The Sea World parks are mainly animal attractions, though each has a small number of rides. The Orlando park has four; a simulator called Wild Arctic, two Roller Coasters, and the Sky Tower, a 400ft observation platform. The latter requires an additional fee on top of admission, which seems a bit much given that the tickets are expensive enough as it is. It was not an issue today, however, as that ride was closed for maintenance. We took in a number of the sea exhibits at various stages throughout the day, but they have all mentally blurred into one as I write this making it impossible to separate them out.
Many people consider Kraken (#441) to be one of the best coasters in the Orlando area. At over four thousand feet, it certainly has the longest track length. The ride has many good points, notably the superbly engineered zero gravity roll, though overall it pales in comparison to the Duelling Dragons. Perhaps I am getting a bit jaded, but the floorless aspect of the ride seemed basically irrelevant to me, and I could only really compare it in the same category as all other sit down coasters. In that regard it scores reasonably well, though there are definitely better rides out there.
The signature attraction at Sea World is of course the Shamu show. We decided to go watch the lunchtime show, even though I had previously seen the same thing back in february. For those who are not aware, a number of killer whales are put on display performing acrobatics and other fun manoeuvres with their trainers, providing a very entertaining show for about three quarters of an hour.
The Shamu Stadium has a large television screen behind the tank which shows close up shots of the most interesting parts of the show. In the run up to the performance it began to show a series of trivia questions about whales, with the camera operator focusing in on individuals in the audience who could make hand signals to pick out the right answer. This worked surprisingly well, holding the interest of the assembled crowd while the last few available seats were filled. The last round had alternative questions for parents and children, with the predictable difficulty levels!
Note that the following section is a rant. It contains language which some readers may find offensive. Further history on where this has come from can be found in Monday's diary.
At the scheduled start time of the show, the TV screen began to show an advertisement showing military personnel moving through an airport. Everyone in the film, from check-in agents to waiting family members was clapping the tired looking troops as they hugged those waiting for them to arrive. This advertisement was followed by a two minute spiel from a Busch family member, talking about how proud the Anheuser-Busch family was to be supporting the military in their efforts to keep us safe. This footage presented an opinion that is contrary to that which I hold, and as such I chose to mentally tune it out.
With that movie out of the way, the animal trainers came out. One of them took the microphone, and repeated what we had just heard a second time. He then proceeded to call upon all members of the military present, their families, and all of our allies in the United Kingdom and other countries to please stand up so we can all applaud you. As various people stood, the camera focused in on them, as everyone in the whole stadium cheered and clapped. This was too much for me.
Orlando, being a tourist area, is likely to see many visitors from all around the world, including many, like me, who consider the recent actions of the United States and its allies in Iraq to be offensive in the extreme. Chest beating like this amounts to an effective fuck you to the rest of the world. Personally, I was nauseated at having this tripe rammed down my throat.
In the interests of fairness, one must observe that there are many people in the United States who do not agree with the policies their government has adopted. I would like to call upon all of these people, and all those from the civilised countries of the world, to boycott all Anheuser-Busch theme parks and products. If enough people take action perhaps the Anheuser-Busch group will see sense.
This is the end of my rant. We now return you to your regular scheduled trip report.
After a second circuit on Kraken, we decided to tackle the other coaster. Rather than get wet before evening flights, we put on the ponchos saved from the previous day before riding Journey to Atlantis (#442). Though another Mack water coaster, the ride has very little in common with its brother in San Diego. The Orlando version has a much shorter section of coaster track, and that portion is enclosed, making it impossible to photograph. It is, however, very wet indeed; riders are well and truly drenched when they disembark.
After a late lunch, we decided to catch the Odyssea show in the Nautilus Theatre. This turned out to be various acrobatic circus acts. The majority were forgettable, but the final scene was superb and worth sitting through the rest. It was good enough to briefly take my mind off what I had seen earlier in the day, and that in itself says something.