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SeaWorld Orlando Update – Just For Kids, TurtleTrek, Antartica, and more

For me, the highlight of the day were the hula-hoop artists from China.

Went to SeaWorld Orlando on Saturday to sample their new “Just For Kids” festival. While there we checked in on the construction for TurtleTrek, schedule to open later this year, and Antarctica, targeted for Spring 2013. The park was very busy, but not too crowded and we definitely had a good time.

SeaWorld has a number of events through-out the year, but none focused on the youngest park visitors. Just For Kids gives families with pre-school and elementary aged children some activities and shows that are just for them. With the addition of Legoland to central Florida, this audience has become the latest battle ground.

There are some good savings for families with kids too. For the next three Saturdays, parents can rent strollers at half-price, and the following items are free for kids with each paid adult: all-day dining deal, sky tower ride, and free Penguins Up-close, Dolphins Up-close, or Behind-the-Scenes tours. The all-day dining deal is a great value if you’re planning on eating twice while in the park.

My biggest criticisms with the event were a) it was hard to get information about the event and b) the big stage show wasn’t as good as it could be. The shows are advertised using the original cast members from the TV show, but the actors were all different, with different voices. The kids around me picked up on that pretty quickly, but for the youngest kids, it didn’t appear to matter. I understand why the cast was different, and the actors did give it their all, but something was lacking. Part of the problem was also the poor puppet design and the fact that it was basically a 4-person cast. Lazy Town should be populated with many more of the citizens from the show.

That’s on the ticky-tack side of complaints. Who knows, the next three sets of shows could be a lot better. Plus the opening act featured a small troop of acrobats from China. The women hula-hoop performers were particularly talented. I would rather have seen a half-hour show of them then Lazy Town.

Festivals like “Just For Kids” are at least partially targeted at getting locals into the park. Flyers advertising SeaWorld’s Summer Camp opportunities were seen all over the place.

Join me below the jump for more photos of Just for Kids and construction around the park:

Lots of fun was had at the Dance Party.

There was a map with 4 zones. Kids could get their maps stamped and then they got a little sticker if they went to all four. Cute and educational at the same time.

This collection of skulls made for a fun learning opportunity.

Characters photo opportunities were added for the festival.

And craft stations were added. However these were all pay to play. I think the festival could have been improved with some free coloring or building stations.

This new train attraction in Shamu’s Happy Harbor was new to me. Alas it’s that same old train you see at every theme park, but at least the track is extended.

TurtleTrek has closed the Manatee encounter.

It’s hard to see, but there is quite a lot of construction activity going on behind the tarp. It’s quite huge area of construction, should be impressive when it opens.

The store at the exit to Manatees is getting a new facade. The foam has turtles carved into it.

Manta finally figured out how to stop coins, cell phones, and the like from falling down onto guests below – a new netting that covers most of this walk-way.

Antartica – Empire of the Penguins is going to be huge. Construction walls are everywhere in the center of the park. Ranging from Manta on one side…

almost to the water front…

to Rocky Point Preserve…

and the Sea Lion and Otter stadium. Here’s a peak over the wall. No visible signs of construction yet.

The find of the day was this $10 Squid hat for sale at Blue Horizons. It was very popular with guests.

Thanks for joining me on this update.

3 thoughts on “SeaWorld Orlando Update – Just For Kids, TurtleTrek, Antartica, and more”

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