SeaWorld Orlando
Previously known as Sea World of Florida
The Port of Entry lighthouse.
Location7007 SeaWorld Drive, Orlando, Florida, United States
Coordinates28°24′39″N 81°27′45″W / 28.41083°N 81.46250°W / 28.41083; -81.46250
StatusOperating
OpenedDecember 15, 1973; 50 years ago (1973-12-15)[1]
OwnerUnited Parks & Resorts
Operated byUnited Parks & Resorts
ThemeConservation and the Ocean
SloganCoaster Capital of Orlando[2]
Operating seasonYear-round
AttendanceDecrease 4.454 million (2022)
Area200 acres (81 ha)
Attractions
Total17
Roller coasters7
Water rides2
Shows5 with 6 seasonal
Websiteseaworld.com/orlando/

SeaWorld Orlando is an animal theme park located in Orlando, Florida. Although separately gated, it is often promoted with neighboring parks Discovery Cove and Aquatica as well as Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, all of which are owned and operated by United Parks & Resorts. In 2022, SeaWorld Orlando hosted an estimated 4.45 million guests, ranking it the 10th most visited amusement park in the United States.[3]

History

SeaWorld Orlando opened on December 15, 1973, as the third park of the SeaWorld chain and just 2 years after Walt Disney World Resort's Magic Kingdom. This made Central Florida a multi-park vacation destination. SeaWorld was sold in 1976 to Harcourt Brace Jovanovich then to Anheuser-Busch, owners of Busch Gardens, in 1989.[4]

Busch was more experienced with theme parks and thus developed SeaWorld in a competitive and aggressive manner, moving the park from a show-based to a ride-based park. The park joined in the Disneyland-started simulator ride wave in 1992 with Mission: Bermuda Triangle (later rethemed into Wild Arctic).[5] The nation's first combination roller coaster and flume ride, Journey to Atlantis, was installed in 1998. In 2000, the Kraken, a Bolliger & Mabillard floorless roller coaster, was added to the park. The flying coaster, Manta, came to the park in 2009 and won the Theme Park Insider Award as the best new attraction.[4]

After nearly three decades of operation, Busch Entertainment added two adjacent parks. Discovery Cove opened in 2000 followed by the Aquatica water park in 2008. The 2008 purchase of Anheuser-Busch by Belgian brewer InBev led to the sale of Busch's parks to a private equity firm in 2009.[4] The sale also led to the closure of the park's Hospitality Center on February 1, 2009.[6]

On February 24, 2010, during a small show at "Dine with Shamu", one of the orca whales, Tilikum, pulled trainer Dawn Brancheau into the water and ultimately killed her.[7] An autopsy determined that Brancheau's death was attributed to blunt force trauma and drowning; injuries included her scalp being removed and her left arm being severed below the shoulder.[8] In August 2010, the United States Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited SeaWorld of Florida LLC for three safety violations, following the death of an animal trainer in February. The total penalty was $75,000 and SeaWorld was initially required to keep a barrier between its trainers and the whales during shows.[9][10]

Its Turtle Trek exhibit opened in 2012 includes a 360-degree, 3D dome theater for a movie. In 2013, its Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin pavilion had the nation's first trackless dark ride system.[4]

In 2013, Antarctica, Empire of the Penguin (or Sea of Ice) section opened to replace the Penguin Encounter. It contains a trackless family ride (which closed in 2020), plus an improved penguin exhibit.

Mako, a B&M hypercoaster opened in 2016 in the Sea of Power near the Shark Encounter.

On March 27, 2019, the park reopened the Sea of Fun area as "Sesame Street Land", themed after Sesame Street.[11]

On June 1, 2019, a new roller coaster (later revealed as Ice Breaker) was announced through a teaser video released by SeaWorld Orlando. It opened on February 18, 2022.[12]

In mid-March 2020, in line with other SeaWorld parks, as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the park had to temporarily shut down. The park reopened nearly three months later.

On May 27, 2023, the world's first surf coaster manufactured by Bolliger & Mabillard, Pipeline, opened at SeaWorld Orlando. It is a revival of the stand-up coaster, featuring better restraints and offering a more comfortable ride experience.

