FAQ Orlando

Sea World

Shamu Sea World Orlando

Orlando visitors may not recognize the name of a single Sea World ride, but they all know “Shamu”

May 2013: No other Orlando park focuses on the oceans like Sea World, and it has more shows and walk-through exhibits (aquariums) than rides. Still, Sea World’s two coasters rival the best at Islands of Adventure, and its water flume ride compares favorably to ones at Islands of Adventure and Disney’s Magic Kingdom. Sea World also has Shamu, of course – really Shamus, plural, since all Sea World killer whales have the same name. Forgetting everything else, it’s humbling to see a massive sea animal do tricks in a 7 million-gallon aquarium.

In May 2013, Sea World also debuted its multi-million dollar “Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin,” a ride that can be adapted to different stress levels that visits the land that’s really down under.

Unlike other Orlando parks, Sea World is not technically a theme park because it doesn’t have different “lands” to explore, unless a single theme – the world’s oceans – counts. Italian restaurants sit near penguins without either building’s exterior looking particularly Arctic or Italian. Certain areas, however, suggest specific places, such as the Greek fishing village theme of the water flume ride, the waterfront district’s Mediterranean flavor, or the Key West décor near the sea turtles and dolphins.

Sea World requires as much walking as any other park, but the abundance of shows makes it less stressful since only the big rides command a long line. The layout, generally, surrounds a lake. It can be explored clockwise or counter-clockwise, though the area to your left after entering the gates uneasily borders the lake and requires some backtracking to see everything.

There are two key challenges when touring Sea World: Avoiding long lines on the handful of adult rides, and timing your tour to enjoy the shows without hiking across the entire park multiple times to catch one you missed the first time around. A few minutes of planning can save a lot of time and shoe leather (or rubber) throughout the day. (See Sea World survival guide.)

Because Sea World intersperses rides with shows, the following attractions are listed in the order you’d encounter them if entering the park and touring clockwise. The rides are rated here using the “A” through “E” system, with “A” a very simple ride, such as a kid’s carousel, and “E” an expensive attraction with a big “wow” factor. Each attraction is a ride, a show, or a zoo exhibit, with the latter rarely having a wait time.

Since guests have to juggle wait times for rides with show schedules, the attractions are listed first clockwise by type. Since timing is everything at Sea World, there are two lists below. The first is really three lists, breaking down attractions by type. The second master list mixes all three types together to show their proximity to each other. Note that some shows change by the season, and others – such as Shamu – may have two different shows depending on the time of day.

Rides
E: Manta: Sea World’s newest coaster where riders face the ground. Includes extensive aquariums with manta rays
E: Journey to Atlantis: Log flume
E: Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin
E: Kraken: Coaster
C: Sky Tower: Observation tower with commanding view of Central Florida
B: Shamu’s Happy Harbor: Playground, water attractions, arcades, and kiddie rides
D: Shamu Express: Kid’s coaster
C: Jazzy Jellies: Spinning in the air
C: Swishy Fishies: spinning in teacups
D: Sea Carousel
C: Flying Fiddler: A lift-and-drop ride for kids
D: Ocean Commotion: Gently swinging boat
E: Wild Arctic: Motion simulator ride leading to polar animal exhibit

Shows
C: Pets Ahoy
D: Blue Horizons
E: Clyde and Seymour Take Pirate Island
D: A’lure – The Call of the Ocean (less grand Cirque de Soleil-style show)
E: Believe (Shamu Stadium with killer whales)

Zoo (aquarium) exhibits
D: Manta (part of the ride queue)
B: Dolphin Nursery
A: Turtle Point
C: Stingray Lagoon
D: Dolphin Cove (zoo but with show aspects when trainers are present)
B: Jewel of the Sea Aquarium (fish above and below create the illusion of being underwater)
D: Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin (in addition to the ride)
D: Pacific Point Preserve (sea lions)
E: Shark Encounter
B: Clydesdale Hamlet
D: Wild Arctic: Polar animals can be viewed without riding first

The master list: Rides/shows/zoo attractions in the general order encountered on a clockwise tour:
E: Manta
C: Pets Ahoy
B: Dolphin Nursery
A: Turtle Point
D: Blue Horizons
C: Stingray Lagoon
D: Dolphin Cove
E: Journey to Atlantis
B: Jewel of the Sea Aquarium
E: Kraken: Coaster
D: Penguin Encounter
D: Pacific Point Preserve
E: Clyde and Seymour Take Pirate Island
C: Sky Tower
E: Shark Encounter
D: A’lure – The Call of the Ocean
B: Clydesdale Hamlet
E: Believe (Shamu)
B: Shamu’s Happy Harbor: Small rides/playground/water attractions
D: Shamu Express: Kid’s coaster
C: Jazzy Jellies: Spinning in the air
C: Swishy Fishies: spinning teacup ride
D: Sea Carousel
C: Flying Fiddler: A lift-and-drop ride for kids
D: Ocean Commotion: Gently swinging boat
E: Wild Arctic

Posted in: Travel Guide, Universal Studios/Sea World

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