Getting to Know SeaWorld Orlando

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From heart-pumping thrill rides to world-renowned conservation efforts, SeaWorld Orlando is a diverse theme park featuring animal exhibits, thrill rides, and animal presentations. This article will take you inside this classic Orlando attraction, help you decide which ticket is best for you, and we’ve also got a few touring tips for the park.

What is SeaWorld Orlando?

SeaWorld Orlando is a marine life-themed amusement park featuring animal exhibits, animal demonstrations, rides, and themed areas. What sets SeaWorld apart from regional zoos and aquariums is a unique blending of animal exhibits and world-class rides. For example, a large aquarium and manta ray exhibit are incorporated into the Manta thrill rollercoaster queue and waiting areas.

SeaWorld has fewer animals than Disney’s Animal Kingdom or Busch Gardens Tampa but is a much larger marine life attraction than Epcot’s The Living Seas and has more rides than Animal Kingdom. SeaWorld also features a large conservation rescue operation for the care and release of animals back into the wild. Most guests can experience SeaWorld Orlando in one day.

SeaWorld Admission Options – The Real Bermuda Triangle

SeaWorld sells single-day admission and multi-day passes in so many varieties and choices that you might have to be a marine biologist to discover your best option. There are four types of tickets to four types of guests:

  • Single Day Admission – starts at $140 per person plus tax for an “any day ticket” at the gate and $99.99 online – children under 3 years are free. Save money and purchase online, tickets are delivered instantly to your mobile device. Good for most guests combining a visit to WDW or UOR with SeaWorld.
  • Two-Day Admission  – starting at $209 per person plus tax, SeaWorld frequently discounts these tickets to $99 and adds on admission to Aquatica or Busch Gardens Tampa for free. A good option for families who will spend more than one day at Sesame Street and with the animal exhibits.
  • Fun Card – Visiting three or more days? The Orlando Fun Card offers admission for the full calendar year starting at $136.99 per person plus tax online. Unlike an Annual Pass, this admission is only valid for the remainder of the year and includes blockout dates. These tickets are a good value for locals Ubering to the parks.
  • Annual Passes – One year of admission without blackouts. The entry-level Broze Pass starts at $189 per person plus tax but SeaWorld does discount the higher-tiered passes to lower-tier pass prices in the spring and fall. Locals should purchase at least the Silver for the free parking benefit.

SeaWorld displays a lot of discount offers and upgrades on their purchasing pages, read carefully so that you are choosing the correct tickets and quantity. We suggest comparing prices between SeaWorld and UndercoverTourist before purchasing. You’ll also see combo tickets and options with Busch Gardens Tampa, Aquatica, and Discovery Cove, which are separate venues.

Discovery Cove

Aerial look at many guests snorkeling in The Grand Reef at Discovery Cove. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

Discovery Cove is a low-capacity, all-inclusive marine and animal water park theme park operated by SeaWorld Orlando. The hybrid animal sanctuary and water park comes with unlimited food and drinks (including select alcohol options), animal encounters, lazy rivers, pools, and more. Admission is capped at 1300 guests a day and reservations are required. Reservations range from $183 to $222 per person plus a $5 resort fee – children under 2 are free.

Aquatica Water Park

Aquatica Orlando private event. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

Aquatica Water Park is a family-friendly, modern water park owned and operated by SeaWorld Orlando. The South Pacific-themed water park is lush and tropical, similar to Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Park. The park features a lazy river, a more thrilling “action” river, and multiple slide towers. Admission starts at $52.99 when purchased online while admission at the gate is $109.99. Purchase online and save, tickets are delivered instantly.

A Note on Surcharges

At the time of this article’s publishing, a 5% surcharge is applied to all purchases at the parks due to “increases in costs”. We think it is a bad business practice not to show the full price on menus and marketing, especially since SeaWorld’s food and merchandise are more expensive than Disney’s. Expect to add $1 tax to each $20 you spend while at SeaWorld.

Arriving at SeaWorld Orlando – Parking & Accessibility

SeaWorld Orlando is located at 707 SeaWorld Drive, Orlando FL 32821.

When arriving from I-4 follow the signage towards FL-528 E. Immediately take Exit 1 on the right towards International Drive. Take a left onto International Drive and follow the signs to the SeaWorld Parks. From Universal Orlando take Universal Blvd to the Orlando County Convention Center. Take a right onto Convention Way before the convention center and take a left onto International Drive. Follow the signage to SeaWorld.

Parking is offered in three tiers and pricing changes daily based on the demand:

  • General Parking – $32 to $37 per car plus tax
  • Preferred Parking – $53 to $58 per car plus tax, closer to the main entrance.
  • VIP Parking – $63 to $79 per car plus tax, closest to the main entrance.