On September 28, 2023, a new launched family roller coaster manufactured by Bolliger & Mabillard named Penguin Trek was announced. It is set to open in 2024, and will replace the former Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin dark ride.[13]

Park layout

Transport in SeaWorld Orlando
I-4.svg
I-4
to Airport enlarge… and Universal Orlando enlarge…
Aquatica Orlando
International Drive#Public transportation
SeaWorld Orlando
International Drive#Public transportation
Discovery Cove
I-4.svg
I-4
to Walt Disney World enlarge…

International Drive#Public transportation I-Ride Trolley bus service

In summer 2014, as a part of the company's 50th anniversary, SeaWorld Orlando was separated into different areas, called "seas",[14] each with a unique themed element. Starting at the lower center and continuing clockwise they are:

Attractions

SeaWorld Orlando has many live shows and attractions including rides and animal exhibits. Many of these attractions, such as Manta combine the two, with both animal exhibits and a ride.

Rides and attractions

# Name Opened Description Location
1 Mako 2016 A hypercoaster named after the fastest species of shark in the oceans. Is currently the tallest and fastest roller coaster in the Orlando area. Sea of Mystery
2 Kraken 2000 A floorless roller coaster themed after the legend of the Kraken sea monster. Sea of Legends
3 Manta 2009 A flying roller coaster and aquarium exhibit featuring rays, sea dragons and other species. Sea of Shallows
4 Ice Breaker 2022 A quadruple launch family thrill roller coaster featuring the steepest drop of any roller coaster in Florida. Sea of Power
5 Penguin Trek 2024 A B&M launch coaster with dark ride elements including twists and turns at speeds of up to 45 miles per hour. Sea of Ice
6 Pipeline: The Surf Coaster 2023 A first-of-its-kind surf roller coaster that includes twists and turns of up to 60 miles per hour and a inversion. Sea of Power/Port of Entry
7 Journey to Atlantis 1998 A water coaster with dark ride elements themed to the mythical Atlantis. Sea of Legends
8 Infinity Falls 2018 A river rapids ride that features a vertical elevator lift and the world's tallest river rapids drop. Sea of Mystery
9 Super Grover's Box Car Derby
(Formerly Shamu Express)
2019
(2006) [15]
A Zierer family coaster themed to Super Grover from Sesame Street.

(A Zierer family coaster themed to a Shamu the killer whale train)

Sesame Street Land
10 Sky Tower 1973 400-foot tall rotating Gyro tower. Sea of Delight
11 Sunny Day Carousel
(Formerly Sea Carousel)
2021
(2007)[16]
A carousel themed to Sesame Street with colorful Muppet versions of horses.

(A carousel themed to sea creatures with caricatured marine mammals and fish)

Sesame Street Land
12 Elmo's Choo Choo Train
(Formerly Seven Seas Railway)
2019
(2012) [17]
A short train ride themed to Elmo from Sesame Street.[18]

(A short train ride themed to aquatic animals and sea creatures)

Sesame Street Land
13 Big Bird's Twirl 'N' Whirl
(Formerly Swishy Fishies)
2019
(2006) [15]
A spinning ride themed to Big Bird from Sesame Street.[19]

(A spinning ride themed to a typhoon spinning around the sea)

Sesame Street Land
14 Abby's Flower Tower
(Formerly Jazzy Jellies)[20]
2019
(2006)
A high tower ride themed to Abby Cadabby from Sesame Street.[21]

(A high tower ride themed to jellyfish)

Sesame Street Land
15 Cookie Drop!
(Formerly Flying Fiddler)[20]
2019
(2007)[20]
A drop tower ride themed to Cookie Monster from Sesame Street.[22]

(A drop tower ride themed to a giant fiddler crab)

Sesame Street Land
16 Rubber Duckie Water Works 2019 A water play area themed to Ernie from Sesame Street.[23] Sesame Street Land
17 Slimey's Slider
(Formerly Ocean Commotion)[24]
2019
(2007)[15][20]
A Rock n' tug ride themed to Slimey the Worm from Sesame Street.[25] Sesame Street Land
18 Rosita's Harmony Hills 2019 A play area themed to Rosita from Sesame Street. Sesame Street Land
19 Flamingo Paddle Boats 1978 Boats themed to a flamingo that can travel all around the park's central lake. Additional fee is required. Sea of Mystery

Former Attractions:

