It’s tough enough for a theme park to distinguish itself in an American market still surprisingly rife with them. In Orlando, it’s far tougher still. Any park hoping to stay alive in such a dog-eat-dog market has to compete with the delights of competition from Disney World to Universal Studios Orlando to The Holy Land Experience, distinguishing itself in a crowded landscape of elaborate rides and $14 soft pretzels.
Even by those standards, SeaWorld has spent the last few years fighting an uphill battle. While the Orlando Sentinel reports that SeaWorld has continuously grown its attendance over the last year, the aquatic theme park chain previously sparred with years of bad press, chiefly due to the release of the 2013 documentary Blackfish, a scathing examination of the history of employee fatalities and unethical animal practices within the company.
Since retiring its orca program in the wake of Blackfish, SeaWorld’s Orlando has striven to re-establish itself as a fun place where one can ride a roller coaster, look at some penguins, and hopefully not think about humanity’s role in the destabilization of natural patterns at any great length. Like the Cleveland Browns before them, they’re now using one of the most tried-and-true methods in the world to facilitate this: free beer.
This June, as it did in 2018, SeaWorld Orlando will offer brews to patrons of appropriate age; the Sentinel notes that “SeaWorld did not say when in June the free beer would begin or if it would be the same two-per-customer, 7-ounce pours as last year.” Fellow theme park Busch Gardens, which also features interactive animal displays and sits in Tampa, Florida, will also have its own beer promotion in 2019.
By now, in reading this, you probably know if SeaWorld is still for you or not. If it’s not, understandable. If it is, a couple free beers and some dolphin stunts sounds like a pleasant way to pass a summer day. In any case, The Takeout encourages you both to honor and respect the animal kingdom, and to responsibly appreciate free beer whenever it’s gifted upon the world.