How I lived in Florida ten years without visiting SeaWorld Orlando theme park is a mystery to me. I’m so glad to have corrected the situation and visited the stunning and pristine property, dotted with marine life exhibits, rides, games, and loads of family fun.
Though the massive collection of sea lions, seals, dolphins, and penguins are the star of this Orlando, Florida, park, there are so many other offerings that the water gets muddied as to what the top interests are. And they are all fantastic! Have a look at my first memorable visit to SeaWorld Orlando.
I was a guest of IPW conference for this visit to SeaWorld Orlando. As usual, opinions and reviews are 100% mine and unbiased.
SeaWorld Orlando’s Marine Zoological Park
As I mentioned, SeaWorld is first and foremost a marine zoological park. That means they save, rehabilitate, and train animals, studying them along the way, to make advances in marine life education, and for the future of their existence.
The exhibits with the adorable critters range from manatees to dolphins, but there is also another part of the park that isn’t all flashy, bells, and whistles, where caregivers nurture and rehab sick and injured animals, namely manatees and sea turtles.
As we walked through that particular area, my heart was breaking for our Florida native animals injured due to man and negligence. We are so lucky to have facilities like SeaWorld Orlando to care for them, and foot the bill.
For more things to do in Orlando, check out this post.
A must at SeaWorld Orlando is the Sea Lion & Otter Spotlight show. What a hoot! We met two sea lions, an old man, so to speak, and a newbie, who was learning the ropes. Watching the sea lions do a series of tricks, including high fiving the guests and smiling are sure to warm your heart. There are photo opportunities, too.
Mine was to stand beside the new guy in town, who is still in training, and was not one bit happy when it was my turn. I’ll spare you the comical picture from the look on my face when he started being fidgety; I was outta there.
Another exhibit that will blow you away is the Pacific Point Reserve, seriously chock full of sea lions and harbor seals. If I were guessing, I’m thinking there were nearly 100 in all, splashing, squawking, and leading a diva lifestyle in the comfort of their safe harbor.
Guests can purchase chum buckets and toss the fish down to feed the sea of sea lions.
Chances are the aggressive white birds will try to take the fish from you, but the sea lions beg so sweetly, and its great for videos and children, who can’t help but giggle at the spectacle. Picture me, the one wearing a glove to touch the chum; gross.
And let’s not forget the sweet as can be dolphins. These dolphins were so darned happy—the feel was contagious. We watched them do a series of tricks, from turning circles to “talking” and of course their incredible high jumps and splashes.
I’ve seen a lot of dolphin shows in my time, and this was one of the best. The relationship between trainer and dolphins was tangible.
SeaWorld: The Rides
Who knew SeaWorld had rides? Yep, and every other thing you’d expect and want from a theme park. One really popular one was the Sky Tower, where guests step into a round glass elevator that rides to the top of 400-feet for epic views of the park. The ride was created in 1974 and is a nostalgic nod to the SeaWorld theme park.
The ride costs a few bucks, though free for SeaWorld Silver, Gold, and Platinum Annual Pass Members. Sky Tower runs continually all day, less weather issues, namely high winds, and is open for all ages.
Roller coasters at SeaWorld Orlando, yep, that surprised me. Ice Breaker was the newbie for this year with a reverse launch and 93-foot spike with a 100-degree angle vertical drop. Mako is a park favorite, with speeds up to 73 MPH and claims the title of Orlando’s fastest and tallest coaster. Manta and Kraken are two others.
Other SeaWorld rides include Infinity Falls rafting adventure, Journey to Atlantis, another water ride, and flamingo paddle boats for central lake adventures.
Did You Know? There are also SeaWorld parks in San Antonio, TX, and San Diego, CA.
SeaWorld Orlando’s Entertainment
I found the daily live entertainment around the park to be top quality and original. My favorite were the breakdancers, who had the crowd on their toes cheering for them and dancing. The DJ did a great job of getting everyones attention, while the dancers captivated and kept it going. These amazing, talented guys showed off their skills and managed to bring the audience into their routine and show several times.
Even if you don’t ride the rides, just strolling around the beautiful property, adorned with vibrant displays, colorful characters, and gorgeous flowers is fun. And if you have a hard time walking in such a big property, you can always rent a ECV electric scooter with a sun shade to help you get around.
SeaWorld is the parent company to two other Florida parks: Discovery Cove, a hidden gem where you will truly think you are in the Caribbean, and not Central Florida, and Busch Gardens, in Tampa. Busch Gardens and SeaWorld have Sesame Street Land at the parks, and for an old-timer like me, born in the prime of Sesame Street, this is nothing shy of spectacular.
Guests can walk down charming streets that look like the TV set, and you may need some of the characters along the way. Keep your camera handy as you never know what you might encounter.
Be sure to shop along the way, soaking up the souvenir opportunities and Hoopers Store. Rides include Abby’s Flower Tower, Elmo’s Choo Choo Train, Cookie Drop!, Big Bird’s Twirl ‘N’ Whirl, Super Grover’s Box Car Derby, and a few more.
Fun Fact: SeaWorld’s Sesame Street Land has been designated a Certified Autism Center.
Things You Should Know
SeaWorld Orlando tickets run from $89.99-$125.99 for adults (based on date and season), and sometimes include FREE all-day dining. Check the park’s website for current rates and special offers, such as discounts for teachers, preschool, and the military.
A few food finds are Voyager’s Smokehouse, Expedition Cafe, Lakeside Grill, and Altitude Burgers. Seafire Grill is awesome for sitting outdoors and people-watching while you are dining. Pick up some tasty snacks from Mama’s Pretzel Kitchen or Edy’s Ice Cream Parlor, and craft beer from Waterway Grill.
SeaWorld offers allergen information and special menus as needed.
Parking is a breeze at the park, and will cost you around $30. You can also upgrade your experiences with tickets for the Ultimate VIP Tour, Penguin/Beluga/Walrus/Dolphin Encounters, various sealife Close Ups, the SeaWorld Rescue Tour, and Family Adventure Tour.
Truly the possibilities are endless at this incredible park and Orlando, Florida, attraction.