500 SeaWorld Drive, Mission Bay Park, San Diego, San Diego County (APN No. 760-037-01-01)
Renovate existing guest entrance area to an existing theme park to include construction of a new approximately 1,900 square foot ticket booth building, a 1,000 square foot aquarium and support structure, and an approximately 285 square foot culinary facility, replacement of turnstile structures with a new structure ranging from 17 to 22 feet in height, installation of five touch pools and related life support area, and aesthetic renovations to existing merchandise areas.
A. PROJECT DESCRIPTION/HISTORY.
The proposed project is to renovate the existing guest entrance area to SeaWorld. Development consists of constructing a new ticket booth building of approximately 1,900 square feet (which is an approximately 250 square foot increase from the existing structure), replacing existing turnstiles with a new structure 17-22 feet in height, installing five new touch pools with life support area, constructing a 1,000 square foot building to house aquarium functions and an approximately 285 square foot culinary facility, and renovating merchandise areas to be compatible with the new aesthetic look of the entrance. The project site is within the SeaWorld leasehold, near the center of the property and north of the public parking lots. The proposed project site is already used as an existing guest entrance area.
The SeaWorld Master Plan Update was certified by the Commission on February 7, 2002, and addressed future development within the SeaWorld Leasehold over the subsequent 15-20 years. The SeaWorld Master Plan Update divided potential future projects into “Tier 1,” “Tier 2,” and “Special Projects.” The subject project area includes the existing guest entrance and ticketing area shown as “C-1: Front Gate Renovation” in Figure II-3 of the SeaWorld Master Plan Update and is identified as a Tier 1 project.
“Tier 1” in the SeaWorld Master Plan Update identifies sites and projects where new development or park renovations are processed concurrently with the SeaWorld Master Plan Update or are likely to be initiated shortly after its adoption. Proposed projects consist of a Splashdown Ride, Educational Facility, Front Gate Renovation, Special Events Center Expansion, and Bicycle/Pedestrian Path Enhancement.
The area of work is in compliance with all requirements and setbacks stipulated in the SeaWorld Master Plan, approved by the Commission on 2/7/02.
SeaWorld is located within Mission Bay Park in the City of San Diego. It is situated adjacent to Mission Bay and is surrounded largely by City parklands consisting of grassy open area. Although there is a certified master plan for SeaWorld, which itself is a part of the certified Mission Bay Park Master Plan, these documents are land use plans only; no implementation component has been proposed for Mission Bay Park. Thus, the area is one of deferred certification, with the Coastal Commission retaining coastal development permit authority. Chapter 3 of the Coastal Act is the legal standard of review and the land use plans are used as guidance.
It is also extremely interesting to look at this excerpt as it makes reference to a splashdown ride (like Journey to Atlantis) and more:
Proposed projects consist of a Splashdown Ride, Educational Facility, Front Gate Renovation, Special Events Center Expansion, and Bicycle/Pedestrian Path Enhancement.
Change the scheme, Alter the mood! Electrify the boys and girls if you would be so kind!
Fresh from its debut this summer of a new roller coaster, SeaWorld San Diego is now preparing to overhaul the park entrance, transforming it into a themed "undersea" experience.
Buoyed by sharp increases in attendance, the marine park plans to spend tens of millions of dollars on the renovation, which won't be ready until March 2014.
Dubbed Explorer's Reef, the project will encompass more than 3 acres and include four kid-friendly touch pools that will allow visitors to interact with a variety of sea creatures.
"The current entry area where you purchase your tickets and go though the turnstiles was built in 1985, and in the same way we’re constantly refreshing and reinventing the park experience, that’s the approach we’re taking here," said San Diego park president John Reilly.
"The idea is to transform the arrival experience into something our guests have never seen before. You'll have iconic signage, a translucent wave that makes you feel as though you’ve arrived at the beach and are moving into the sea under a wave."
The undertaking is also in keeping with a new trend emerging in theme park entryways as increasing numbers of people buy their tickets online rather than spend time waiting in lines, said theme park consultant Dennis Speigel.
He cited as an example Cedar Point in Ohio, which will debut next year its winged roller coaster, GateKeeper, that will fly directly over the park's main gate.
"After being in business 30, 40 years, the front gates need a refurbishing, so what they’re doing is softening their entries," said Spiegel, president of Cincinnati-based International Theme Park Services. "Disney is talking about doing this also, to make the entry the first impression by bringing the entertainment right to the front door."
SeaWorld officials won't reveal how much Explorer's Reef will cost but said it's on a par with the investment made in the Manta roller coaster. Spiegel estimates the cost in the $20 million range.
Construction is expected to start in December on the new attraction, which will not only include dining and retail outlets, but also four 24,000-gallon touch pools filled with thousands of fish, including 400 brown-banded and white-spotted bamboo sharks.
The design of the entry will break convention with the typical ticket-booth style of theme parks, including SeaWorld's, Reilly explained. He likened the design and feel to a hotel front desk where attendants will be able to help visitors with all their park plans.
"We will not only be providing admission products, but you’ll also be able to make reservations for dolphin interaction programs, Dine with Shamu and other scheduled events," he said. "Those employees will be able to provide any service right there."
Before construction of Explorer’s Reef begins, SeaWorld will construct a temporary gate to the right of the current main entrance to the park. Parking will be unaffected.
