On Tuesday February 19th, SeaWorld Orlando opened construction wall doors to MiceChat for a sneak peek hardhat tour of their biggest expansion project ever, Antarctica! This expansion is unprecedented in SeaWorld’s history, so the park is justifiably proud of what they will soon open to the public. We think you’ll be impressed with how the project is coming together.

MiceChat columnist, Eric Davis, prepares to take us to SeaWorld’s newest glaciers.

After receiving hardhats to explore the construction site, we were invited to visit the “creative war room.” This is where the models, sketches, blue prints, concept drawings are all on display, to assist the creative and construction teams to turn concept into reality.

Brian Morrow shares the exterior models in the “Creative War room”.

A close up of the exterior models gives us a sense of what it will look like to walk through the new area.

During the three and a half year process of developing Antarctica, SeaWorld creative, scientists, and engineers developed new systems and processes so that park guests would be able to walk in a penguin habitat that is cold enough for penguins, but not too cold for humans!

Brian Morrow action figure sold separately.

Thankfully, they also have developed brand new ventilation systems that will prevent any unwanted odors from the pungent penguins. There will also be an underwater viewing area with a 16 foot tall viewing window that will allow guests to appreciate the super-hero like underwater flying penguins are known for.

Now let’s go out into the construction area to see how things are coming along.

Through a new process developed by SeaWorld the giant ice glaciers will be made out of rock, fiberglass and acrylic so that during the day the ice will glow with the sun light and at night their lighting package will make the ice glow from within.


There is still quite a bit of rock work to finish up.

While SeaWorld is still being tight lipped about what exactly will transpire on the ride portion of the Antarctica experience, from what we can see of the exterior of the attraction, the restaurant and the gift shop, guests are in for an incredibly immersive environment where you will feel dwarfed by the intense size of the rock work and ice.

At the end of our tour, SeaWorld announced that Antarctica would open Friday May 24th 2013.

We were also honored to interview Brian Morrow, SeaWorld Creative Director,  who brought us Manta, Turtle Trek and now Antarctica. We were able to inquire a bit deeper to find out more about the man behind these incredible attractions.

Creative Director, Brian Morrow, shares Antarctica

MiceChat:  What was the creative process like when you were creating Antarctica?

Brian Morrow: The Process is very fluid and very dynamic.  We knew that the marching orders had to do with penguins and we had guests who would come out of the penguin encounter who didn’t know they were test studies.   We would take them, and have them meet a penguin, and put them in the penguin habitat, and we would have scientists study them, and monitoring their body positions to determine when it got too cold, so we could come up with the magic number of the cold tolerance for all the different ages and demographics.  You just can’t go build something like this and not know that people might be irritated and uncomfortable the whole time.   So we did that stuff first.

The creative first steps were related to what is the story of the animal? Do we want to tell a black and white story? Do we want to tell a “aren’t they fun and cute?” They [penguins] have a great heart so we brought our zoological team in and our educational team in and we really talked deeply about the story of the penguins. We had to figure out what story of the penguins we wanted to tell.  We got to the point of the surviving and thriving in the harshest climate of the planet, and love and connection between the species of penguins.  That allows us to put those things together, which makes the connectivity, which SeaWorld is so known for, you aren’t going to run away scared.

MiceChat:  Looking at the newest attractions, Manta, Turtle Trek and Antarctica, what is your vision for SeaWorld?  What is SeaWord’s soul?

Brian Morrow:  Our guests will leave more fulfilled than when they came in.  They will be fulfilled with knowledge, with the sense of purpose and that they can make a difference, that it is possible to help and that it feels good.   Once you do one bit of good you feel great.  If we can impart that to them, it is amazing.  We do it through the stories we tell, through rides and shows.  When guests walk away from SeaWorld Orlando we want them to know that you have the power to make a difference and here are the tools to do it.

MiceChat:  What was your first SeaWorld moment?  What made you fall in love with SeaWorld?

Brian Morrow: the one I can barely remember is coming to the Penguin encounter when I was 9 years old, standing under the misting structure in the very 80’s architecture.

The moment that I knew this is the place I wanted to come work, was when I first saw Blue Horizons. I had goose bumps on my arm, a tear in my eye, and I saw that this was happening to everyone around me. I knew that this this was a place with heart and soul and where I wanted to work.  That was my ah-ha moment.

We cannot wait for this new land to open at SeaWorld Orlando! What about you?!

Please join us in thanking SeaWorld for allowing us to share these photos and access with all of you. Your likes and shares on Facebook and Twitter are very much appreciated, along with your comments below.