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One-Day Trip Questions

Jones14

Rookie
Jan 5, 2017
364
Hi, all!

We’ll be going to SeaWorld this summer for what is essentially our first time, and I’ve been struggling to find good info on what is worth our time and how we should manage it, so I figured I’d post some questions and see if anybody has some insight.

If we picked just one or two shows to see, what should they be?

In terms of ride efficiency, should we head clockwise or counterclockwise, and is there anything we should hit first (or last)?

Are there any rides or shows that we should avoid?

What’s the best animal encounter?
 
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MakoMania

Rookie
May 8, 2017
465
Hi, all!

We’ll be going to SeaWorld this summer for what is essentially our first time, and I’ve been struggling to find good info on what is worth our time and how we should manage it, so I figured I’d post some questions and see if anybody has some insight.

If we picked just one or two shows to see, what should they be?

In terms of ride efficiency, should we head clockwise or counterclockwise, and is there anything we should hit first (or last)?

Are there any rides or shows that we should avoid?

What’s the best animal encounter?
Definitely watch one of the Killer Whale shows. If you are visiting during Electric Ocean you can also see Shamu's Celebration Light Up the Night as well as the widely praised Ignite fireworks. I highly suggest watching both. Dolphin Days is also well worth your time (if you like Dolphins!)

In terms of ride order, SeaWorld is generally less crazy than other parks in terms of ride lines, but the water rides can get quite busy on hot days. Antarctica also tends to build up a queue. It's worth remembering that the back of the park (Infinity Falls, Mako etc) normally opens an hour after the front of the park.

Giving advice on ride order is always difficult as it depends on the day, but I always try to get there before park opening and stick to this order: Manta, Journey to Atlantis, Kraken, Antarctica, Mako, Infinity Falls. Ignore this if you get there a bit after park opening though, as the line for Manta can often build quickly at the start of the day. Be sure to check out the new Sesame Street area whilst you're at the park!

In terms of rides to avoid; Wild Arctic simulator (not to be confused with Antarctica). The Wild Arctic animal exhibits are much better and you can experience these without riding the simulator.

By animal encounter, I'm not sure if you mean animal exhibit or extra-charge interactions.

My favorite exhibits are Dolphin Cove, Antarctica, Shark Encounter and Wild Arctic. You should check out as many exhibits as possible during your day though!

Extra-charge animal interactions are great if you have the time & money. The Killer Whale tour is very expensive but equally amazing, the Dolphin interaction (whilst shorter) is also great and much more affordable.
 
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Jones14

Rookie
Jan 5, 2017
364
Definitely watch one of the Killer Whale shows. If you are visiting during Electric Ocean you can also see Shamu's Celebration Light Up the Night as well as the widely praised Ignite fireworks. I highly suggest watching both. Dolphin Days is also well worth your time (if you like Dolphins!)

In terms of ride order, SeaWorld is generally less crazy than other parks in terms of ride lines, but the water rides can get quite busy on hot days. Antarctica also tends to build up a queue. It's worth remembering that the back of the park (Infinity Falls, Mako etc) normally opens an hour after the front of the park.

Giving advice on ride order is always difficult as it depends on the day, but I always try to get there before park opening and stick to this order: Manta, Journey to Atlantis, Kraken, Antarctica, Mako, Infinity Falls. Ignore this if you get there a bit after park opening though, as the line for Manta can often build quickly at the start of the day. Be sure to check out the new Sesame Street area whilst you're at the park!

In terms of rides to avoid; Wild Arctic simulator (not to be confused with Antarctica). The Wild Arctic animal exhibits are much better and you can experience these without riding the simulator.

By animal encounter, I'm not sure if you mean animal exhibit or extra-charge interactions.

My favorite exhibits are Dolphin Cove, Antarctica, Shark Encounter and Wild Arctic. You should check out as many exhibits as possible during your day though!

