Disclosure: I was a guest of SeaWorld’s for this event. All opinions are my own.
Last Friday, May 24th, 2013 SeaWorld Orlando opened their largest attraction expansion to date – Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin. The expanded realm features a new cafe, a huge penguin-themed gift shop, an educational wall, a penguin habitat, and a new family-friendly ride. I had the opportunity to check it out in person last week, and think it’s a great addition to an already wonderful park.
Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin Review
The highlight of Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin is the brand-new ride, in which families follow a baby penguin named Puck as he navigates through his new world. The ride is available in both a wild and mild form – both of which are relatively tame. The ride actually changes each time you ride it – and according to Brian Morrow, Corporate Creative Director and Chief Designer, it works best when it’s at capacity.
Because the ride ends in the penguin habitat (where it’s a brisk 32 degrees), the temperature gradually decreases as guests navigate through the queue. Humidity is also pulled from the air, so when you get off the ride, it’s crisp and cool. While the ride attendants wear winter attire, SeaWorld guests will likely be riding in their Florida-appropriate clothes. If you are too cold to hang out in the penguin habitat, there’s a warmer underwater viewing area right past the revolving doors.
The penguin exhibit is meant to mimic Antarctica – with the temperature, lighting, and habitat perfectly set up. SeaWorld employees actually visited Antarctica and studied how the penguins live there, so it’s authentic. If you watch them for a while, you’ll see penguins playing, swimming, and sleeping – just as they do at home.
The penguin realm also includes a new quick service cafe which currently features Italian, American, and Chinese-inspired food, and offers both indoor and outdoor seating. There’s also a wonderful gift shop, filled with adorable penguin-themed merchandise. New to the parks is the “Cup that Cares”, a reusable cup that works with the Coca-Cola Freestyle machines in the Antarctica realm. The cups feature a chip at the bottom which calculates the CO2 you save from using it. There’s also an exclusive Coca-Cola flavor only available in Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin – South Pole Chill. Guests can choose from a cup featuring Puck and family, or create their own cup from a selection of accessories.
If you’ve got a penguin-obsessed child, SeaWorld Orlando’s Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin is a must-visit when you are in the greater Orlando area. It’s educational and fun – a winning combination.
You can learn more about SeaWorld Orlando’s Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin, on their website.