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Subtle changes - for the worse - at SeaWorld Orlando

Sea World Orlando: Changes to the park since the ownership changed.

From JAMES PRICE
Posted February 16, 2009 at 12:49 PM
On February 15m 2009, my wife, 10 year-old and I traveled to Sea World Orlando under our passports for the first time since October 2008. The hours were only 9:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M., which I thought was rather stingy for this time of the year.

We saw the Pets Ahoy! show. Unlike past shows, several of the animals were not ready to perform. For example the cat failed to drop the "NO" sign in front of "VACANCY" in front of the top window. One of the cats climbing the top high wire kept pausing. The show was awkward and poorly prepared.

My daughter loved a dish she had at Voyager in October, pasta with Alfredo sauce. We went to Voyager and there was no Alfredo sauce. My wife wanted baby back ribs. Only when we went to order, none were ready. It would have been a 15 minutes wait. This is unacceptable, especially at the prices given for this food. I saw a sick looking, thoroughly unappetizing grilled chicken strips lying over greens unattractively falling over the edge of the bowl, obviously made several hours before or the night prior, not fresh. Salad dressing was uncovered in little black cups, ready for somebody to sneeze on. There was no way I would pay $8.50 for that mess. It was not even during the peak lunch hour. This was at 2:00 P.M.

As I read the map I did not see "Hospitality House" but instead, where it had been, there was "The Terrace." A sick, sinking feeling dawned on me that there would be no more beer samples. Sure enough we went over to the Terrace and saw that they were selling beer for $1.99 for 12 ounces and $3.99 for a pint, which makes absolutely no sense. The larger size is one third more expensive per ounce than the small size.

The general condition of the park was not as sparkling, clean or nice as it had been when AB owned it. There were a lot of leaves on the walkways. There seemed to be nobody cleaning up, although I saw one person with a motorized vacuum.

I am very disapppointed with my experience at the park. Due to this, I visited Guest Services and canceled my passports on the spot. I am sure that I am not the only one who did this. I hope that more passport holders will cancel to send a message to bring the park back to what people expected of it.


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

From Gareth H
Posted February 16, 2009 at 1:19 PM
You can hardly blame the staff for leaves falling and not being cleared up instantly.
This time of year they are dropping constantly and an instant clean up is near impossible given the last 2 nights rain.

What time were you eating food? Normally the food is pretty decent until you get towards the end of the day at wrap up time!

Regarding Pets Ahoy.
Animals do what they want to do. You really can't blame Seaworld if the cat didn't drop the banner!!

And hours? Its pretty dead around here right now, even with the Holiday weekend. 7pm is an hour later than the rest of the week and consiidering Universal has their Mardi Gras Celebrations at the same time I think its a good closing time.

Overall I'm sorry you didn't have a good time, but, apart from the obvious lack of free beer, nothings really changed at the park. The management is the same, the staff are the same and the processes and procedures are the same.

Maybe you went in on a really bad day!
FYI, do you have the Platinum Flex Pay pass?

From Rob P
Posted February 17, 2009 at 7:29 AM
I agree somewhat with Gareth but not entirely.

I think that any class of restaurant has a duty to provide decent,attractive and edible food no matter what time of the day. If they are open for business and willing to take your money then they have to provide what is on the menu. Although I also feel that if you want freshly prepared food then you have to be willing to wait 15 minutes for it to be cooked. You can't have it both ways.

As for non-performing animals then , once again, it's not good enough to offer " Cats do what they like" as an excuse. They've advertised a show to see trained animals perform and you have every right to expect to see just that. Not a bunch of untrained moggies running around.
My family ran the Ringling Bros Circus in Florida for many years and trained a variety of animals. If my Uncle Tommy's Bengal Tigers had " done whatever they wanted" he would have died a lot sooner than he did.

Trees , unlike trained cats , will do whatever they like.

I miss the free beer samplers too but, today ,nothing comes free anymore.

From Jason Schuck
Posted February 17, 2009 at 7:47 AM
I agree the food at Sea World (and Aquatica) is pretty unappetizing, and often looks like it was prepared early that morning--but this is nothing new. Been this way for years. Unless I'm eating at Sharks, usually just eat before or after. 7:00 pm weekend close in the off-season is also nothing new.

I've read about the pricing at the former Hospitality House a couple times now and still shaking my head. There's no souvenier glass or premium beer for the higher price? It almost sounds like a typo by the sign-maker they decided to just go with.

From steve lee
Posted February 17, 2009 at 3:19 PM
I wish people would stop focusing on the lack of free beer and look at the more important issues.

I, for one, certainly hope that cat that didn't flip the "no" sign was euthanized after the Pets Ahoy show ended. It's clear that InBev doesn't have the support of the working felines, and they're going to have to make an example of this disloyal cat.

From John Jackson
Posted February 17, 2009 at 5:49 PM
No way!! That poor cat shouldn't be euthanized! What is wrong with today's society?!? Make an example of it by firing it in front of all of the other animal performers. With the state of the economy, I'm sure there are plenty of other cats who are just waiting for their big shot to show their sign flipping abilities who would work for half the catnip as the current prima donna! Or if it is a feline conspiracy, really drop a bomb by hiring a gerbil to do the job; that'd show those cats that Inbev means business! Yeah, let the old cat live in the alleys with all of the other hobo kitties.

From steve lee
Posted February 17, 2009 at 7:03 PM
Why not just do both?

Publicly fire the cat, then euthanize it.

