Show Review: Shamu Light Up the Night

Shamu’s Celebration:  Light Up the Night

DSC_0126

Let’s face it, parks like Sea World and Disney World can really rake in the cash flow. The drawback? They’re fixed in one location, and, unlike a movie theater, where you can rotate pictures onto the  silver screen; parks are slow to change in the attraction department. Dark rides, heck, any ride, are expensive to build and there’s no reason to expect that the crowds will come barreling in with their pockets full cash to spend on stuffed animals and t-shirts.

And that’s assuming that they’ll like the attraction enough to plan a day at the park.

Shows? Shows are different. You can rotate a show with different performers and set dressings. You can theme it slightly, advertise the heck out of it, and the crowds will add it to their roster. Adding it to their daily schedule is vital. It means that they’ll stay longer in the park and the longer we, the audience, hangs around- the odds are higher we’ll be buying more stuffed animals and more t-shirts.

The key word is longer. When a park has night activities that utilize the darkened skies it means that people will have to stay longer just to catch that one or twice nightly spectacle that one can’t see during the day.  Fireworks come to mind.

Or the terrific and very underrated “Cinemagic Spectacular” over at Universal Orlando.

I have found few reasons to say into the evening at Sea World, outside of special holidays, like Christmaskkah and Musica Latino.

Now Shamu is inviting us to sit a spell.

Shamu is an interesting case. Sure, we can change the dressing of the show and the theme and concepts. But, as the showbiz adage goes, “avoid working with children and animals.” The fact is, the orcas repertoire is a bit limited in scope. I’m sure they’ve tried to get Shamu to spew the latest lyrics of the Shakira song or to try her killer whale hat at Shakespeare, but they tend to just do swimming stuff.   Big splashes. Huge dives.

Huge dives. The fact is, the animal itself IS the attraction and truly awesome in its massive size in comparison to a nimble agility. We are impressed that they do what they do, period.

Hearing another show was opening at night at Sea World made me wonder, how can they change the show?  Not the why, not the who, but the how.

A night show does make sense, however.  Sea World differs ever so much from the product that Disney hands out, and it’s a great change from the offerings down I-4.  I wanted Sea World to be open later and I’ve always thought more night shows with different scopes would be the answer. But people, having gone from show to show all day, tend to want to leave after a few hours, their butts numb from sitting a good deal of the day, often waiting in the unruly Florida humidity on steel benches.

Which is a shame.

Especially with this night show.  We’ve got everything that takes the darkened venue. Bright colorful lights; powerful fireworks placed perfectly and time; and stars that are already in the deepest waters, so we don’t see them until they jump out.

Sea World has a decent show on their hands.

I liked it and thought it was better than the afternoon show. Yes, they do shoehorn some educational stuff in while the house fills to capacity, but, sometimes, you have to just, well, celebrate. That is where this show excels.

The music is loud and very pop-ish, but with a DJ doing the crowd rolling shtick to get the audience bopping, it works and I found, after a long day of just sitting, your spirits do lift. These animals are majestic and watching them is very inspiring, with or without commentary from the trainers.  Essentially, the animals are frolicking for our enjoyment, but the joys are magnified as we watch with heightened spirits from the lights, dancing, and atmosphere. It is hard not to get caught up.

The trainers are there, but, unlike the afternoon shows, their roles here are background and the animals become more forefront, as they should be. I still have the same complaint that I have here that I do for the other shows.  Having animal trainers dance makes no sense, other to make it obvious they’re there waiting to give the next command to the animals. The fact is, trainers are the animal experts, and not necessarily performers.  By making them “dance,” it looks forced and unnecessary. In fact, they should downplay their presence in such a show as this. Their clothing is already dark, let them step back and allow the true stars take that centerstage.

Or center water.

Or something.

If at all, in the afternoon show, let the trainers move back into the limelight. They should narrate and point out details about the animals. Show their intelligence, earned by years of experience and their much earned respect.

But that is an aside, and you probably won’t notice the trainers during this show.

You’ll be having too much fun.   I know I’d like to go back and see it again. Folks, Sea World is a terrific venue.  It was packed and with good reason. You should be part of this crowd. You’ll find that it gives a nice alternative to the Disney and Universal productions.   Enjoy.  If at all, break up the hot days-go early for the ride, take a lunch break and head back for this fun experience.

is an author, blogger, and journalist based out of Eustis, Florida. He's been reporting on entertainment since 1992, when someone showed him that others will read his work. While he's still composing his Great American Novel, he bides his time with his partner, his corgis, his writing, many movies and many park hopping trips. Peace!

About Author

Joe Triggs-Smith

is an author, blogger, and journalist based out of Eustis, Florida. He's been reporting on entertainment since 1992, when someone showed him that others will read his work. While he's still composing his Great American Novel, he bides his time with his partner, his corgis, his writing, many movies and many park hopping trips. Peace!