Beyond CaliFlorida: Shamu gets to keep his job

April 9, 2014, 10:40 AM · SeaWorld San Diego – (OK, we're staying within California for this first item.) A California bill that would have banned the use of orcas in entertainment failed to get out of committee yesterday, killing the proposal for this year. While the bill expressly doesn’t mention SeaWorld’s name, it definitely was aimed directly at SeaWorld (since no one else has killer whales in California). [Editor's note: Which made it a "bill of attainder," and thus, in violation of the U.S. constitution. One more reason for the bill to die.]

So, then, what did the bill's backers intend to do with SeaWorld's unemployed killer whales? They would have had a “sea pen” created for them, anchored to the ocean floor. There are no provisions for how large of a “sea pen” this would be, or the permits and construction costs involved with building a “sea pen,” or for that matter, who would pay for feeding these jailed and isolated orcas. A full-sized killer whale needs around 140-240lbs of seafood daily. The costs add up quickly when you consider that SeaWorld has 10 killer whales. Who pays for that? I’m sure the generous taxpayers of California would have been stuck with that bill, as well as the one for the “sea pen” -- whatever the heck such a thing is.

But this is dragging me further and further away from my point. The whole idea behind a zoo is to teach people about animals that they will rarely see in the wild. If a particular animal is banned from the zoo, who really misses out? The people, who will only think of the animal as a cartoon character, or the animal itself that is now so removed from its adoring public that it now is unable to fuel the interest and passion for a new round of conservationists that can go stop poachers from annihilating the species.

Killer whales are part of the dolphin family, but there is no mention of dolphins being released. Why is that? Or is that coming in phase two? Maybe it is because a certain corporation did such a wonderful job of making everyone fall in love with their corporate icon that it has now bitten them in the butt. Just speaking for myself here, while I don’t like the exploitation of any animals, I wouldn’t want you to release all of your pets back to the wild (and, frankly, my golden retriever would be back for dinner time either way). Since SeaWorld has done mostly good for the world, and that Blackfish movie is mostly lies and exploitation, I think we should let SeaWorld continue with their killer whale program. It makes sense to me that the orcas need to dance for their dinner, since the expenses associated with feeding them are astronomical. [Robert again: The shows are actually just "play time" with the trainers that we get to watch -- interaction that provides the orcas with needed mental and physical stimulation, something they'd be deprived of in the inhumane netherworld of the "sea pen."] Without the show, there is no money, only expenses. I would much rather see SeaWorld continue feeding their killer whales and installing rides while helping the tax base, instead of becoming a burden on it with some fantastical taxpayer funded “sea pen” and eighty years of feeding the whales far away from the public’s eyes. Personally, I don’t think I’d like to go to SeaWorld and not see the killer whales. What’s next… Free Mickey?

Mt Olympus – As a further update to the lead story last week, it looks like Opa is going to be permanently closed and removed from the park. To be honest, Opa was the worst coaster at the park, and seemed out of place in a space that could have been much more creatively used. While I never like to see a ride removed, I would have been okay with this move even before the accident. Mt Olympus is still a great park without it. Maybe by removing the coaster they finally will have the room necessary for a bumper go-cart track with mounted paintball guns and zombies that chase you around the track! Yes Yes YES! Umm…themed to something from ancient Greece…of course….

Six Flags Great Adventure – In a place like New Jersey, where they just have to have the biggest thing to prove their worth, they have just completed the track on the world’s tallest drop tower. It’s not like it’s much taller, only by like 30 feet, but a record is a record. I’d post a video, but watching them carefully slot a piece of track in from a half mile away is like watching paint dry. Hopefully some of the other videos are more entertaining than that.

Six Flags New Orleans / Jazzland – I don’t know how much you know about investment and investors, but, to get an investor, you need a great idea, a great location, a plan, and several other things before an investor will even talk to you. The five-member panel in charge of doing something with the former site of Six Flags New Orleans and previously Jazzland decided to deny two proposals because they didn’t have enough financial backing to pull off the project, even before it was awarded to them. Look, people, it is really simple, if a plan comes forward with a significant amount of money already earmarked for it during the blue sky phase, then you are just going to have to take it on faith that they will be able to raise the rest of it once you take it from blue sky to awarded. Or you can just let the land sit, slowly decaying, and raising no tax revenue for the municipality. Either way…your choice.

