By D. Channing Muller Posted May 24, 2010, 2:10 PM EDT
International Pow Wow, the largest global trade show for the travel industry, hosted by the U.S. Travel Association, wrapped up on Wednesday night with a closing party at SeaWorld Orlando after three days of meetings and events. More than 3,000 people attended the finale party, the third in a series of parties showcasing the city's largest attractions. (Walt Disney World hosted the kickoff party on Sunday and Universal Orlando hosted Monday night’s event).
“We wanted to make sure we gave everyone a real party [atmosphere] after [the delegates] had worked hard at Pow Wow the past few days, while still showing them the park and what we have to offer,” said the park’s director of event services, Todd Altadonna.
Altadonna structured the finale event in five parts, with each one showcasing a different aspect of the park. The night began in the Key West area, which is home to bottlenose dolphins and manta rays. Food stations served a variety of seafood and Caribbean-style fare while a live reggae band and DJ entertained guests.
The nearby Manta Plaza was outfitted with multiple furniture groupings, a DJ spinning Top 40 music, and food stations. Here guests could also ride the park’s Manta roller coaster—a head-first, face-down amusement ride through the aquatic exhibits—which soared over the plaza. In the Waterfront area along the park's lake, Latin culture dominated with a salsa band, dancers, and a Latin DJ. Additionally, the park served paella, smoked pork, picadillo, and other Latin dishes.
About 90 minutes after arrivals, staffers ushered guests across the lake—where two fountain shows sprayed on either side of the bridge—to Shamu Stadium for the Shamu Rocks show that combined live rock music and a light show with the park’s signature killer whales. Following the 25-minute performance, the group moved to the Wild Arctic exhibit with its all-white decor and ice sculptures for dessert and dancing among the park's resident beluga whales and polar bears before finally wrapping up just after midnight.