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Our Top SeaWorld Orlando Tips for Your Next Visit

by Leap on September 2, 2020 29 Orlando   Video

SeaWorld Orlando is one of the few places in the country to see orcas, penguins, otters, dolphins and many more amazing sea creatures up close while learning how to protect these majestic animals … and ride some really cool coasters at the same time! With fun events and new experiences constantly taking place, there's no time like the present to make a getaway to SeaWorld. Just like any theme park, being prepared and knowing what to expect will set you up for smooth sailing. Here are our best SeaWorld Orlando tips to make the most out of your next trip!

SeaWorld Orlando Tips - Park Entrance

Our Top SeaWorld Orlando Tips

1. Buy tickets in advance and secure a park reservation.

Upon reopening after COVID-19, guests were required to make reservations on each park's website prior to their visit. This is still true if you purchase tickets directly through SeaWorld OR you are using a Fun Card or annual pass. In hoppy news, reservations are not required if you purchase your tickets through us! Plus, we can save you some green when you buy. Children under 3 years old do not require a reservation or ticket for entry.

2. Bring a light sweater.

SeaWorld Orlando Tips - Penguin Exhibit

It might be hot outside, but inside, the attractions and aquariums can get quite chilly. Blasts of cold air maintain the underwater environment for the comfort of the animals. In the case of attractions such as Wild Arctic or Antarctica: Empire of the Penguins, the park helps re-create a natural environment for your encounters with these cold-weather creatures.

3. Wear quick-dry clothing.

SeaWorld Orlando Tips - Water Ride

Spending the day with sea life in their watery world, you’re bound to get a little wet … or even soaked! SeaWorld also offers two fun water rides that you may not want to miss out on. Either bring along some rain gear or wear quick-dry clothes — especially for the kids. Even a small, fast-drying towel or camping towel in your pack will keep you from attempting to dry off with paper towels or the hand dryer!

4. Check the forecast.

Speaking of getting wet, despite being “the Sunshine State,” weather changes quickly in Florida. You never really know what to expect until you’re standing in the middle of a thunderstorm or melting in the humidity. Checking the forecast in the morning and preparing accordingly is your best defense against Florida’s wild weather putting a damper on your day. When it is raining, know that there are plenty of indoor exhibits, such as Wild Arctic above, to take advantage of! The summer thunderstorms generally don't last very long anyway.

5. Pick up a park map.

SeaWorld Orlando Tips - Pick Up a Map

Unlike most of the other theme parks, SeaWorld Orlando consists of winding and intersecting pathways rather than the hub and circle setup. Pick up a park map to help navigate with ease. Don’t forget to recycle it on your way out, unless you’re keeping it as a souvenir!

6. Make a plan.

If Manta and Mako are at the top of your list, ride them first! Ride wait times peak earlier at SeaWorld, since so many people spend their afternoons watching the shows, but you'll still see lower waits in the mornings and evenings. (You'll want to ride Mako in the day and at night for a toadally different vibe!) Additionally, many of SeaWorld’s outdoor shows and attractions close due to weather (rainstorms, lightning, high winds, etc.) and there is no guarantee that the storm will pass before park close. Prioritizing your must-do attractions means you’re less likely to run out of time and try to squeeze them in before the rain or the end of the day. Note: Florida’s wet season goes through summer and into fall with frequent thunderstorms and showers in the afternoons.

7. Use a multi-use locker for multiple rides.

SeaWorld Orlando Tips - Use a Locker

If everyone in the family wants to go on multiple rides that require you to store your belongings in a locker, rent a multi-use ride locker. A single-use locker costs $2 for two hours in one location, while the multi-use locker costs $8. But with the multi-use locker, you can hop from ride to ride all day (although it cannot stay at one location for more than two hours, or there will be an additional fee). You will need to create a seven-digit code that the locker stations will remember you by when you move locations, as well as a four-digit code to open a locker. Jot both of these codes down because it’s so easy to froget! Lockers are also a great place to stash rain gear or store wet clothes.

8. Note that some Quick Queues have different entryways.

If you buy a Quick Queue pass, follow any signs that may point you in a different direction than the normal line. At some of the rides, such as Mako, you enter the attraction’s Quick Queue right next to the regular line. But at others, such as Kraken and Manta, the Quick Queues start near the ride’s exit. It can get a little confusing, so if you can’t find the Quick Queue signs, just ask the ride attendant out front.

9. Arrive at shows early. 

In order to make sure the animals get the rest and play time they deserve for performing such amazing feats, some of the SeaWorld Orlando shows have a limited number of times and tend to fill up quickly. This is especially true for the dolphin show, Dolphin Days, and Shamu’s close-up, Orca Encounter. Plan to arrive 20 to 30 minutes prior to showtime, especially on busier park days. Look out for where you sit because you could end up in a splash zone!  

