is the adopt an orca at? That is something that I am very interested in!

From Claudine Deshaies
Posted December 25, 2007 at 4:43 AM
Andrea,
I didn't add my opinion of Believe in this discussion before, but I'm one of those who found it corny. I see where you're coming from with your view of it, but as someone who's been 2 times before and been absolutely thrilled by those Shamu shows, I just didn't enjoy it that much. I chose to sit out of the splash zone, but my friends who did sit there didn't get wet at all.
I can imagine what trainers go through to get those jobs and how much they must enjoy what they do, but that's just not what I go to SeaWorld to see. I do like to see a show that focuses on the relationship between trainer and Killer Whale, so don't thinks it's only about the big jumps. I just thought there was a lot of slow, boring stuff in Believe and came away disappointed - as did the people I was with.

From Andrea Jackson
Posted December 25, 2007 at 12:18 PM
Claudine,
I understand that everyone comes away from a show with different perspectives (sp?). I am all for that but when someone is just down right dogging the shows and stuff it isn't right. I have seen a lot of the dolphin and whales shows. I grew up with those at the zoos. It was one of our favorite spots. People may not want to see the relationship part of it but isn't it the relationship between orca (the most dangerous mammel alive [besides humans]) and trainer fasicnating? Isn't that a start? It's not like they don't do jumbs and stuff but it's showing the trust between two species that really gets me. Everyone says that Orca's are the most dangerous species out there and that besides humans prey on almost anything. It's remarkable at the trust that Orca and trainer has. Yes, bad crap happens. I fully understand that but for the most part it's good too. Yeah it may not have been what I was hoping to see. Come on I thought there would be more so called tricks, but I came out very in awe. They are trying to draw attention to the species in whole. Not just the ones in captivity but the ones in the wild too. They are trying to get every person who goes to the show to see how wonderful these animals are. It's a little bit of an educational thing that is stemmed towards children more than anything in the world. I sat in the soak zone and I didn't get very wet but I know people who sat in a different part of the soak zone and they got soaked!

I loved the experiance and I really hope that they continue with the 'Believe' theme myself. Because it's believeing in yourself and your dreams that makes everything worth wild!

Please for now on call me Cheyenne. Forgive my spelling. I have a massive headache and can't spell worth anything today. What I find very awesome and a wonderful experiance is the Shamu Cam on www.shamu.com. I can't get enough of it. I guess it's just me....but remember to always 'Believe' in your dreams.

From Bruce Lane
Posted December 25, 2007 at 8:28 PM
Andrea, I'm glad you enjoyed yourself. If what you saw, and what you experienced, is truly something that you wish to be a part of, then I wish you the best of fortune in your journey towards that goal.

If you would like further insight into why I've written what I have, I suggest you read my trip reports about the two nature parks in southeastern Mexico.

I'm interested in honest facts about the animals, and honest experiences involving them. I have not the slightest interest in the circus-style shows, or the distorted experiences, that I believe the Sea World parks consistently provide. In fact, I have to wonder if they even could change their ways without conflicting with their business model of choice.

We're going to agree to disagree, that much is clear. And I'm fine with that. The planet would be a boring place indeed if everyone agreed with everyone else. I will say that I'm not in the least "embarassed" by anything I've written on this board, that I take full responsibility for every statement I've made, and that I stand firmly on the beliefs and opinions represented by those statements.

To put it another way: I'm perfectly content to let history itself judge whether I'm truly right or wrong.

Before you decide that I'm completely off my rocker, though, I would suggest that you do the same thing that I've suggested everyone who's questioned my views about Sea World do: Read Susan Davis's book ("Spectacular Nature: Corporate Culture and the Sea World Experience").

Considering that Ms. Davis is in a position completely unrelated to the oceanarium or zoological fields (except, perhaps, in the sense of corporate communications), she is uniquely qualified to see things that those within that field (or those dazzled by Sea World's smoke and mirrors) may miss completely.

Happy travels.

From Andrea Jackson
Posted December 25, 2007 at 10:08 PM
I am not fully disagreeing with you on all of what you said. I hope you realize that. I too thought that it would have been more of the tricks and stuff that the animals and trainers work on. However, I felt that the show that I did see was amazing and very well put on. I just don't think it's truly right for someone to completely bash something when maybe they don't fully understand it.

