SeaWorld Orlando Announces 2017 Attraction Plans; Adding Virtual Reality to Kraken

kraken-vrToday, SeaWorld Orlando announced its lineup of new attractions, shows and events for 2017, including the big news of adding “Digital Reality” to their Kraken roller coaster. SeaWorld was kind enough to invite us out to cover their announcements, where we learned a few more bits of information about Kraken’s future.

Kraken has been open at SeaWorld since 2000, and after their success over the Summer with their latest coaster, Mako – they turned to it’s old neighbor to freshen up the experience. Using new technology, this thrill ride will be the only VR coaster experience in Florida.

Brian Morrow – VP of Theme Park Experience and Design – promises the new “Digital Reality” will be unlike anything currently seen at other “VR-Based” attractions; stating that this will surround the guest not only with a visual experience, but also and auditory one.

The headset is currently in prototype testing, but will be tethered to the coaster to ensure a fully integrated connection, both mechanically and electronically into the coaster train. Guests will also have the option of not wearing the headset, if they prefer the original thrill of the coaster. Other changes to Kraken will include a new story; where guests will embark on a deep sea mission alongside sea creatures inspired by extinct and legendary animals of the past, including the mighty Kraken.

The story will also tie-in with the story of Journey to Atlantis. Other changes include a redesigned queue and loading area – which will see an increase in attendants to help with passenger loading with the addition of the headset; as well as a new name. As it stands, the project is known as Kraken 2.0.

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Brian Morrow showing off the headset for Kraken 2.0.

No timetable has been given on when Kraken is closing, but the new features are expected to implemented and Kraken 2.0 set to open by next Summer in 2017.

After the big news of Kraken, SeaWorld announced 7 new additions coming to their resort over the course of the next year; ranging from events to restaurants. The new experiences include:

Dolphin NurserySummer 2017

SeaWorld Orlando’s Dolphin Nursery will become more interactive in 2017, giving guests the opportunity to get up close to mother and baby dolphins in all new ways.

Large-scale acrylic windows will offer up close viewing, including multiple levels to give kids a face-to-face perspective with dolphin calves. New slide out areas and lifting floor will also allow for easier access to mom and baby for the veterinary and animal care teams.

The next generation of multi-purpose digital displays will allow SeaWorld educators to share information about dolphin behavior, biology and conservation with our guests by interacting with video from the team’s educational and animal care content.

Seven Seas Food Festival – Feb 11, 2017 – May 13, 2017

SeaWorld Orlando’s popular music and food events will expand to a total of 14 weekends in 2017 as part of the Seven Seas Festival.  Inspired by street food from Asia, the Caribbean, South America and the Mediterranean, this expanded festival will bring new culinary offerings to guests throughout the park.

Plus, guests will be able to indulge in a variety of international, local and seasonal craft brews on tap giving their taste buds a worldly delight. It was not made clear if this was replacing the popular Bands, Brew, & BBQ and Viva La Musica event, or will be held in conjunction.

While there, I sampled the Pulled Pork Slider and the “Vermont Pound Cake Grilled Cheese with Raspberry Sauce”; and while the slider was delicious, the grilled cheese is what life is all about and everyone raved at the event how fantastic it was.

Flamecraft Bar Summer 2017

A new dining location adjacent to the SeaFire Grill along the waterfront area will provide a great place beer enthusiast a relaxing spot. The Flamecraft Bar will feature 16 seasonal craft brews, all from local breweries, and a new menu.

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Electric Ocean
Summer 2017

Electric Ocean will debut next summer at SeaWorld Orlando as a brand new, end-of-day spectacle event. As the sun goes down, the lights and energy go up, offering guests a different kind of fun after dark. The ocean comes to life with bioluminescent lighting, music and pathway entertainment, immersing guests in a glowing sea of wonder. Morrow promises that the finale works will be unlike anything ever seen at SeaWorld Parks.

swo-2017-electric-oceanNautilus Theatre – Summer 2017

Not much as shared on this new project, but an entirely new experience is coming to the Nautilus Theatre. The dedicated summer show will debut Memorial Day weekend.

Aquatica Pass Member Pavilion – Spring 2017

As part of SeaWorld’s ongoing commitment to Annual Pass Members, the Aquatica Pass Member Pavilion will open just in time for spring break. The exclusive pavilion will feature concierge service, complimentary sunscreen, a private entrance to Banana Beach, private animal encounters and additional offers.

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“We look forward to introducing many new experiences to SeaWorld Orlando in 2017,” said Donnie Mills, Park President, SeaWorld, Discovery Cove and Aquatica Orlando. “We are constantly looking at ways to inspire our guests with up-close animal encounters and thrilling attractions. Now, with so many new additions our guests and pass members have more reasons to visit again and again.”

In addition, this year will see the debut of the beloved Christmas character Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer in Rudolph’s Christmastown. Guests will meet Rudolph and friends, including Clarice, Bumble, the Abominable Snow Monster and Yukon Cornelius.

Rudolph themed attractions will be making their debut as part of the 2016 Christmas Celebration at SeaWorld Orlando.

Rudolph & Friends will return for the 2017 season, with additional Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer-themed experiences.

For the full announcement from today’s Media Event, check the video below: