It’s no secret that things at SeaWorld Orlando are not exactly going well at the moment. And even though the park has already made significant cuts to its entertainment budget, closing the A’Lure Call of the Ocean show and making plans to downsize its Orca show in the coming weeks, in the days since SeaWorld released its latest financial results, it was announced that yet another show is being cut at this park in just a few weeks.
The long running Blue Horizons show, which features dolphins, birds, acrobatic performers, and a fantastical story about the magic of the ocean has now been confirmed to be on the chopping block, with SeaWorld announcing that the final performance of this show will take place later this month on March 31st.
Now while this may seem a little sudden, for those following the news out of SeaWorld, this cut actually makes a lot of sense. So why did this happen?
1. Budget cuts are an unfortunate reality at any struggling park
Though no official reason was given for the imminent cancellation of the Blue Horizons show, we’d guess that the biggest factors is SeaWorld’s balance sheet, which has an increasing amount of red on it, thanks to slower attendance at the park and lower guest spending levels. The park has already reduced staffing around the park, and is running several attractions part-time, and it looks like one of the last remaining places where this park can make up some of its lost revenue is with its entertainment. Which is where this show comes in.
Fans who have seen it well know that Blue Horizons is a complex show with high production values that features several performers and special effects, making it quite expensive to put on. And with the show being as old as it is (it first premiered in 2005) we’d guess that this show isn’t exactly the big draw it used to be, making it a good candidate for removal.
However, there is at least some good news here, as SeaWorld will at least be replacing this show immediately with something new....
2. A return to more “natural” experiences (that are less expensive too!)
SeaWorld has confirmed that although we are saying goodbye to Blue Horizons on March 31, the show will be replaced immediately with a new show on April 1st. Named Dolphin Days, this new educational presentation will include natural behavior demonstrations and give guests the opportunity to learn about how to protect animals in the wild. This new show will even have a segment in which a volunteer from the audience has the chance to get up close and personal with a dolphin and a green-winged macaw.
This new show sounds like an interesting replacement, and though it will be less theatrical in nature (and have a much lower operating cost) Dolphin Days sounds like a good "edu-tainment" option, which will help fit the park's changing narrative. SeaWorld has been really trying to rebrand itself in recent years as a leader in conservation (not just a theme park) and new shows like this (as well as the upcoming non-theatrical orca show) should give the park ample opportunity to convey a consistent message across its attractions.