The revamped Kraken roller coaster in Orlando features a new virtual reality experience. // © 2017 SeaWorld
Feature image (above): Submarine Quest is one of four new rides in SeaWorld San Diego’s new Ocean Explorer section. // © 2017 SeaWorld
This summer, SeaWorld is rolling out new attractions and rides in all three of their locations: San Antonio, San Diego and Orlando, Fla. Perhaps the most notable change to take place throughout all three parks is the replacement of the theatrical orca shows, part of the company’s greater initiative to phase out its orca breeding program. Now, the new “Orca Encounter” will take its place, described as a “documentary-style presentation” with an infinity screen and a rugged coastline setting.
“It’s a documentary about orcas that’s happening right in front of you,” said Thomas Valley, director of national sales for SeaWorld. “The trainers are working with the animals, and the orcas are doing a lot of the same behavior that they do in the wild,”
The experience is now showing at SeaWorld San Diego and will launch in Orlando next year, with the park in San Antonio following suit shortly after.
In San Diego, a new section of the park called Ocean Explorer is now open and is the largest new attraction opening in the park’s history. The new realm features four new rides and a new aquarium showcasing octopuses, crabs and eels. The park is also debuting a nighttime experience called Electric Ocean, which will be available from June 17 through Sept. 4 and includes light shows and a dance club.
SeaWorld Orlando’s Kraken roller coaster is getting an upgrade on June 16 with the opening of Kraken Unleashed, which puts a virtual reality (VR) spin on the roller coaster. Guests will be given a VR headset to use throughout the ride, which creates the illusion that they are going through underwater canyons and into the hunting grounds of Kraken himself.
Meanwhile, San Antonio is getting a new roller coaster on June 16. Wave Breaker: The Rescue Coaster is a family-friendly ride that will give guests the feeling of being on an animal care team as they race to help a creature in need. The ride’s Jetski-like car is the first design of its kind in North America. It promises passengers the feeling of skiing across a body of water as they ride through 2,600 feet of track over the park’s Ski Lake.