I had heard alot about the Shamu shows prior to this year. I was really excited about seeing the Shamu show when I went on Sunday. I was looking forward to the tricks and stuff more than anything. What ended up happening is I came away with a deeper apperciation for my dreams and goals in life, not only that but for 'Mother Earth' herself.

I felt that the show itself was a starting point on learning and for me to learn more stuff I need to take it into my own hands to do. When I have the extra money and time to read the book you suggested I will do so. But for now my education needs must come first.

I hope you had a wonderful holiday.

From Chris Walton
Posted December 25, 2007 at 10:46 PM
Believe!? Heck yes it's goofy! Especially the video of the "trainer" as a kid. It's a cheap marketing ploy to sell those little wooden "whale tail" necklaces for ten times the price it cost to make them. The whole crowd doing the hand gesture of the whale tail is also extremely goofy!

I believe that "Believe" is the worst Shamu show to date! There was very little jumping and aerial acrobatics by the whales that makes the Shamu attractions so spectacular; it wasn't even as educational as everyone is making it out to be. I can't wait for Sea World to scrap this show!

I love Anheuser-Busch parks, products, and their commitment to the military and their families, but come on! Were they serious!?

From Bruce Lane
Posted December 25, 2007 at 11:50 PM
Hi, Andrea,

I forgot to mention -- I was a 'regular' at Sea World San Diego for about four and some-odd years. This gives me a pretty good perspective on 'then vs. now.'

I don't feel that I need to see the actual "Believe" show to understand how Sea World operates, or what their core philosophies are. The core elements of the show I saw in 2003 are, frighteningly enough, no different from what the shows were in 1989.

You see, Sea World is, first and foremost, a corporate business. They will do whatever they think is necessary to keep that business going, and to make a steady (ideally, steadily-increasing) profit.

If that means marketing and presenting little-understood and highly complex animals as a brand name (I think "Shamu" is a registered trademark) in circus-style shows, and using those shows as a vehicle to promote tie-in merchandise sales, then that is exactly what they will do. It matters not in the slightest that some facts about the animals may get distorted or lost along the way -- to Sea World, that's simply the "cost of doing business."

As much as I dislike animal-rights extremist groups, and their agendas, there was one quote from the group calling itself "Cetacean Defense" that I think was unnervingly accurate. I found it in a white paper dated in 2003, but I think it's just as accurate today as it was back then. Here it is...

"Sea World would rather have the public believe that the animals only exist as a collective rather than as unique individuals, and that Shamu never gets ill, never has stillbirths, never shows aggression, was never captured from the
ocean and NEVER DIES..."

Re-read the first part of the sentence again. Based on all that I've experienced to date, and drawing from a perspective of about 30 parks visited over the years, I think it is absolutely true that Sea World wants the public to see its animal collection as exactly that -- a collective, as opposed to the individuals that they are in many cases.

You say that you did not disagree with me on everything: That's not the impression that came across from your initial post. I would be curious to know where you found yourself agreeing with me.

FWIW, that book should be easily available through your college library. It was printed by the University of California press.

No matter where we may agree or clash, I wish you good fortune and smooth sailing on your educational course. I'm still a few classes away from my own Associate's degree, and I know how much work THAT was. If you're going for something higher, I don't envy you. ;-)

Happy travels.

From robert miller
Posted December 31, 2007 at 11:56 PM
yes, they are corny

From Alan Fincher
Posted June 25, 2008 at 7:18 PM
Two days ago, before I experianced Believe, I thought 'the ocean? big deal, who cares' But now, after being exposed to this remarkable journey, I BELIEVE that our brothers and sisters living in the water are our most precious source for learning, understanding and spiritual growth. Obviously, anyone that just sees a 'show' isn't emotionally ready for this wonderful experiance. I am proud and humbled to wear my whale tail everyday.

From Manny Barron
Posted July 6, 2008 at 2:39 PM
Believe is no where near as fun as the previous Shamu shows. I don't care about the trainers or that little wooden cutout I want to see more of Shamu doing his tricks instead of how the trainers develop a connection with Shamu.

From Bruce Lane
Posted July 6, 2008 at 9:36 PM
It's a sad day indeed (at least for me) when the value of a magnificent and still barely-understood animal, such as an orca, is reduced to seeing one "doing his tricks."

For the record: No professional animal trainer in their right mind ever uses the term "tricks." It's not accurate, scientifically or otherwise. No matter what context Sea World's corny shows may put them in, the behaviors are either natural ones put on cue, or derivatives of natural (as in 'in-the-wild') behaviors.