10. Interact with the animals.

SeaWorld Orlando Tips - Manatee Viewing

Some of the animal exhibits go beyond watching them in a large tank. At the Stingray Lagoon, you can reach in and touch a stingray as it swims by. Feeding animals costs a bit extra, but you can purchase a $10 deal that allows you to throw food to the sharks at Shark Shallows, the seals and sea lions at Pacific Point Preserve and the stingrays at Stingray Lagoon. (The ability to feed the animals is temporarily unavailable at this time.) Check the park map for specific feeding times. You can also enter a portion of the Manatee Rehabilitation Area to view for free. 

11. Consider a special tour or program.

The mission of SeaWorld has always been conservation and education. With special programs such as the Dolphin Encounter, Penguins Up-Close and the Behind the Scenes Tour, guests can enhance their day in the park with unforgettable memories of up-close encounters with penguins, dolphins, sea lions or beluga whales. On our last visit, we went into the rest of the rehab area to see injured or sick animals that have been rescued and the efforts SeaWorld makes to send them back into the wild. These special experiences can be added to your day for as little as $20 per person. 

12. Dodge the parking fee.

Parking your own vehicle at SeaWorld will set you back about $25. See if your resort offers a complimentary or low-cost shuttle. Many area hotels offer transportation to the parks for a low fee, usually about $5. Some of the discount SeaWorld tickets we offer include parking — which is always a plus!

13. Save on food and drinks.

SeaWorld Orlando Tips - Acai Bowl

If you’re planning an all-day trip, consider buying the all-day dining plan. This deal allows you to redeem one entree, one side OR one dessert and a regular nonalcoholic drink as often as once per hour at participating quick-service restaurants. Because SeaWorld doesn’t allow outside food, we think it’s a pretty good deal if you’ll be there for lunch and dinner. It especially comes in handy when you’re thirsty and need a drink refill. 

14. Stay charged.

SeaWorld has two free charging stations in the park for guests to recharge their electronic devices. You will need a power cord and U.S.-compatible outlet plug. Charging stations can be found near the Nautilus Theater and between the Antarctica area and the Dolphin Theater.

15. Take a break at Sesame Street.

 

SeaWorld Orlando Tips - Sesame Street Land and Abby Cadabby

Little tadpoles getting restless? Let them climb, ride and explore at the new Sesame Street neighborhood. Located behind Shamu Stadium, Sesame Street is home to interactive play areas and family-friendly rides such as the kid-sized coaster Super Grover’s Box Car Derby. Guests under 42 inches tall must be accompanied by a supervising companion 14 or older.

16. SeaWorld Orlando is a Certified Autism Center.

As an official Certified Autism Center, the park’s staff has received extensive training on autism sensitivity and awareness. You can download SeaWorld Orlando’s detailed online sensory guide to pre-plan your trip. Guests can use a quiet room located either next to the Information and Reservations Counter or inside the Child Care area in Sesame Street if they’re in need of a break from sensory overload. A low sensory area can also be found between Dolphin Cove and Turtle Trek.

17. Take a break at a mask relaxation area. 

SeaWorld Orlando Tips - Face Covering Relaxation Area

Face coverings are essential accessories for theme park visits this year. However, if you need a break from wearing them while you're at SeaWorld Orlando, find one of the three mask relaxation areas — one by Wild Arctic, another near the Sea Lion and Otter Stadium and the last one across from Shark Encounter (with a lakeside view). The two larger relaxation areas (Wild Arctic & Shark Encounter) have plenty of seating available.

We want to hear your SeaWorld Orlando tips! Be sure to share your best SeaWorld Orlando tips in the comments below. Ready to hop to it? Download our Orlando Planning App to see wait times and touring plans for SeaWorld Orlando. 

Related: The Best Orlando Theme Parks by Age Group

Keep hopping!

Keep hopping, Leap!
View Comments
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Mar 8, 2020 at 3:13 a.m. Jessica Says...

With dining pass.. do you have to buy one for every person, or one pass per family?

Reply
Mar 10, 2020 at 11:15 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jessica!

Each person will need to have their own All-Day Dining Deal wristband. Prices start at $39.99 for adults (ages 10+) and $19.99 for children (ages 3 to 9).

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Nov 24, 2019 at 1:02 p.m. Judy Says...

I have food allergies: gluten, corn, & dairy. I cannot eat any uncooked vegetables; therefore, no salads. Who can I contact about being able to find food that I can eat while there?

Reply
Nov 25, 2019 at 1:28 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Judy!

Sharks Underwater Grill is the designated dining facility for guests with food allergies. As we're sure you're used to doing, be sure to speak with a supervisor before ordering to be certain! There's also a Contact Us page here for you to speak with someone in advance of your visit and come up with a game plan. The direct line to reach them is 407-545-5550. Have a great trip!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Sep 19, 2019 at 3:32 p.m. Melissa M Says...

