SeaWorld Entertainment unveils new attractions for 2017

By Ashley Carter, Digital Media Producer
Last Updated: Tuesday, September 27, 2016, 10:50 AM EDT

SeaWorld is bringing new rides and shows to its theme parks in 2017, the company announced Tuesday.

  • At least 5 new experiences coming to SeaWorld Orlando
  • Kraken coaster will become VR experience
  • SeaWorld spending $175 million for 2017

Among the new attractions are a virtual reality experience for Orlando, a jet ski-style coaster for San Antonio and a new orca presentation will debut in San Diego.

“We are extremely excited with the scope and depth of the new attractions and events coming to our SeaWorld and Busch Gardens parks in 2017,” said Joel Manby, president and chief executive officer of SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. “In developing new experiences we want guests to have fun, but also be inspired, and our parks are uniquely suited to create meaningful and fun vacations.”

In total, SeaWorld Orlando will get five new experiences next year, with most debuting in the summer.

The park’s Kraken rollercoaster will be transformed into a new thrill ride, Kraken Virtual Reality (VR) Roller Coaster. According to SeaWorld, guests will go on a deep sea mission alongside sea creatures while wearing “uniquely-designed headsets.  This VR coaster will be the only one of its kind in Florida.

SeaWorld Orlando’s Dolphin Nursery is getting a makeover. Guests will have the chance to see mother and baby dolphins up close, provided a more interactive experience.

Orlando will also get a new evening event, Electric Ocean, which will give guests a new, fun experience after dark. The ocean will come to life with music and bioluminescent lighting.

The Wildlife Docs, an Emmy-nominated show is going live at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay.  The new show will feature live animals, video production, live presenters and performers at the Stanleyville Theater.

The new orca presentation set to debut in San Diego next year will make its way to Orlando in 2018, according to a press release.

Artist rendering of new orca experience coming to SeaWorld. (SeaWorld)

In addition to new rides, SeaWorld will debut new events at its parks. The Seven Seas Food Festival, a popular music and food festival at SeaWorld San Diego and San Antonio, is coming to Orlando next year.  The event will also expand to 14 weekends. 

The Red Carpet Series, a unique concert event, returns to Busch Gardens Tampa Bay in 2017.

As part of SeaWorld’s 2016 Christmas Celebration, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and his friends will make their debut at the parks including Orlando and Tampa Bay.

The investment will cost SeaWorld approximately $175 million, making 2017 one of the largest new attraction years for the company.