Today's Olympic event: Theme park promotional tie-ins!

August 19, 2008, 4:02 PM · Last week, I asked if the Olympics were affecting theme park attendance, with so many people watching the games on TV.

The answer, pretty much, was "no," but I also asked if parks were doing anything to use the Olympics as a promotional tie-in for the parks.

Well, ask and ye shall receive. Got this from SeaWorld Orlando yesterday:

Yeah, it's pure PR. But the splitscreen of Phelps and the killer whale doing the backstroke kills me.

Replies (7)

August 19, 2008 at 8:42 PM · Thats just great!
August 20, 2008 at 12:27 AM · That shows you what the trainers like to do between shows. I wonder if they have tried doing it to the free willy movies :)
August 20, 2008 at 10:59 AM · Speaking of PR tricks, here are the folks at PETA, wanting to buy a SeaWorld park so that it can "free" all the animals:

PETA, in this respect, strikes me as the libertarians of the animal world -- no zoos (meaning no animal care facilities that zoos and parks like SeaWorld provide), no research -- just throw all the animals out into the wild and let nature sort 'em out. I know that PETA has the rep of being a "liberal" group, but, man... you can't get much more Republican than that. ;-)

August 20, 2008 at 8:45 PM · Being now a person with a Degree in Biology looking for a job, Sea World, Animal Kingdom, and major Zoos of the USA like the San Diego Zoo, Lincoln Park Zoo of Chicago, and the Columbus Zoo are quite the research areas to try and save many of these animals. I have a soft spot of animals being abused, but I am almost positive that these places are doing an excellent job in trying to make the animals there and in the wild's lives better. If Busch has made any large moral imprint in the USA before the sale it was they were very interested in conservation efforts. These Zoos (or Natazoos) are serious business, not simply entertainment.

WOW, my first non theme park post of TPI!

August 21, 2008 at 2:02 PM · This is a great site that I have been visiting and reading for well over a year, check it everyday for information. Wish there was more, however I understand your busy life as you have mentioned other endeavors you're involved with. While I agree with your comments I'm not sure why you had to bring politics into this site. My opinion of PETA seems to be the same as yours and should be expressed freely, but I don't think your great site on the theme park industry should have political party ties. It's a risk to make comments like that to not only offend but maybe even loose some followers. Just my opinion. I'll continue to be a daily visitor to this site regardless.
August 21, 2008 at 4:48 PM · PETA's stunt is getting a lot of attention, and there are people on read and comment on this site who are critical of SeaWorld's approach toward animals. So I felt it needed to be addressed. That's why I posted it.

I posted it as a comment on this story, rather than its own item, because we already had a SeaWorld story in the lead slot, and frankly, I didn't want to do two SeaWorld pieces in a row, especially after all the SeaWorld content last week.

As for addressing politics... this is a pet peeve of mine. Politics is simply the mechanism by which people come together to make collective decisions about how they are going to run their community. People ought to be talking about politics whenever it becomes relevant to a discussion, and much that we talk about regarding theme parks is relevant to politics.

Economic policy affects people's ability to afford vacations. Immigration policy affects foreign visitors' ability to enter the country for a visit. Consumer regulation affects the safety and reliability of rides. And rules regarding animal captivity and care affect the operation, even the existence, of animal parks.

If theme parks fans are not part of those political discussions... well, then theme parks fans won't be part of those discussions. And that scares me. I don't want non-fans deciding what's going to happen to our parks without our input.

I don't like seeing people without theme park experience making decisions about parks in corporate suites, and I sure don't like elected officials without theme park fan input making decisions in Washington, state capitals or city halls. So let's talk about it here, consider different points of view, and go forth from the site to make our informed voices heard in the political process, when we need to do that.

Politics has been made a dirty word by a political class that doesn't want you - or the rest of the public - involved in its sausage making. Tough. Politics is the way we make our voices heard, and we should never be afraid, discouraged and feel uncomfortable doing that.

August 21, 2008 at 7:09 PM · Robert, I appreciate you taking the time to respond in such a professional manner. Let me apologize for not making myself clear with my original comment. I was referring to your comment toward political party affiliation, not that of a discussion involving politics. I agree that "politics is simply the mechanism by which people come together to make collective decisions..." I agree with your response in its entirety. Was just a little turned off by the reference toward a political party and thought that while one is free to choose sides, a theme park thread political topic or not was not the place for campaigning? I lived in Orlando for 5 years and had a season pass to Sea World the entire time I lived there. I am a big fan of the organization I think they do awesome things for wildlife. I also believe that PETA's head is way up it's a$$. A stunt such as there most reason one is just that, a stunt. And while it has unfortunately gained all this attention, we have just given it more. Good or bad the more attention they get the more they like it. Again, thanks for your time, And I will continue to be a fan and supporter of your web site.

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