VRTP see Sea World as marine park, not theme park

9 posts in this topic

Looking at the new websites for Sea World and Movie World, as soon as you click on the menu bar (blue lines right side on home page) you are presented with the menus pictured below.

Movie World has "Attractions" as the first option. On the Sea World site, it's not even visible until you drill down further in the menu. Instead, you first see "Marine Park", "Resort", Tours", and "Conservation".

To me this is clear evidence that VRTP no longer see Sea World as primarily a theme park. Rather, it's a marine park that just happens to have a few rides also as a bonus.

Very sad, considering how awesome it used to be.





Edited by pushbutton

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And that sucks.

Sea World for all this time has performed fine as a theme park, it certainly motivated our whole family to visit when they offered many rides and ALSO shows+attractions at the same time.

Now that us kids are grown up we tend to split up, mum and dad go to SW, us fellas go to MW or DW. Village's theme parks target to completely separate markets, which makes it harder for families to choose where they want to go.

Many teenagers don't give a crap about animals, so they are stuck riding Jet Rescue and Storm for the day. Many people who do like animals spend less than 5 minutes looking through each enclosure. 

Sea World certainly needs at least 1 more major ride whether thrill or family. Whether it's a flatty or coaster.

And they need to improve their shows significantly.

Make these changes and Sea World and Sea World won't be a struggling theme park.


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Its probably because they have a lack of attractions that is glaringly obvious if at the top, that they decided to move it down the menu. Kinda like trying to hide the fact that everyone knows they should be spending money on upgrades now they have ripped all the thrills out of the park.

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It's sad to see it being marketed the way it should have been from the start?

This isn't Dreamworld. As far as i'm concerned, a Zoo/Wildlife Park deals primarily in land based animals. An Aquarium should have a primary focus on water breathing aquatic animals, and a Marine park is those inbetween. Dolphins? Check, Seals? Check, Pelicans? Check, i's a Marine Park. And so it should be marketed as such. Hell, even Wikipedia lists it as a "Marine Mammal Park". And Seaworld in the states is marketed the same way.

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6 hours ago, pushbutton said:

On the Sea World site...you...see "Marine Park", "Resort", Tours", and "Conservation".

To me this is clear evidence that VRTP no longer see Sea World as primarily a theme park.

I thought the same too when the website was updated at the beginning of the month. However, I've long suspected that VRTP's long-term strategy was to return SW's focus as a marine park. Recently, I categorised every attraction that SW has opened & made a graph based on the attraction's operational periods/categories and it told a story:

  1. As we all know, it was started under the 'park' name of Surfers Paradise Ski Gardens by Keith Williams, who operated a ski show as the sole attraction until 1972.
  2. In 1972, the park was renamed Sea World and the focus shifted to marine animals (from 0% in 1972 to 64% of attractions in 1977). This focus lasted until 1977 however, it was the main attraction category until 1982. The major attraction built in this period (1972 to 1977) was the stadium that currently houses Seal Guardians.
  3. In 1977, SW noticed a theme park called Dreamworld being built nearby so they started building thrill/family rides and lots of them (from a 8% focus in 1977 to 42% focus in 1983). Thrill/family rides became the park's main attraction category in 1982, the year after DW opened. The major attraction built in this period was the iconic Corkscrew rollercoaster.
  4. In 1983, the park was sold by Keith Williams to Pivot Leisure (who later floated it on the ASX & thus owned 67% of the park) and from 1983 to 1991, the park diversified  - it was a mix of every category but thrill/family rides was still the top category (averaging 35% of the park's attractions). The major attraction built in this period was the Water Park. Whilst separate from the park (and hence not added in the statistics I used), the Nara Resort also opened in this period too as another example of diversification (half owned by the Nara Group until 2006 when Village Roadshow became full owner of the Resort).
  5. In 1992, Pivot Leisure sold it's 67% interest in SW to Village Roadshow & Warner Bros., who have been the main owners ever since (with 100% ownership since 2002 - Warner Bros. left the joint venture in 2006).  At the time, they also owned Wet 'n' Wild & MW but Village Roadshow took full ownership in 2006. In the years prior to 1992, the Research & Rescue Foundation was formed.
  6. Since 1992, there is an increasing focus on marine animal attractions (from 29% of attractions in 1991 to 43% of attractions in 2017) and has been the park's main focus & attraction category ever since. This is most likely because the owners wanted each of their parks to have it's own distinct identity. However, SW's late 1980's brand image of 'diversity' was never re-positioned to cater for this. The major attraction built in this period is Polar Bear Shores.

