SeaWorld Orlando is all set for summer. The theme park has its Electric Ocean promotion in place with special nighttime activities, but there are other changes – including the (eventual) opening of its Infinity Falls raft ride. Here are five things to know before you go to SeaWorld.
EXCUSE ME WHILE I. The park has introduced a show called "Touch the Sky," which basically acts as a kick-off to the evening programming for Electric Ocean. Look for lots of dolphin tricks, including that underwater corkscrew maneuver, macaws in flight (there's always one rogue one, right?) and Lycra-clad trainers doing that side-to-side and slide dance thing between instructions. The music, even in the lead-up before the show, is trippy, but in a good way.
FREE BEER. Now that I have your attention ... there's free beer. Honestly. It's a throwback to the old Anheuser-Busch ownership days, but, of course, there are catches beyond being at least 21 years old, kids. The brews will be available at the patio bar set up next to Mama's Pretzel Kitchen Patio. Guests can get two 7-ounce beers per visit. In addition, there's a BOGO deal on beverages – even adult ones – between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. every day at Flamecraft Bar (near the park entrance) and Sharks Underwater Grill through Sept. 2. Beware, there could well be a wait for either deal.
I'M BUYING IT. The SeaWorld Store has reopened near the front of the park. It looks modernized and spiffy, although merchandise continues to spill out into the streets. In keeping with the Electric Ocean theme and color scheme, there is some glow-in-dark merchandise, including "sound responsive light-up sunglasses" and a light-up shark tooth lanyard.
SHOW TIME. There are certainly some old favorites in the crowd, including the comic-relief "Sea Lions Tonite" show, "Shamu's Celebration: Light Up the Night" and the returning bubble show called "Pop." Electric Ocean evenings are capped with "Ignite," a prancing fountains, lights, fireworks and fireballs production seen from Bayside Stadium. Check times on each show. To make them all you need a plan and focus. And seating is first-come, first-served.
THE EAT IS ON. SeaWorld is keeping up its food kiosks a la the Seven Seas Food Festival. Getting our attention: Steamed bao bun sandwiches both savory (pork, sweet and sour duck, ahi tuna) and sweet (Nutella, sliced banana, peanut butter sauce.)
The event nights for Electric Ocean are patterned a little erratically. For now, it's mainly on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings. Then, on June 24, it goes into every-day mode through July 29. For August, it shifts to Saturdays and Sundays only, with a bonus Friday on Aug. 3. Electric Ocean winds up on Sept. 1 and 2, the day before Labor Day.
Activities are included in regular SeaWorld Orlando admission.