SeaWorld announces Blue World Project, new environments for its killer whales

Posted Friday, August 15, 2014 1:31 PM | Contributed by Chitown

SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. (SEAS) will build new habitats for its killer whales to blunt criticism that has hurt the company’s business and toppled its shares. The first location will be built at its San Diego theme park, which will have a water volume of 10 million gallons, or almost double that of the existing facility, the company said today in a statement.

Read more from Bloomberg.

Visit the official Blue World Project.

Friday, August 15, 2014 2:08 PM

So that article I linked to yesterday was correct!?

They're really taking steps to improve their image with the public.

Ugh.

I guess somebody feels like the financial hit was the result of the bad publicity...

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Friday, August 15, 2014 2:54 PM

2 things about this that I didn't get from the articles:

1) Is this in addition to the current facility, or is this a replacement?
2) Are the shows going away?

About the latter, though it would be disappointing to not get to see the tricks involved in the shows, the ability to view these orcas up close in this new environment far surpasses the show in terms of appeal to me.

No matter what, major kudos to SeaWorld. This is probably going to be the most impressive aquatic exhibit in the world.

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Friday, August 15, 2014 3:03 PM

The Blue World Project is in addition to the current orca facilities, nothing is being replaced or taken away (ie. show stadiums.) Shows will continue as always.

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Friday, August 15, 2014 3:46 PM

I think the press and analysts are reading too into this as a response to criticism. No one cares about the penguins, but they spent all kinds of money on the spinning hockey pucks and and an in-the-cold-with-them attraction called Antarctica. Silly as the ride is, the response has been positive overall. This seems like the next logical step to that.

Again, I think the "hit" (and remember, they're still wildly profitable) is dependence on the flagship park and really stupid pricing.

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Friday, August 15, 2014 4:31 PM

Easy solution to offset bad publicity and decrease in attendance and revenue. Start offering free beer once again. Drunk people are happier and spend more. At least, I do.

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Friday, August 15, 2014 5:01 PM

Just ask Epcot and whether or not they have my credit card number on file.

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Friday, August 15, 2014 5:09 PM

What is wrong with Sea World's pricing? Are we talking ticket prices?

$80 for a single any day ticket, $65 during the week and 14-day park hoppers for $156 (good for SWO, BGT, Aquatica).

It is $94-99 for a single day ticket at Disney, one park. A two day ticket is $188. A five day ticket is already $300. That does not even include the "park hopper" add-on of $60.

Comparing annual passes, Disney is $634. A one year SWO, BGT, Aquatica annual pass is $240, or a two year pass for $340.

If anything, Disney has the crazy pricing once you get beyond a single day admission and park-hopping. Sea World (IMO) looks quite cheap in comparison. I know you can't exactly compare the style of parks they are, but it all depends what you like in a park that will dictate if the value is there or not.

Last edited by SteveWoA, Friday, August 15, 2014 5:32 PM
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Friday, August 15, 2014 5:14 PM

I went to SeaWorld Orlando, once. The value wasn't there for me. It's a nice enough park, yes, but not worth the price -- to me -- I paid then and not worth the prices listed above.

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Friday, August 15, 2014 5:52 PM

And my reaction was just the opposite. In all of my many trips to Orlando, Texas, and San Diego I had never, ever been to a Sea World until just a few years ago. (not even our own park here in Ohio) I reasoned that there was probably just not enough for a ride hound to do and not worth the money. Busch Gardens, yes, Sea World, no.

I finally broke down and went to the Orlando park after Manta had been operating a couple of years. I wanted to try it and reckoned I'd score my credits then be out of there by early afternoon. To my surprise I had a great time and stayed almost til closing time. The few rides they had were great, the park wasn't busy so multiple coaster rides were possible, I loved the animal exhibits, the shows were simply awesome, the place was gorgeous, and the pearl diving boy was hot.

I thought all those things made it well worth my while, and I've been back one other time since.

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Friday, August 15, 2014 9:03 PM

It's a beautiful park, but it doesn't have a lot of replay value for me. That they try to pace the single day pricing with Disney and Universal is exactly the problem, even if it is just one of perception.

Aquatica and BGT? Yes, fantastic, all for the repeats. Even then, I can't help but get a 3rd place vibe. It's hard to put my finger on why that's the case. It's at least partly operations, which are dreadful in comparison.

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Friday, August 15, 2014 9:08 PM

The lack of appeal that SeaWorld Orlando (I've never been anywhere near the other SeaWorld parks) has for me is, I think, related to the the appeal the extravagantly themed parks Disney and Universal have for me. My Aspergerian brain likes examining all the detailed technical aspects of such things.

Actually, when I was young (approximately 300 years ago), my parents decided to take my brother and I to SeaWorld Ohio. The two things I remember of that trip: the chocolate shakes were delicious; I was annoyed that we went to SeaWorld when there was a park with roller coasters right across the lake.

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Friday, August 15, 2014 9:59 PM

Ha! That was very much my childhood visits to the park as well.

I'm not a hater. I wouldn't have worked at corporate for a year if I thought the company or product sucked. I just think they're pricing it too high. Among people my age with similar family situations (30-40-something with 1.7 kids), they all ask me the same thing: "We have an extra day, is it worth it?" How do you respond to that?

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Friday, August 15, 2014 10:57 PM

My family gets in free, and we still skipped it the last two times we were down there.

I like the place, but it's definitely not a 'must do' park for us, and another day at Uni or Disney always wins out in the end.

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Friday, August 15, 2014 11:03 PM

^^ I always say "Well,... If ya like fish..."

I know for a fact that the reason I never visited Sea World Ohio is because I could never get past Geauga's parking lot without turning there instead. The only time I ever saw the place was after the two parks combined into World of Adventure. I was amazed at how pretty that side was, and the difference between that and crappy Geauga was night and day. And by crappy I mean, well, kinda crappy.

Last edited by RCMAC, Friday, August 15, 2014 11:05 PM
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Saturday, August 16, 2014 9:28 AM

I really enjoyed my trip to SWSA this spring, but I can see how the replay value would be pretty low. In fact, we weren't planning on going, but found discount tickets at the last second and changed our plans.

Last edited by ApolloAndy, Saturday, August 16, 2014 2:08 PM
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Saturday, August 16, 2014 10:59 AM

For those of us of a "certain age," SeaWorld is the perfect blend of having some decent coasters/rides while allowing us leisure time to sit and watch a show, enjoy decent food, and especially enjoy the landscaping/horticulture. Trust me when I say something happens around 40 years old that makes riding coasters over and over and over a challenge. Enjoy it while you can!

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Saturday, August 16, 2014 2:16 PM

I have seen that happen to some people in their 40s but not all. I didn't even go to my first coaster event (and thus really never had a chance to power ride coasters) until I was in my early 40s. Still don't have much interest in shows (definitely prefer coasters). Can appreciate landscaping but its typically just in passing by on my way to rides (may stop to take a quick picture tho as some parks are very picturesque). In reality though, I think that those who can (or even have any interest) ride coasters over and over are in a small minority (at any age).

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Sunday, August 17, 2014 2:29 AM

I enjoy shows, and I enjoy landscaping, and I enjoy rides. For me, the proportions are just off at SeaWorld Orlando (the only other SW park I've been to was Ohio).

I suppose I'm also spoiled by living in Chicago: we have the Shedd Aquarium, and the Chicago Public Library loans out passes to the Shedd and other cultural institutions; when I have a hankering to view or interact with aquatic creatures, the opportunity is close at hand.

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