Live entertainment and animal presentations

# Name Opened Description Location
6 Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin 2013 A themed area featuring live penguin and alcid exhibits. Sea of Ice
11 Wild Arctic 1995 An indoor series of exhibits featuring beluga whales, walruses, and harbor seals that is designed to resemble a research station in the Arctic Ocean. Sea of Power
12 SeaWorld Rescue Center[33]
(Formerly Turtle Trek)
2022

(2012)

An up-close look at how SeaWorld comes to the aid of sick, injured, and orphaned animals. Meet vulnerable manatees and turtles who are recovering and receiving state-of-the-art care, including the critically endangered Kemp’s ridley sea turtle. And hear from dedicated experts who help make it all possible.

(An outdoor/indoor exhibit featuring sea turtles, West Indian manatees, and American alligators. A former exhibit was a theater dome where a 3D animated film detailed the average journey of a sea turtle. The theater was a 360° dome with 3D content completely surrounded the audience. Following the COVID-19 pandemic, the 3D glasses used for the film were removed, and the film played on a loop. In 2023 it was closed and was repurposed into the SeaWorld Coral Rescue Center, the largest public-facing facility dedicated to coral conservation in the country.[34])

Sea of Shallows
17 Shamu Stadium 1984 The 7,000,000 US gallons (26,000,000 L) home to the park's five killer whales opened in September 1984.[35] The park's current production is Orca Encounter since late 2019, which used to house the former show One Ocean, the summer seasonal Shamu's Celebration: Light Up The Night and winter seasonal Shamu Christmas Miracles night shows. An educational presentation called Ocean Discovery was also presented on select dates. Sea of Power
18 Dolphin Theater 1973 The 2,000,000 US gallons (7,600,000 L) original Shamu Stadium, Dolphin Stadium, currently hosts the Dolphin Adventures educational show. Dolphin Theater currently features dolphins, and formerly macaws and an Andean condor in Blue Horizons, a show that debuted on May 29, 2005 and lasted until March 31, 2017 to be replaced with Dolphin Days on April 1, 2017 and that also lasted to around late February 2021. False killer whales were once part of the Theater until the eventual death of the park's two specimens.[36] Four rescued pilot whales were also housed here and seen occasionally during the preshow (about 15-20 mins before the show) or sometimes during the show itself until they were moved to Shamu Stadium on April 28, 2017 due to space, and on September 16, 2019 the 3 pilot whales were transferred to SeaWorld San Diego.[37] Sea of Shallows
19 The Sea Lion and Otter Theater 1990 Hosts "Clyde and Seamore", a pair of California sea lions in the presentation Sea Lion and Otter Spotlight. Asian small-clawed otters, and a Walrus also partake in the show. This production was joined by the seasonal show Sea Lions Tonite. Sea of Delight
20 Bayside Stadium 1983 Formerly hosted water skiing shows on the park's central lagoon. Today, the stage is used for SeaWorld's numerous music concert series and other special events as well as the official viewing area for the summer seasonal Electric Ocean fireworks and dance party as well as the Winter Wonderland On Ice ice skating show during the winter. Sea of Power
21 The Nautilus Theatre 1995 This used to be home to an acrobatic show similar in style and presentation to the works of Cirque du Soleil called A'lure: The Call of The Ocean which closed in early 2015. This was also used for a bubble show named Pop in 2017 & 2018 during the summer and was also home to a show called "O Wondrous Night" during the winter. Sea of Mystery
22 Seaport Theatre 1998 Formerly featured animals that have been rescued from local animal shelters in Pets Ahoy which was cut in 2020 due to budget cuts affiliated with the loss of revenue due to COVID-19. This venue was also home to Abby's Treasure Hunt and many seasonal Sesame Street shows before Sesame Street land opened. Sea of Delight
23 Seafire Grill 2001 A restaurant and a theatre in the style of a dinner theatre. This venue was home to the Makahiki Luau dancing show until its closure in September 2012.
24 Reflections 2006 A seasonal firework show on the park's central lagoon now Ignite since 2017 featuring fireworks, dancing fountains, and mist screens synchronized and inspired by the musical soundtracks of some of the park's shows and attractions. The show was formerly called Mistify. During the Holidays, there is a Holiday Reflections fireworks show.
25 Wheel of Fortune Live! 2008 A taping of Wheel of Fortune that had shows taped at the park during 2008.

