Think you’ve seen it all at SeaWorld Orlando? Think again! Here are 12 VIP tips for SeaWorld Orlando from interacting with amazing animals to fun family memories and more. All parents and families should know these VIP moments before they go to experience a more seamless and fun day at the popular Florida theme park.
SeaWorld Orlando is home to exciting rides, tours, restaurants, as well as its infamous animal exhibits, shows, and interactive programs. Try petting a real live penguin or sample some of the best places to eat with these 12 VIP tips for SealWorld Orlando to experience the park like an insider. Let’s dive in!
VIP Tips for SeaWorld Orlando
1. Go to the front of the line! I love theme parks, but hate waiting in line, especially with children in tow and on hot Florida days. Fortunately, you can even skip the line with Quick Queue Unlimited wrist band passes starting at $19 for an unlimited pass, ages 3 and up. Pricing may vary by season though, so check specific date for actual price. You can book this VIP add-on in advance or once you arrive at the park.
2. Cool off on the family ride Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin. Young kids will love this gliding ride, which offers a “mild” or “wild” version of this trackless, motion-based simulator experience. It’s like riding on top of a Roomba vacuum cleaner with fun swirl-like movements emulating sliding on the ice. Even the “wild” version was tame and fine for young kids. At the end of the ride, penguin exhibits allow you to observe six different species and over 280 real penguins! Or kick back on the non-riders option line, cool off, and watch the penguins. Opt for the non-rider version later in the day to enjoy the Arctic temperatures and the view. Observe the penguins’ antics any time on their live Penguin Cam (be careful, it’s addicting!).
3. Pet a Penguin! You read that correctly. You can go behind-the-scenes of the busy park with special VIP tours. Out of respect for the animals, only a few people are allowed each day, so be sure and book in advance. The Penguins-Up-Close tour is an approximately 45-minute walking tour focused on penguins. While learning about these unique birds, families can head to their frozen land, actually pet and interact with them. Be careful where you step as much to the delivery of the kids won the tour, the penguins project their poop. Seasonal pricing starts at $59 ages 10 and up, $39 ages 3-9 plus tax. Other options include a Dolphin Tour and a Behind the Scenes tour that includes experiences with penguins as well as sharks and other animals.
4. Ride the record-breaking Mako coaster. Not just animals at this theme park, but rides too, including five coasters! Rollercoaster fans especially have a new reason to visit SeaWorld: Orlando’s tallest, fastest and longest roller coaster Mako! At 200 feet tall and speeds up to 73 miles per hour, it’s a thrilling ride, but better yet, it’s smooth and won’t make parents cringe either. Check out my POV video experience on the record breaking coaster and more information about this hot new attraction. (Psst there are 45 sharks hidden in the ride’s design from the rocks to the actual structure, happy hunting!)
5. Stop and visit the animals – go through the gift shop! Most rides end with an aquarium or animal exhibit, proving another great place to cool off, relax, and let kids run around and take in the wonder. Prefer to see the aquariums first? Often you can enter through the gift shop. We did this work around for the Wild Arctic Ride and the no-wait reward? Seeing Beluga whales.
6. Check out the solar powered Coca-Cola vending machines throughout the park and enjoy ice cold refreshment powered by the sun. While sipping, talk to your children about the power of solar, reducing your carbon footprint. and conservation.
7. Visit the Manatee Rehabilitation Area near TurtleTrek. A new opportunity for all SeaWorld guests is witnessing the vital rescue work SeaWorld does for wildlife. Behind-the-scenes of the theme park is SeaWorld’s bustling, 5-acre Rescue Center used for rehabilitating ill, injured or orphaned wildlife – including manatees, sea turtles, birds, and other marine animals. While a guided tour of the entire facility has been available for years, the park recently opened up one portion of this area for complimentary viewing to all park guests. Here you can see Florida’s sea cows, which SeaWorld rescues, heals and releases once ready to re-enter the wild.
Here is my LIVE Periscope look at this off-the-beaten path hidden gem at the park. Check out the medical charts to learn more about manatees in their care too.
8. Take kids to Shamu’s Happy Harbor! We were delighted to discover this large play area Behind Shamu Stadium. Our toddler boys could easily spend the entire day in this area alone, thanks to the multi-level playgrounds, child rides and splash pad.
9. Eat at Expedition Cafe & Grab a Shamu Ice Cream Bar for a quick bite with the most variety in the park. Located in Antarctica, this fast-food restaurant serves Asian, American and Italian eats, complimented by indoor and outdoor eating areas.
When checking out, request a paper penguin hat crown for kids or simply look for them near the cashier to entertain kiddos while you eat. Also, find park’s most popular dessert: the Shamu Ice Cream Bar of chocolate-dipped, vanilla ice cream on a stick (also found on Carts throughout the park).
Join our Private FB Group for more travel inspiration and tips! JOIN HERE
10. Sharks Underwater Grill – Enjoy fine dining and a fascinating view in an upscale, full-service restaurant. You’ll taste world-class entrees while entranced by the window into the world of sharks before your eyes. Priority seating can be arranged online or by visiting the host stand at the restaurant.
11. Dine with Shamu is one of Orlando’s most memorable family dining experiences. At a reserved poolside table, get closer than ever to SeaWorld’s majestic whales while enjoying a delicious menu of seasonal and sustainable items. Glimpse into the interactions occurring between SeaWorld’s trainers and whales. Discover what makes killer whales such unique animals. This behind-the-scenes experience is only available here.
12. Pass Member Lounge – Presented by Coca-Cola, SeaWorld created a special spot for pass members to recharge, refresh and enhance each and every trip to SeaWorld Orlando. All SeaWorld pass members have access to the Pass Member Lounge presented by Coca-Cola. Stop by Terrace BBQ or see the park map to discover the Pass Member Lounge.
More VIP Tips
Want to walk right over to SeaWorld? Check out my review of DoubleTree Hilton Orlando.
Heading to Walt Disney World? Check out these SECRETS OF DISNEY’S ANIMAL KINGDOM!