On Saturday, SeaWorld Orlando officially debuted its new dolphin show called Dolphin Days, and of course my dolphin-loving daughter and I were in the stands to watch.
Dolphin Days focuses squarely on bottlenose dolphins and the education of the audience, which is different from the long-running Blue Horizons show it replaces. Dolphin Theater’s former show emphasized performance — from storytelling to colorful sets to thrilling human acrobatics — and the dolphins were the star performers. Dolphin Days, however, puts on display the bond between the dolphins and their trainers and seeks to explain how SeaWorld cares for the animals.
Those who have seen Blue Horizons likely will observe that Dolphin Days is a more low-key show. Don’t be fooled, though, into thinking it won’t be exciting. The dolphins still perform amazing feats, many of which were a part of Blue Horizons. But perhaps audience members also will leave the 20-minute show inspired to get involved with dolphin conservation. Trainers introduce each dolphin by name, describing their personalities and seeking to make that personal connection with audience members. They explain common dangers that dolphins face and encourage each person to make a difference in dolphins’ lives.
Dolphin Days does introduce some new elements, as well. There is a pre-show that involves a trio of bumbling construction workers. Their slapstick humor did prompt many laughs as guests were streaming in before the show we attended. Dolphin Days also adds audience participation with the use of a young volunteer who learns a dolphin command from a trainer.
The new show retains an interactive factor by keeping the meet-and-greets afterward with the dolphin and bird trainers. (Yes, the macaws are still part of the show.) Despite my family’s frequent visits to SeaWorld, my daughter still enjoys talking with the trainers and having her photo taken with them. It’s a great opportunity for children and teens who want careers working with marine animals.
Another version of Dolphin Days debuted at SeaWorld in San Diego in 2015. The two shows are similar but not exactly the same. For example, in the California version, the young audience volunteer is invited to feed a dolphin, but that doesn’t happen in Orlando.
Tips for enjoying Dolphin Days:
** There were five performances on Saturday, but that can change from day to day. Be sure to check the times the show is scheduled for the day you visit on the paper maps, the app or the website.
** Plan to arrive at least 30 minutes before show time for the best selection of seats.
** We prefer to sit lower in the theater for the best view, but the higher seats are under a cover that provides relief from the sun and summer showers.
** The first five rows are the Soak Zone, and you (and your gear) really should expect to get wet if you sit in that section.
** If your child wants to volunteer to take part in the show, sit in the first few rows and toward the center of the theater because that’s where the trainer is positioned during that segment of Dolphin Days.