If you’ve ever thought about visiting Sea World Orlando but weren’t sure exactly what it had to offer, you might just find yourself pleasantly surprised. This 200 acre theme park has a lot more than you may expect, from exhilarating rides to a variety of animal exhibitions. There’s a reason why it’s the 10th most visited theme park in the United States. In fact, Sea World has something for everyone in the family to flip over.
After living in Florida for over two years, my family and I finally got around to visiting Sea World Orlando. We’d wanted to check it out for awhile but with so many other things to do in Orlando, we kept putting it off. Now that we’ve spent a day in the park, I have no idea what took us so long. Sea World might get overshadowed by Disney and Universal, but it’s an amazing park in its own right. We were all pleasantly surprised by how much we enjoyed it.
Are you still trying to plan your first visit? If so, you’ll want to check out these five things you may not know about visiting Sea World Orlando
Join our NEW Facebook Community: Making Travel Easier. We promise to always tell you what we would tell our best friend -- what works for kids, what doesn’t and what you need to know before you go to have the Best. Family. Vacation. Ever. Our group of travel experts are ready to answer your travel questions!
1. The park is huge
I was surprised at the sheer size of the park. At 200 acres, it’s almost double the size of Disney’s Magic Kingdom and we were glad that we’d worn our comfy shoes. Even though Sea World Orlando is the #10 most visited park in the United States, it didn’t feel crowded because the park is so spread out. Plan to spend the entire day. We had about 4 1/2 hours and didn’t realize until it was too late that we didn’t set aside nearly enough time to experience everything.
TravelingMom Tip: If you have little ones, you’ll definitely want to bring the stroller along.
2. The rides are amazing
The rides at Sea World are top notch and if you’re a coaster fan, you’re going to love it! The Manta and the Mako were both terrifying and thrilling at the same time, definitely ranking among my favorite all time roller coasters.
My nine year old informed me that Mako is the tallest, fasted and longest roller coaster in Orlando and after riding it, I’m sure she’s right. Be prepared…you may feel yourself coming out of your seat at times, making it that much more
With Manta, you get the experience of flying because you’re face down for most of the ride. It’s unlike any coaster experience I’ve ever had and my 9 year old couldn’t wait to go on it again.
While my five year old couldn’t ride the big coasters, she absolutely loved Journey To Atlantis. It’s half coaster/half water ride and was one of the favorites of the day.
Ironically, the ride with the longest line, Antarctica: Empire Of The Penguin, was the one we would probably skip next time. The girls enjoyed it but my husband and I just didn’t think there was much to it. The best part was the penguin exhibit at the end so if you’re short on time, skip the ride and take a walk through the exhibit instead.
TravelingMom Tip: One of our favorite things to do when taking a vacation is to hire a photographer for family photos. This is a special gift and souvenir that we cherish. We use Flytographer to book a local photographer located in the area that we're traveling to. Use this link and you will get $25 off your photo session.
If you have little ones with you, Shamu’s Happy Harbor is a must-see. My girls had a blast in the play area, climbing through four stories of nets, tunnels and slides. Happy Harbor also features a fun carousel, kid-style roller coaster and other fun rides for the little ones.
3. One Ocean Orca Show
Since you can’t visit Sea World Orlando without seeing the Orcas (a.k.a. killer whales), we had to check out the show. I’d seen clips of it but it’s nothing like seeing it in person. It’s awe-inspiring when the first two killer whales jump out of the water to start the show. The show is entertaining and fun and if you’re sitting near the water, be prepared to get drenched.
Soon Sea World will be making big changes to their Orca exhibit. While the current orcas will be around for years to come, the park will no longer be breeding them. The orcas in the park now will be the last generation in captivity. In addition, the exhibit is changing to focus on more natural orca encounters, as opposed to theatrical shows. It’ll be a big change and one that I think people will be very happy with.
4. There’s so much more than just orcas
I was also surprised to learn that Sea World is so much more than orcas. With sharks, sea lions, penguins, dolphins and so much more, I can’t imagine any other place where you’d be able to experience more sea life in one day, short of jumping off a ship in the middle of the ocean. My girls loved the moving sidewalk that took us through the shark exhibit.
Unfortunately we ran out of time to see the dolphins or sea lions, so it looks like we’ll have to make another trip sometime soon!
5. It’s Educational in the Best (Fun) Way
I love when we can go someplace that’s fun and educational at the same time. Sea World accomplishes this with fun facts scattered throughout the park. The girls wanted to stop to read them all and even mommy and daddy learned a few things.
We had such a great visiting Sea World and discovering all that it has to offer! Have you been to Sea World? If so, did you make any fun discoveries?