A SeaWorld San Diego Update

Written by Joseph Taylor. Posted in In the Parks, SeaWorld San Diego

Tagged:

frontpagepic

Published on January 26, 2013 at 4:00 am with 10 Comments

We’ve got a brief update from SeaWorld San Diego this weekend covering construction on the park’s new entrance and some projects around the property.

NEW ENTRANCE

New fences have popped up on the left side of the entrance, in front of Shamu Stadium.

The ground hasn’t been broken into yet.

The walls on the opposite side of the entrance are still up…


The ticket booths have been repainted for the last time…

…the current entrance

Soon, all of this will be a brand new entrance and entertainment complex which rethinks what a park entry should be.

We are interested to see what’s going to happen with this lawn. It’s been here for such a long time, but it’s a huge amount of space just waiting to be repurposed.

NEW ATTRACTION EFFORTS 

There have been some new attraction happenings in the park. Let’s take a look…


On the park map, the 4D theater – which usually shows Sessame Street’s Light’s, Camera, Imagination 4D Movie has now been labeled with “New Attraction Coming Summer 2013”.

The place hasn’t been touched since the Christmas Celebration.

During the Christmas Celebration, the Mission Bay Theater shows The Polar Express 4D.

 

The side of the theater has been blocked off from park visitors.

Signs are still up for The Polar Express 4D…

…and the Sessame Street film.

SeaWorld hasn’t announced anything about the new attraction, and we don’t really have any predictions of what could come here. It would be nice to have Turtle Trek 4D, and it would be convenient due to the fact that it would be so close to the Turtle Trek attraction, but we doubt that it would open at this park, due to the limit the park has on heights. It would be nice though…


…and the Freshwater Aquarium. You can read the documents here.

The Freshwater Aquarium will be turned into a new restaurant and the gift shop – which is currently 4,700 square feet – will be shrunk to 2,300 square feet. We are hoping that they will bring that super nice Shark Restaurant from Orlando – since the restaurant will be close to the Shark Encounter.

A LITTLE OF THIS AND A LITTLE OF THAT

Yeah, the Cirque set is still there.

Now that the SkyTower is free, SeaWorld has decided to open a small Crepes booth. This is upsetting me. I don’t have anything against crepes, but a big issue that I have with SeaWorld is that they have become extremely commercial. Every place you turn, you’ll see a restaurant, or a small roll away cart selling snacks, or a place to throw rings on glass bottles. SeaWorld really needs to focus on their attractions and entertainment options. They hardly have any land, and instead of building new attractions, they build restaurants and arcade games.  It’s almost like those rumors about Six Flags wanting to buy the SeaWorld parks has already come true.

And that’s the news from SeaWorld San Diego for this month. What do you think SeaWorld has planned for the 4D Theater at the back of the park?  Am I just being over sensitive about the increased commercialism in the park? Would love to hear your thoughts.

About Joseph Taylor

Joseph Taylor writes many of the In the Parks articles relating to Sea World and the surrounding San Diego attractions for MiceChat. He is an avid theme park and roller coaster enthusiast centered in Southern California.

Browse Archived Articles by

  • stamphead

    Getting rid of the Freshwater Aquarium bothers me. They seem to be reducing the educational experiences of the park or at least the FREE educational experiences. I know they have to compete with other parks, but it annoys the *bleep* out of me. I worked there in the 80s and 90s but now I don’t have much desire to go back as a visitor. At least the landscape is just as beautiful.

    • http://micechat.com Dusty Sage

      It really bothers me too. The aquariums are one of the little intimate experiences in the park that I love. Helps get you out of the heat and the crowds. The last thing this park needs is another restaurant!

      • Malin

        Dusty, I disagree about having enough Resturants. I visited earlier this year and encountered long waits and full tables. A park of this size should in my view have at least one sit down table service. And looking at the images above you can’t help but see how dated the Aquarium looks from the outside. And lets be honest I’ve seen better corral displays at the Rainforest Cafe. So not sad to see it go to be honest. A lot of the touch pools and other educational aspects will be moving to the entrance. Also I think it should be pointed out that when SeaWorld does build these new rides like Manta and Atlantis. It also provides a new animal exhibit of some kind. And you can’t blame that on restrictions in place because it does the same thing over in Orlando. This is something Disney should be doing with Animal Kingdom. But it’s evident people inside the company care very little about the Animal or Educational experience anymore. Bring back Eisner.

