SeaWorld San Diego is preparing for the big 50th anniversary coming up in March. The main attraction of the celebration will be the new interactive entrance facilities. At the moment, construction has the entire front end of the park upended. We’ll show you the considerable scope of the project.  We also check out the Madagascar Live show that was new for this summer. Finally, we’ll take a look at what else is going on in the park. Let’s dive in, shall we?


Explorer’s Reef

A lot has happened since we last updated you on the construction of the new entrance.
Here are two areas which could be where the touch pools will go…
Here we see two areas where the touch pools will go…
Something is happening here…if only those trees would move out of the way!
Something is happening here…if only those trees would move out of the way!


The old shops will be re-purposed.


As you can see, SeaWorld will be transforming the old shops into a new marketplace area.

The old stroller rental area is also being rethemed.
The old stroller rental area is also being rethemed.


The wave hasn’t been added to the entry yet, but we’re sure getting close for it’s unveiling!
The wave hasn’t been added to the entry yet, but it’s coming soon


Another look at the marketplace entry…
Another look at the marketplace entry…
The old SeaWorld had a lot of concrete and straight lines. The new look is fluid, with curves and waves.


On the outside of Explorer’s Reef, there have been some interesting additions!
On the outside of Explorer’s Reef, there have been some interesting additions!


Here’s another look at the entry from the front.
Here’s another look at the entry from the front.


Madagascar LIVE! Operation: Vacation


This past year, the Mission Bay Theater was converted from a 4D theater to a playhouse theater, and its first resident is Madagascar LIVE: Operation Vacation.


The theater has gone through A LOT of changes. New seats, improved sound system, it’s an all around better theater.

Here’s a closer look at the staging of the show.


You’ll see the majority of the Madagascar characters: the penguins, Alex the lion, Gloria the hippo, Juian the Lemur and his high-pitched sidekick. Marty the zebra, and Melman the giraffe are not in the show, but they are mentioned.


This show is more of a concert than a play. There is a storyline, but if you miss it, it doesn’t really matter. There is also some audience interaction.


The show is mostly filled with original songs, other than the unforgettable ear worm, “I like to move it, move it”. This is a great family show.


Because of the modified stage there are new exits in the theater. The old exits have been replaced with a meet and greet area after the show.

Things to notice…


Signs promoting the Halloween Spectacular have been creeping in around the park. It will be interesting to see how they do it this year since the entrance area is blocked off.


The amphibians of Cirque De La Mer have once again gone back into the sea. And yes, we’ll probably see them again next year.


As we move forward into the final stretch before the 50th Anniversary in March, we recommend you visit the Freshwater Aquarium and Gardens of Discovery soon, as they should be closed within the next couple months. Last fall, SeaWorld filed a document with the city of San Diego showing off plans to put in a new dining area and shopping district replacing these two attractions.

That brings this SeaWorld Update to a close.  We hope to be back soon with more Halloween and 50th preparations.

For more SeaWorld San Diego news, and news from all the other SeaWorld Parks take an audio journey with Eric & Mike in Episode 10 of the Unofficial SeaWorld Podcast

  • Eric Davis

    Great update Joseph. While I get to see SeaWorld Orlando almost every weekend, you are my window into SeaWorld San Diego!

  • Amy VandenBoogert

    Nice update. I see the Madagascar show is the exact same one that opened at Busch Gardens Tampa this summer. It’s a fun little show with a lot of energy.

  • Thank you Joseph. I was wondering how construction was progressing. It should speed up now that the summer season is over.

    • josephtaylor

      The next few months should be very interesting indeed!

  • Eagleman

    I look forward ,seeing the ”New” interactive entrance facilities!
    But ,do wish ,Sea World would have like a bigger attraction type ride…for ther 50th…..
    Special there in San Diego were Sea World all started…….
    Good report…Thank You

    • josephtaylor

      Rumors suggest that there is work going on behind the scenes on a new attraction which could possibly be unique to San Diego…stay tuned! I’ll post whatever information I find…

  • Tigger1134

    Great report, Joseph.

    I was just there 2 weeks ago and had a great time. It had been about 5 years since I was last there, so obviously a lot has changed. I was excited to see that they are making improvements to the entrance for the 50th. While it was a wait to get through security and into the park, I think the changes will be well worth it.

    I really enjoyed the shows, although I didn’t get to see Madagascar. I was too busy doing the dolphin interaction program! I also really enjoyed Manta and the turtle exhibit. Didn’t the manatees used to there?

    I grew up going to SeaWorld every year when I was a kid, so I do miss some of the old stuff like the Sparkletts water show (I still remember the lyrics), the Japanese pearl divers, and will always refer to the Pet’s Rule stadium as the “Up with People” stage! However, as with any theme park, things must change and I can’t see myself still enjoying a low tech, indoor water show after seeing World of Color!

    I’m glad to see that SeaWorld is still a great park and continues to make improvements. I’ll definitely be back again soon!

  • WDWorldly

    Re-theming and overhauls at the entrances of all of Disney’s major competitors in Southern California (SeaWorld, Universal) after Buena Vista Street shows how much of an industry leader Disney is, or is just a big coincidence.

    • Eric Davis

      Well I don’t think it is a coincidence, but I also don’t think it is directly related. SeaWorld’s main entrance redo has a lot more with eventually changing the way people visit SeaWorld San Diego more than it has to do with creating a new “themed entrance”

      The ticket booths will be podiums where people purchase their experiences at SeaWorld much more like a concierge service (if you have ever been to Discovery Cove this is what it will be like)

      And if you already have your tickets you will be able to “dive in” without being stopped by the ticketing area.

      If you have a mobile ticket, you will be able to simply use that and walk right into the park.

      Again SeaWorld’s is really about improving how guests experience SeaWorld more than making it prettier.

  • Freddie Freelance

    Does anyone know what’s happening with the Aquarium de la Mer under the Cirque Stadium? They’ve closed off most of the Aquarium with a semi-permanent wall, and some of the fish seem to be missing from the remaining tanks.

    • Eric Davis

      Oh good question Freddie, I will see if I can get to the bottom of this! @Joseph do you know?

      • josephtaylor

        I do not! But rest assured, I will cover this in the next update…

  • sean317

    Thanks for the great update!!