SeaWorld in San Diego unveils new attractions for 2018

San Diego (KUSI) — Visitors to SeaWorld will soon enjoy one more giant roller coaster, but there will be no more live shows with Shamu.

SeaWorld San Diego is making a big push to re-invent its image. On Wednesday, the Orlando-based theme park and entertainment company unveiled a host of new attractions at its park on mission bay.

The new exhibits and attractions include a behind-the-scenes encounter with animals, a parade that features characters from sesame street and the tallest and faster roller coaster in San Diego, scheduled to open next summer. The coaster dubbed the "Electric Eel" will send riders rocketing nearly 150 feet into the air, and give them an upside-down view of Mission Bay.

The term "topsy-turvy" also describes SeaWorld’s financial tumult, following the 2013 release of the film, "Blackfish."  the movie took a highly critical look at SeaWorld’s orca program and how the animals were trained to perform stunts in live shows.

SeaWorld in San Diego ended its Shamu theatrical shows in January and said it would phase out the breeding of its orcas.

The backlash from the film, "Blackfish" has hurt the company’s earnings. Attendance at SeaWorld’s three parks in San Diego, Texas and Florida fell 4 percent in the first half of this year.

In the second quarter of this year, SeaWorld’s net loss was nearly $176 million, compared with a net profit of close to $18 million for the same quarter last year.

SeaWorld San Diego Park President Marilyn Hannes acknowledged that the park is making changes to its business model.

"As you can tell, we’re diversifying our product. We’ve added things that are new and different. We are expanding beyond theatrical marine life productions to offer new and different things, so we’re rebalancing our product," Hannes said. "That’s definitely going to increase the appeal to these different target segments."

In the last few months, SeaWorld has initiated a national advertising campaign and revived efforts to improve the park’s image in southern California

As an incentive to families in the southern California region, SeaWorld San Diego is introducing a new "SOCAL Annual Pass." For $10 more than the price of a single day ticket, the $99.99 annual pass gives you unlimited admission and parking for free. Sales of the SOCAL Annual Pass begin Sept. 28.

“As a mom and a grandmother, I know that families are looking to spend time together, make meaningful connections with each other and share a common experience, but not break the bank at the same time,” Hannes said. “SeaWorld takes you out of your world and into the world of the sea, and now we’ve made that excursion even more affordable."

The full list of new attractions coming to SeaWorld: 

New — and electrifying — "Electric Eel" opens Summer 2018

Electric Eel will be the tallest and fastest roller coaster in town! Bringing a whole new level of excitement to the park, this triple-launch experience will thrust riders forward and backward, accelerate to more than 60 mph in seconds and rocket skyward nearly 150 feet, opening up an upside-down view of Mission Bay! Riders, and non-riders can also learn about the elusive eel through an interactive game and by checking out an exhibit with California moray eels.

Fans can follow the progress of Electric Eel at #EElectrified.

New — Meet the Animals: Select weekends, January 2018

SeaWorld turns inside out and invites guests to an intimate behind-the-scenes experience led by the experts who care for animals every day. In addition to meeting dolphins, sea turtles, and otters, guests will also enjoy free tours of SeaWorld’s Animal Health and Rescue Center, where they will meet members of the SeaWorld Rescue Team in person, and learn what they can do in their everyday lives to help animals in the wild.  

Lunar New Year: Select weekends, February 2018

During this one-of-a-kind festival, park visitors won’t want to miss an incredible Chinese acrobat show, amazing local cultural performances, and mouthwatering culinary delights. Celebrating the Year of the Dog in 2018, SeaWorld will present a Puppy Garden where guests can cuddle with adorable dogs, while learning more about adopting animals from local shelters.

Seven Seas Craft Beer & Food Festival: Select dates in March and April 2018

Embarking on a global gastronomic cruise without leaving SeaWorld, guests will savor palate-pleasing flavors from around the world. The Seven Seas Craft Beer & Food Festival will feature more than 80 craft beers, nearly 60 international gourmet offerings and a new culinary challenge featuring seven dishes prepared with some of the world’s most exotic ingredients.

New — Sesame Street Parade: Weekends in May and June 2018

The iconic brand expands out of the Sesame Street Bay of Play and onto the park’s pathways with the addition of a neighborhood street party parade. This event features everyone’s favorite Sesame Street friends (including Elmo!), themed floats, contemporary tunes including Sesame Street favorites and two show-stopping performances throughout the parade route. SeaWorld San Diego is the only place to see this exclusive parade in California.

Electric Ocean: Select dates in June through August 2018

Electric Ocean transforms SeaWorld into a sea of glowing color and energy. When the sun goes down, the park comes alive with a celebration of illumination, featuring the exhilarating and popular nighttime show Cirque Electrique and electrifying dance parties.

SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular: Select weekends in September, October 2018

SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular, San Diego’s premier not-too-spooky, family-fun extravaganza, will be back, with an all-new Halloween-themed Sesame Street parade, plus the family-friendly celebration of the Mexican holiday Dia de los Muertos, free candy at 12 ocean-inspired trick-or-treat stations, an undersea pumpkin patch with wacky costume characters and Clyde & Seamore’s Big Halloween Bash sea lion and otter show.

SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration: Select dates in November 2018 through January 2019

SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration features O Wondrous Night, a heartwarming live nativity story told through the eyes of the animals; the return of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer; amazing animal shows with a holiday twist; Santa’s Christmas Village; and more than a million twinkling lights.

Categories: Local San Diego News