SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment announced the largest expansion in the company’s 53-year history.
The improvements include three new roller coasters, two new shows and the transformation of Orlando’s Kraken coaster into a virtual reality ride.
“We are doubling down on our mission to create experiences that matter,” said Joel Manby, president and CEO of SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, who made the announcement Tuesday at the IAAPA Attractions Expo at the Orange County Convention Center.
SeaWorld is in the first year of a three-year plan to inspire guests to help animals in the wild. The plan started after a drop in revenues following fallout from the release of the Blackfish movie that criticized the theme park’s care of orcas. SeaWorld announced last March that it would stop its killer whale breeding program.
Here are the new additions:
— Wave Breaker: The Rescue Coaster at SeaWorld San Antonio – Riders will straddle a jet-ski car and race alongside SeaWorld’s animal care team to rescue animals in distress. The coaster ride was inspired by the television show Sea Rescue.
— Submarine Quest at SeaWorld San Diego – Guests will climb aboard a 6-rider submarine on an expedition to collect data and learn how to protect animals.
— InvadR at Busch Gardens Williamsburg – The park’s first wooden roller coaster will travel 2,128 feet in the New France village.
In addition to the three coasters, Manby said Orlando’s Kraken will become the first virtual reality coaster in Florida. Electric Ocean, a night show featuring bioluminescent lighting and entertainment will debut at SeaWorld Orlando and San Diego. Both are scheduled to open by the end of the summer.
Finally, Manby announced a documentary on orca research, rescue and conservation called New Encounter Orca that will debut at SeaWorld San Diego by the summer of 2017, followed by launches in Orlando and San Antonio by 2019.
A SeaWorld spokeswoman said they will not release the cost of the expansion.