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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:

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Orlando Museum hosts Themepark Concept Art Exhibit

Orlando is no longer thought of as solely the house of the mouse; since the boy wizard set up shop up International Drive, people have begun to take notice that Universal has a terrific staff of creative developers of its own. That shouldn’t be a… Read More »Orlando Museum hosts Themepark Concept Art Exhibit

SeaWorld Orlando Christmas Offerings Continue to Grow

SeaWorld Orlando’s new show “O Wondrous Night” features puppets…. yep it’s officially a trend. While Walt Disney World has owned the winter holidays since opening in 1971, the other major players in town are beginning to make some inroads into the lucrative tourist market with… Read More »SeaWorld Orlando Christmas Offerings Continue to Grow

SeaWorld Upgrades Christmas Offerings Again

Last year SeaWorld went all out for Christmas with a new Sea of Trees holiday lights show and decorations that rivaled anything Disney offered. The best part was that on the nights SeaWorld was open for Christmas, it was included with your regular admission. All that remains true in 2011, but they’re adding a show meant to bring a bit of Christmas tradition, similar to Candlelight Processional at EPCOT, to SeaWorld.

O Wondrous Night – The Story Greatest Never Told is a living nativity show that tells the Christmas Story through the eyes of the animals that were there. Think Finding Nemo – The Musical with nativity animals instead of fish. It promises to be a light-hearted and glorious celebration featuring a host of angels, animals and the true glory of Christmas.

The Disney Blog was invited in to get a taste of the show before it debuts on Nov 25th along side the rest of SeaWorld’s Holiday celebrations. Here’s a little video we were able to capture:

The 30 minute show will feature a magical moment where puppets are replaced by their real life counter parts. Songs were chosen to appeal to the young, with a Glee-like sensibility. The show will run twice per evening on the nights SeaWorld offers its Christmas Spectacular. It is staged in the 2,500-seat Nautilus Theater, home of “A’lure — The Call of the Ocean” show, which will continue still be seen during the day.

More about SeaWorld’s Christmas Spectacular below the jump:

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SeaWorld Orlando’s Animal Rescue Team releases loggerhead sea turtle

In a year of bad political and economic news, I love to report stories like this. Animal care experts from SeaWorld Orlando released an adult loggerhead sea turtle yesterday morning at Lori Wilson Park just south of Cocoa Beach, FL. The turtle was rescued on March 14, 2011 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station by park personal and transported to SeaWorld Orlando for treatment. The turtle is approximately 20 yrs. old, 150 lbs. and is 2 feet and 4 inches long.

For 45 years, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment has helped animals, such as this sea turtle, in need. More than 20,000 animals have been rescued by their experts, and most of those animals are successfully treated and returned to the wild. SeaWorld’s animal rescue team is on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Video of the moving release below the jump:

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SeaWorld Orlando to Announce New Attractions, Offers Florida Resident Deal

SeaWorld fans mark November 8th on your calendar, the Orlando park has announced plans for new attractions. As you can see from the press invitation above, the plans appear to center around three islands. SeaWorld has also announced the return of the Florida Resident Fun Card for 2012. Although it doesn’t include parking, it’s basically a whole year of fun for one day’s admission, more than a year if you buy it in November or December of 2011.

More details on the Fun Card below, but first lets try and prognosticate about what these mystery announcements may be.

We know there is a new ‘island’ area being added to Discovery Cove. Construction is already underway and it will feature fresh water swimming area and various rainforest themed animal exhibits. Sort of like a zoo you float through.

So that’s one island. The other two islands are back across the street at SeaWorld. One will be a new turtle themed exhibit and movie. SeaWorld is known for its rescue and care of the Loggerhead Turtle, and yet it has none in the park. They’ll fix that with a version of the Turtle attraction at SeaWorld San Diego and a shortened version of the Turtle movie they just released.

The third island is a bit chillier, as you can see in the invite. The feeling is this will be an expanded Penguin attraction with a new ride-through experience. That’s definitely needed as the current facility is aging.

I am hoping that there is still an even bigger, still secret, announcement to be made. That’s because, as nice as these three ‘islands’ sound, none of them will convince the Jones Family from Kansas to add a day at SeaWorld if it means one less day at Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, or even Legoland. That’s the real need.

Okay, more details on the 8th. Remember more details about the Fun Card for Florida below the jump:

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LEGOLAND Florida Annual Passholder Preview

Today was the Annual Passholder preview day for Legoland Florida. Reports are beginning to drip in from the site of the former Cypress Gardens and the latest addition to Central Florida’s theme park choices. Over at my partner site, BrickPal, we’ve added a few teaser… Read More »LEGOLAND Florida Annual Passholder Preview