Attendance

Attendance Worldwide Rank Year
5,926,000[38] 7th 2008
5,800,000[39] 7th 2009
5,100,000[40] 9th 2010
5,202,000[40] 9th 2011
5,358,000[41] 19th 2012
5,090,000[41] 19th 2013
4,683,000[42] 21st 2014
4,777,000[43] 22nd 2015
4,402,000[44] 25th 2016
3,962,000[45] 26th 2017
4,594,000[46] 26th 2018
4,640,000[47] 26th 2019
1,598,000[48] 2020
3,051,000[49] 2021
4,450,000[50] 2022

Aquatica Orlando

Main article: Aquatica Orlando

SeaWorld Orlando has a nearby sister park named Aquatica Orlando, which opened in 2008,[51][52] part of the greater chain of Aquatica water parks.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ "Seaworld–Page Info". Facebook. Archived from the original on August 20, 2012. Retrieved June 4, 2016.
  2. ^ "Pipeline: The Surf Coaster - Launching 2023". SeaWorld Orlando. October 18, 2022. Retrieved November 1, 2022.
  3. ^ "AECOM Global Attractions Attendance Report" (PDF). Dallas, Texas: TEA/AECOM. Retrieved October 20, 2023.
  4. ^ a b c d Niles, Robert (August 1, 2013). "Theme park history: A short history of SeaWorld Orlando". Theme Park Insider. Retrieved April 2, 2019.
  5. ^ "Sea World Deep-Sixing Mission Ride". Orlando Sentinel. June 20, 1994.
  6. ^ "No more free beer at Busch theme parks". Orlando Business Journal.
  7. ^ "Blackfish: when killer whales attack". The Telegraph. April 25, 2016. Retrieved June 4, 2016.
  8. ^ "Autopsy report" (PDF). Office of the Medical examiner, district nine, FL. Archived (PDF) from the original on August 17, 2013. Retrieved February 9, 2014.
  9. ^ Kuo, Vivian. "SeaWorld appeal of OSHA citations denied - CNN.com". CNN. Retrieved June 4, 2016.
  10. ^ "SeaWorld won't appeal ruling pulling trainers from water at killer whale shows". USA TODAY. Archived from the original on April 21, 2016. Retrieved June 4, 2016.
  11. ^ Kleiman, Joe (March 11, 2019). ""Sunny Days" ahead as Sesame Street opens at SeaWorld Orlando March 27". InPark Magazine. Retrieved April 2, 2019.
  12. ^ "SeaWorld's 'Ice Breaker' coaster opened Feb. 18". WFLA. January 3, 2022.
  13. ^ "Penguin Trek - Coming in 2024". SeaWorld. September 28, 2023.
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i Entertainment, SeaWorld Parks &. "SeaWorld Park Map | SeaWorld Orlando". seaworldparks.com. Archived from the original on November 21, 2015. Retrieved June 4, 2016.
  15. ^ a b c "Grand opening of Sesame Street at SeaWorld Orlando". orlandosentinel.com. March 6, 2019. Retrieved August 23, 2019.
  16. ^ "SeaWorld Florida". Screamscape. May 29, 2007. Archived from the original on May 29, 2007. Retrieved October 8, 2013.
  17. ^ "Grand opening of Sesame Street at SeaWorld Orlando". orlandosentinal.com. March 6, 2019. Retrieved August 23, 2019.
  18. ^ "Elmo's Choo Choo Train Attraction | Sesame Street at SeaWorld". seaworld.com. Retrieved August 23, 2019.
  19. ^ "Big Bird's Twirl 'N' Whirl Attraction | Sesame Street at SeaWorld". seaworld.com. Retrieved August 23, 2019.
  20. ^ a b c d "The New Sesame Street - Seaworld Orlando | Expedition Theme Park - YouTube". YouTube.
  21. ^ "Abby's Flower Tower Attraction | Sesame Street at SeaWorld". seaworld.com. Retrieved April 18, 2021.
  22. ^ "Cookie Monster's Cookie Drop Attraction | Sesame Street at SeaWorld". seaworld.com. Retrieved April 18, 2021.
  23. ^ "Rubber Duckie Water Works Playground Attraction | Sesame Street at SeaWorld". seaworld.com. Retrieved April 18, 2021.
  24. ^ "Sesame Street at SeaWorld Orlando". chicnavigator.com. March 23, 2019. Retrieved April 18, 2021.
  25. ^ "Slimey's Slider Attraction | Sesame Street at SeaWorld". seaworld.com. Retrieved April 18, 2021.
