SeaWorld ploughs US$175m into new coasters, shows and zones

SeaWorld Entertainment is investing US$175m (€156m, £135m) in new attractions as the brand continues to position itself as a theme park with sound animal conservation credentials and a mix of activities to offer.

The new attractions include a jet skiing-inspired multi-launch rollercoaster at SeaWorld San Antonio, a marine science-inspired zone and the new, “more natural” orca show at SeaWorld San Diego, a virtual reality experience in Orlando and a wooden rollercoaster at Busch Gardens Williamsburg.

“We are extremely excited with the scope and depth of the new attractions and events coming to our SeaWorld and Busch Gardens parks in 2017,” said Joel Manby, SeaWorld Entertainment president and CEO. “In developing new experiences we want guests to have fun, but also be inspired, and our parks are uniquely suited to create meaningful and fun vacations. We want our guests to share experiences that matter, and our 2017 additions truly reinforce that mission.”

In an exclusive interview in the current issue of Attractions Management, Manby revealed that SeaWorld’s millennial-friendly strategy includes expanding its mix of attractions and giving them an educational spin. Mako is an example, a coaster that opened in Orlando this year and uses the queue line to educate guests about shark conservation.

“People have a great time on the ride, but at the same time they learn about the problem [of shark finning] and can play a role in helping to solve it. We want to motivate people to engage and stop things that harm animals in their habitats,” Manby told the magazine.

In the same edutainment vein, 2017 addition Wave Breaker: The Rescue Coaster will educate SeaWorld San Antonio guests about the company’s animal rescue programmes as well as featuring a unique jet ski-style car and thrilling, dynamic ride experience.

Ocean Explorer at SeaWorld San Diego will be a three-acre zone combining aquariums, rides and engaging technologies. Inside, guests will experience five new family-friendly rides, including the three-minute Submarine Quest attraction, where riders go on a marine research journey.

SeaWorld San Diego is also launching its new Orca Encounter next summer.

Meanwhile, SeaWorld Orlando is retrofitting its Kraken rollercoaster with a VR experience, a “deep sea mission alongside sea creatures inspired by extinct and legendary animals of the past”. It will also debut the Electric Ocean night show and a new twist on its Dolphin Nursery experience, with new areas and more interactivity.

Finally, Busch Gardens Williamsburg’s is looking forward to its first wooden coaster, the 2,100ft (640m) Viking-themed InvadR.

seaworld  investment  joel manby 
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FEATURE: Interview – Joel Manby

SeaWorld Entertainment is investing US$175m (€156m, £135m) in new attractions as the brand continues to position itself as a theme park with sound animal conservation credentials and a mix of activities to offer. The new attractions include a jet skiing-inspired multi-launch rollercoaster at SeaWorld San Antonio, a marine science-inspired zone and the new, “more natural” orca show at SeaWorld San Diego, a virtual reality experience in Orlando and a wooden
Wave Breaker: The Rescue Coaster will debut at SeaWorld San Antonio in 2017. The jet ski-style car design engages riders in a straddled seating position. / SeaWorld Parks
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