Extra-charge animal interactions are great if you have the time & money. The Killer Whale tour is very expensive but equally amazing, the Dolphin interaction (whilst shorter) is also great and much more affordable.
Thank you so much! This is really helpful.

We’re gonna do an afternoon/evening, so Ignite and the nighttime Shamu show sounds great.

Goliath at Six Flags Over Georgia may be my favorite coaster ever, so I’m super pumped for Mako, and my boyfriend swears by Manta from the singular time he’s ridden it.

We were thinking of the exhibits, but I’ll look into the dolphin interaction!
 
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cwgator

Member
May 8, 2010
660
Gainesville, FL
If we picked just one or two shows to see, what should they be?
Since you're going during the summer, they have different night time shows during the Electric Ocean event. These night time shows are better than their regular daytime (year-round) counterparts so I definitely recommend them. The best of these shows are Sea Lions Tonight, Shamu's Celebration: Light Up The Night, and Ignite (pyrotechnic/fireworks finale that is superb). If you just stuck to the night time shows, then you could focus on the rides, exhibits and any animal encounters you wished to do during the day.

In terms of ride efficiency, should we head clockwise or counterclockwise, and is there anything we should hit first (or last)?
If you arrive at park opening, you'll have to go left. The park does staggered openings in which the right side of the park opens an hour later (so if the park opens at 9, the whole right side opens at 10). It's good to arrive at the park 30 minutes before it opens if you're able to as that's when the parking lot opens. It would give you time to park and walk to the gates with some time to spare if necessary. There are bathrooms available if needed also.

Once the park opens, I would suggest doing Manta first*, then head straight to Antarctica to ride Empire Of The Penguin. That ride will have one of the longest lines all day (at least until Electric Ocean kicks off later in the evening). I would then do Journey To Atlantis (as it's line can get long as well). Kraken is right beside there, but the lines generally aren't too bad for it (though it has been closed the last 2 days for maintenance...no word on when it's reopening). I would then head to Infinity Falls if you're wanting that as it's line usually is the longest when it's working. You can hold off on Mako until after the others since it's a people eater. *Alternately, you could start with Empire Of The Penguin, then Journey To Atlantis, Infinity Falls and then head back and do the big 3 (Mako, Kraken, Manta). Of those 3 however, Manta gets longer wait times simply due to it's loading design, but hasn't been too bad lately.

If you are not wanting to crisscross or back track too much (understandably since it's likely to be hot), the just start to the left with Manta and work your way around clockwise. There are many exhibits and aquariums to view along the way, especially the Dolphin Nursery, Manta Aquarium, Stingray Lagoon, Dolphin Cove, Turtle Trek (Sea Turtles & Manatees), Alligators, Sea Lions & Seals, and so on. You would come across Journey To Atlantis, Kraken & Empire Of The Penguin in that order (and that's just the left side of the park).

You didn't mention if you had children coming with you. Even if you don't, it's a must to head through Sesame Street. There is a lot to see if you're just looking. Of course if you have children, they'll love the rides too. There are character meet & greets with Elmo & Friends (usually Cookie Monster but have seen Abby and some others with Elmo inside that area), a parade that goes on 2 or 3 times a day, splash pad and various other activities. Some of the characters also walk around the land periodically and will pose for photos.

If you really like Goliath at SFOG (as I see in another post above), you're going to love Mako. I find Mako better in terms of airtime. Mako is currently my favorite coaster in FL. Manta is also MUCH BETTER than Superman: UF.

Are there any rides or shows that we should avoid?
Wild Arctic is really the only ride not worth a wait for. It's old and soon to be replaced. There is a no ride line however so you can see the belugas and walruses in their exhibits, so don't miss that.
As mentioned above, the shows are better at night. I do like the recently revamped Sea Lion High: The New Class. However Sea Lions Tonight is still much better. If I were to choose between them it would be Sea Lion High. The same goes for One Ocean (orca show). The night time show is much better and more high energy (Shamu's Celebration Light Up The Night). I do like Dolphin Days, but if you're pressed for time, you could skip it. Pet's Ahoy is great too, but it can be skipped if time doesn't allow.