Hello! How long do you think we should plan to spend at Sesame Street with a 4 year old? We plan to ride the Penguin ride first and then head to Sesame Street. Will we likely stay there until the 2pm parade, or should I plan to do other things in between? Thanks!

Reply
Sep 20, 2019 at 12:11 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Melissa!

We toadally love Sesame Street! We think you and your tadpole can spend a good amount of time there exploring the land, meeting characters and going on rides (probably about 2 hours). That said, keep a few options in your pocket outside of Sesame Street in your pocket in case you need to hop to something new before the parade. Have fun!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jul 30, 2019 at 1:48 a.m. MommyRN Says...

Do they allow you to bring in your own food? I'm thinking a brown bag lunch for PB&J or something similar. Nothing requiring a heavy cooler. I don't see anything on their website. Thanks!

Reply
Jul 30, 2019 at 8:55 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi MommyRN!

Water bottles and baby food are the only food and drink items that SeaWorld San Diego allows you to bring into the park. Coolers, straws and glass containers are also prohibited within the park, although guests are welcome to leave those in cars and use the picnic areas near the park entrance plaza.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
May 5, 2019 at 4:08 p.m. Todd Says...

Went last night and it took over an hour to get out of parking lot. Is this common? If so I would want to cancel my annual pass as this was ridiculous!

Reply
May 6, 2019 at 5:34 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Todd,

We have never encountered this issue! When there are special events such as concerts and many people are leaving at once, it could be a possibility, but we wouldn't expect it to be the rule.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Nov 11, 2018 at 8:01 p.m. Beth Says...

At one time, if you entered SeaWorld after a certain time in the day, they allowed you to come back the next day free, or basically on the same ticket. Does anyone know if this is still true and if so what is that time?

Reply
Nov 27, 2018 at 4:35 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Beth!

This ticket offer is no longer available.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Oct 3, 2018 at 5:46 p.m. Jordan Kuchcinski Says...

They have very good food in the park to make your money go far to can buy a meal plan for only 35 bucks for the day the Average cost of any meal is 20 buck for just lunch with this plan you can go once an hour on the hour

Reply
Jul 12, 2018 at 7:17 p.m. Steve Says...

Do you know if you can get into the park early?

Reply
Jul 12, 2018 at 6:13 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Steve!

They may open the turnstiles a few minutes ahead of opening, but nothing significant.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Jun 9, 2018 at 5:22 p.m. keith Says...

do you know which area hotels allow parking for a fee, and do any of them allow you to use their shuttle to seaworld?

Reply
Jun 12, 2018 at 1:38 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Keith,

You can check out our Orlando hotels and see the amenities each they provide!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Mar 8, 2018 at 10:51 p.m. Ethan Seal Says...

Can u buy the upgrades at the gate for seaworld?

Reply
Mar 9, 2018 at 2:20 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Ethan!

Yes, you can -- but oftentimes, better deals are available online.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Aug 21, 2017 at 2:51 a.m. Jud Says...

Are big backpacks with wheels allowed inside the SeaWorld park? Can we bring hydroflask full of ice inside?

Reply
Aug 21, 2017 at 10:24 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jud,

Looking at SeaWorld's website, there is nothing stating that big backpacks with wheels are not permitted.

As for the HydroFlask, the website states that glass bottles, cans and large hard or soft coolers are not permitted. It's hard to say where a metal HydroFlask falls within that category. We would suggest calling Guest Services at SeaWorld to confirm.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jul 11, 2017 at 4:17 p.m. Wendy Says...

Hi, how far is the parking area at SeaWorld from the Park Entrance? Is preferred parking worth the extra cost and can it be purchased at the gate?

Reply
Jul 11, 2017 at 12:08 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Wendy,

Depending on when you arrive at SeaWorld, you can be close to the entrance or far away. You can purchase preferred parking, but we don't feel it's worth it. You're spending your entire day walking already, and you could use that money towards a souvenir or food.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jan 16, 2017 at 8:48 p.m. Amy Says...

Best time to visit SeaWorkd? It is not on the crowd calendar. Thanks!

Reply
Jan 16, 2017 at 6 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Amy,

We've found that the best/worst time to visit SeaWorld Orlando generally fall along the same lines as Disney World. Check out those dates to guide your planning.

Keep Hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jun 29, 2016 at 12:52 p.m. ian Says...

I understood that Parking is free from this year?

Reply
Jul 11, 2016 at 1:33 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Ian,

No, it is not with regular admission. You do get that with the Discovery Cove tickets, which include SeaWorld.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jun 3, 2017 at 2:23 p.m. Adb Says...

Discovery Cove told me that while parking is free at Discovery Cove, it is not free at Seaworld unless you do the $25 uprgade for Busch Gardens Tampa.

Reply
Aug 24, 2020 at 8:22 a.m. oasis miss Says...

Perfect tips.

Reply
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