I have a lot of travel clients approach me about doing all of the central Florida/Orlando area attractions in their one week of vacation. I don’t recommend trying to fit in everything, but under certain circumstances you may want to take a day away from the Disney Parks to experience one of the other Orlando theme parks. On a recent vacation my family took a day to visit Sea World Orlando, and here are some ideas of how to add this to your vacation itinerary.
The first consideration is transportation. If you drove or rented a car this one is easy. If you flew down and do not have a rental car you can look into a taxi (most resorts will have some waiting near the lobby), use Uber, or schedule a private car service ahead of time.
When you arrive at Sea World you will need to figure out the priorities for the park, because many of the activities are shows at scheduled times you’ll want to work around those to navigate your day. There is a dolphin show, an orca show, a pet show and a show with the sea lions. All are entertaining, and a bit educational.
In addition to the shows there are several aquatic animal experiences. Some are just the basic experience like feeding the seals & sea lions, dolphins, sting rays or sharks, while others include a ride experience to get to the animal area. For instance, one way to get to see the penguins on exhibit is to ride the attraction that takes you through the adventure of a baby penguin. Our favorite experience was the arctic one where it looks like you are in a research station in the arctic that featured beluga whales and walruses. We also enjoyed feeding the animals around the park (look for a deal to purchase multiple animal trays in a bundle). There are many aquarium type experiences as well to observe the fish and other animals in recreated habitats.
If you have a thrill ride fan in your group there are a few options here as well. The coasters at Sea World are more of your typical amusement park rides. They are out in the open rather than being themed like Walt Disney World’s Big Thunder Mountain or Space Mountain. They are higher on the thrill quotient than many of the Disney rides though, so be sure to check them out before riding. My thrill riding son’s favorite was the Manta where you ride lying down as though you were a Manta Ray (and you may get a little wet).
Smaller kids will enjoy the kids area of the park where more tame coasters and family favorites like a carousel keep them entertained.
At certain times of the year Sea World hosts special events like Christmas and Halloween themed activities, and even food centered festivals.
There are a couple of special dining opportunities currently available including dining with Shamu and the Shark Underwater Grill. Both offer sit down meals with special viewing opportunities of the animals. For the Shamu experience you will need to look into reservations ahead of time. Most of the parks food is of the counter service variety. You’ll find the standard pizza, burgers, fajitas, etc. Voyager’s features a cafeteria style line with barbecue meats (and also serves breakfast).
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There are a few things you can add to your Sea World day to make it more all-inclusive and more like a Walt Disney World package. They offer a “Quick Queue” pass that allows you a FastPass type entrance (this can be pretty helpful on some of the slower loading attractions). There is another option for preferred seating at the shows, Or you can combine and get both. For your meals you can get an All Day Dining deal which is actually a pretty good value if you are going to spend the entire day in the park. When purchasing your Sea World tickets ask your travel agent about purchasing these add-ons in advance.
Sea World is a nice add-on to a Walt Disney World vacation giving a different type of theme park experience with the marine animal encounters, shows and the high-speed thrill rides. I think that taking the shows into account you could spend a full day here, or at least the majority of a day.