Stroller ($40 per day plus tax), wheelchair ($40 per day plus tax), and ECV rentals ($105 per day plus tax) are located at the front of the park. SeaWorld Orlando is certified by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES) as a Certified Autism Center with special quiet areas, sensory guides, and specially trained staff.

Getting Oriented at SeaWorld Orlando

SeaWorld surrounds a large central lagoon with paths splinter off to the park’s rides, shows, and animal exhibits. Guests enter through the Port of Entry past a lighthouse and into the entrance area themed to Key West, FL. From the Port of Entry to the left are Manta, Kraken, and Mako while Pipeline, Ice Breaker, and Penguin Trek are to the right. A large floating walkway connects the two halves of the park (see above).

SeaWorld Orlando Attractions

SeaWorld debuted as an animal park with exhibits and animal shows. Over the decades the park added more traditional rides like rollercoasters and began phasing out their animal shows during the 2010s. Now SeaWorld Orlando is host to two dozen rides, animal exhibits, and animal presentations. SeaWorld offers a full day’s worth of entertainment for most guests.

Major Rides

⭐Penguin Trek (42 inch heigh requirement) is the new family-focused coaster opening in the summer of 2024 that replaces the Empire of the Penguin dark ride. Riders embark on a snowmobile expedition to find a penguin habitat, the ride features a short indoor dark ride segment before launching outdoors. The coaster segment features hills, helixes, and overbanked turns but no inversions.

⭐Pipeline (54 inch heigh requirement) is a launched stand-up surf coaster themed to surfing. Guests hang ten on long board-themed ride vehicles as they launch to 60 mph and 110 ft in the air. Unlike other coasters these restraints hold guests in a standing position with a mild bouncing effect, allowing for compliance with the restraints for a more comfortable ride.

⭐Ice Breaker (48 inch heigh requirement) is a sit-down launch coaster with a unique swing launch. Guests are launched backward and forward twice before cresting the tallest hill and completing the circuit. A good rollercoaster for kids too old for Sesame Street but too young for the larger rides.

⭐Mako (54 inch heigh requirement) is Central Florida’s only hyper-coaster at 200 ft tall. Located in the Sea of Mystery area of the park this sit-down coaster features spectacular views of the park and lots of large airtime hills. Mako feels euphoric and is arguably the best rollercoaster in the park.

⭐Kraken (54 inch heigh requirement) is a sit-down floorless coaster with 7 inversions themed to mythical legends. The intense lateral g-forces and inversions make this the most intense coaster at the park.

⭐Manta (54 inch heigh requirement) is a flying coaster at the front of the park featuring unique flying ride vehicles. Guests strap into special restraints that lift riders into a flying position on the coaster train. Guests fly on their manta-themed trains through four inversions with speeds up to 56 mph. The end of the ride features guests skimming the surface of the water with fountain effects. The coaster features intense positive g-forces.

⭐Journey to Atlantis (42 inch heigh requirement) combines a dark ride, a flume ride, and a rollercoaster for a ride to the mythical city. Guests board six-person boats as they explore Atlantis before they embark outside for a rollercoaster and log flume splash down.

⭐Infinity Falls (42 inch heigh requirement) is a thrilling raft ride through tropical landscapes that culminates in a 30-foot fall down a waterfall!

⭐SkyTower is the oldest attraction in the park and takes guests up a 400-foot tower to observe SeaWorld and the Orlando area.

⭐Super Grover’s Box Car Derby (38 inch heigh requirement) is a children’s rollercoaster themed to the best Sesame Street monster. No this is not up for debate.

Major Animal Exhibits & Presentations

While the rides receive a majority of the focus, SeaWorld’s claim to fame is the animal exhibits with a focus on marine animals and environments. SeaWorld has two types of animal attractions – exhibits and presentations. Exhibits are self-guided themed areas with animal enclosures or aquariums, like a traditional zoo or aquarium. Exhibits are found around the park and span the range of scope from small exhibits on the side of walkways to major attractions like Shark Encounter.

Animal presentations are hosted by animal trainers who cover the care and habitats of orcas, dolphins, otters, and sea lions. Presentations replace the old, phased-out trained animal shows with a newer focus on the animal’s real habitats and lives. We suggest arriving 15 minutes before show time for the best seats, and we also suggest sitting a few rows behind the splash zone.

Sesame Street Land

Sunny days are chasing the clouds away at Sesame Street Land in SeaWorld Orlando, the only Sesame Street-themed land in Orlando. Based on the long-running and internationally loved children’s TV series, Sesame Street Land recreates the iconic NYC block as an explorable land in SeaWorld Orlando. Meet the characters, shop at Mr Hooper’s General Store, and see a daily parade.