What’s the best animal encounter?
If you're looking to do a paid encounter, the best would be Killer Whales Up Close. It's a little pricey but worth it from those I know who've done it, and pictures I've seen. If you want one that's not as pricey, then Dine With Orcas is a good one. You get a buffet style meal with a more intimate show with the orcas (& pilot whales). As far as the free exhibits, Dolphin Nursery, Manta Aquarium. Dolphin Cove (especially the underwater viewing), Penguins (part of Empire of the Penguin but does have a non-rider line for the exhibit only) & Shark Encounter are must do's. A tip about both dolphin areas (Nursery & Underwater viewing): Dolphins react to various objects like fidget spinners, keys, slinkys, even stuffed animals. You can put them right up to the glass and move around and they'll follow you and interact. We did that last time.


{EDIT} I see you may be arriving in the afternoon? I would still follow the clockwise pattern I mentioned above (to the left). Just do the rides as you come to them. If pressed for time, you could actually just skip the Empire Of The Penguin ride, and do the non rider line to see the Penguin exhibit. It's nice and cold in there and definitely worth a look to see them. I'll go ahead and still say skip Dolphin Days, Pets Ahoy, One Ocean and Sea Lion High and do Sea Lions Tonight, Light UP The Night and Ignite. Still check out Sesame Street though, it's not out of the way.
 
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Jones14

Rookie
Jan 5, 2017
364
Since you're going during the summer, they have different night time shows during the Electric Ocean event. These night time shows are better than their regular daytime (year-round) counterparts so I definitely recommend them. The best of these shows are Sea Lions Tonight, Shamu's Celebration: Light Up The Night, and Ignite (pyrotechnic/fireworks finale that is superb). If you just stuck to the night time shows, then you could focus on the rides, exhibits and any animal encounters you wished to do during the day.


If you arrive at park opening, you'll have to go left. The park does staggered openings in which the right side of the park opens an hour later (so if the park opens at 9, the whole right side opens at 10). It's good to arrive at the park 30 minutes before it opens if you're able to as that's when the parking lot opens. It would give you time to park and walk to the gates with some time to spare if necessary. There are bathrooms available if needed also.

Once the park opens, I would suggest doing Manta first*, then head straight to Antarctica to ride Empire Of The Penguin. That ride will have one of the longest lines all day (at least until Electric Ocean kicks off later in the evening). I would then do Journey To Atlantis (as it's line can get long as well). Kraken is right beside there, but the lines generally aren't too bad for it (though it has been closed the last 2 days for maintenance...no word on when it's reopening). I would then head to Infinity Falls if you're wanting that as it's line usually is the longest when it's working. You can hold off on Mako until after the others since it's a people eater. *Alternately, you could start with Empire Of The Penguin, then Journey To Atlantis, Infinity Falls and then head back and do the big 3 (Mako, Kraken, Manta). Of those 3 however, Manta gets longer wait times simply due to it's loading design, but hasn't been too bad lately.

If you are not wanting to crisscross or back track too much (understandably since it's likely to be hot), the just start to the left with Manta and work your way around clockwise. There are many exhibits and aquariums to view along the way, especially the Dolphin Nursery, Manta Aquarium, Stingray Lagoon, Dolphin Cove, Turtle Trek (Sea Turtles & Manatees), Alligators, Sea Lions & Seals, and so on. You would come across Journey To Atlantis, Kraken & Empire Of The Penguin in that order (and that's just the left side of the park).

You didn't mention if you had children coming with you. Even if you don't, it's a must to head through Sesame Street. There is a lot to see if you're just looking. Of course if you have children, they'll love the rides too. There are character meet & greets with Elmo & Friends (usually Cookie Monster but have seen Abby and some others with Elmo inside that area), a parade that goes on 2 or 3 times a day, splash pad and various other activities. Some of the characters also walk around the land periodically and will pose for photos.

