• All AB logos have been removed. The topiaries outside the park at the entrance have been filled in, and the one that used to sit across from the Hospitality House has been filled in with pink flowers in the shape of a whale tale (I have a photo if I can figure out how to upload).
• The lovely AB benches that had been moved from the Hospitality House over to the Clydedale Hamlet are all gone.
• The Clydesdale Hamlet (as of Dec. 17th) has been stripped of all logos, tack. the Budweiser wagon AND Clydesdales. The area is now referred to (although they haven't changed the map yet) as "The Hamlet."
What they have done, interestingly, in a somewhat lame stopgap measure, is introduce new horses, the black and white Percherons. You can go have your photo taken with one, just like you could the Clydesdales. I am sure that many more people walk around the park saying to themselves "I've always wanted a picture with a Percheron" rather than "I've always wanted a picture with the Budweiser Clydesdales."
When I asked the manager of the area what the association with SeaWorld (clearly a marine park) and Percherons was, his answer was ridiculous (even by SeaWorld hide-the-truth, obfuscation speak): They're black-and-white, just like Shamu. And he WAS a supervisor... and he WAS serious.
• The de-education mission seems to continue... when you go to an aquarium and visit a grand display, it would be nice to know what some of the inhabitants are... that's true at just about every aquatic display in the park not involving bottlenosed dolphin or manatees.
I've been going to SWO since it opened (and BG even longer.) My girlfriend and I have been platinum passport holders since the program started.
The best years of that park seemed to be when AB purchased them and continually reinvested in them, and even the smallest details had to be vetted by August Busch III.
If this recent visit is any indication of the Blackstone/SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment era, we're likely not going to renew when our passes expire next year.
The parks just don't seem to be the same in this new context, and its not just about the free beer (or lack there of).
Pretty much everything I predicted that most shot down as rumor or unsubstantiated innuendo at SW and BEC has happened. Now, it just kind of seems like a hollow shell of itself.
Seriously, I am sure if you look close enough at ANY park you will find flaws. Heck, go read some of Kevin Yee's articles on MiceAge about DisneyWorld and you would think the place is a complete disaster (btw, I do like Kevin Yee - I just think he might be a bit too picky sometimes). There will be changes to SeaWorld, of course, but lets give the new park owners more than a couple of off season months and a better economy to really show what they can do.
Once the old is out, the new will arrive, once an identity has been firmly planted in the parks. And this identity is Seaworld.
They will take the aspects of Seaworld that people live, like Shamu and horses, but remove the Budweiser/Inbev influence, like Clydesdales.
What they end up with is Black and White horses.
25 days isn't long enough to give a company before negative comments can be justifed.
A far more sensible suggestion would be to just kill them and open up some new eateries. Most of the food options at Sea World are pretty weak compared to the rest of the Orlando parks, so this could be a great way to improve upon that. I hear the penguins are kinda gummy, but them puffins are good eats! And imagine what they could charge for some delicious manatee burgers!!! It's like the plot of the old Brando/Broderick movie "The Freshman" all over again.
Oh, did that go too far?
(and $20 to get in is way too much for the Rudicoaster credit)
Personal sentiments aside, the point is SeaWorld is a great park, and the original poster is jumping the gun (no pun intended) in his/her criticism of the new owners.
I am done tossing jabs. Have a Happy New Year's everyone...
Steven, I was dying laughing at the penguin, puffers and manatee burgers, but remember in the Freshman, it was a mixture I think of chicken and fish they served.
And remember P.E.T.A stands for People Enjoying Tasty Animals :o)
"Personal sentiments aside, the point is SeaWorld is a great park, and the original poster is jumping the gun (no pun intended) in his/her criticism of the new owners."
I'm not so sure of that.
SeaWorld is certainly 'great' at marketing, and at taking good physical care of the animals. However, they've always twisted the education side to their own ends, and thus fallen short in terms of honesty and quality.
Use of the term 'De-education' in this context is not far off the mark. I'm actually pleased someone else has seen it for themselves, and felt strongly enough to mention it.
I will reserve final judgment until I've seen the results of Blackstone being in charge for a year or two.
Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom
Disney's Animal Kingdom
Disney's Hollywood Studios
Disney California Adventure
Universal Studios Florida
Universal's Islands of Adventure
Universal Studios Hollywood