Here’s a little secret: While SeaWorld may be listed right alongside the other theme parks when it comes to things to do in Orlando, SeaWorld itself is no Walt Disney World®. But wait — that can be a good thing! Not only is it generally less crowded, it also features a unique hands-on approach for children, particularly when it comes to introducing them to the beauty of our planet’s oceans.
So if your family’s interests go beyond thrill rides (although SeaWorld does have several), then this is the park for you! Use these tips to make the most of your day:
1) Plan to be hot, cold, wet, dry and everything in-between.
A little preparation can go a long way! Of course, that’s true for almost any day in Orlando, but SeaWorld in particular curates such a wide variety of environments for its animals that you’ll want to be ready. From the chill of the Wild Arctic and Empire of the Penguin buildings, to the soaking-wet Journey to Atlantis and coming-soon Infinity Falls rides, we recommend dressing in clothes that will dry quickly and bringing along jackets to add during the indoor exhibits.
Pro Tip: Stand next to Journey to Atlantis for a splash or two to cool off before a show or on your way to stand in line for a coaster.
2) Ride the roller coasters first (and last).
As with the other theme parks, your best chance to ride the coasters with minimal wait is right when the park opens or just before it closes. Most guests walk the park starting with the nearest attractions, and because SeaWorld has a maze layout (compared to the more circular design of Walt Disney World®), you can get a jump on the crowds by going in reverse (back to front.)
Pro Tip: If you’ll be staying all day, we recommend riding Mako or Kraken Unleashed first, and Manta last-thing before you leave. Check out this map view.
3) Don’t miss Clyde and Seamore’s Sea Lion High!
One thing we repeatedly hear from both visitors and locals? How much they enjoy the Clyde and Seamore Show! Although the specific storyline has changed several times over the years, kids of all ages always seem to find the combination of slapstick humor and sincere heart an unbeatable combination. Watch as intelligent sea lions, mischievous otters and massive walruses go “back to school” with courses in dance, gym and more sure to put a smile on your face.
4) Talk to the trainers and handlers.
Before and after shows, SeaWorld staff will often stand near tanks or along the walkway with small animals to greet visitors and answer guest questions. Go ahead and pose for a photo or strike up a conversation — you might just learn something new!
Pro Tip: Bring along a few quarters to use at the ray, sea lion and dolphin feeding stations near the animal habitats for an even more interactive experience.
5) Do Turtle Trek while everyone else is at the Blue Horizon Dolphin Show.
Because Turtle Trek is located right beside the exit of the Horizon Theater, its wait time increases significantly when the Dolphin Show lets out. Although it’s worth the wait, you can maximize your time at this combination 3-D show and live tank experience by fitting it in while others in the area are occupied.
Pro Tip: Show times throughout the park change seasonally along with park hours so be sure to consult your map when entering the park for confirmation.
6) Book a special tour.
At only a nominal additional cost on top of the park entry fee, the Behind-the-Scenes Tour is another one of the most talked about experiences SeaWorld has to offer. Visit various backlots on a 90-minute excursion led by an expert guide. Who knows — you may see a manatee feeding, rescued bird rehabilitation, or any number of other special activities most of the general public only hear about. (As a bonus, 10% of tour ticket sales go to support conservation projects around the world.)
7) Dine at Sharks Underwater Grill.
If you’re going to enjoy a sit-down meal at the park, we recommend Sharks Underwater Grill. With delicious food served in full view of a huge wall-tank of live sharks, this place gets high marks for taste, service and atmosphere!
Pro Tip: Make reservations in advance online and consider dining in-between the most popular meal times.
8) Avoid the parking fee, stay with us!
Stress less and save more when you stay with Encore Resort at Reunion. Our complimentary shuttle departs and returns to SeaWorld on schedule every day, so there’s no need to waste money on parking fees or spending precious time and energy riding the golf cart tram around the SeaWorld lot. View current shuttle times.
If SeaWorld had an unofficial motto, it could be “Who needs costumed characters when there’s an entire ocean of playful and fascinating creatures waiting to be discovered?” So if you (or your little explorers) daydream of dolphins, whales and sharks, and can’t wait to meet sea lions, manta rays, colorful fish and more up close, SeaWorld Orlando® Resort will not disappoint!