What: SeaWorld Orlando
Where: 7007 Sea World Dr., Orlando, FL 32821
When: SeaWorld Orlando is open seven days a week. Visit the SeaWorld Orlando website for updated hours
SeaWorld Orlando is one of the big three theme parks in Orlando, yet for as many times as my family has been to central Florida, the boys had yet to visit this attraction. We decided to remedy that on a recent visit.
The shows at SeaWorld Orlando are still a main attraction, but they’ve added thrill rides like the Kracken and Manta roller coasters. It’s an interesting mix of zoo, aquarium and theme park all rolled into one. Here are five things we liked best about SeaWorld Orlando and some tips for a great experience.
Work your schedule around the Shows at SeaWorld Orlando
SeaWorld Orlando has always been known for animal shows. The most popular is still Shamu, the killer whale, but my children’s favorite was Clyde & Seamore Take Pirate Island. It was funny, silly and we all liked the sea lions and walrus. The Blue Horizon Dolphin Show incorporated acrobatics and high diving, which made it quite interesting and fun, but still no contest for the slapstick humor of the pirate show. (my boys love the Three Stooges for goodness sake)
To make sure you see everything, get a show schedule online before you enter the park and determine when you’ll go to each show, then plan the rest of your day around them. Plan to arrive at least 30 minutes before the show begins to get a seat in the theatre, on busy days 45 minutes. The most crowded shows are mid-day, so visit early or late for smaller crowds. Most shows have a splash zone in the first few rows. If you don’t want to get wet, sit up higher in the stadium.
Collect Trading Cards at the Animal Exhibits at SeaWorld
One of the things my boys enjoyed most was visiting the animal exhibits. As a bonus, this is where you’ll find members of the education staff. Education staffers have animal trading cards, which they give to kids free of charge – generally for answering or asking a question about the exhibit or any of the animals or operations of SeaWorld. This was one of my youngest’s favorite activities in the park and it was wonderful to see him coming up with thoughtful questions or scouring the signs to make sure he had the right answer to get a card. Not only are these cards great inexpensive souvenirs, but each card has a picture of the animal and information on the back about that animal, which is a great way to remember not only what you saw, but learn something as well.
Roller Coasters at SeaWorld Orlando
Manta and Kracken are the two big roller coasters. You must be 54” tall to ride these and they’re serious about that height. Not only are kids measured on a stick, if it’s close, they’ll make you stand under a swinging rod. If the rod can swing at all, you’re not tall enough for the ride. It may be just as well. Kracken goes upside down seven times and Manta was described to me as so many twists and turns you don’t know where you are at the end. If you are carrying a purse or backpack, bring some change with you. You may not carry anything on these rides and must use the one-time lockers outside the queue area. Lockers are $.50 for a small and $1 for a large. Another popular thrill ride is Atlantis. This combination roller coaster, log flume is down every January for maintenance – which was a bummer since we went in January.
Rides at SeaWorld Orlando
There are a few continuous running shows with an attraction/ride included. Wild Arctic has a simulator ride at the beginning, very similar to Star Tours at Hollywood Studios. You can opt to bypass the simulator part and head straight to the well themed polar research station where you’ll see artic animals like polar bears and walrus.
Turtle Trek begins with a 3D, 360 degree theater presentation before heading into the tank areas. Make sure to hit Turtle Trek before or during the Dolphin show at the Horizon Theater. Lines at this attraction are significantly longer right after the Dolphin show, as the Horizon Theatre lets out right in front of the Turtle Trek entrance.
Animal Feedings at SeaWorld Orlando
At Sea World, you can feed the dolphins, rays and sea lions, so bring a little extra cash. Dolphin feeding is $7 per person. Ray and sea lion food is $5 per tray. Watch out for the birds that hover over the feeding areas. They are quite aggressive and if you aren’t careful, you could be feeding birds rather than sea life.
My family was given media passes to SeaWorld Orlando. All opinions are our own.