From an article in the Orlando Sentinel:
"Elmo stars in a new SeaWorld show
Sentinel Staff Writer
March 20, 2007
Sesame Street's furry little red Elmo character is headed for SeaWorld Orlando to star in a major new show, the first blossom of a new partnership between the educational-TV stalwart and Busch Entertainment.
Starting April 2, a 20-minute live stage show called Elmo and the Bookaneers will be booked into SeaWorld Orlando's Atlantis Bayside Stadium, as Busch and Sesame Street's parent corporation, Sesame Workshop of New York, start rolling out co-productions.
The show will feature Elmo, Bert, Ernie, Cookie Monster, Abby Cadabby and other Sesame Street characters dancing, singing and taking part in an adventure story that highlights reading. SeaWorld Vice President Dave Goodman said the show will be a full-scale production that will feature special effects, stage-, lake- and sky-based action, and SeaWorld animals
"The show is very cute, and all about kids," Goodman said. "It's all about books, and these crazy, wacky pirates who come to steal the Sesame Street characters' books."
Elmo and the Bookaneers is one of five new attractions that SeaWorld announced Monday, including three new rides for young children, and Shamu Rocks, a new rock 'n' roll version of the killer-whale show geared more toward teens. The combination of the Sesame Street show and the rapidly expanding Shamu's Happy Harbor, SeaWorld's children's playground, likely will strengthen the marine park's bid to attract more families with young children.
And the bid is apt to get even stronger, because the Elmo show will not be the last Sesame Street offering there, or at the other SeaWorlds in San Antonio and San Diego, or at Busch Gardens in Tampa and Virginia.
Busch Entertainment and Sesame Workshop have been partners for 25 years in a small theme park outside Philadelphia called Sesame Place, and finally reached a deal to expand that relationship, said Peter van Roden, vice president for themed entertainment at Sesame Workshop.
Next up will be an entire Sesame Street-themed land in SeaWorld San Diego, opening next year, van Roden said. SeaWorld Orlando soon will get some Sesame Street-based costumed characters so that young fans of the show can interact with their favorites, he said.
"We've always loved the relationship we have with Busch. We are an education-entertainment brand and we see them as the same, so it really meets with our mission," van Roden said.
The Sesame Street brand is a great marketing tool for SeaWorld, one that has been loved by generations of parents and children, said Jerry Aldrich, president of Orlando-based Amusement Industry Consulting. Combined with the three new children's rides at Shamu's Happy Harbor -- which also added three rides last year -- the show should enhance SeaWorld's already strong appeal for children, he said.
"You go after that and you bring the whole family," he said.
Later this spring, SeaWorld plans to open a sea-based carousel and two other rides. The 65-seat Sea Carousel, featuring a 45-foot-wide pink octopus on top and seats modeled after giant exotic fish, sea lions, otters, sharks and dolphins, could become the signature ride for the area.
The other two new rides are inspired by thrill rides, but toned down for young children. The Flying Fiddler will take up to 12 children and adults up and down, in a much smaller and gentler version of the tower-drop rides in other parks. Ocean Commotion will be a gentle version of a swinging boat ride, holding up to 24 people at a time.
Elmo and the Bookaneers will push out the Fusion water sports show that catered more to teens and adults. In its stead, the teens will get Shamu Rocks, a show combining the whales, the high-tech, giant digital monitors in Shamu Stadium and music and video from such acts as Savage Garden, Coldplay, Jennifer Lopez, Rascal Flatts and Shakira. It will run nightly during the summer season, starting Memorial Day weekend.
Scott Powers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 407-420-5441.
Copyright © 2007"