We've probably only just realised this was their strategy now as the iconic rides of the park from 1977 to 1992 have all but disappeared. Most of those rides disappearing for reasons other than reaching the end of their life span. All that's left is the Carousel. However, that is now aimed towards Nickelodeon's target market - just like nearly every new ride that's opened since 1992. They are not thrill rides but instead aimed towards families (Castaway Bay, Eye, the 4D Theatre, Bermuda Triangle, Storm Coaster & Jet Rescue). The graph also suggests this is the case and that the trend will not change course however, there is enough to suggest that only 1 new thrill ride can fit in at SW still but until someone changes SW's focus again, thrill rides will never be a major part of the park again.

A big test will be Viking's Revenge Flume Ride's replacement. All we know is, according to Clark Kirby, is that they "are planning something big and...impressive". The graph I created suggests another animal exhibit or small family ride. It depends on the size of the attraction's footprint. If the 4D Theatre remains open, the graph is most likely correct (unless there is a thrill ride, not at MW or Wet 'N' Wild Gold Coast, that you can fit in such a minimal amount of space?). If the 4D Theatre closes, the possibilities are endless (even more possibilities if it includes the (reclaimed) land near the site of the former Sea Viper rollercoaster/Pirate Ship).

I agree with @jjuttp though as SW has always been a marine park at it's core no matter how many rides it features. I've always treated the park as such. When people think of SeaWorld in the USA, they don't think of any of the rides - they mainly think of the marine animals (particularly the killer whales). However, a solid ride line-up is a bonus and always brings in extra visitation.

Since Pivot Leisure sold their 67% interest in SW in 1992, the biggest failure on the part of the owners is not re-positioning SW's brand image from the 'diversity' of the late 1980's to the marine park it has been since then. It's only now, 26 years later in 2018, that it seems they begin that re-positioning. But it's too late and SW's visitors & enthusiasts don't like the park as it is.

Edited by Jamberoo Fan
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7 hours ago, Jamberoo Fan said:


TL:DR - you need to get a life.

When the theme park enthusiast starts creating historical graphs for the timeline of the park - that obsession has gone too far.

p.s. i'm running out of room on my fridge.

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Looking at global trends (the widespread popular opinion about "tanks", not to mention multiple countries banning dolphin enclosures etc.), should Sea World continue as a marine park it won't survive the next few decades, suffice to say @joz has already made some great posts about this fact. Realistically how the park needs to evolve is exactly where they don't want to go - shifting the focus away from animal exhibits to animal inspired attractions & rides.

It's not unheard of  - both Universal's parks & indeed our own Movie World made the shift from attractions looking into movies to attractions where you're actually in the movie (or IP or whatever).

The real money for any theme park is winning over season pass holders who don't typically visit often and getting them to come back. Whilst Dreamworld's thrill ride offerings may not compare to Movie World's for example, there's more than enough other varied attractions, whether that's wildlife or the water park, to win over a lot of different audiences to make that trip back. By comparison, while having four parks in Village's pass sounds great on paper, how many pass holders are they then burning when they make a trip out to a park and there's really not enough to satisfy a diverse group (e.g. a normal nuclear family visiting Sea World) and then losing to Dreamworld?

They'd actually destroy Dreamworld when it came to profitability if each park could stand on its own two feet and not continue to have such ridiculously glaring oversights (Movie World with its first rate thrill rides but sub-par kid's area, Sea World with its great kid's area but nothing remotely thrilling or Wet 'n' Wild with its lack of literally anything new or exciting).

Edited by Roachie
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