SeaWorld Orlando has sent us an official press release detailing the new expansion to Discovery Cove, known as The Grand Reef
Discovery Cove, the ultimate, all-inclusive tropical retreat where guests swim with dolphins, takes immersion to new depths when it opens an all-new addition -- The Grand Reef -- in June 2011.
The new reef features multiple levels of exploration, from shallow waters to deeper swimming adventures, from white sandy beaches and hammocks swaying in the breeze, to snorkeling among canyons inspired by reefs from around the world.
“The Grand Reef takes Discovery Cove’s world-class animal encounters to an all new level -- several, actually,” said Stewart Clark, the park’s vice president. “It’s what our guests expect from us, unforgettable connections with the sea and making memories that will last forever. This could only be created by Discovery Cove.”
Visitors just need to get their feet wet to enjoy The Grand Reef, or they can choose to go deep. They can step into tranquil, shallow waters to discover a below-the-surface world teeming with sea life, or they can snorkel in deeper waters as thousands of exotic fish and graceful rays swim around them.
Surprises abound. Families can seek discoveries along the water’s edge or cross a bridge to see sharks swimming below. They’ll play hide-and-seek with thousands of beautiful fish, from small colorful wrasses to large spotted eagle rays. Further out in the reef, stunning habitats create the feeling of swimming right alongside venomous lionfish and sharp-toothed reef sharks, each safely behind glass. Guests can take paths and bridges to the reef’s islands and hidden grottos as they delve into the reef from above, around and below.
Those looking for an even more exhilarating adventure can take part in The Grand Reef’s innovative experience, SeaVenture, an underwater walking tour. Wearing dive helmets, guests find up-close excitement around every corner, each step yielding a new discovery. They’ll come across lionfish and sharks (safely behind massive panoramic windows), one-on-one touches with unique animals and schools of fish and gentle rays swimming by. SeaVenture is a once-in-a-lifetime, undersea experience available for a nominal fee.
The Grand Reef is the perfect balance between adventure and relaxation, a fully immersive tropical escape, new to discover in Orlando in 2011.
Discovery Cove is a full-day experience where guests can swim with dolphins, hand-feed exotic birds, snorkel through beautiful fresh and salt water lagoons and relax on pristine, white-sand beaches. In addition to the park’s one-of-a-kind animal interactions and lush natural beauty, Discovery Cove delivers superlative, personalized service, and unlimited access to an unparalleled array of first-class amenities.
Discovery Cove amenities include meals, snacks and beverages throughout the day’s adventures, towels, wet suits and swim gear, plus a pass for unlimited admission* to either SeaWorld or Aquatica in Orlando or Busch Gardens in Tampa to be used surrounding a Discovery Cove visit. Guests can upgrade to the Ultimate package which includes admission to all three sister parks for an additional fee. Advanced reservations are required.
Seasonal rates for Discovery Cove’s Dolphin Swim Day Resort Package start at $199 (rates for Day Resort Package without dolphin swim experience and guests ages 3-5 start at $129). Prices vary seasonally.
For reservations or more information, visit DiscoveryCove.com or call 1-877-434-7268.
Like the place wasn't awesome enough, they add a huge reef! They do have a Reef Dive section, but I guess you can fully swim underwater with this one. I wonder how the water temperature will be compared to the other?
This will give me a reason to go back. I've been a few times and had great experiences, but this will allow me to convince the Mrs. to spend the $$$ to go back now that no one in the family works there!
I think the best part of it will be that it's made for families. I never thought I'd say that until my little Princess came along almost two years ago. Anything we can all do together is just awesome, and it looks like they thought of this with the new area.
SeaWorld Orlando has sent us a press release about this year's expanded Christmas Celebration...
Light Up the Holiday Season at Seaworld’s Christmas Celebration
Light up this year’s holiday season at SeaWorld Orlando’s Christmas Celebration. It’s where guests can experience the joys of Christmas with all-new festivities sure to inspire traditions for years to come. Holiday events take place Friday through Sunday nights, Nov. 26-Dec. 12, and nightly Dec. 17-Jan. 2.
All-New Holiday Festivities
New to this year’s Christmas Celebration is the Sea of Trees. Guests will discover 74 massive trees, each sparkling, lighted and choreographed to classic holiday tunes, making a dramatic display around SeaWorld’s center lake.
Also new this year is The Christmas Market, located on the park’s Bayside Pathway. Here guests can shop for one-of-a-kind gifts and dine on scrumptious holiday delights.
"Our guests will be immersed in the wonderful sights, sounds, and tastes of a joyous holiday experience,” said Michael Fletcher, vice president of Entertainment for SeaWorld Orlando. “The Sea of Trees is going to transform our holiday nights with a stunning symphony of lights and music on the water. Guests can even do their Christmas shopping in the new Christmas Market while they feast on delicious holiday favorites. We want SeaWorld to become a joyous holiday tradition for our guests, so this year we're truly bringing the sea to the season!"
Returning Holiday Favorites
Returning to SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration are family favorites. At the park’s Wild Arctic attraction, guests can jump aboard THE POLAR EXPRESS Experience and take an unforgettable train ride to the North Pole. Classic scenes from THE POLAR EXPRESS movie are recreated in a multi-sensory experience that immerses passengers in special lighting, scent, sound and motion effects. When they arrive at the North Pole, guests discover a winter wonderland surrounded by holiday cheer and amazing animal encounters.
