After a winter break, we’re back at SeaWorld San Diego for a construction update.  There’s a lot of work in progress and we’ll show you what will be coming for the Summer 2013 season.  We also review the SeaWorld Christmas Celebration for the past holiday season. The festivities actually end today, but there is plenty for us to share.

The Construction Season Begins!

If you look to the right of this image, you’ll notice that construction walls have gone up on part of the entrance. Yes folks, work is underway on the massive new entrance complex.

They haven’t touched the current main entrance yet.

For now, work is being done to the right of the passport members entrance. When I asked a park rep, they said that work on the main part of the entrance should begin in March. We’ll take a closer look at this in our next update.

Cirque 2013? 

To our amazement, the Cirque set hasn’t been touched since the last update (over a month ago).

The trampolines have been taken out of the trampoline set.
The truss sets on both sides of the stadium are still intact.

And the sign is still up! Actually, it seems like it even got touched up a little bit. It looks possible that Cirque may return this summer after all. Unless SeaWorld starts making changes shortly, this stadium will either be back in the acrobat business or they’ll have a big unused stadium this summer.

Aquatica is coming to San Diego! 

SeaWorld recently announced that they’ve purchased the Knott’s Soak City park in San Diego from and will be reopening it this summer as Aquatica. While hardly any information has been shared, we do know that the park is going under an extensive makeover. And yes, we’ll be there opening day to see what they’ve done with the place.

The Post-Holiday Christmas Celebration Look Around 

And now, ladies and gentlemen, it’s time for our Christmas Celebration review! We begin at the entrance – where the ticket booths have been painted for the last time! Are you shedding your happy tears?

Last year, SeaWorld pulled out all the stops to make a spectacularly decorated holiday event. This year, they’ve found even more stops to pull because they’ve gone wild with the décor!

The same tree as the years before has returned.

Right in front of the Animal Encounters attraction, guests can frolic with the Reindeer and even meet Santa Claus!

Let’s begin with the one thing that’s real here…the reindeer!


Awwwwwww…isn’t he a-dor-a-ble????


They began to attack one of their caretakers. While I was walking away, another caretaker took out a couple graham crackers and both reindeer sprinted in the other direction.

A SLEIGH! You know what that means…


SANTA CLAUS! But don’t get your hopes up…


…cause he went home. Sorry kids.
Last year, SeaWorld debuted Snow World…
If returned this year with a ton of snow for kids to play in.
And yes, you can even go sledding.

New this year, kids can plan a strange version of Tic-Tac-Toe. Have fun figuring this one out!

The area looks breathtaking at night. There are tons of snow machines that circle the area, but weren’t turned on during this visit.

Speaking of breathtaking, take a look at some of these great decorations. Manta got a little holiday cheer for its first year at the park!

Dozens of trees surround the back end of the ride.
At night, it’s a forest of lights…

The front of the Blue Horizons also got hundreds of white trees with blue LED lights. You can see these in the sunlight in our last update…

These dripping icicle lights are really neat. They were located near the side of Pet’s Rule.

It’s a nice touch!

And to wrap up our look at the holiday decorations, SeaWorld has installed these ball lights around the Shamu Stadium.

They completely surround the stadium and look great as a backdrop when watching the Shamu Show.

Shamu’s Christmas Review:

I’m going to wrap up this update by sharing my thoughts on the Shamu Christmas show and SeaWorld Entertainment as a whole. The following is filled with spoilers, so if you don’t want to know what happens during the show, feel free to breeze through these images.

During the Christmas Celebration, SeaWorld puts on a Shamu holiday show as an attempt at a spectacular way to end your evening.

Before the show, a guitarist comes out and plays various holiday songs for about twenty minutes as an effort to keep the audience entertained…even though no one is really paying attention, as you can tell by the way the stadium is silent when he finishes, with maybe a small applaud here and there.

After she finishes her monologue, a man walks out playing a saxophone… 

We begin the show with our host, who welcomes us and defines what the true meaning of Christmas is. And after all that, we finally get to see the one thing we actually care about…the animals.

Set to the backdrop of the holiday tunes Sleigh Ride and a composition by Trans-Siberian Orchrestra, we dive deeper into this incredibly corny show.

At the end of this scene, Shamu returns with its trainer, who gives him a hug…over a metallic bar which she struggles to get over.

And there are fountains in the show, which is probably the highlight of the performance.

There are so many things wrong with this show. It seems like SeaWorld San Diego may not understand what makes a Shamu show work. This show is out of breath! And it’s not just this show. Many of the shows are in a similar situation.

SeaWorld needs to create shows which are less corny and appeal to a wider audience of every age.

That should do it for SeaWorld for today.  Join us next time for more information on Cirque De La Mer and the ongoing construction at the front of the park.