ORLANDO – It may sound like a genuine oxymoron: Antarctica in, of all places, tropical Central Florida.
In a region that virtually never sees snow, it’s safe to say Orlando doesn’t have much in common with the Earth’s southernmost continent, where the temperature has reached −89 degrees.
Brian Morrow understands all that, but he and his employer are nothing if not ambitious.
“You might not know it, but Antarctica is the driest, windiest and coldest place in the world,” Morrow said, adding that the continent is also a place largely misunderstood by other nations.
“What most people don’t know is that everyone in the world is a citizen of Antarctica, because there is a treaty and 50 nations are a part of that,” he said. “Antarctica is not the North Pole, it’s actually the South Pole, so Santa doesn’t live there.”
But if Morrow’s boss, the theme park giant SeaWorld Orlando, has its way, a whole lot of penguins will be living there – and Central Florida’s residents and visitors alike will be able to see and greet them on a daily basis.
“In 2013, we will be building the world’s largest penguin habitat outside of Antarctica,” he said. “It is the single largest attraction we have ever constructed. There’s multiple things to do there.”
SeaWorld is opening “Antarctica: Empire of the Penguins” next spring, as the latest addition to the Orlando-based theme park’s attractions like Discovery Cove and Aquatica.
Morrow, the creative director for parks and entertainment at SeaWorld, offered a sneak peak at the upcoming attraction on Thursday when SeaWorld’s Ports of Call hosted the annual Trade Show presented by the Central Florida Vacation Rental Managers Association, which represents property managers who oversee short term vacation home rentals in this region.
“I’m responsible for attraction development, and we’ve been very busy as a company for the past five years – and we are not done,” Morrow said. “So why are we opening an attraction based on Antarctica? Because it’s the coolest place in the world.”
The SeaWorld version will offer interactive and digital experiences for guests, as well as an opportunity to learn more about the world’s least populated continent.
“We wanted to ensure we created an epic scale at SeaWorld,” Morrow said. “And we celebrate connecting care for the natural world we explore. The power of entertainment can change people’s perceptions of what we can do in this world.”
The promotional campaigns for this attraction include the offer to “Walk with penguins in their World,” including on giant icebergs and massive glaciers, allowing visitors to take a literal voyage to the bottom of the world.
“Who doesn’t love baby penguins?” he said. “SeaWorld’s Antarctica is an amazing experience. It’s huge. You’ll experience the mystery, the drama and the beauty of the ice. It also features the coolest animals around.”
In a preview video of the upcoming attraction, Mike Boos, vice president of zoological operations, noted that “Antarctica will be the coldest theme park attraction in the world,” prompting Morrow to later add, “That’s just the tip of the iceberg. It also will allow our guests to make some choices. We’ve broken some ground in terms of guests being able to customize the rides.”
An Flamand, the president of the CFVRMA, host and moderator of the Trade Show, and owner of the vacation rental company USA Vacation Homes in Davenport, said this promises to be another great attraction to bring visitors to Central Florida.
“I’m excited about it,” she said.
To learn more about this attraction, log on to SeaWorld Antarctica.
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