From January 1st to January 6th, SeaWorld is commemorating the arrival of the Three Wise Men with a brand new Latin-inspired special event! Below is our review of the all-new Three Kings Celebration at SeaWorld Orlando.
The Three Kings. The Three Wise Men. The Magi. Maybe you have heard of them, maybe not. But on January 6th each year, people in Spanish-speaking countries as well as many Christian nations throughout the world celebrate Three Kings Day, paying tribute to The Three Wise Men who traveled from far-off lands to see the Baby Jesus and present him with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
This Christian holiday is also known as the Epiphany, which means “an appearance or manifestation,” because Jesus Christ, the Son of God, manifested himself in the form of a newborn baby to The Three Wise Men.
As a kid who was raised Catholic, I remember Three Kings Day to be the day when I would put out one of my shoes overnight and find some candy in there the next morning! Marking the official end of the holiday season, this was also the day my parents would take down the Christmas tree and all our decorations.
To keep the Christmas spirit alive a few days longer into the New Year, SeaWorld announced they were offering this special six-days-only occasion, with the Three Kings Processional as the main event.
The Three Kings Processional
According to the SeaWorld description, guests would follow The Three Wise Men to a live nativity scene. The processional would also feature a storyteller and live animals. This processional would take place several times throughout the day.
What I expected is that I would follow the Three Wise Men and some camels in a slow procession around the park, maybe with some music as we processed, then ending in a nativity show on a stage set up somewhere.
This was not the case by a long shot.
The Three Kings Processional happened three times that day, and we made the last showing at 2:30 p.m. We entered the park just past 2:15 p.m. and literally speedwalked from the entrance to the back of the park to the Nautilus Theater, where the “starting point” of the Processional was stated to be.
When we got there, there were a couple hundred people standing around a small cordoned-off area in front of the Nautilus Theater. Though we got there just before the Processional started, I was able to squeeze in to get a good view.
At promptly 2:30, I saw a couple of Nativity-esque costumed people walk in holding a sign that said “Three Kings Celebration.” I am not sure where they came from, but it was not the procession that I expected.
The procession, which consisted of the “Three Kings” and a storyteller, followed by some other people in costume, a llama, a donkey, and one camel, walked into the cordoned-off space and took their places around the “barn.” The storyteller then immediately announced that the camel had to go leave now because it needed to get some rest. But the camel had seriously just walked in!
That was pretty lame, I thought. The gentleman behind me even complained loudly that we all got nothing but a “camel flash.”
It may actually decrease the disappointment factor for the audience to not have the camel show up altogether. The llamas should suffice, I think, especially because the camels are awesome in the O Wondrous Night show.
From that point, the rest of the show was just uninteresting. The storyteller tried to get the crowd excited, but it just did not work. I think a large part of that was due to her telling a lot of the story in Spanish, with many sentences not being translated. As a non-Spanish-speaking person, I was able to catch a few phrases and understand the gist of what she was saying, but at times she would speak for a good length of time without translating for the rest of us.
I love the story of The Three Wise Men and love learning about how other cultures celebrate holidays, and I feel the storyteller’s script should be more inclusive of all cultures and people of all languages, not just those who speak Spanish.
I know many people felt excluded and/or simply did not care to listen to something they did not understand, because they left the show early. It would be best and more culturally inclusive to translate each sentence into English as she was saying it, instead of speaking in Spanish for long periods without translating for non-Spanish-speakers. That way, we can all take part in the festivities and understand the real meaning behind the Three Kings Celebration!
By the way, The Three Kings do not speak at all during the show. They just stand there, except for the part when they each step forward, one at a time, to show the crowd their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
The entire presentation lasted like five minutes total, no more than seven minutes, and definitely not worth the long trek we did to get there. It was seriously more captivating to watch the llama chewing away at a piece of the set.
After the show, about an hour later, guests could take photos with The Three Kings. This was scheduled for 3:30 p.m., and we opted not to wait around for this photo opportunity.
For this event, Sharks Underwater Grill was serving a special Puerto Rican holiday dish on their menu. Also, around the Nautilus Theater area, there were a couple of food tents and tables set up, serving Latin-inspired dishes. An empanada cost us $6.49. There was a table selling pinchos for $5.99. Those looked delicious.
(These food tents were not open earlier in the day when we first passed them, just as an FYI.)
O Wondrous Night
As uninteresting as the Three Kings Processional was, the O Wondrous Night show was the complete opposite. This show is top-notch and amazing. SeaWorld almost made it sound like this show only happened during the six days of the Three Kings Processional, but this is not true. O Wondrous Night has been running since November 24th with the last show on January 6th.
That day, they only had one showing at 5:30, so we made sure to make it back to the Nautilus Theater to watch it.
O Wondrous Night tells the story of the nativity in a fun, lively way. A gospel choir full of talented voices sings Christmas carols and brings puppets to life. The show ends with a beautiful nativity scene with Mary and Joseph, angels, and live animals all surrounding the Baby Jesus.
Pro-tip: Some live animals will make their way to the stage using the aisles! If you want some live animals to literally walk past you, sit in the front half of the auditorium, on the middle aisle sides! You can also sit in the first row of the second half of bleachers for more opportunities for up-close animal experiences.
Again, O Wondrous Night has been running since the day after Thanksgiving. If you are at SeaWorld Orlando during the holidays, you must watch this show! It is so good!
Sea of Trees
Sea of Trees was only scheduled for 6:10 p.m., and we missed a part of it because we were at O Wondrous Night. However, we were still able to catch the last half of it, watching hundreds of Christmas trees light up to festive music over the water.
The park closed at 6 p.m., so the Sea of Trees light show was a great way to end our day at SeaWorld.
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Should I Visit SeaWorld Specifically For This Event?
The short answer is no! It is not worth it to come to SeaWorld just for the Three Kings Celebration.
The only “new addition” to celebrate the Feast of the Three Kings is the so-called “Three Kings Processional,” which was uninteresting, as described above. The special Latin food tents, if open, are nothing to rave about, and with the abundance of Latin eateries in the Central Florida area, I am 100% sure you can find a local place elsewhere for cheap. The only thing you should not miss is O Wondrous Night, but you have the entire holiday season to catch that show!
There is a lot to do and see at SeaWorld Orlando, but I would not visit the park solely for the much-too-hyped Three Kings Celebration event, which left many feeling disappointed.
Did you attend the Three Kings Celebration at SeaWorld Orlando? How do you celebrate Three Kings Day? Share with us in the comments below!