Change is coming to SeaWorld San Diego, so we’re back with another update. We’ve got a lot to cover this week, including major developments on the new entrance, the new temporary entrance, Cirque 2013, and more.  Let’s dive in.

Construction Central: The New Entrance / Explorer’s Reef

Yes folks! I hope you said your goodbyes to the old entrance in the previous updates because it is now closed!
The walls actually go all the way down to the front of Shamu Stadium.
Anyways, what is interesting is that they haven’t yet blocked off the old flagpole. The shamu cars are gone now as well.
The temporary entrance is now open!
The old ticket booths have been moved here.
Not all of the old entrance has been blocked off. The passport entrance, will call, restrooms, and ATM are still available to park guests.
The computerized ticket booths are still available as well.
We should see this blocked off by the end of the year. I doubt they’ll be keeping it with the new entrance complex.
Here is the new temporary entrance.
It’s also the exit.
After you enter, you’ll immediately hit the Seaport Marketplace, and the majority of retail and snack options have been moved..but not all!
Starbucks Coffee
Stroller and Wheelchair Rentals
All Day Dining Passes and Quick Queue.
Currents Gifts
& the Candy booth from the old exit.
There is still a small walkway to connect you to Shamu Stadium, but it might get a little tight.
So here is what’s going on inside the walls of this massive construction project…
Some earth moving and clearing of decor is all we really see at this point.
The grass has been taken out as well as some trees.
They have just begun to break the ground over at the old entrance/exit.
One of the four ticket booths is now part of history.
The old exit awaits its fate.
We just under a year away from the launch of the new entry complex
And here is what’s behind the walls over near Shamu Stadium. Nothing much happening here… 

Construction Central: Cirque 2013

Both towers have completed their paint job.
The trampoline walls is almost done! It’s not a rumor anymore folks! Cirque is definitely coming back.
The main set is now getting some much needed TLC. We should be seeing rehearsals begin near the end of the month.

Construction Central: Madagascar Live! Operation: Vacation

There are a lot of new signs around promoting the new show.
The construction walls around the Mission Bay Theater have new signs as well.
Nothing new to see…moving on…

Manta Landscaping

We are eager to see if the landscaping has finally grown in on Manta.  Has anything improved in the area?

In our last update, a reader commented on how they’d like to see how progress has been going on the landscaping around Manta. So I thought it would be a great time to revisit the place and see how things are going.
When you enter the attraction from the front, you’ll notice a section that is still barren. 
There are tons of pots that are waiting to be planted, so there should be some additional greenery by the summer.
Some small rocks have also been added.
On the other hand, the queue is looking magnificent. If only the whole ride were this well landscaped.

Looking towards the back end of the attraction, it’s also looking much greener than before.

The area that people complain about is the second part of the ride.
The landscaping in the back half of the ride lacks a focal point.
There’s just a low hill.

Overall, Manta has become a little greener and looks better than last summer. But still doesn’t live up to the hype. Great coaster, poor consistency of theme.

50th Anniversary Talk: Part II

Last week, we looked at some areas around the park that could be redeveloped into new attractions. This week, we’ll be taking a look at the shows around the park and an attraction.

We begin with Pet’s Rule. A reader commented on how they would like to see it removed. The show has been around for thirteen years. While the show is very cute, entertaining, and still receives a large audience, it’s a little long in the tooth. Dolphin Discovery – the longest running SeaWorld show – ran for seventeen years.

If you haven’t seen the show, it’s a cute look at animals.
There are dogs…
More dogs…
Kangaroos (didn’t know they were under the category of “pets”)…
more Cats…
and more Dogs…(as well as pigs)…

It would be great if Pet’s Rule got a major refresh. But, I don’t think it will be leaving us anytime soon. I do think that we might see it turned into Pet’s Ahoy (a show at SeaWorld Orlando and rumored for SeaWorld San Antonio). I highly doubt that they will level it and build some sort of new attraction.

Next: SeaLions Live. This show has been around for a couple years, but has been rethemed several times. It started out with a submarine show, then it was rethemed to another submarine show, and now it’s a SNL-esque parody. Will we see a new SeaLions show? The only reason I have hope is because they’ve been changing their seasonal shows to create storylines. I was a huge fan of Fools With Tools! and I hope they bring some new show next year.

Blue Horizons isn’t going anywhere. There have been rumors floating around about a new night show. When Dolphin Discovery was around, there was a night show called “Ignite!” which was
pyrotechnic filled and was very similar to the old Shamu night show, “House of Douse”. What will be interesting to see – if this rumor is true – is if “Ignite!” returns or a brand new show. Keep your fingers crossed!

