When the orcas start to fly, the crowd comes alive. Closed-circuit TV cameras capture and display the spectacle on four huge rotating screens as the animals thunder dauntingly through the water’s surface, pointedly deluging entire seating sections in 52-degree water. It’s quite a scene. The 25-minute show is the hub of the controversy surroundig the SeaWorld parks, nevertheless it occurs on such a scale as to make it required viewing, and it's always packed. Now that trainers are no longer permitted to swim with the orcas, there’s lots of downtime during which loud, recorded rock music plays and the whales are nowhere in sight. Trainers fill the gaps with weak Temptations-style choreography and quasi-inspirational scripted gibberish (“Pass the word from generation to generation: A bright and beautiful future is in our hands . . .”). But you instantly forget about the flaws when the animals reappear to leap skyward and belly flop back into their tank. The stadium, which fits 5,000 and still fills early, is covered, but the sides may catch sun, so arrive at least 30 minutes early. Strategy: Soak zone seats offer excellent views of the animals hurtling through the 2.5 million-gallon, 36-feet-deep tank, and in case the splashes miss you, the dozens of fountain jets will finish the job. Seats near the shelflike front platform will also have a close-up view of a killer whale out of the water. Seats at the back of the stadium, higher than the central aisle, must rely on the TV cameras to make out what’s going on underwater. Shamu Stadium.
SeaWorld Orlando› Attraction
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