SeaWorld Orlando seems to be making a few changes, but I can’t say they are for the better.
Cinco de Mayo brought 3 One Ocean shows and a Dine with Shamu show in the afternoon.
With the first show starting at noon, there was plenty of time for the whales to show off in underwater observation this morning, but they were not there…at all. In the recent times that I have been there, this was a first.
During the first show, I noticed that Makaio was doing tricks independently of Katina. This was also a first, as up to this point they have been inseparable. All 6 other whales were in the show as Tili watched on at the gate from the back. THAT was heartbreaking to see!
Again, after the show, no whales were in the observation pool after the show. Between shows, Trua was put into the med pool with Tili. The other whales hung out at the gate between pools until the second show started, interacting between metal bars.
The second show was much different than most shows I have seen, particularly at the end. Katina and Kayla did the splash segment of the show while Makaio and Malia and/or Nalani appeared to be having a training session in another pool. It’s the true epitome of what the business is all about. Less than 3 years old, Makaio is already taken away from mom for performing…The sad reality of SeaWorld.
Trainers did maintain a fair distance from the whales today, except for the usual rub-down on the slide-out. No kneeling.
After the second show, Tili and Trua were moved into the underwater observation tank. Of course, they gathered quite a crowd. My favorite education department was in full swing. This particular “educator” did admit that lifespan might be longer than what they first thought. That was very big of her, however she still said they can live up to “60 years”.
She stuck to the lie of the dorsal fin flop being genetic and happening in the wild. This even elicited a response from a tourist saying “They used to think it was from captivity”. I bit my tongue, HARD, to keep quiet.
The next thing she said completely blew me away. In all my times at SeaWorld I have never heard such a brazen lie, told with full authority. She said…
Tili had been rescued after he got caught in a fisherman’s net.
I waited for her to leave the area and pulled her aside to confront her. She stepped out of her SeaWorld facade and got very defensive and angry with me, telling me I couldn’t believe everything I heard. When I explained the captor is interviewed in Blackfish and there is actual footage of captures, she claimed not to know anything about the movie and said SeaWorld will probably send out a statement when it comes out. The whole time, she kept walking away from me. I guess I touched a nerve!
Tili and Trua remained in the observation pool to perform the Dine With Shamu show. When he wasn’t engaged in the performance, Tili was waiting at the gate to leave. He did a few things but it wasn’t the same show I have seen before.
This is a short clip of them swimming before the show