Kolmarden (Sweden) – What if I were to say that Rocky Mountain Coasters finally got their visa punched and is on its way to Europe? What if I were to say that they got lost and ended up in Sweden, which is not really part of Europe, but kind of hangs on because they don’t want their neighbors to start chucking trash over the fence? What if I were to say that it is a from-scratch wooden coaster that they are putting up with Iron Horse rails? What if I were to say that it is a terrain coaster? What if I were to ask you to point out Sweden on a map? What if I were to ask you to point out Europe on a map? Just as a completely unhelpful hint, Sweden is in the neighborhood of where Frozen took place. As much as I like to tease, any country that has Peter Forsberg on an official post office stamp is good in my book. Heck, you might even get to meet Peter Forsberg! And for some of you, he might be in line right in front of you and you’d never know. Here is a video of pure sexiness in a roller coaster. Please feel free to drool. (disclaimer - TPI management is not responsible for people electrocuting themselves or destroying equipment in wake of previous drool permission…drool at your own risk.)

Phantasialand (Germany) – Chiapas is now open! At first glance you might call this a log ride. Well that is incorrect, because it is themed, and log rides as a general term are never themed or sparsely themed with poorly animated loggers. So I hear you say: Okay, Mr. Smartypants, if it is not a log ride then it is a flume. To which my reply would be: Wrong again. All flume rides, while being themed, also are required to have pretty much the exact same layout as Timber Mountain at Knott’s Berry Farm, which is the primary reason why Splash Mountain is consider a flume ride and not a log ride, and of course the whole theming thing. So I hear you say (in tones of whining dismissal): Okay, fine, whatever, then what is it? And I reply (with my voice getting mysteriously deeper): We will call it the Jeff ride.

Twentieth Century Fox Theme Park (Malaysia) – The real corporate culture at Fox has been revealed and it’s very scary. “We really are in the franchise business at Fox,” said Greg Lombardo, Fox’s VP of global location-based entertainment, after mentioning such highbrow milestones of consumer entertainment like “Alien vs. Predator.” Are we doing it for quality? Nope! Are we doing it for prestige or awards? Certainly not! Are we doing it to better our fellow man? Heck no, we are doing it for the franchises! To read between the lines here just a little bit, be sure to keep an eye on your local cineplex for the following milestones of cinematic excellence: Dr. Dolittle 4, 5, & 6, Cheaper by the Dozen 3 & 4, Garfield the Movie 3 – 27, Big Momma’s House 4 & 5, Ice Age 5 – 14, Alvin & the Chipmunks 4, 5, 6, 7, and the required holiday special, etc. etc. etc. Oh and they are tearing down a park to put up a Twentieth Century Fox Park in Malaysia…figured I’d throw that in there to relate it back to the topic at hand. Well, that little quote came from an interview during the announcement of the park, so it is related.

Epcot – Since there is nothing else to do at Epcot, you might as well play the scavenger hunt game for the new Muppet movie.

Job Board / Who's Hiring: Schlitterbahn in Kansas City, Job Fair, April 12

Replies (4)

April 9, 2014 at 11:49 AM · The disco room in Chiapas just one-upped Everest's "dancing" Yeti by a wide margin. Nice.

And in case folks didn't already know it, Rocky Mountain Construction is where it's at, fo shizzle!

April 9, 2014 at 3:02 PM · Disney should have themed that scavenger hunt around finding Muppet fans because they're clearly not seeing the new movie. :)

And that's a shame about Opa. It wasn't something special, but it was needed for an indoor theme park short on rides.

April 9, 2014 at 3:16 PM · That Kolmarden roller coaster looks freaking sweet! Yeah, it's just an animated video, but where have we seen THAT before? Oh yeah. 7 Dwarfs Mine Train!


If the real thing ends up having that same track!

And yes, I know who Peter Forsberg is. He played soccer for the Ukrainian national team, right? ;)

April 10, 2014 at 7:43 PM · Why are there not more rides like this Chiapas (or however it is spelled) ride in America?!?!?!

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Top 10 Attendance

  1. Magic Kingdom
  2. Disneyland
  3. Tokyo Disneyland
  4. Universal Studios Japan
  5. Tokyo DisneySea
  6. Disney's Animal Kingdom
  7. Epcot
  8. Shanghai Disneyland
  9. Disney's Hollywood Studios
  10. Universal Studios Florida