SeaWorld's investment in the park comes at a time when attendance has finally been on an upward trend following two years of sharp declines. In 2011, the number of visitors rose 14 percent, and SeaWorld is expecting continued growth, spurred in part by the new Manta coaster.
The park has yet to make any announcement about new additions for 2013, but Reilly said it will be a new show, although he was unable reveal anything more.
Encompasses more than 3 acres at the front of the park.
Beach-themed, concierge-style ticketing area replaces existing ticket booths.
Guests enter the park under a wave sculpture, conveying the impression being under water.
Retail shops set in an open-air marketplace in which visitors walk underneath giant coral formations.
Saltwater and freshwater, 24,000-gallon touch pools that will feature 400 brown-banded and white-spotted bamboo sharks, plus more than 4,000 smaller, delicate fish that will nibble at people's hands when touched.
Once completed in early 2014, the new entry to SeaWorld will give visitors the sensation of being under a wave.
Explorer's Reef will feature four 24,000-gallon touch pools that will be shallow enough for children to be able to touch the fish.
An increase of 14% is really awesome for the park.
I'm really glad to hear they're upgrading the entrance. After seeing how nice Orlando's entrance is, I'm looking forward to seeing how this turns out. After this, the Penguin Encounter I think is really one of the few things that feels a bit outdated/aging.
The park really has been doing great over the past few years...now...all we need to do is wait for them to announce the replacement for Cirque Del a Mer.
^ I'm hoping the penguin attraction going into Florida finds its way over the left coast sometime soon as well. SeaWorld has always done a fantastic job. And especially after the success of Manta, I'm glad to see SWSD continuing in that direction.
It's nice to see my home park finally getting some love these past few years. This looks like it can be really good. As for the next ride, I'd bet a lot on a copy of the penguin ride going in Orlando. Probably won't see it til 2017 or 2018 though.
SeaWorld San Diego has sent us a press release regarding SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment's launch of allergy-friendly dining initiatives across the company's ten parks.
As many as 15 million Americans suffer from a food allergy. SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment has introduced this fall a new line of allergy-friendly dining initiatives for guests at its 10 parks including SeaWorld (including SeaWorld San Diego), Busch Gardens and Sesame Place. These initiatives range from personalized service to new menu options.
“We serve millions of guests each year and are committed to provide each a great experience. For families with allergen concerns, we understand how challenging it can be to safely dine out, especially while on vacation,” said Jim Atchison, President and Chief Executive Officer of SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment. “Our new initiatives ‘serve up’ a family experience that everyone can enjoy.”
“We have a wide variety of excellent food choices that we hope satisfies visitors to the park,” said Tim Fessler, vice president of culinary operations at SeaWorld San Diego. “By working closely with our guests with food allergies, we are committed to making sure that theirs is also a wonderful dining experience.”
The company partnered with the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN™) to educate and train more than 6,000 culinary employees to assist guests with allergen needs. With more than 22,000 members worldwide, FAAN is a trusted source of information, programs, and resources related to food allergy and anaphylaxis.
The new initiatives include:
Increased personal attention to ensure the safety of each meal. Park restaurant managers and supervisors will work one-on-one with guests and oversee the preparation of each allergen-friendly meal from start to finish. “Chef Cards,” filled out in advance by guests to outline the foods to avoid, are handed to a chef before the preparation of the meal.
All park restaurants are equipped and trained to take care of guests with allergen needs.
More menu options, ranging from gluten-free pizza to an allergen-friendly Shamu-shaped chocolate bar, enhance the experience for dining guests. For those on the go, the parks also provide prepackaged snacks such as cookies from companies that specialize in allergen-friendly foods including Divvies and Gluten Free to Go.
To help guests plan, detailed information on allergen-friendly services and helpful safety tips can be found online at each park’s website. For SeaWorld San Diego, visit here. Guests can also download the Chef Cards and fill it out prior to their visit. At the parks, in-park educational handouts are available.
“We commend SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment for implementing a comprehensive food allergy training program, which we were pleased to help carry out,” said John Lehr, FAAN’s Chief Executive Officer. “Families often exhaustively research vacation options that will keep their loved ones with food allergies safe. SeaWorld has taken extra steps to educate its employees about the risks that families managing food allergies face on a daily basis.”
I stopped by the park for a quick visit today and though there is no entrance plaza construction yet I did notice that the raft ride, Shipwreck Rapids, was down and drained with contraction walls up around the queue, station, and basically the first half of the ride.
I was wondering if this just for refurbishment or is the ride going to get a small makeover?
These pages are in no way affiliated with nor endorsed by SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, Cedar Fair, Legoland, Merlin Entertainment, Blackstone, Tussaud's Group, Six Flags, Universal Theme Parks, the Walt Disney Company or any other theme park company.
photos and videos on this website were taken with the permission of the park by
a professional ride photographer.
For yours and others safety, please do not attempt to take photos or videos at
parks without proper permission.
You need a sense of humor to view our site,
if you don't have a sense of humor, or are easily offended, please turn back
Most of the content on this forum is suitable for all ages. HOWEVER! There may be some content that would be considered rated "PG-13." Theme Park Review is NOT recommended for ages under 13 years of age.