        And as for the rumours of Six Flags attempting a possible buyout. This would be a terrible idea. Six Flags have proven it has very little regard to themed shows, rides and areas. How long would it take them to have the animals all shipped to other Zoo’s and Aquariums.

        Oh in my rant I had forgot to thank Joseph for a great update.

      • stamphead

        Here’s hope that the 4D theater will become an aquarium. As far as attractions go, unfortunately the exhibits that they build in the attraction play second fiddle to the attraction. ‘Hey we have a coaster!. Oh and some manta rays over there.’

        Forbidden Reef was the first exhibit Busch opened at SeaWorld (I don’t remember if construction was started by former owners HBJ). It was so awesome and now it is gone. I’ll never forget Wyland signing his mural and spelling his name wrong. He had to quickly wipe the paint so he could correct it.

    • Athlonacon

      You are correct, sir. SeaWorld was once a fun marine park, now it is a tourist-trap theme park designed to wring the most amount of money out of people and the educational aspect is a sideshow, if that.

      It’s very sad… very sad. I remember SeaWorld in the 80′s and 90′s and it was *nothing* like today. The focus was purely on the animals, especially Shamu, and no one went there to ride anything, because, quite frankly, the only “rides” were the Sky Tower and skyway.

      I haven’t been there for about 5 years now, and I don’t plan on ever going back. Same thing with the Wild Animal Park (or the “San Diego Zoo Safari Park” as they want us to call it now, but I never will). Eventually people who can remember the good days of animal parks will give way to new generations that don’t know anything other than empty shells of animal parks that are more theme park than educational. In other words, in 50 or so years, no one will care and the norm will become mindless theme parks where no one will have any recollection of what they missed out on. Again, very sad.

  • MrTour

    I suppose the commercialism will increase now this the park is no longer run by Busch. Busch has a subtle touch of NOT being in your face with commercialism at every turn. They even surpass Disney with this. This is a great loss.

  • Ing5

    ” They hardly have any land, and instead of building new attractions, they build restaurants and arcade games.”

    I have to disagree. They removed Coconut Bay Cafe when they created Turtle Reef and Riptide Rescue. They removed Mango Joe’s Beach Cafe when they built Manta. That’s two restaurants gone and three attractions added.

    Exactly what arcade games have they added recently. The Games Entertainment Center has been there for more than 10 years.

    • stamphead

      Believe it or not the games area has been there for almost 25 years. It was there when I started in 1989.

  • napamaninsocal

    You are right! That ticket booth , now crepe booth could have totally been the best new dolphin tank..

  • darkamor

    I want to have high hopes that San Diego’s Sea World will continue to feature the right mix of education and entertainment …. but it is the smallest out of the Sea World Parks and only has so much space to work with (the only way they can expand is to use the space in the current parking lot, then move parking to someplace else, and offer shuttle service back n; forth) ….

    The only free space left with be where Cirque De La Mer, Bayside Skyride, Mission Bay 4D Theatre exist (without removing the Bayside Skyride). The Games Entertainment Center is a waste of space (I would rather a new dining area go here), so is the Nautilus Pavilion (another waste of space that I would rather see become a new dining area). I would’ve rather seen the Fresh Water Aquarium be temporarily closed and cleaned up (it was dirty the last time I saw it back in 2010) ….

    The Seaport Marketplace, as well as the Garden Plaza are under utilized. If there is going to be a new Entrance (featuring new & unique interactive areas, then I hope both of these areas are redone and used properly). I don’t mind the new rides Journey To Atlantis and Manta (but I do mind if there is less emphasis on educational value and it being replaced by cheap poor quality attractions) ….

    If the parent company of Seaworld (the Blackstone Group) can not do the right thing, then sell if to San Diego Zoo / San Diego Safari Park and let them find a way to improve things to a level deemed acceptable as an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the American Association of Museums (AAM), the Zoological Association of America (ZAA) and the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) …

    C J