SeaWorld is a hard one to review to be honest. I used to love the park but some of the animal attractions have started to bother me over recent years. The famous Blackfish documentary shone light on some of the conditions and treatment of the animals of SeaWorld. This documentary has damaged the popularity of the park enormously. As a family we have decided not to visit the park anymore but you may enjoy SeaWorld as much as some of the other parks.
I will not review the whale and dolphin shows but other interesting attractions in the park are featured on this page.
A bit of everything
SeaWorld is a visually beautiful park. The landscaping and floral areas are stunning. It is not just full of thrill rides although there are 5 to choose from.
- Kraken – a rollercoaster
- Journey to Atlantis – a water ride
- Manta – a rollercoaster
- Mako – the latest rollercoaster
- Infinity falls – a River Rapids ride
As you would guess by the name of the park, there will be plenty of sea life to experience. There is a dedicated children’s area called Sesame Street and there are various shows all over the park.
Photo opportunities everywhere
The presentation of the park is second to none and there are some beautiful botanical locations to take really great photos. There are designated photo spots dotted around the park so look out for them. On our mantelpiece at home we have a lovely family photo that was taken near an arrangement of flowers near the Manatee Rescue building.
Get your picture with Shamu
Just as you enter SeaWorld, keep your eyes open for the soft and cuddly Shamu as pictured here. If you are lucky you will be able to get your picture taken with Shamu or even get an autograph. There will be a photographer at hand to take a professional picture but if you are good enough with a camera, it is totally ok for you to take your own.
It took me quite a few visits to be able to navigate my way around SeaWorld confidently. This park is not laid out like most theme parks and it is really easy to get lost. A trip around SeaWorld could see you walk in one direction and come back to where you started a couple of minutes later. In SeaWorld, paths lead off to the left and right all around the park.
One word of advice I can give you if you have children is, designate Sky Tower as your meeting point if anyone gets lost. Sky Tower is the very large pole style building that flies the American flag. You can see this tower from almost everywhere in the park.
Sesame Street at SeaWorld
The new Sesame Street area has replaced what was Shamu’s Happy Harbour. As the name would suggest, this area is aimed at really young children. They have done a great job of re-creating the houses and buildings exactly like the TV show so kids will really believe they are there.
Children can actually go around their favourite characters doors and ring the bell or knock at their door. Some of the characters can actually be seen through the glass or the letterboxes. There is a character spot where you can meet and get photos with Elmo and friends. A few fairground style rides can be found in Sesame Street along with a beginners rollercoaster.
You really do need to be a fan of Sesame Street to appreciate this area and the show is a lot bigger in America than it is in the UK so this area won’t be that popular with Brit’s I reckon.
…is a great show featuring rescued animals that have been adopted and trained by the Seaworld staff. The show is excellent and the Seaworld trainers have done a brilliant job with these animals. The show boasts over 50 different talented critters including cats interacting with dogs and mice also star in the production.
Visitors of all ages will love this show and it is usually quite easy to get a seat. If you have seen the other shows of SeaWorld, make sure you don’t go home without watching Pets Ahoy!
The Rides of SeaWorld
Kraken is a looping rollercoaster that is one of our favourite Orlando rollercoasters. You will see Kraken as you drive towards SeaWorld from any direction, it is a mass of blue steel loops.
The queues are usually much better than your average Orlando theme park but you could queue over 30 minutes at busy times. Each day should see some wit times as low as 5 or 10 minutes. One tip is to try and ride when the nearby dolphin show is scheduled. When nearby shows empty, a lot of people will head straight for the rides.
Kraken has a height requirement of 54″ or 137cm.
The newest thrill ride of SeaWorld. Mako is BIG! and again you can see this ride from miles away. Mako is actually the tallest, longest and fastest rollercoaster in Orlando so definitely not one for beginners. When I rode Mako in 2018 I did start to question myself in the queue. I looked at the height of the first drop and first climb and I asked myself why I was doing it. No ride bothered me years ago but the uncertainty of this new ride was niggling away at me.
The ride has a lot of “out of your seat” moments so it can get really exciting. The last half of the ride starts to get a bit boring but it is a great ride for the adventurous. There are no shoulder restraints so you are only held in by your legs. This is a similar system to the Rip Ride, Rockit coaster at Islands Of Adventure. I would feel more confident with a good old fashioned seat belt personally but hey, this is progress apparently.
Mako has a height requirement of 54″ or 137cm.
Journey To Atlantis…
…is one of the most unique water rides anywhere. The early part of the ride is like most other water rides in the Orlando theme parks. Rides such as Splash Mountain in Magic Kingdom and Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls in Islands Of Adventure are quite similar. There will be a few small drops and a nice slow “float” around the caves but then things change. After the really big drop that you can see outside of Journey To Atlantis, this boat ride turns into a mini rollercoaster. The coaster side of it doesn’t last long but it adds something different to the ride.
Journey To Atlantis has a height requirement of 42″ or 107cm.
Take time to look around the aquarium under the ride and you may find a couple of fish that look like Dory and Nemo. There is also an octopus and Manta’s swimming above your head in this great queue area.
Manta can be an excellent ride but if you ride towards the rear of the coaster it can get very intense. We were on the 2nd back row when the the first main drop (upside down) came around. I felt like my chest was being crushed under a massive weight and it did make me cough for the remainder of the ride. My 15 year old son also mentioned that this ride was quite intense on his chest. He had ridden Manta at the front of the ride and didn’t experience the same sensation.
This difference of experiences on the same rides is very common with rollercoasters. Front rows drop slowly because the heavy back is still catching up. Once the back catches up to the drop point it is going a lot faster than the front rows were. This causes more G’s for riders at the rear. I don’t want to put you off the ride but if you are not a spring chicken, you may feel too much if you ride at the back.
Do you get wet?
The coaster seems to cut the water at one point but it is actually just well timed fountains. You will only get slightly wet. The water fall passing is great and you feel like you are going to scrape your feet along some of the bushes. SeaWorld like to keep things trim so you don’t actually touch anything. This does make for a great moment to the ride.
If you have ever ridden on Galactica (previously known as AIR) at Alton Towers then you will be familiar with this style of rollercoaster. Instead of a standard rollercoaster carriage where you ride in the seated position, you are riding in the flying position. When you are strapped in, your carriage will tilt until it faces the floor. This can also be uncomfortable for larger people.
Manta has a height requirement of 54″ or 137cm.
This helicopter simulator ride can be over-exciting for younger riders so if you hop aboard with little ones, make sure you keep a tight hold of them. This simulator ride can fling you around a bit. You are the passenger on a helicopter flown by a cheesy American pilot. He is taking you and your party to a scientists base at the North Pole. Some of the dives and manoeuvers are quite realistic so it won’t be a quiet journey. You are in a helicopter with at least a dozen other passengers and there will be some screamers.
Once you land safely you can carry on by foot and visit real polar bears, beluga whales and walruses at the Wild Arctic exhibit.
Wild Arctic has a height requirement of 42″ or 107cm