Twenty four hours after the final ‘old style’ Blue Horizons captive dolphin show finished at SeaWorld Orlando, the company’s new ‘more educational’ Dolphin Days show has begun. But SeaWorld’s attempt to align its brand with the growing public uneasiness with whale and dolphin captivity has left many questioning how different the shows are in reality.
The new Dolphin Days show does not feature many of the circus-style elements of the old show, which included acrobats and divers in costumes. Trainers now introduce each dolphin by name and give the audience facts about the species. However, the stage setting had changed little from the old Blue Horizons show, interactions with birds continue and the trainers still ride around on the noses of dolphins – not exactly educational or something seen in the wild. Ultimately, the dolphins remain in small tanks performing flips in the air to a soundtrack played in the background.
In January, SeaWorld San Diego changed its orca show to a more ‘educational’ version similar to the new dolphin show. A completely reworked orca encounter experience will be launched in San Diego this summer. Attendance at the parks continues to plummet, forcing SeaWorld to drop ticket prices.