An example: Tailwalking, where a dolphin or whale will push themselves vertically above the water's surface, is a derivative of a natural behavior called 'spyhopping.' The critters use it to look around if they happen to get curious about whatever's going on 'up there.'

Another example: Lobtailing, where the whale will lie belly-up on the surface and slap the water with their flukes, is simply a natural behavior put on cue. The whales use it in the wild to help communicate with each other over a greater distance than their echolocation sounds can travel. A slap like that, driven by an orca's muscles, can be heard for at least a couple of miles, possibly further.

I'm not asking anyone to stop enjoying what they see in the shows, if they happen to. That would be silly and counterproductive. All I'm asking is that, when you see these behaviors in the shows, you look farther than the surface appearance of a 'clever animal.' You may be very surprised at what you learn.

Happy travels.

From Andrew Holden
Posted July 24, 2008 at 4:15 PM
I think that the Shamu show is definately more hokey than it used to be. I like the new screens and all, but the shows are becoming more about the theatrics and the people and less about the Orca. (By the way, Orca are actually dolphins, not whales. They are in the dolphin family, llok it up if you don't believe me.) I think that the entire thing about the whale tail carving and the little boy is entirely useless. The trainer tells the kid that it was his since he was a boy, sure, but you can buy them in a shop for five bucks where the trainer gets them from for the shows that happen at least three times daily. I do, however, love the new Dolphin show Blue Horizons. The shows were definately in njeed of an update

From Flavor Cool Fresh
Posted August 23, 2008 at 8:39 AM
Our experience with the Believe show...Majority of he show was the audience being splashed. Great fun, especially on a hot day, but not very educating. No more trainers actually in the water, riding/swimming with the whales...I'm sure the whales appreciated that. I think just being in the presence of the whales is moving, emotional, awe-inspiring. They are large, powerful, majestic, beautiful animals, and being so close to one is a thrill. HOWEVER, I do NOT think that the Believe show was the reason for the emotion invoked. The opposite was true for me. I actually felt disgusted, disappointed and saddened by the fact that the trainers (who I know truly do love their jobs and the animals they work with) had to recite such a corny, canned, commercial script. I wondered if he felt cheapened telling the boy from the audience that he was passing on his cherished necklace that represented his dream...he certainly did not sound in the least bit convincing. We paid a fortune for parking, food, beverage, souvenirs...now they're pushing a necklace too? Take out the commercial aspect, put in a little educational value, please...And WHY have 2 whales died at SW San Antonio in the past year?!

From Gareth H
Posted August 23, 2008 at 9:34 PM
Everything you post is in Jest is it, well no offense, but whats the point of posting something as ridiculous as that?

An Add on: Nice way to edit the post Flavor, glad you retracted what you put before.


Add on: Flavor has now posted his original, edited post, below! Pathetic!

From Flavor Cool Fresh
Posted August 23, 2008 at 6:14 PM
I just saw the Believe show and it was a moving experience. The whales jumped and splashed. The trainers were so authentic - it seemed like much of the show was unscripted. The best part was when Shamu slid on to the platform at the end of the show and lifted it's tail next to the boy who just got a necklace from the trainer. Shamu could not contain a large bowel movement from erupting onto the platform and into the water.

The sight and smell caused a chain reaction in the audience. I saw a 60-year-old, 400 lb man next to me vomit down the front of his shirt while excrement streamed down his legs. He was clapping jubilantly the whole time. I also saw numerous people in front of me wildly celebrating the end of the show as solid waste was clearly visible curling up in the backs of their bathing suits.

Another whale misunderstood the queues from the audience and began splashing water. This created a fetid soup of vomit and excrement in the 'Splash Zone.' At that point everyone got involved. It was like the bathroom at a bulimics convention only no one had any shame or inhibitions (and there were large whales present).

I picked up a soiled whale tail necklace from the floor and put it around my neck. I have not taken it off since. Some ask me about the odd coloring or the smell. Once I explain the truly moving Believe show I witnessed, everyone weeps and knows they are now closer to our friends in the sea.

Q: Why this post?
A: By juxtaposing the emotional movement the show was meant to create with a mass peristaltic movement, I'm hoping to express my profound disdain for the show. The idea of building all that infrastructure to keep the whales and present the show only to make the whole effort a sales pitch for overpriced necklaces is sad.

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