If you haven’t been to the SeaWorld Orlando theme park in a while, you’ll be surprised to see that the number of SeaWorld Orlando Rides (including thrill rides) in addition to the animal exhibits and shows. Before my first visit, I always thought of SeaWorld as a place to see animals, not to experience rides. It turns out, the rides are one of the best things to do at SeaWorld Orlando.
On my recent press trip to SeaWorld in Florida, I headed out to the park on a mission to experience these thrill rides at SeaWorld (including Manta and Kraken) for myself. Wondering what can you do at SeaWorld? Here are some of the best rides at SeaWorld Orlando for your next family vacation.
Disclosure: This was part of a complimentary press trip to SeaWorld Orlando. All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. A purchase / click through one of these links may result in a commission paid to us.
Must-Do SeaWorld Orlando Rides
Thrill Rides at SeaWorld Orlando
I was most surprised by the thrill rides at SeaWorld Orlando. You may assume that the rides are for younger kids, but there are several that definitely will appeal more to older kids and teens.
Manta SeaWorld Orlando
During my trip to SeaWorld, I started at Manta, a roller coaster that was built in 2009. The coaster was designed to mimic the gliding of a manta ray and goes very fast and upside down.
You can’t bring bags on the ride, and you can’t wear sandals or flip flops, so it’s best to leave those items with a member of your party that isn’t going on the ride, or you can rent a locker at the entrance of the attraction.
There are also small baskets by the ride where you can leave items, but they aren’t secure. I wore flip flops to SeaWorld, so I left them in the basket and put my purse in a locker.
Once you are seated on the ride (including the over the head harness and a restraint for your feet, the entire ride car tips so you are face down on the track. If you can plan better than me, I’d recommend wearing sneakers, so you won’t have to leave your shoes and won’t have to walk barefoot.
Manta is very fast and goes upside-down several times. I loved the ride, but it’s definitely not appropriate for little kids or anyone that doesn’t enjoy thrill rides. If you like thrill rides, this is one of the best rides at SeaWorld.
Next, I headed down to Kraken Unleashed, which opened in 2000. Kraken is a floorless roller coaster, which means flip flops and sandals definitely aren’t allowed. As with Manta, it’s best to rent a locker for valuables or give them to a member of your party not riding.
There are small cubes by the ride entry area to store shoes. Again, I wished that I had worn sneakers so I could keep them on.
Kraken isn’t quite as wild as Manta in my option, but it’s still very fast and goes upside down several times. I loved it – but again, this ride really isn’t for the faint of heart at all.
There’s also Mako, which opened in 2016 at SeaWorld Orlando. This hypercoaster is billed as Orlando’s tallest, fastest, and longest roller coaster. It goes up to 73 miles per hour and up to 200 feet high.
Other SeaWorld Orlando Rides
In addition to these thrill rides, there are other SeaWorld rides that appeal to families. One of the newest rides is the Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin. This indoor ride has both mild and wild versions. On this trackless journey, you’ll get to experience the South Pole as a penguin named Puck.
At the end of the ride, you’ll get to see some real penguins in their habitat. This ride is cold, so be prepared! The wild version really isn’t too wild, although some people who experience motion sickness may feel it more. I get motion sick but felt fine on this ride.
In Journey to Atlantis, you’ll explore the ancient myth in this water ride that’s also a part roller coaster. If you’ve been to SeaWorld San Antonio, this ride is a bit different from the ride of the same name there, although the concept is the same.
There’s also the newly-opened Infinity Falls, another water ride. In this ride, you can twist and turn around a “lost” river in what is billed as the tallest drop on a river raft ride. I haven’t had the opportunity to visit since this attraction opened, but it sounds like so much fun.
There’s another brand new ride coming soon to SeaWorld Orlando. This ride, called Ice Breaker, will feature four backward and forwards launches. According to their website, one of the reverse launches will have a 93 feet tall spike with a 100-degree angle.
SeaWorld also offers other rides, including the Turtle Trek 3D 360 theater showcasing sea turtles, the Wild Arctic flight simulator, Flamingo Paddle Boats, the Sea Carousel, and the Seven Seas Railway.
Sesame Street at SeaWorld Orlando
If your kids love Sesame Street, you’ll definitely want to head to SeaWorld Orlando for Sesame Street at SeaWorld Orlando. This six-acre expansion includes some popular and icon Sesame Street scenes, like Hr. Hooper’s store and the 123 stoop. There are also six new rides that will be great for young kids.
Families with younger kids may consider purchasing the Family VIP pass at Sesame Street Land. It’s available for a family of up to 5 (or more for an additional fee).
Where to Get SeaWorld Orlando Tickets
If you are planning to visit SeaWorld Orlando, you can choose to purchase tickets in advance. Options include one, two, and three park tickets (which can be combined with visits to these other SeaWorld Parks Entertainment parks in the area – Aquatica Orlando, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, and/or Adventure Island.
You can also get complimentary admission to SeaWorld Orlando if you visit Discovery Cove in Orlando, which is right down the street.
For a special day, upgrade your day options are also offered. These include a dolphin encounter, dining at Shamu stadium, reserved seats at shows, quick queue, and preferred parking. These can be added when you purchase tickets.
Best of Orlando offers great deals on tickets.
Where to Stay for a SeaWorld Orlando Vacation?
The Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld is the most convenient resort for a SeaWorld vacation. It’s located directly across the street and has great rooms, a pool, a splash area, several restaurants, and a You can see other family-friendly resorts in Orlando here.
Other Frequently Asked Questions:
Are rides free at SeaWorld?
Once you pay for admission into SeaWorld, the rides are included. There are some attractions add-ons, like Quick Queue, that cost extra. You’ll also pay an additional fee for locker rentals.
Will you get wet at SeaWorld?
There are two water rides that you may get wet on. You can definitely avoid those rides if you don’t enjoy getting wet though. In the Florida heat, you may appreciate the chance to cool down!
How does Quick Queue work at SeaWorld Orlando?
Quick Queue is an upgrade that you can add to your park ticket. It offers front of the line (skipping the line) access to the following rides: Mako, Manta, Kraken Unleashed, Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin, TurtleTrek, Journey to Atlantis, and Wild Arctic. You can also purchase Quick Queue with Infinity Falls and/or Signature Show Seating.
What is SeaWorld Orlando’s PhotoKey?
With PhotoKey, you can get digital copies of all of the photos taken during your day’s visit for one fee. These include attraction photos and character photos where available. If you plan to do most of the attractions with photos, it may be worthwhile.
To learn more about SeaWorld, including park hours and live show schedules, daily passes, annual passes, and more, visit their website. To get more Florida vacation ideas, check out this post. You can also see things to do in Orlando Florida here.
Originally posted in 2013, updated in 2018.
SeaWorld Orlando, 7007 Sea World Drive, Orlando, FL 32821