I just so happened to be in San Antonio this past week on business and I decided to spend my Saturday at Sea World. I actually grew up with this park back when I lived in Texas and was excited to experience it again. I have been back a few times since 2000, the last time probably around 2007, so I knew that a few things have changed there, not to mention the giant Aquatica addition.
I was, however, very shocked at the state of the park. The park itself was clean and presentable, but the atmosphere had just changed dramatically. It felt like a ghost town - plenty of guests walking around, but the park looked like it was uninhabited by cast members and infrastructure for years. It was as if the park was abandoned but then suddenly reopened one day.
The scenic themeing was going away and all was replaced by flat, printed signs. We walked up to Shamu's BBQ around noon and weren't even sure that this location was still operating. The windows are tinted black, there is no signage outside. The path leading up to it was bare concrete without any tables, color, flags, benches, anything to indicate that this is somewhere guests should go. It felt very Spartan. We walked up to the doors and opened them - the lights were on. The whole thing felt strange and uninviting. This was what we encountered the whole day at Sea World. The park felt like it was trending on minimalism.
Honestly, it made me kind of sad. This park should be in the best shape, right at the opening of its regular season. But to me and my group, we all agreed that it felt like a park that was preparing to close down... What happened to this place? Where is the energy, excitement, and almost Epcot-like inspiration that Sea World San Antonio use to have?