Written by Gregg Condon
UPDATE 3/19/2015 - Scroll to the bottom of the article to see our thoughts on the hiring of new CEO Joel Manby
Since we started Park Journey, we have, for the most part, stayed away from any of the controversy surrounding Sea World, Blackfish or any of the other things that go along with that.
Not to say that we don't have an opinion, but we have decided to leave that to other sites that are more dedicated to the specific chain and to Sea World sponsored sites like Awesome Ocean.
But this is about Sea World the "Theme Park" not Sea World the "We need to defend ourselves" park.
That's not to say that the chain shouldn't speak out about all the good they do, because they do a LOT of good. They also should be fighting back against one sided movies that definitely have an agenda (see, there's our opinion).
Along with all of the controversy has come a few bad years for the chain as far as attendance and revenue, which has resulted in the resignation of CEO Jim Atchison and many other changes. People are still going to the parks, people love the parks, but for the most part the things you see coming from the chain have to do with conservation, animal rescue and other things to directly deny any of the controversy and put a good face on what it is they do. And again, that's all good and fine.
But what Sea World REALLY needs to do in order to turn around ... remind people that their parks are fun. Because they are!!
I hate the word "Edutainment", but that's really what Sea World is. Unfortunately because they've had to defend themselves, they've forgotten about the "Entertainment" part of that word.
Even looking at the front page of the Sea World website, all you see is "50 years of Connecting and Caring", "SeaWorld Cares", "SeaRescueTV", "Conservation Fun".
You have to go down to the bottom of the page to get to the ACTUAL fun stuff. Animal Cams, Bindi Irwin, Games and Apps. Not even one mention of a ride or a show on the front page.
The animal conservation is great, it's needed, people need to know, but it needs a mixture of both.
Due to distance, it's been a few years since we've been to a Sea World park. That's not due to any lack of desire, but anybody who's sat in weekend traffic trying to get to/from San Diego on the I-5 knows why we'd choose to not make that commute after a long week of working and commuting.
But some of our most fond memories of our kids growing up were at Sea World. As you'll see in the pictures below, while yes, we were interested in the conservation aspects of the parks, the big draw was the animals and just the great vibe of the parks in general.
The Sea World parks have a great collection of shows, rides, exhibits, great food, amazing staff and in the instance of the San Diego location, a prime location right on Mission Bay.
I'm not an expert by any means, but I've visited quite a few Theme Parks and I know what I like to do there.
A few random thoughts of things the chain could do that wouldn't take long or cost a lot of money:
By continuing to just be about defending themselves, they are really letting the anti-Sea World crowd win. They are getting what they want and hurting the company where it really matters, in their wallet. And less money for Sea World the "fun" park means less money for the things that really matter. The rescue and conservation of the animals we all want to our children and our children's children to be able to experience.
We are definitely going to be heading down to Sea World this year, maybe even to all 3 of the US parks depending on our travels this year, and I'm very excited about that. The future plans that were announced last year are going to be amazing and I really do think Sea World has it's best years in front of them, not behind them. They just need to realize it themselves.
Today Sea World announced that Herschend Family Entertainment CEO Joel Manby will be the new CEO. We actually think this is an excellent choice and here's why.