These were shelter cats to start with, so it's great that we got the lazy, aimless critter off of public support. But now the economy blows. I'm not interested in having to support another homeless cat. It's bad enough that we're going to have to pay for the octo-brood.

From John Jackson
Posted February 17, 2009 at 7:26 PM
You know, if they did a public euthanization, they could probably sell enough $1.99 glasses of beer (or for the morons, $3.99 pints) and hire some REAL talent. Hmmm...I haven't seen a lot of Bubbles the chimp lately, so he's probably available. Or what about Lassie? Just say that Timmy fell down a well, and the only way to save him is to flip the "NO" sign.

From Gareth H
Posted February 17, 2009 at 7:45 PM
Or...............

Any animal that doesn't perform to Vegas show standards could be euthanised and sent over to the new all you can eat buffet, fried up and served along side a $1.99 (or $3.99 pint for morons) beer.

Saves it going to one of the local take aways and being served up as #34 with fried rice.

From Deidre Dennis
Posted February 17, 2009 at 7:56 PM
The last few comments were HILARIOUS. I literally laughed out loud, even though I'm sure someone will get on here and have an absolute fit about it. It was really funny though.

From John Jackson
Posted February 17, 2009 at 9:16 PM
They could name it the "Celebrity Special" and could legally (and literally) have the following disclaimer, "We serve 'NO' cat here!"

From Jason Jackson
Posted February 17, 2009 at 10:37 PM
The Pet Show is done by an outside company, not a Busch production. Perhaps it was just a bad day for the animals. It does happen. It sounds like it just might have been a bad park day.

From Don Neal
Posted February 18, 2009 at 7:54 AM
This thread is hilarious! Well done guys! :)

From steve lee
Posted February 18, 2009 at 3:34 PM
I wasn't aware it was an outside company that did the show. Very interesting.

From Gareth H
Posted February 18, 2009 at 3:46 PM
Nor was I. Especially as I read (Or saw on local TV) somewhere that they use Animals from local shelters and take ones that can be trained.

Gives the animals the care and attention they need, nay deserve, and provides help to local causes!!!!

From steve lee
Posted February 18, 2009 at 9:16 PM
That bits actually part of the show, Gareth. The video section with Jack Hanna talks about how they're all shelter animals.

From Gareth H
Posted February 19, 2009 at 1:37 PM
Thanks Steve. I think I've only ever seem the Pet show twice, the queues are always huge for it and when I go to SW I generally go late afternoon, by which time they've always ended.

My life is a blur sometimes, visiting parks and watching cable TV programs about the parks.

Not sure whats reall anymore :)

From John Charlton
Posted May 16, 2009 at 8:46 PM
Missed the Pets Ahoy show today, but did watch the sealion show.. my kids loved it. But the best part of it was this mime-pirate guy who was directing folks into the theater and then doing silly mimics and pranks behind their back as they walked to the stairways. He took one family all the way across the front row are to the exit on the other side.. the whole audience was rolling at his antics.

From William Clark
Posted June 8, 2009 at 6:47 AM
Quick Seaworld report. Saturday, June 6. Crowds moderate. Manta was running at max capacity. 3 trains and hourly capacity of 1500. That line moves right along. Longest posted wait time was 40 minutes with the line out the door. Actual wait was 30. Most wait times were at about 15-20 minutes. Gotta be impressed at how many people that ride cycles through. Kraken also running at max capacity, slightly longer average waits but nothing more than 30 minutes.

Manta's underwater viewing area has one of the coolest things I have ever seen in my life. A Giant Pacific octopus. He's a baby now but he will easily outgrow the tank he now occupies. This purple guy is an escape artist and his tank has to be bolted shut otherwise out he comes. Exceptionally cool fish. Must see. Superbly done, this area really amazes most guests, myself and my wife included.

Sea Lions tonight had 2 shows and has been updated from last year. Shamu Rocks also 2 shows.

New night fireworks show this year called Reflections. Seaworld opened up the Bayside Stadium for viewing. You don't have to stand to watch it like last years Mistify. Lots of fun.

Seaworld was hitting on all cylinders Saturday. That park is really shining this summer. Open from 9 am until 10 pm each night, Seaworld delivered another outstanding experience at their beautiful, clean park. Great job to all who work there. Thanks folks.

From Rob P
Posted June 8, 2009 at 8:02 AM
Thanks for that William.

I really like Seaworld and it's always encouraging to hear positive things about it.

From William Clark
Posted June 8, 2009 at 11:14 AM
Last thought on Saturday's visit to Seaworld:

During the warmup for Shamu Rocks, they play Apollo 440's great song Stop The Rock and the cameramen pan the audience. There were the usual kids dancing and people jumping around to the music but then the camera hit on 2 guys holding up a big Lakers banner. The whole audience in Shamu Stadium rained down boos on these 2 but they held their banner aloft nonetheless.

Takes some guts to come into the heart of Magic country and take the abuse that comes with waving a Lakers banner. Not the same as waving a Red Sox banner in Yankee Stadium but still...

From Deidre Dennis
Posted June 8, 2009 at 12:25 PM
I've always enjoyed Sea World in San Diego and Orlando. We will be visiting in a couple of weeks and we're so excited to ride Manta. My son was too short to ride Kraken last time so I'm thinking he will be blown away by both.

I have always been impressed with the upkeep of the park, the animals and the message of SeaWorld. Glad to hear about the positive things going on there.

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