If you really like Goliath at SFOG (as I see in another post above), you're going to love Mako. I find Mako better in terms of airtime. Mako is currently my favorite coaster in FL. Manta is also MUCH BETTER than Superman: UF.


Wild Arctic is really the only ride not worth a wait for. It's old and soon to be replaced. There is a no ride line however so you can see the belugas and walruses in their exhibits, so don't miss that.
As mentioned above, the shows are better at night. I do like the recently revamped Sea Lion High: The New Class. However Sea Lions Tonight is still much better. If I were to choose between them it would be Sea Lion High. The same goes for One Ocean (orca show). The night time show is much better and more high energy (Shamu's Celebration Light Up The Night). I do like Dolphin Days, but if you're pressed for time, you could skip it. Pet's Ahoy is great too, but it can be skipped if time doesn't allow.


If you're looking to do a paid encounter, the best would be Killer Whales Up Close. It's a little pricey but worth it from those I know who've done it, and pictures I've seen. If you want one that's not as pricey, then Dine With Orcas is a good one. You get a buffet style meal with a more intimate show with the orcas (& pilot whales). As far as the free exhibits, Dolphin Nursery, Manta Aquarium. Dolphin Cove (especially the underwater viewing), Penguins (part of Empire of the Penguin but does have a non-rider line for the exhibit only) & Shark Encounter are must do's. A tip about both dolphin areas (Nursery & Underwater viewing): Dolphins react to various objects like fidget spinners, keys, slinkys, even stuffed animals. You can put them right up to the glass and move around and they'll follow you and interact. We did that last time.


{EDIT} I see you may be arriving in the afternoon? I would still follow the clockwise pattern I mentioned above (to the left). Just do the rides as you come to them. If pressed for time, you could actually just skip the Empire Of The Penguin ride, and do the non rider line to see the Penguin exhibit. It's nice and cold in there and definitely worth a look to see them. I'll go ahead and still say skip Dolphin Days, Pets Ahoy, One Ocean and Sea Lion High and do Sea Lions Tonight, Light UP The Night and Ignite. Still check out Sesame Street though, it's not out of the way.
Thank you!

Yeah, we’ve pretty much settled on an afternoon. We don’t usually spend more than 8 hours in a park, and with the phased opening and everyone pretty much in agreement about the night shows being superior, we figured the last 8 would be better than the first 8.

On kids, it’ll just be us two adults, so we’ll stroll through Sesame Street and that’ll be that.

We’ve both been on the Antarctica ride and hated it (it’s one of two things we did the one time we’ve been), so it’s good to hear it will save us some time to skip it.

I thought of a couple questions in addition (maybe @MakoMania can help here too):

Is Infinity Falls a Popeyes level soak, or is it more of a Splash Mountain? Ditto for Journey to Atlantis?

As far as the rides go, am I correct in saying that lockers are paid, but that there’s an option to have a locker that follows you from ride to ride?

Is showing up to shows twenty minutes before start too early, too late, or right on time?

Thank you both for all of your help thus far; I REALLY appreciate it.
 

Joe

aka TestTrack321
Staff member
Moderator
Feb 15, 2012
13,359
Pittsburgh, PA
As far as the rides go, am I correct in saying that lockers are paid, but that there’s an option to have a locker that follows you from ride to ride?
Yup! It's really convenient and cool when I used it in Feb.

Also make sure to check out the bar at Sharks, it's super rad.
 
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cwgator

Member
May 8, 2010
660
Gainesville, FL
Thank you!

Is Infinity Falls a Popeyes level soak, or is it more of a Splash Mountain? Ditto for Journey to Atlantis?
Infinity Falls generally will soak you. However it can be hit or miss depending on the direction the raft is facing. I just got wet on my back and feet when I rode it last, but the people across from me were completely drenched...so it can be random.
For Journey To Atlantis, you're guaranteed to get wet in the front row. When I ride in the back I rarely get more than a sprinkle.

