Interview With Geoff Dobson From SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Tuesday means interview day, usually our good friend Miss Parr would be on interview duty as she has been for the last 4 years however she’s decided to leave us and work with other accounts (we’re not bitter) however not to leave us in the lurch we’ve been placed in the very capable hands of Mr Geoff Dobson (some would say an upgrade), lets get to know our favourite Geordie.

Name: Geoff Dobsonbatmansuperman
Company: SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment
Position: Sales Manager

GETTING TO KNOW YOU

Traditional Coasters or Motion Simulators?:  For me it’s all about the coasters, but the less traditional the better as far as I am concerned. I love new record-breaking rides, it makes it even more thrilling to know that you are on the longest or the fastest coaster around! One of my favourites has always been SheiKra at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay – but I have to get my favourite spot…front row, end seat.

Quick Queue or normal queue?:  In peak season, there is no doubt that Quick Queue is the best idea you’ll have all day. The day flows so much better when you free up time that would be spent queuing. However in low season, November for example, I would recommend booking a Behind the Scenes tour instead – queues for a lot of the rides are shorter anyway and you get to experience something completely different.

Facebook or Twitter?:  Neither – for me, there’s nothing better than a face to face catch up with friends. If that also involves a glass of something cold and fizzy then so much the better!

Fictional Character that most represents you?:  Tough question! My friend sent me a link to an online quiz recently which told me that I am 93% Batman and 89% Superman, all very flatting if you ignore the shocking maths!

Book or Film?:  Film, although I do enjoy a good book on holiday.

Night out or night in?:  I love good cosy night in the house when it’s cold outside but you can’t beat a good night out with friends involving drinks, dinner, more drinks…

Favourite song?:  I don’t really have one favourite song, just anything that makes you want to dance. I love anything old-school, so maybe Lionel Ritchie’s Dancing on the Ceiling.

Favourite film?:  I am obsessed with disaster movies for me and I’d have to choose the ultimate classic disaster movie – The Towering Inferno.

3 People (real or fictional) you’d invite for the perfect dinner?:  Easy one – Joanna Lumley, Dame Judi Dench and Helen Mirren. Imagine the conversation, amazing.

WORK

What’s been the highlight of the year (2015) for your company?:  Earlier this year, we launched a new donation programme. For every customer who purchases a SeaWorld Park Extra, such as a Behind the Scenes tour or a Quick Queue pass, $2 is automatically donated to the SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund and goes specifically towards conservation projects led by UK organisations. We have just donated money to Chester Zoo’s ‘Wild Winter’ experience, aiming to engage kids aged 5-7 with wildlife and combat the nature deficit amongst young people. Our guests love knowing that by visiting our parks in Florida, they are making a difference to animal projects back here in the UK.

2015 also saw our animal rescue team hit an impressive milestone of over 27,000 ill, injured, orphaned or abandoned animals helped since the programme began more than five decades ago. Our team are always on call 24/7 365 days a year – yes, even on Christmas day – to help animals in need, whether there’s a manatee that is suffering from cold stress or an oil spill. The aim is always to return them back to their natural habitat once they’re deemed healthy enough.

We also launched a brand new show at SeaWorld Orlando’s Sea Lion and Otter Stadium. Clyde and Seamore’s Sea Lion High is a high energy, comedy adventure. This 30 minute show features sea lions, walruses and otters, I can guarantee the whole family will love it.

What’s been the highlight of the year (2015) for you?:  I actually have two highlights. I was super excited to host the 2015 SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment Florida Super Fam. This year we took 30 agents to Florida to experience our parks first-hand. To see everyone’s reactions to all of the rides and shows is always amazing.

Secondly in my very first week in the role we won the ‘Best Attraction’ award at The Travel Bulletin Star Awards, which was a huge achievement for the UK team.

What can we expect from your company in 2016?:  We have lots of exciting things coming in 2016. Firstly, we have not one, but TWO major new attractions opening next summer. At SeaWorld Orlando we will opening Mako – Orlando’s longest, tallest, fastest rollercoaster. It will be one of the world’s few true ‘hypercoasters’ which will make riders feel weightless. At Busch Gardens Tampa Bay we will be opening Cobra’s Curse – a one of a kind family friendly spin coaster. With only a 42” height restriction it makes it perfect for all of the family.

All of our customers who purchase the 3-Park SeaWorld, Aquatica and Busch Gardens Ticket or the Discovery Cove Ultimate Package, arriving from 1 January 2016, will receive FREE parking at all of the parks for 14-consecutive days. This is also available for guests who have already pre-booked their tickets for 2016.

Make a 2016 prediction…:  Our two brand new rides at SeaWorld Orlando and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay – Mako and Cobra’s Curse – will give even the most hardened thrill seeker the ride of their lives!

Best Theme Park ride/attraction of 2015?:  It’s all about Falcons Fury at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, it’s the only ride that genuinely scares me. Take a seat, slowly ascend a massive 335 feet in the air, tilt 90 degrees to face the ground, hold, drop at 60mph free falling for the scariest five seconds of your life!

Best Theme Park/attraction food of 2015?:  We have some really fantastic places to eat and I have to mention the all-new Mama’s Pretzel Kitchen at SeaWorld Orlando. I mean, who doesn’t love a Bacon Pretzel Twist followed by a Cinnamon Sugar Pretzel for dessert?

I was also recently lucky enough to experience Dine With Shamu at SeaWorld Orlando and I have to say the who experience was just fantastic. Not only do you get to see an up-close training session, but you can feast on delicious food too.

Best Theme Park/attraction tip?:  Don’t forget to book your SeaWorld Park Extras in advance to make the most of your holiday. It’s the best way to enjoy once-in-a-lifetime experiences like feeding a giraffe or meeting a penguin.

The best place to sit on SheiKra is at the front so you see the 200ft drop as well as feel it in your stomach, and for Manta the opposite is true – the best seat in the house is at the back where you feel the maximum G-Force.

Don’t forget to make the most of the free Wi-Fi at SeaWorld, which means you can send home plenty of jealousy-inducing selfies!

Best kept secret in Florida?:  The seasonal shows and events that take place in the parks such as Halloween Spooktacular at SeaWorld Orlando and Christmas Town at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. These events are often included in your general admission ticket and are great fun for all of the family. With free parking now included with our 3-Park Ticket and Discovery Cove Ultimate packages, there’s no excuse for not popping back to catch these.

I’d like to thank Geoff for taking the time to complete our interview and we’re looking forward to working closely with him in the future.

You can view our other interviews in the series here;

Until next week…

Smiles included…

Jamie

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