If you don’t like Sea World, that is absolutely fine, please just skip on past this post.
Size of Park: 200 acres
Days I think you should spend there: One and a half.
Number of “lands”: 8
Best Ride: Manta
Give it a miss if you don’t have time: Blue Horizons (it’s a bit cheesy for us)
Best Place to Eat: Captain Pete’s Island Eats, Seafire Grill does some yummy fajitas
Kraken – this was once the best thrill ride in Orlando. Now it’s kind of dated but if you’re looking for loop-the-loops this is the ride to go on. It’s usually a pretty short wait time as well.
Manta – a ride that makes you feel like you’re a ray, or flying. If you’ve been on Air at Alton Towers this is pretty similar.
Mako – the fastest, longest ride in Orlando. Alex loved this one but said it was pretty scary with only a lap bar.
Journey to Atlantis – This is a log flume ride with a story behind it. Last time we went it was down for refurbishment but we love that it has a few different sections to it which makes it more than just an opportunity to get soaked.
Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin – This is a new ride and it’s really cute. You follow the journey of an egg through it hatching and growing into a full grown penguin. You float along and can select wild or mild for how you like your ride. You go through rooms getting progressively colder until you arrive in the zero degree penguin exhibit.
Shamu’s Happy Harbour – A selection of rides for little kids, including the Shamu Express (a bit like Goofy’s nutcoaster in MK). It’s actually a really cool little area and if I was 7 I would happily spend all day there.
One Ocean – This is the “Shamu show” and I have to admit it’s my least favourite. The huge stadium means I find it hard to hear, and although the whales are amazing the lack of story is noticeable after watching the other shows throughout the day. I do like how they start by honouring their armed forces and really think there should be more of that in the UK.
Blue Horizons – the cheesiest show ever. But the dolphins are incredible. They jump so high and clearly love what they’re doing. The birds fly really close to the crowd (so if you don’t like birds this isn’t one for you). Oh, other than the one that fancied a sunbathe on the top of the stadium roof and wouldn’t come down!
Pets Ahoy – This is the most overlooked show in the park I think. It’s not very long and you don’t need to get there really early so worth stopping by for 25 minutes. It’s 100% rescue animals which create the show. I mean, dogs ok, but they had ducks, cats, pigs and mice trained to the same level!
Clyde and Seamore’s Sea Lion High – This is the not to be missed show. The only one that is genuinely laugh out loud funny. The sea lions are just brilliant. This show, we have to say, isn’t as good as the old one but it’s still worth watching. A lot of people clearly didn’t believe that the front few rows would get wet. They were wrong – I am talking soaked and running for the back of the stadium!
The reason we’re all there. Aside from the shows you can see animals all over the park. We love the manatee section which now includes access to the manatee hospital. This area is all about rehabilitation and they hope that every manatee will one day be released into the wild. In fact, two that we saw in the hospital had been hit by boats. They were being prepared for release and were on the TV the next week being put back into Florida’s natural waterways.
My favourite is the Pacific Point Reserve where you can see and feed Sea Lions. We didn’t feed them ourselves but a lot of people were. They were going crazy for this fish and were getting really territorial. There were also big white birds there that would steal the fish before it reached the sea lion if you didn’t have good aim. We were told these birds aren’t actually Sea World birds but arrived every morning for another long, hard day of stealing fish.
The dolphins are a huge highlight, they are constantly poking their heads out of the water to check out what’s going on. The dolphins in this area are different to those in the shows and you can see how much of the “show” behaviour is actually natural as they were doing it just for fun. Across from the dolphins is the ray lagoon where you can feed and touch rays if they come close enough.
There’s lots more animals than I’ve mentioned but these were a few highlights for us. One final mention is for the flamingos who are just brilliant and have a “parade” where they are marched from one end of the park to the other.
- There is a Fast Pass system in place in Sea World which you can buy for an extra cost, then go to the front of the line all day. Sea World is so quiet these days that I wouldn’t recommend this unless you want to spend all day on the rides or are going in peak season.
- You can get a free extra day! This is the only free thing we have ever been given in Orlando! If you go to the Vacation Centre (outside Clyde and Seamore). She tried to get us to go to a timeshare presentation we said we’d think about it and had a show to go to – she validated our tickets and we could go back any day that week. It probably took 5-6 mins and you do have to listen to the hard sell for this presentation but it was worth it for a second day. This only applies if you’re on a one day ticket
- Don’t miss the Clyde and Seamore show it’s the best!
- It’s a pretty big park so plan your day carefully, you don’t want to be zig-zagging across the park (in the way you can get away with in Magic Kingdom for example). Look at the show times to start with, work out which ones you want to go to and plan your day around that.
- For decent seats in the shows try and get there 10-15 minutes early. It used to be half an hour but the parks are a lot quieter now than they used to be.
- We had all day dining which cost an extra $20 on top of our $80 one day tickets. I would hesitantly recommend this and will write a complete blog on this topic.