As far as the rides go, am I correct in saying that lockers are paid, but that there’s an option to have a locker that follows you from ride to ride?
They have the movable locker option at the ride lockers ($6 last time I was there).

Is showing up to shows twenty minutes before start too early, too late, or right on time?
You may want to show up even earlier if you're able to for the evening shows since there is only one showing, especially if it's a weekend or holiday. 20 minutes is generally enough time just to get a seat, but if you want closer up, I would get there earlier. If you were wanting refreshments for the show, you could always find your seat early and one of you could go get something while the other saves the seats. Shamu Stadium opens 45 min before showtime and the others usually 30 min before. Bayside Stadium will already be open from the Sea Glow Dance Party well before Ignite. You can actually watch that from the other side of Bayside Stadium where they have some food and beverage booths open if you can't get a seat there (the upper level is closed due to the obstructed views for the fireworks).
 

Bulldog45

Rookie
Jun 20, 2010
495
South Florida
Heading to SeaWorld on Saturday which will be our first trip to Orlando since COVID. Does anybody have any idea how busy the park has been? This will be the first time we bring our 2 year old son to a theme park so trying to get an idea of what to expect crowd wise...
 

JoeCamel

Premium Member
May 20, 2015
5,877
Upper Lower
Heading to SeaWorld on Saturday which will be our first trip to Orlando since COVID. Does anybody have any idea how busy the park has been? This will be the first time we bring our 2 year old son to a theme park so trying to get an idea of what to expect crowd wise...
Enjoy the 7SFF, looks like crowds will be busy but not slammed. No first hand knowledge but it is what I can find with a quick search
 
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Frank Drackman

Premium Member
Dec 20, 2012
2,443
Mouse Mountain
Heading to SeaWorld on Saturday which will be our first trip to Orlando since COVID. Does anybody have any idea how busy the park has been? This will be the first time we bring our 2 year old son to a theme park so trying to get an idea of what to expect crowd wise...
I believe we are past the bigger parts of Spring Break.

We have gone to Sea World a couple of times. There is a lot of open space at the park so it has been the one park were we tend to feel the most comfortable. If you can't get there early, be patient getting through temp check (sea world is different in that they seem to do a thermal scan as you walk by as opposed to a forehead check), security, and the gate -- once in the parks, again, there are space, some areas might get real crowded -- we have not done any of the shows yet, we did try for one but it was full and we left, (when I say full, I mean the new full, areas blocked off, rows skipped)

There will be music and the seven seas fest is going on on SAT so it could be a decent day .
 

shiekra38

Legendary Member
Dec 13, 2009
12,726
Florida
I believe we are past the bigger parts of Spring Break.

We have gone to Sea World a couple of times. There is a lot of open space at the park so it has been the one park were we tend to feel the most comfortable. If you can't get there early, be patient getting through temp check (sea world is different in that they seem to do a thermal scan as you walk by as opposed to a forehead check), security, and the gate -- once in the parks, again, there are space, some areas might get real crowded -- we have not done any of the shows yet, we did try for one but it was full and we left, (when I say full, I mean the new full, areas blocked off, rows skipped)

There will be music and the seven seas fest is going on on SAT so it could be a decent day .
Yes, these are wise words, it has taken me an hour to get through temps and the front gate...After that it has been fine
 

Bulldog45

Rookie
Jun 20, 2010
495
South Florida
I believe we are past the bigger parts of Spring Break.

We have gone to Sea World a couple of times. There is a lot of open space at the park so it has been the one park were we tend to feel the most comfortable. If you can't get there early, be patient getting through temp check (sea world is different in that they seem to do a thermal scan as you walk by as opposed to a forehead check), security, and the gate -- once in the parks, again, there are space, some areas might get real crowded -- we have not done any of the shows yet, we did try for one but it was full and we left, (when I say full, I mean the new full, areas blocked off, rows skipped)

There will be music and the seven seas fest is going on on SAT so it could be a decent day .
Is it worth paying for the reserved seating for the shows? I think it is $14.99 per person...
 

