Following SeaWorld's announcement Thursday that the company would phase out killer whales at its parks, what will the future of Orlando's park look like?
The absence of what SeaWorld calls "theatrical" killer whale shows gives the theme park operator the ability to head in a new direction.
But the announcement Thursday is clear: SeaWorld is changing.
The company's possible direction can take cues from Orlando's theme parks and even Dolly Parton's home in the Smoky Mountains.
In the short term, the first changes have appeared online. The SeaWorld website now offers visitors a porthole into the theme park — or to an educational site.
Long range, the way visitors see the current family of orcas won't change until in 2019 with new presentations at SeaWorld Orlando's Shamu Stadium.
At the helm of the company's changes is new SeaWorld Entertainment President Joel Manby, who in November called the Orlando park "underfunded."
While Manby led Herschend Family Entertainment, the operators of Dollywood in Tennessee, he green-lit several high-profile attractions, including Dollywood's first resort hotel.
SeaWorld Orlando's first new attraction to open this summer: Mako, a 200-foot-tall roller coaster, designed to travel at more than 70 mph.
In a video statement released Thursday, Manby outlined Orlando projects over the next five years, including two additional attractions on the scale of Mako and two smaller attractions. One of those could be a family-style roller coaster, using vehicles designed as personal watercraft.
Another concept is a SeaWorld rescue dark ride.
A map shared with SeaWorld investors showed where a new SeaWorld branded hotel could be built in Orlando. The company owns 45 acres of land next to the Aquatica water park on International Drive and land next to the Renaissance Hotel, across from SeaWorld's parking lot.
The addition of a hotel property may also be coming to Busch Gardens in Tampa.
Also changing at SeaWorld: all seafood served in the park will be sustainable. Plus, the company will start using crate-free pork, cage-free eggs and more vegetarian dishes.
In addition to the changes at the park, SeaWorld on Thursday announced a new partnership with the Humane Society of the United States. Over the next five years, SeaWorld will spend $50 million to combat commercial killing of whales, seals and sharks, along with protecting coral reefs.