Here in San Diego, the park presents two all new shows, a high energy dance club, enhancements to two of the park’s signature rides, unique decorations and lighting, an opportunity to experience first-hand Dinoflagellates, sea creatures that glow with bioluminescent and special food and merchandise. Orlando also offers Electric Ocean, but the offerings are different.
IllumiNight takes place in the Nautilus Theater. "Pets Rule" this space while the sun shines, but as darkness falls an all new cast weaves a brilliant spell through the space. Huge balloons resembling an octopus, moray eel, great white shark and a whale shark are paraded around the theater as gymnasts, dancers and musicians fill the stage with stunning visuals and sound. Lasers are projected above the open air stage, creating a wave like pattern in bright light. Combine that effect with thousands of soap bubbles through the air and the audience feels transported below the surface of a magical ocean.
Across the park in the Bayside Amphitheater Cirque Electrique takes the park’s Cirque De La Mer and transforms it for a nighttime presentation. The daytime show is impressive, but seeing the performances in the dark with added LED lighting makes for a really magical show. The highLIGHT of the show the performer on a “Fly Board”. Imagine strapping a skateboard to the end of a fire hose and then strapping yourself onto the skateboard. Next attach the other end of the fire hose to the exhaust of a SeeDoo and rev it up to 11. The force of the water and the skill of the performer allow that person to do things you only thought possible in Superhero movies or in your dreams. Done in the dark with LEDs all over the costume and what you have an acrobatic act that makes you believe human flight is possible. This performance alone was worth the price of admission.
Right next door biopop has set up a demonstration area that lets guests experience bioluminescence first hand. After spending a few minutes letting your eyes adjust in a very dark room, groups are ushered into a space where large plastic mats are arranged both on table tops and on the floor. These mats are filled with water that includes thousands upon thousands of Dinoflagellates . If you’ve ever seen waves in the ocean glow as they crash onto the beach, it’s these creatures that create that glow. They are kind of like microscopic underwater lighting bugs. The employees at the demonstration emphasized that the Dinoflagellates lose their ability to glow over the course of the evening. As a result, I’d recommend trying to attend this exhibit early in the evening when their glow is strongest. It really is a surprising and fascinating thing to see.
Near the park’s Sky Tower Club Current is dance party central for the Electric Ocean event. A family friendly DJ along with dance instructors and wildly costumed dancers lead guests in high energy dance routines teaching steps along the way. This was a lot of fun, and felt like what might happen if the TV show “Yo Gabba Gabba” and the EDC had a baby.
All around the park, special lighting effects, projections and decorations were placed to keep guests in the party mood. Glow carts were at every turn selling a wide array of light up everything including some fun glowing beverage options.
The large facades of Journey to Atlantis are put to use for projection shows throughout the night. Because of San Diego’s chilly night time temps, the ride closes prior to the light show, which is a real shame. Over at Manta the projections you usually see prior to the launch are also changed to a new special show for Electric Ocean.
Missing from SeaWorld’s entertainment offering this year is nightly fireworks. In an article in the San Diego Union Tribune on April 14, 2016, SeaWorld states that the fireworks are on “hiatus for the foreseeable future.” If this has been done to help fund Electric Ocean, for environmental reasons, or to help pacify neighbors who dislike the amount of noise the show creates is up for debate. I feel like the lack of a big pyro finale to the night felt anticlimactic, and I hope the park brings them back. [Editor's note: The park will have a fireworks show on the Fourth of July.]
Electric Ocean 2017 is a really good event and it lays the foundation for what I hope will be a seasonal tradition for SeaWorld. The other events held in San Diego continue to shine. The Christmas event is great fun. Halloween Spooktacular is a blast. Best of all I think is the Seven Seas Craft Beer & Food Festival. SeaWorld’s food and beverage event is much better than what Disneyland does to my thinking. I hope to see Electric Ocean continue to return and grow…sorry GLOW better for many years to come.
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I was recently able to watch POP, the summer exclusive show at SeaWorld Orlando, and I was blown away. It is a fantastic addition to the Florida park, and if anyone has a chance to check it out I highly recommend it!