Continuing our series on Orlando Theme Parks, today’s post is about Sea World. The park has branches in three states: San Diego (which we went for the first time in 2010) , San Antonio (which Lu Misura told about the water park here in this post) and Orlando, which we always visit.
The first time I went to Sea World was in 2004 and since then I have gone dozens of times and there is always something new. Even the dolphin show and Shamu’s, there’s always something new.
I come back every year and some years, even more than once to accompany family or friends that come to visit. So in this post, I’ll make a collection of several trips combined with the latest news, with many tips to make the most of your trip to the park.
Before You Go
To buy entrance to the park, you can use the Sea World website and save on the price of entrance compared to the park gate. But if you plan on visiting other parks, keep an eye out for possible combinations.
Ticket to a park (visit any park – SeaWorld Orlando, Aquatica Orlando, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay or Adventure Island Tampa Bay) – Visitors over 3 years old – Visitors over 3 years old US$99.99
Tickets for two parks (visit any two parks – SeaWorld Orlando, Aquatica Orlando, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay or Adventure Island Tampa Bay or the same park twice) – Visitors over 3 years US$109.99
Tickets for three parks (visit any three parks – SeaWorld Orlando, Aquatica Orlando, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay or Adventure Island Tampa Bay or the same park again) – Visitors over 3 years $119.99
Tickets for four parks (visit all parks- SeaWorld Orlando, Aquatica Orlando, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay and Adventure Island Tampa Bay or the same park again) – Visitors over 3 years $149.99 – Valid for unlimited visits and general parking for 14 consecutive days for any of Florida’s parks
See the places you would like to visit and the shows you want to attend. If you have enough time and have kept aside at least two days for the park, you can afford to go out without planning and visit whatever comes your way. If you have only one day, make a reservation for the attractions you would like to visit, the shows you want to attend and the animals you want to see.
During the holidays, Halloween and Christmas, the park is decorated to celebrate and has besides details on decoration, shows and special attractions.
Food & Drinks
Decide if you will include an All Day Dining Deal. Lately we’ve always bought the food plan, because if we go to spend the whole day in the park, we end up spending much more than that if we decide to buy everything separately. The plan is unlimited, that is, you can eat as many times as you want in different restaurants during the day and every time you get in line you can get 1 main course, 1 side dish or a dessert and 1 machine soda or 1 iced tea or 1 small bottle of water.
Attention: It is not allowed to share food or take food outside the park. If you arrive early, take the opportunity to have breakfast there as well. The food is very varied and they have 6 restaurants participating in the plan: Seaport Pizza, Captain’s Pete’s, The Spice Mill, Seafire Inn, Mango Joe’s, Voyager’s and Expedition Cafe.
The children’s plan includes only the kids meal.
The meal plan costs Adults: $34.99 (plus tax) and Children (ages 3-9): $19.99 (plus tax). At the time of purchase, you receive a bracelet to put on your arm. This plan does not include the Shark Underwater Grill restaurant or the special Dine with Shamu.
Remember to bring a change of clothes or if it is hot, dress with clothes that dry fast. For the kids, there is a water ride in the Shamu area that is very nice that requires pool clothes.
Special Tip – If you have an iPhone, download the Sea World App. The App works without WiFi or 3G, but if you have 3G enabled you can see the map and find the attractions and restrooms and see what’s near you, the queue time, when the next show will be and much more.
Upon Reaching Sea World
If you haven’t downloaded the App, look for the map and the timetable table. By the way, having the map at hand is always good, since batteries run out.
Take a few minutes to plan your itinerary, arrange meeting place and time if someone in the group gets lost. Plan your day according to the schedule of the shows and combine it with the activities you have near this show. Leave the activities that do not have specific times between shows to do.
Important hint: The shows are usually very crowded (mainly Shamu and Blue Horizons) and have a specific capacity. When a show is full, access to the stadium or theater is forbidden. Arrive at the venue at least 30 minutes in advance, especially if it is a holiday season, the end of the year or during high season. You won’t be bored, believe me! All shows have extra entertainment before the show starts.
If you haven’t purchased the Food Plan online, it can be purchased at both Guest Services at the entrance and participating restaurants.
So what are the must-see attractions? It’s hard to answer because almost everything is unmissable, but I would say: It depends. On age, goals and personal taste. I’ll make a more detailed post with the attractions but here are some of my favorites.
Sea World Shows
The Sea World Orlando shows are: One Ocean Shamu, Blue Horizons, A’Lure The Call of the Ocean, Clyde and Seamore (comedy/theater show with sea lions), Elmo and Abby’s Treasure Hunt (great for younger kids) and Pets ahoy.
Here more details about two favourites:
Shamu – The world’s most famous whale is the main attraction of One Ocean. The show is beautiful, and mixes a story told with songs and whales doing acrobatics. One of the most fun places is to sit in the “soak zone”, where Shamu spends wetting the audience at the end of the show. Depending on the time of year, there are shows at night that are also not to be missed.
Blue Horizons – It’s a show that mixes theatre with dolphins, tropical birds and acrobats. It’s beautiful, very crowded and everyone loves it.
The park has several sensational rides and roller coasters. Highlights include the newly opened Turtle Trek 3D 360, Jorney to Atlantis and Manta. In addition, for the younger kids there’s Shamu’s Happy Harbor which is behind Shamu’s stadium and is great for when the heat is very intense, Sea Carousel, Shamu Express which is a roller coaster for the younger kids. Water works is a water park.
Manta – this roller coaster, in the shape of a stingray is one of the best I’ve ever been. The little feet hang! And even my mum is a super fan and wanted to go more than once. (Warning, the roller coaster is pretty radical, my mum really likes roller coasters!)
Journey to Atlantis – It’s one of my oldest favorite attractions in the park. It ends with a caidinha and a big splash.
Inside the attraction, there are several aquariums and it is great to distract the smaller children while the other adults enjoy the attraction.
Sea World has a huge variety of marine animals. You can see dolphins, sea turtles, rays, penguins, belugas, polar bear, ox fish, sea lion, flamingos and of course the Orca Whale, symbol of the park. Some of the highlights:
Dolphins at Dolphin Cove – Here you can interact with dolphins and also see the dolphins in a large tank. Look in the time table of the park, when it is possible to feed them. For that you need to buy a little fish tray. It usually happens very early in the morning.
Shark Encounter – There are several tanks outside and inside the attraction, a walkway in a glass tunnel that is a giant aquarium with many different shark species.
Wild Artic – In this attraction you have the option of going through a simulator that takes you on a helicopter expedition or you can go straight to see the animals. Belugas, Walrus and Polar Bears are some of the animals here.
At Sea World there is the possibility to interact with the animals, behind-the-scenes programs (paid for separately) and several other options to make the visit even more memorable.
Sea World Information
Address: 7007 SeaWorld Drive Orlando, Fl
Prices: For one day prices subject to change: $79.99 for visitors aged 03 and over. Children under 3 enter free. Please note: If you buy Sea World tickets online, you get special discounts on each ticket!
Parking: $20.00 for regular car. $35.00 for preferred parking space.