SeaWorld, Universal Studios Hollywood enjoy time in the spotlight at the 125th Rose Parade

January 1, 2014, 7:11 PM · For the first time in 14 years, we weren't in Pasadena for the annual Tournament of Roses Parade this morning. But since Rose Parade coverage has become a tradition here on Theme Park Insider, we'd like to wish you a happy new year with a couple of photos of theme park-related floats, courtesy the Tournament of Roses.

Universal Studios Hollywood enjoyed a prominent place atop The City of Los Angeles' "Endless Entertainment" float, with the Universal globe rotating atop a pedestal inspired by Hollywood's Chinese Theater.

Los Angeles 2014 Rose Parade float

And SeaWorld celebrated its upcoming 50th anniversary year with a "Sea of Surprises" float, which won the Presidents' Trophy for "most effective floral use and presentation."

SeaWorld 2014 Rose Parade float

Local law enforcement officials surrounded the SeaWorld float, due to threats from anti-animal captivity groups. But, of course, no protestors showed up, just as no one showed up to protest the other "controversial" float in the parade, the AIDS Healthcare float that celebrated the wedding of two men, which took place atop the float during the parade*. Seriously, journalists need to stop writing stories about "planned protests." Anyone can "plan" a protest. But unless people can actually put feet on the street and show up with big numbers, they're not worth a story. (*Update: Looks like a dozen or so people did show up for staged photo-op arrest at the beginning of the parade. But nothing that affected the actual parade itself. See comments for more.)

For what it is worth, SeaWorld's getting off to a great start in its anniversary year. The Orlando Sentinel reported that SeaWorld Orlando enjoyed its second-busiest day ever on Monday. All of the Orlando parks have been packed all week, with hours-long waits for even "average" attractions.

Have you been in the parks this week, in Orlando, Southern California, or elsewhere around the world? Please tell us in the comments about your visit.

Replies (12)

January 1, 2014 at 8:28 PM · I'm sorry to tell you, but protesters DID show up for Seaworlds float. 10 people were confirmed arrested during the parade. SeaWorld had an awful year in 2013, and I don't foresee it getting any better for them in 2014. #Blackfish.
January 1, 2014 at 9:14 PM · Thank you for the update. I was at the parade today along with my family. I totally cheered screamed and roared at SeaWorld as they marvelously and gracefully strolled along Colorado Blvd. I LOVE SEAWORLD!
January 2, 2014 at 12:17 AM · Mr. Niles, I was reading coverage of the Rose Parade on the local newspaper, the Pasadena Star-News. According to the newspaper's website, 19 individuals were arrested by Pasadena police for trying to block the progress of the Sea World float on Orange Grove Boulevard near the start of the parade route.

January 2, 2014 at 1:15 AM · from

"For our first big news of 2014, ThemeParkInsider will now join our crusade in the shutdown of SeaWorld. For the first time in 14 years, site host Robert Niles protested the inclusion of the new SeaWorld float by not covering it as he had done previously. He smartly restricted himself by only showing released publicity photos of Universal Studios Hollywood's and SeaWorld's floats, the latter of which clearly has no backbone and actually had to call the police to escort the float and fight their battles for them. Inspired by Robert's "nut up or shut up" message about protesting, we will continue our boycott of the parks. In fact, it seems to be working. Despite having the second highest attendance date in the history of the park, it was just that, the second! Clearly, people have learned since *last* year had the highest date. You heard it here first folks. Swim strong."

Yeah, some of us clearly have way too much time on our hands. In all seriousness, I actually heard that 19 people were arrested in conjunction with the protest, which is fine by me. 19 less people in line for Antarctica. :)

PS: I can make a killing off the above domain name, but I'll refrain.

January 2, 2014 at 4:40 AM · Oh James, did you see the name of the float? 'Sea of Surprises', pretty much sums up how you thought Robert had written about the SeaWorld issues. I would actually go as far as to say that he was trying to have a balanced view and as a journalist pointing out that sometimes the media report on nothing to keep a story alive. James good luck on keeping this story alive and offering more free advertising for SeaWorld. There is no such thing as bad publicity is there?
January 2, 2014 at 6:27 AM · Dozens of people get arrested at the Rose Parade every year, for a wide variety of offenses. (Heck, one year, I saw a little kid throw a marshmallow at one of the motorcycle cops at the beginning of the parade. The kid's parent was arrested.)

If you can't bring more protestors than the dozens of "The End is Near" "Jesus is Coming to Judge You" people who trail the parade every single year, then I'd say that your protest didn't work.

No one outside the tiny PETA community cares about Blackfish. Sorry.

January 2, 2014 at 6:28 AM · Oh, and James wins the Onion Spirit Award for excellent spoof writing. Well done. Started my new year off with a laugh!
January 2, 2014 at 9:08 AM · Watched the parade with my family, on TV, found it thoroughly enjoyable. My wife and oldest son are now trying to organize a trip to Anaheim and Pasadena, she wants to see the parade live he wants to go to the game. My youngest and I want to check out Disneyland, have never been there have always gone to Florida.
January 2, 2014 at 9:39 AM · Let's all get arrested and have that on our permanent records all because we happen to disagree with animals being held captive as adults, but probably loved visiting zoos as a child.

Remember, owning a cat or a dog is still still "keeping a wild animal prisoner", bunch of hypocrites.

January 2, 2014 at 1:36 PM · Vaughn, I've gone to Disneyland on New Year's Day this year and last year and it actually isn't too bad. It is crowded, but far less than New Year's Eve and probably not much worse than any other time during the Christmas season. Morning and evening actually clear out a lot, as I'm guessing people are too tired from partying the night before. The next few days after new years the crowds start dying down too. Good time to go to get all the Christmas stuff while missing the worst of the crowds.

I've gone to see the Rose Parade once in person despite living in the area my entire life. It is definitely fun and something anyone interested in the parade should experience at least once in their lives, but now that I've experienced that I'll enjoy it from my nice soft couch in my pajamas with the freshly made cup of coffee and omelet while listing to the TV crews tell my exactly what kinds of flowers were used.

I also volunteered to help decorate some floats a few years back. Now THAT is a really fun experience if you can swing it (and if you can secure the right type of job. Some are definitely better than others).

January 3, 2014 at 1:43 PM · I didn't watch the parade this year, because I wasn't invited to the wedding. Plus, you know, blackfish, because I don't like it when people burn the fish. Well, I think I like blackened fish. So I don't know. Was there a parade on TV this year? It is so hard to remember these things.
January 4, 2014 at 4:53 PM · Vaughn: 1) The parade is awesome up close. Make sure you find a spot on the "TV side" of the street as that is the best side for the floats and riders. And if you choose not to go to the parade you can tour the floats up close the day after the parade. 2) Disneyland gets incredibly crowded that week so make sure you are in the gates before they shut down entry. 3) And of course, keep watching this site and the forums for advice on planning your trip!

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