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ParkFans Founder
Silver Donor
Jun 2, 2011
Raleigh, NC said:
Blackfish, the documentary released in 2013, was highly critical of keeping whales in captivity. It generated plenty of attention about the plight of orcas, especially those under the care of the SeaWorld parks. Backlash from the film combined with other factors caused the marine life theme parks to take on water. Attendance and revenues plunged, while PR headaches rose.

In April 2015, SeaWorld brought in a new captain, Joel K. Manby, to right its listing ship. Prior to becoming president and CEO, he led the theme park and entertainment company, Herschend Enterprises. Among the parks under Manby's guidance were Dollywood in Tennessee and Wild Adventures in Georgia.

After trying unsuccessfully to wage a proactive PR campaign and maintain the status quo, Manby and his SeaWorld team decided to halt their orca-breeding program and make changes to the whale stadium shows, moving from an entertainment focus to an educational one. The struggling company made the about-face announcement in March 2016.
USA TODAY spoke with the CEO about the chain's new direction and how it is influencing the new attractions and shows coming to SeaWorld parks in 2017. We also discussed the difficulties that led to the sea changes at the company...
Read the full interview here.
Jul 16, 2013
Blacksburg, VA
RE: Mansby Speaks on Future of Parks

Very interesting read. I've been following Manby's work for a few years now and he's a very smart man. He worked wonders at HFE and I got faith in him for SeaWorld Ent.

He's attempting to turn around the image of one of the most publicized amusement park chains the world, not an easy thing to do. I sense he's frustrated over all the flack and push back from the GP, and stockholders, but it seems he's got more ideas than he can put into action. Although, I know that can be limited due to capital, costs, logistics, ect. It will be an interesting couple of years for the industry to say the least.
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