THE POLAR EXPRESS Experience is based on the film from Warner Bros. Pictures and Shangri-La Entertainment, inspired by the beloved Caldecott Medal children's book by Chris Van Allsburg about a doubting young boy who takes an extraordinary train ride to the North Pole on Christmas Eve. He embarks on a journey of self-discovery that shows the wonder of life never fades for those who believe.
Families and friends can once again enjoy the spirit of Christmas during four of SeaWorld’s holiday-themed shows:
Winter Wonderland on Ice, is a spectacular show where Christmas comes to life with towering water fountains, magnificent fireworks and some of the most talented ice skaters in the world.
Clyde and Seamore’s Countdown to Christmas, is a Christmas comedy with everyone’s favorite sea lions Clyde and Seamore and a few mischievous otters and a jolly walrus or two, just for good measure.
A Sesame Street Christmas is a festive and fun musical celebration where guests can celebrate the holidays with friends from Sesame Street. The holidays have arrived, but Abby Cadabby doesn’t understand what all the fuss is about … she’s never heard of Christmas! Elmo, Big Bird and other Sesame Street friends gather to share the true spirit of the holiday with her.
Shamu Stadium once again brightens the night with dazzling lights and glowing candles, while Christmas carols abound and Shamu splashes to celebrate the holiday season. It’s the magnificent holiday show, Shamu Christmas … Miracles.
For those looking for unique holiday cuisine with SeaWorld’s special touch, the Makahiki Christmas Luau is a South Seas-style festive celebration of the ancient holiday traditions of the Pacific Islands. Joyful songs of the season are reinterpreted with Polynesian rhythms, music and dance. For more details on holiday dining options, visit SeaWorldOrlando.com.
’Tis the season of giving and what better way to do so than to give back to wildlife, something SeaWorld has been doing for more than 50 years. With each adult admission purchased online through Dec. 31, 2010, a child ages 3-12 receive admission to SeaWorld for only $5, all of which is donated to non-profit organizations supporting wildlife conservation projects. It’s the perfect place to give back and connect with wildlife but also to share in the holiday spirit together with family and friends at SeaWorld.
For more information about SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration, visit SeaWorldOrlando.com. To purchase tickets, visit SeaWorldCares.com.
Become a fan on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for the latest details about SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration. Facebook.com/SeaWorld.
SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment will launch a new killer-whale show next spring in its three U.S. marine parks, as it attempts to move beyond the February death of a trainer that has shadowed the company for nearly a year.
Jim Atchison, SeaWorld Parks' president and chief executive officer, said in an interview with the Orlando Sentinel on Monday that the as-yet-unnamed show will replace the 4-year-old "Believe" as the signature attraction at SeaWorld parks in Orlando, San Diego and San Antonio.
"We've been working very hard at developing a new concept that I think is going to be very exciting," Atchison said.
Atchison said the new show has been in the works for roughly a year. But the timetable for its debut was accelerated following the Feb. 24 death of Dawn Brancheau, the 40-year-old SeaWorld Orlando trainer who was killed by a six-ton orca named Tilikum.
Brancheau's death prompted SeaWorld to pull all of its trainers out of its orca pools while it conducted a still-ongoing trainer-safety review. That in turn forced an awkward, on-the-fly rework of Believe, a 30-minute show that emphasizes the close relationship between killer whales and trainers and which had relied heavily on in-water interactions.
Atchison declined to say whether trainers will be back in the water for the new show. SeaWorld has said it will not re-institute trainers' "water work" with killer whales unless it can make sufficient safety improvements.
But Atchison said the safety review launched after Brancheau's death has helped shape plans for the new show.
"We've certainly changed the scope of the shows and the impact of the shows," he said.
Industry analysts say designing a new killer-whale performance is an important step toward turning the page on the Brancheau tragedy, which has hung like a cloud over SeaWorld throughout the year. Even now, nearly nine months later, SeaWorld continues to battle both the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration and multiple private lawsuits.
"They almost have to [create a new show] to go forward," said Jerry Aldrich, president of Amusement Industry Consulting in Orlando. "It is important, and it is important for them to do it now, to get rid of the negative connotations of the problems they had."
That said, other factors are also driving SeaWorld's overhaul of its killer-whale show. The company faces increased competition for tourists, particularly in Orlando, where Universal Orlando this year opened the wildly popular Wizarding World of Harry Potter in its Islands of Adventure theme park and Walt Disney World is in the midst of expanding the Fantasyland section of its Magic Kingdom park.
And SeaWorld, like other parks, must periodically reinvent its live shows to ensure repeat visits by guests. Believe is now in its fifth year; SeaWorld's previous orca show, "The Shamu Adventure," ran for eight years.
"All of this stuff has compelled SeaWorld to make a change," said Robert Niles, publisher of ThemeParkInsider.com.
Designing a new killer-whale performance, which Atchison called "our marquee attraction for the SeaWorld parks," is expensive. Just the improvements made to SeaWorld Orlando's Shamu Stadium for Believe reportedly topped $10 million.
SeaWorld is expected to unveil thematic details of the new show in coming weeks. Atchison said it would be "stunning."
"It's going to be a great show, an exciting show, and I think something that's going to have a big impact on the guest experience," he said.
Change the scheme, Alter the mood! Electrify the boys and girls if you would be so kind!
Awesome. I remember when I first saw Believe I thought it was a nice change, but I saw it a second time and it made me want to take swimming lessons from Tillicum. Its one of those shows you care to only see once whether you like it or not.
Also, the rotating/seperating screen is nice, pretty cool tech for the show, however I think its kind of distracting. I find myself dorkishly watching the screens instead of the interaction (or actually, lack thereof) of the trainers and whales.
Hopefully they can get back to focusing on the whales!
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