Christmas is a big deal in the theme park world and most parks have an event to celebrate the season, drive attendance and increase revenue. For the first time, I got to visit SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration.
The event is spread throughout the whole park, with Christmas themed decorations which had a ‘marine’ twist. Even the star on top of the tree was made of coral.
The mascot for SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration is IP Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer™. This is a Christmas classic that has replaced the previously-used Polar Express. I guess this town’s only big enough for one hugely popular Christmas themed brand. Rudolf is on all promotional materials for the event and guests can meet him and his friends in his own area of the park.
Including meeting Rudolf and Santa Claus, there are 8 (!) shows and attractions for the event.
The Sea of Trees is a collection of trees placed across the lake in the centre of the park. They light up and an animated show (including Rudolf too) is run on the trees throughout the evening. You can see this show from across the park and it is great to catch a glimpse of it you are heading to another show. Alternatively you could do what we did, and watch the show from a bench by the fire pit, toasting a marshmallow- very Christmassy for tropical Orlando!
Aimed at the kids, two shows Elmo’s Christmas Wish and Clyde and Seamore’s Countdown to Christmas show which features SeaWorld’s famous sea lions and an ENORMOUS Walrus. Then there is a world-class ice show Winter Wonderland on Ice which can also be seen across the lake.
Then two huge first-class productions. Shamu®’s Christmas Miracle and and the elaborate production O Wondrous Night. The first combined seasonal songs with thrilling killer whale jumping. A bizarre combination but hugely fun. The second used Gospel Choirs and puppets to tell SeaWorld’s version of the Nativity story. The quality of this show in particular was amazing. At the end a whole array of live animals were brought out to fill the stage. These included 3 camels, cows, sheep, goats, donkeys and doves!
These shows, as well as stilt performers and live music throughout the park and Christmassy food offerings, created a fun atmosphere and a certain buzz.
The best bit? SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration is included in day ticket admission giving such great value to guests. Whilst you can buy preferred seating to the shows, the Christmas event itself is no further cost.
This is taking a different approach to Disney. For Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, tickets start at $86 a head. Perhaps at SeaWorld the focus is on attracting Annual Pass holders. These are the guests who will come back again and again throughout the Christmas period and the rest of the year. There was too much to do in one evening alone.
SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration is on select dates through to Dec 31st 2016. Visit seaworldorlando.com to learn more.
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