  26. ^ Strother, Susan G. (February 2, 1992). "Florida's Sea World Plans Bermuda Triangle Ride
  27. ^ "SeaWorld Hospitality Center closing – No more free beer". tampabay.com. January 5, 2009.
  28. ^ "The Polar Express Experience at SeaWorld Orlando Begins This Friday, November 12th..." Visit Tampa Bay. November 10, 2010.
  29. ^ "Photo Update: Sea Garden among other new things at SeaWorld - July 2010". July 23, 2010.
  30. ^ "Sesame Street land is coming to SeaWorld Orlando". tampabay.com. May 3, 2018.
  31. ^ "SeaWorld: Kraken roller coaster ditches virtual reality headsets". September 18, 2018.
  32. ^ "SeaWorld removes Sesame Street playground weeks after new land opens - Theme Park Tribune, theme park news". April 23, 2019.
  33. ^ "Rescue Center | Animal Experiences | SeaWorld Orlando".
  34. ^ https://seaworld.com/orlando/animal-experiences/coral-rescue-center/
  35. ^ "Sea World Whale Capture Plans Attacked". Ocala Star-Banner. Associated Press. September 23, 1984.
  36. ^ Garcia, Jason (June 5, 2012). "False killer whale Jozu dies at SeaWorld Orlando". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved March 25, 2013.
  37. ^ Kirley, James (September 16, 2012). "Too soon to tell if surviving pilot whales can be released". The Palm Beach Post. Retrieved March 25, 2013.
  38. ^ "TEA/AECOM 2008 Global Attractions Report" (PDF). Themed Entertainment Association. 2008. Archived (PDF) from the original on March 2, 2013. Retrieved June 25, 2014.
  39. ^ "TEA/AECOM 2009 Global Attractions Report" (PDF). Themed Entertainment Association. 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 2, 2010. Retrieved June 25, 2014.
  40. ^ a b "TEA/AECOM 2011 Global Attractions Report" (PDF). Themed Entertainment Association. 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 18, 2015. Retrieved June 25, 2014.
  41. ^ a b "TEA/AECOM 2013 Global Attractions Report" (PDF). Themed Entertainment Association. 2014. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 6, 2014. Retrieved June 6, 2014.
  42. ^ "TEA/AECOM 2014 Global Attractions Attendance Report Report" (PDF). Themed Entertainment Association. 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 4, 2015. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  43. ^ "TEA/AECOM 2015 Global Attractions Attendance Report Report" (PDF). Themed Entertainment Association. 2016. Archived (PDF) from the original on June 18, 2016. Retrieved June 3, 2016.
  44. ^ "TEA/AECOM 2016 Global Attractions Attendance Report Report" (PDF). Themed Entertainment Association. 2016. Archived (PDF) from the original on June 2, 2017. Retrieved June 7, 2017.
  45. ^ "TEA/AECOM 2017 Global Attractions Attendance Report Report" (PDF). Themed Entertainment Association. 2017. Archived (PDF) from the original on June 2, 2017. Retrieved May 21, 2018.
  46. ^ "TEA/AECOM 2018 Global Attractions Attendance Report Report" (PDF). Themed Entertainment Association. 2018. Archived (PDF) from the original on May 30, 2019. Retrieved May 30, 2019. Alt URL
  47. ^ "TEA/AECOM 2019 Global Attractions Attendance Report Report" (PDF).
  48. ^ "TEA/AECOM 2020 Global Attractions Attendance Report Report" (PDF).
  49. ^ "TEA/AECOM 2021 Global Attractions Attendance Report Report" (PDF).
  50. ^ "Attendance at the Seaworld Florida theme park from 2009 to 2022". Statista. Retrieved November 17, 2023.
  51. ^ "Happy Birthday, Aquatica!". SeaWorld. Retrieved July 10, 2023.
  52. ^ "Aquatica SeaWorld Orlando's Third Park To Open March 2008". Ultimate Rollercoaster. Retrieved July 10, 2023.