So today Theme Park Review was invited to participate in a media construction tour of TurtleTrek's new 3-D, 360 degree dome whose construction was completed yesterday. The dome will be the centerpiece of the new attraction which will borrow many pages from other SeaWorld attractions (tying in a lot of the messages we already find in the SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment properties) but will also empower guests with a new message, inspiring them to become "everyday heroes" in their local environment. The new attraction retains much of the original structure used by the former Manatee Rescue exhibit but has some significant modifications to allow for it to become the new TurtleTrek later this year. The manatees will return with the attraction but will be joined in an adjacent tank by sea turtles in the attraction's pre-show experience. Guests will then experience a "hyperrealistic" 3-D digital film running for around seven minutes detailed the twenty five year journey of the sea turtle from birth in the sand, its travels in the ocean and its return to lay eggs in the same sands in which it was born.
We were fortunate enough to be joined by Brian Morrow, Creative Director for SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment who happily shared many details about this (and other new attractions on the company's horizon). He shared that the film will feature easter eggs of sorts throughout its duration, though wouldn't mention what that might entail. He also noted that other well known creatures seen already in the park would make appearances in the film, such as the manta ray, spotted eagle rays and dolphins (those specifically were the topic of his favorite scene in which he described our title sea turtle being rescued by dolphins from vicious predators including sharks).
Here is the short version of today's video I filmed including a one-on-one interview with Brian Morrow regarding TurtleTrek!
I'd like to thank Brian Morrow and the rest of the SeaWorld team for welcoming us today--it was another incredible media event and I truly look forward to seeing TurtleTrek when it debuts later this Spring!
So you all remember that awesome new concept SeaWorld is bringing us in the form of TurtleTrek right?
That "hyperrealistic 3-D" digital animation Brian Morrow had told us about during the original announcement? Today he told us that that was the most understated way of describing it!
Yesterday the dome theater was completed as the last panel was stapled into place.
Since SeaWorld knows none of us could get a full theater shot, they supplied an awesome wide angle view of the completed theater!
Now here's where we come in! It's time for another hard hat tour!
Even though it isn't finished, walking into the theater for the first time really takes your breath away.
One thing is for sure. Even though this was once the Manatee Rescue pre show theater, this dome theater is a HUGE departure from what once was.
Guests will stand on the elevated platform in the center of the theater enveloped by a fully-immersive dome screen with no portion of the dome empty of digital projection detail.
As Brian Morrow described it to us, he made sure to note that this is really six different films stitched into one giant canvas. Despite seeing the journey from the eyes of the turtle, guests will be able to look in different directions to see the actions of the different creatures the turtle encounters along the way. So, that's five different angles looking directly ahead at the screen...
Plus one more when looking directly up at the top.
If you've ever had the pleasure of talking with Brian about his projects, you can always tell how passionate he is by the sheer wealth of knowledge he holds not only on the project itself, but on the creatures and environments directly associated with the work he does.
You can tell he, along with the rest of the SeaWorld team are extremely proud of this new project...
And they plan to continue to share new milestones in its development with a few more webisodes in the coming months.
The dome really is massive!
This attraction is a world's first by the way. It will be the first ever 3-D dome theater. Dome theaters exist elsewhere (like the Bubble Show/Dragon's Treasure show at the City of Dreams Casino in Macau) but no installations aside from this are also in 3-D.
Brian also shared a little teaser with us, as he was wearing the show's main character, the sea turtle we'll follow in the film.
It is always an awesome experience to get to talk to Brian about his work--plus, we know he's got a soft spot for Theme Park Review!
There's still plenty of work to be done on the entrance, pre-show and post-show experiences for TurtleTrek, but with the dome complete, SeaWorld can now prepare the main element of the new attraction as the rest is gradually finished.
Would've loved for this hard hat to join my Manta one in my personal collection, but it had to be returned.
From the Skytower the TurtleTrek theater can only be seen slightly from behind the trees.
While we're up here, let's take a look at the demolition of the Penguin Plaza to make way for Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin.
Land has been cleared between the old Penguin Encounter building and the sea lion habitat.
The retro fountain has survived the demolition so far!
Friends of the Wild and the gift shop have been totally gutted.
Over in the Dine with Shamu tank work continues on the emergency lift system.
A slightly closer look.
It will be interesting to see if this structure is even slightly retained for the new area.
This one's marked for demolition...
The old Penguin Encounter building is being taken down quickly.
Not much left to salvage.
The Skytower is now free to all guests! Plus they take your photo before you get in line. Those photos can be seen here at the exit.
This is really awesome to see the attraction open for everyone!
The line has been slightly reconfigured to allow for this change to take place.
Heading towards the Pacific Point Reserve...
New nets have been added along the path next to Manta.
Games have been relocated from the former Penguin Plaza.
The entrance for TurtleTrek is taking shape quickly.
Thanks to this report, my interest in TurtleTrek has increased tenfold. REALLY excited about the dome theater and the fully immersive (so to speak) experience that promises. The whole concept just hadn't sunk in (so to speak) until now.
^TurtleTrek takes up the entire complex. The manatees will still use up a section of the former tank, but a good deal of the tank will become the home of the new turtles from San Diego. The alligators in the water in front of the complex are not being affected by this project.
I have updated the photo report post to include the short version of the footage I filmed during the construction tour. Expect a longer version of the video, along with another video in which Brian Morrow details some of the other SeaWorld Parks projects he is currently working on, to be posted very soon!
The long version of the construction tour featuring a more in-depth description of the TurtleTrek 3-D 360 degree dome's film has now been added to the original construction report post. I've also included a third video in which Brian Morrow discusses other projects he is working on for the SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment properties including the Freshwater Oasis, Manta (SeaWorld San Diego) and Verbolten (Busch Gardens Williamsburg).
Change the scheme, Alter the mood! Electrify the boys and girls if you would be so kind!
RoCo wrote:Thanks to this report, my interest in TurtleTrek has increased tenfold. REALLY excited about the dome theater and the fully immersive (so to speak) experience that promises. The whole concept just hadn't sunk in (so to speak) until now.
I second that. When I first heard the announcement and description of this attraction, I thought they were talking a good game but doubted that the technology would be that impressive. After seeing this...wow. While SeaWorld/Busch has always been known for great theming, excellent use of existing technologies, ride placement, etc, they haven't really been known for introducing new technology. This really looks like it will change the game for the immersive theater experience. Brian Morrow is really impressive and I am really excited about this and all of his upcoming projects.
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