Sesame Street Land includes several small rides designed for young children and their parents:

⭐Super Grover Box Car Derby (38 inches height requirement)  – children’s rollercoaster

⭐Abby’s Flower Tower – ride in buckets that spin around a tower

⭐Cookie Drop – bounces guests up and down on a small tower

⭐Elmo’s Choo Choo Train (36 inches height requirement) – a small train that passes character statues

⭐Slimey’s Slider – no not the newest burger trend, this attraction “swoops and swivels” along a rollercoaster-like path.

⭐Sunny Day Carousel – Sesame Street-themed carousel

Kids will love to let out excess energy at the two playgrounds – Rosita’s Harmony Hills for a dry playground full of musical play options and Rubber Ducky Water Works which drenches kids more than a firehose.

Dining & Drinking

SeaWorld Orlando features roughly a dozen restaurants and bars specializing in coffee to pretzels and seafood to BBQ. The park’s star restaurant is Shark’s Underwater Grill & Bar, a seafood restaurant with massive windows that provide an incredible view of the Shark Encounter aquariums and the coolest bar top in Orlando. An all-day dining package is sold online and in the park for “unlimited” counter service meals in the parks, limited only to one person and a certain amount of redemptions per hour.

Dining quality at SeaWorld is hit or miss – food festival options and full-service meals receive good reviews but the counter service options are lacking. SeaWorld charges that 5% surcharge on all food and drink purchases, too. To save some money dine on International Drive.

SeaWorld offers a Happy Hour deal on Wednesdays from 4:00 pm to park close with a buy-one-get-one-free draft beer at Glacier Bar and Waterway Bar. Valid ID required, guest must be 21 or older to consume alcohol.

SeaWorld Orlando Seasonal Events

SeaWorld loves seasonal events and hosts half a dozen throughout the year. These are the biggest seasonal events that are offered every year:

⭐Seven Seas Food Festival (February – May) features international dishes, drinks, and live entertainment throughout the park. 2024’s event features over 50 new dishes and 75 drink options. Included with admission.

⭐Bands, Brew, & BBQ (July – August) takes the Seven Seas Food Festival and countryify it and you’ll get Bands, Brew, & BBQ. The event leads with bluegrass, country, and folk music plus local craft beers and BBQ. Included with admission.

⭐SeaWorld Spooktacular (August – October) is a family-friendly daytime Halloween event focusing on trick-or-treating and costumes. Silly, not scary.

⭐Howl-O-Scream (September – October) is an after-dark, separately-ticketed event featuring terrifying scare zones, intense haunted houses, and seductive shows. Similar to Halloween Horror Nights at Universal, but smaller in scope and with more intense scare actors.

⭐SeaWorld Christmas Celebration (November – December) is a holiday celebration that focuses on Christmas entertainment. Shows include a retelling of the birth of Christ featuring real animals and other non-denominational festivities.

TouringPlans Tips

  • Save Time in line and arrive early! Be among the first in the park to ride the park’s headline attractions before visiting the animal exhibits and shows during the afternoon.
  • Save Money and purchase your tickets online before arriving at the gates. Save up to $40 on SeaWorld Orlando single-day tickets by buying online.
  • Dine off-site on International Drive for a more affordable meal without a 5% surcharge.
  • Arrive at animal presentations 15 minutes before show time for the best seats, though many shows offer plenty of seating 5 minutes before show time.
  • Journey to Atlantis, Mako, Kraken, and Ice Breaker receive the shortest lines at the park opening. Visit the front of the park after the lunch rush.

Have you visited SeaWorld Orlando? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

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Joseph Matt

Joe covers theme parks through the lens of his quality engineering day job. He has over five years of writing experience at Touring Plans and has gone on dozens of trips to Orlando over his life. When not at amusement parks you can find Joe at breweries, enjoying live theater, playing video games, and cooking.

4 thoughts on “Getting to Know SeaWorld Orlando

  • Thanks for sharing. Sea World information is tough to get a hold of sometimes, especially a nice primer. We had season passes a few years ago as there was a work conference at a hotel where the family could walk over.

    The park is leaning towards thrills for sure. For kids 4-5 who are about past Sesame Street but not tall enough for anything else, the rides aspect of the park is a down fall. Hopefully the Penguin Trek will help bridge that gap some.

    We were disappointed in the amount of signage with information on animals and their habitat. Their fireworks shows are nice and the holiday christmas events well done, especially the ice skating show.

  • Thanks for this! We are considering a Seaworld side trip on our next Orlando trip.

  • Thanks for your informative article. When you update it in the future, could you add information about accessibility of rides and attractions? Including information about renting wheelchairs and ECV’s at Sea World. Thank you!


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