The Parkz Update: Sea World, February 2015

The latest Parkz update takes in the newly retooled dolphin show, Affinity, plus takes a look at some of the other happenings at Sea World after their so-called 'biggest summer ever'.

Image: Parkz. Sea World's new dolphin show Affinity
The departure of the SpongeBob Square Pants show has left the island on Sea World's lake – the focal point of the park's main entrance and primary food outlets – looking like a military testing area. A few potted palm trees and maybe some inexpensive shacks like those around the new 'Dolphin Beach' would do wonders to improve this very noticeable wasteland.
The fountains do a bare job of hiding the island. So long as you look at it front-on from water level without paying too much attention.
Despite the SpongeBob parade being long gone, the Monorail is still proudly and boldly advertising it.

Jet Rescue

Jet Rescue is down for extended an maintenance period.
Track work is well underway on the first week of six weeks of maintenance. Jet Rescue is schedule to reopen March 16.
The stadium at Fish Detectives has seen a dividing wall built down themiddle, making this small weekday crowd look quite full. Either it relates to crowd control or safety issues, or we have a confirmed location for Australia's first B&M roller coaster.
Pay no attention to the seats behind the wall.

Sea World Train – Conservation Station

The train at Sea World has made a return as part of 'Conservation Station', a plaza filled with tables and chairs.
The train sits as a stationary reminder of one of Sea World's original attractions.
Something doesn't look right about those train carriages.
It's almost as if Sea World have repurposed food carts to act as train carriages.
We don't think this train is going anywhere in a hurry.
The train blasts steam out every few minutes as if a particularly uneventful followup to Bermuda Triangle's iconic volcano.
It's almost like they just needed somewhere to store the old food carts, rather than wanted to create a pleasant themed environment.
In addition to the sad remains of a train and food and beverage stands, the station area has turned into a plaza. It looks like the lion's share of the budget for 'Conservation Station' went towards generic beachside cafe furniture.

General construction and updates

Early work has commenced on the 2015 replacement for Dinosaur Island.
Taking a page from Dreamworld's Ocean Parade, Sea World have repainted much of the park's railings and areas of pavement, going all out with the navy and light blues.
The seabird rehabilitation area has been given a bit of a sprucing with new faux rocks and water feature.

Dolphin Beach & Affinity

Dolphin Cove has been renamed Dolphin Beach. Likely an effort to distance the park from the practices highlighted in the 2009 documentary 'The Cove'. Australia's Sea World is home only to dolphins that have been bred in captivity or have been injured in the wild.
Affinity is the latest incarnation of Sea World's dolphin show and best described as a retooling of the previous Imagine show.
The most obvious change is the addition of colourful beach shacks that somewhat betrays the previous tranquil tropical setting. The rocky surroundings have also received a long overdue cleaning.
The shacks are spread throughout the wider Dolphin Beach area.
The colours on the logo at Affinity seem a bit off. Maybe in a few years once the fading sets in it'll be on-brand?
The retooled show features a new, light script that does little to actually justify its name – short of repeating the word affinity ad nauseum throughout – and takes away almost all of the content that actually allows guests to leave enlightened about dolphins or the importance of the research and rescue work that Sea World does.

At this time, when Sea World is quite unfairly the target of a lot of negative PR due to unrelated marine park practices overseas (that Sea World comdemns and distances itself from), it's discouraging to see their flagship marine animal show has taken a turn towards simple and cartoonish, losing the educational and inspiring messages that once were its core, and the single best tool to be used against misinformed activists and incorrect assumptions that exist in the wider community.

Many of the stunts and behaviours performed in the show are unchanged.
There is also the addition of a handful of new behaviours that haven't previously been a part of the show.
There's also the addition of elements like the paddleboard that don't add a whole lot to the show.

Jet Stunt Extreme

Following on with the theme of shows lacking substance comes Jet Stunt Extreme and its bag of tricks.
The latest being the addition of a water jetpack.
No one can deny the quality of the performers and their stunts, but as has become a disappointing trend, the show lacks any cohesive narrative – or even a vague reason for existing.