Frank Drackman

Premium Member
Dec 20, 2012
2,443
Mouse Mountain
Is it worth paying for the reserved seating for the shows? I think it is $14.99 per person...

Honestly, we have not gotten around to any shows -- we were there one time a few weeks back, we saw the theatre was seating -- we did not look that hard for a seat. Personally I would not get reserved (but I do not know what it gets you). I think if you follow the show times, base how early you go to a show on the crowd level.

I would rather use the funds to feed the rays.

BUT we live here and are passholders so we have this year to see what we missed (and after three visits, we have not seen one show) -- but that is us.
 
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kingcooger

Veteran Member
Feb 7, 2014
1,106
Is it worth paying for the reserved seating for the shows? I think it is $14.99 per person...
If your goal is to see all the shows without hassle, reserved seating is worthwhile. The park is decently sized, there are a lot of shows, and I have found the times to be inconvenient on some occasions.

Since you are traveling with a little one, I am assuming shows are a priority as most of the rides are probably not options
 
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Bulldog45

Rookie
Jun 20, 2010
495
South Florida
Went to SeaWorld today with my wife and 2 year old son and here is a brief recap:

1. I don’t know what limits on capacity they have in place but the park was absolutely packed today. People everywhere and lines for everything.

2. The temperature check consisted of everyone just walking through a tent so not sure how they actually checked peoples temperature.

3. The only show we were able to see was Dolphin Days at 10:45 this morning. The theater was full about 20 minutes before it began and they have every other row blocked off. This was probably the strictest area with regards to masks.

4. The park was supposed to be open till 10 pm but closed early at 8 pm instead. There was a nasty thunderstorm that came through around 5 pm which closed all the food stations for the Seven Seas Seafood Festival and the coasters so I’m guessing that attributed to it. However, there was a HUGE line at guest services when we were leaving so I’m guessing there were a lot of upset customers.

5. The park is severely understaffed and that was confirmed by an employee working in Sesame Street. She said they have to close certain areas down in order to staff other places, mainly the restaurants.

PS: we went to Disney Springs Friday night and it was an absolute mad house.
 

Frank Drackman

Premium Member
Dec 20, 2012
2,443
Mouse Mountain
Went to SeaWorld today with my wife and 2 year old son and here is a brief recap:

1. I don’t know what limits on capacity they have in place but the park was absolutely packed today. People everywhere and lines for everything.

2. The temperature check consisted of everyone just walking through a tent so not sure how they actually checked peoples temperature.

3. The only show we were able to see was Dolphin Days at 10:45 this morning. The theater was full about 20 minutes before it began and they have every other row blocked off. This was probably the strictest area with regards to masks.

4. The park was supposed to be open till 10 pm but closed early at 8 pm instead. There was a nasty thunderstorm that came through around 5 pm which closed all the food stations for the Seven Seas Seafood Festival and the coasters so I’m guessing that attributed to it. However, there was a HUGE line at guest services when we were leaving so I’m guessing there were a lot of upset customers.

5. The park is severely understaffed and that was confirmed by an employee working in Sesame Street. She said they have to close certain areas down in order to staff other places, mainly the restaurants.

PS: we went to Disney Springs Friday night and it was an absolute mad house.
sorry to hear! I do hope the two year old got to spend some time in the Sesame Street area!

The weather is one of those things, I assume those winds are rare, but I understand the closing of temp booths (though it sounds like the park stayed open for I would think the same concerns of guest out in the open)

I hear the weather will be worse today, but the weather is always a roll of the dice.

I do believe all the parks feel more busy as capacity of the parks themselves have shifted (shows w/ half the seats used) queues w/ sections blocked....distancing.

I imagine it is only going to get crazier as more and more folks feel central FL is open.