We end this week’s 50th Anniversary Talk with Sesame Street’s Bay of Play. As we all know, the Sesame Street 4D movie is no longer with us, which leads me to question the longevity of Bay of Play. It opened around the same time as the movie and was a huge project. The chances of having it rethemed are very slim. It would be great to see something new, but I doubt that SeaWorld would spend that much money on something that’s only a few years old.

Aquatica News

We end this week’s update with some new on the upcoming Aquatica California park. The park will open on Saturday, June 1st, and you can count on MiceChat to have coverage of the opening festivities. Also, tickets are now on sale on the park website. One day tickets are $38 for adults and $30 for children. However, there are one and two year season passes available, and you can also pair that up with a SeaWorld pass. Click here to visit the parks website for more information.

So are you excited for Aquatica and the new developments at SeaWorld San Diego? What do you think we might see for the 50th Anniversary? What would you like to see in the next update? Be sure to leave your comments below.

  • LoveStallion

    The real pity is that Manta doesn’t match its Florida counterpart. I heard it was something about height ordinances in San Diego. Anyone know if that’s true?

    • josephtaylor

      The biggest reason is that the City of San Diego doesn’t allow SeaWorld to build any attraction over 30ft. Journey to Atlantis is the only attraction – so far – to go over it, but that’s the only time. SeaWorld has to propose their plans to the city – who then approves them – because they don’t own the land they’re on. It’s owned by the city. There are so many complications, but it would have been great to see the Orlando version.

  • Thank you Joseph.

    I’m SO disappointed by Manta. The concept art looked amazing. And the queue and beginning of the ride are great. But then the ride just gives up. There is no theme after you leave the queue building area. The whole back section of the ride is just a big empty hill. Why no water feature? Giant rocks? Forrest? Come on SeaWorld, you can’t possibly be that strapped for cash that you open a ride without completing the theme or landscaping. That a year later the job still hasn’t been done is just pathetic.

    It’s a great family coaster. Why leave it in this unfinished Six Flags like state? I know that the amusement park fans love this ride. But I can assure you that this theme park guy is so annoyed by the half-assed attempt at a theme that I almost can’t stand to even look at these photos.

    We all know that SeaWorld is capable of better. It’s just a shame that time after time, the San Diego park gets the short end of the stick. They like to blame the Coastal Commission for everything but the fact is that is an excuse. Yes, they can’t build in certain areas or at certain heights, but that shouldn’t stop them from applying the highest standards and theme to what they actually DO build.

    I’m looking forward to the new entry complex, but not holding my breath. If Manta still looks unfinished after a year, what can we really expect from this newest project?

    SeaWorld needs to finish what they started with Manta and prove to us all that they really ARE serious about immersive theme.

    • josephtaylor

      I feel the same way, Dusty. Manta has turned more green than before and I think we will see it completely green by summer, however I wouldn’t get hopes up for some improvement in the second half of the ride. Maybe we’ll see something for the 50th Anniversary, but I have my doubts.

      I think SeaWorld should put it’s focus right now in the 50th Anniversary. SeaWorld San Diego is behind – in comparison to SeaWorld Orlando – with new rides and attractions and they really need to pull out all the stops. We already know about the new entrance and the upcoming restaurant and retail area which will take over where the Aquarium of the Pacific and Gardens of Discovery are, but they really need to do much more than that.

  • Trumpet

    Great update Joseph

    Thanks for showing us Manta at its current state. Personally, I thought that the foliage would be completed by now. The queue looks great, but apart from that, the ride seriously lacks the landscaping. Personally, they should have made the coaster on water, with fountains and a waterfall. That would have looked fantastic, and would keep the theme of an underwater coaster. Still, they should complete the landscape as its looks half done. From what I have seen, it is a nice coaster, but the ride is only a part of the experience. The queue looks fab, and this level of detail should be the same throughout the ride.

    Thanks again Joseph


  • Fernando Mendez

    Well im pretty sure you were talking about me when you said that someone said they should replace pets rule….anyway i still have a strong opinion about that because……well personally im not to found of it they should do something new and exciting with that big chunk of land, even a new show would be fine with me but you said so yourself 11 years!!!! I went to the park 3 times last week and i definitely thought about future projects everytime I was there. Personally i think they should put alot of focus on aquatica at this point because I fell like that purcahse was a huge gamble that is capable of paying off if done right. and i hope to see you there on june 1st!

    • josephtaylor

      I thought what you brought up was interesting so I decided to mention it in the update. I don’t think SeaWorld San Diego has anything to do with Aquatica. I think there is a specific team just for that. What they should be doing is focusing on the 50th Anniversary. They really need to step up their game for that.

      • Fernando Mendez

        Yeash there is alot of work to be done at Sea World San Diego I hope to see something new and big. Im not as excited about the entrance as everyone else I honestly wont care about it to much. I want to see a New sea Lion show and something done with pets rule and like i previously said it would be awsome if the sharks got a new exhibit.