SeaWorld Orlando is a theme park, but with a focus that sets it apart from its Central Florida competitors. It's the only one of the attractions to focus on sea life.
That focus is readily apparent as soon as you see the park's mascot, Shamu the orca. He's often on hand inside to take pictures with the guests, along with friends like Dolly Dolphin and Penny Penguin. Kids love these big costumed characters, but they'll get even more excited when they meet their real-life counterparts.
There's no real orca named Shamu at SeaWorld. The matriarch of the pod is named Katina, and she and the six other orcas she shares the habitat with each has its own distinct personality. Tili, the largest, has a talent for making splashes that sometimes even reach the upper seating tier, and Makaio, the youngster, is a little show stealer.
The orcas star in several performances of the park's signature show, One Ocean, every day. If you visit at busy times of year, when SeaWorld Orlando has extended hours, you may also catch an evening performance of Shamu Rocks. That's a completely different show, with high energy jumps performed to pulsing rock music. Shamu Christmas Miracles is presented in the evenings during the holiday season.
While One Ocean is the no-miss show, the dolphin show, Blue Horizons, is another huge highlight for most park visitors. The dolphins team up with their human trainers for a variety of jumps and antics in the water. You'll also see talented high divers and colorful avian performers in this show.
If you'd like to see the dolphins and orcas between performances, both have underwater viewing areas. Getting a shot of your kids standing against the glass with a giant orca just on the other side is a classic SeaWorld family photo. It's not as hard to get as you might think, as the friendly marine mammals love to interact with their human observers.
SeaWorld Orlando also has a comical sea lion show, Clyde and Seamore Take Pirate Island, which features a walrus and adorable sea otter, too. SeaWorld regulars know that you should always get to the theater early enough to catch the mime's hilarious pre-show antics. If you want to see domestic animals in action, go to Pets Ahoy and marvel at the talents of shelter dogs and cats, along with a cute pot-bellied pig.
While most of the entertainment is centered around animals, SeaWorld Orlando has a cirque-style performance, A'lure: The Call of the Ocean. The framing story of a fisherman who finds love beneath the sea acts as a device to allow talented acrobats to take the stage.
Always get a show guide as soon as you get to the park, and plan your day around the show times. Work in some free time to stroll around and enjoy the animal habitats, where you'll see creatures like flamingos, seals, stingrays, polar bears, and sharks. Make sure you go to Turtle Trek to see the 3-D show, as well as to check out the rescued turtles and manatees in the exhibit.
It's great fun to watch the animals, but many kids prefer something a little more hands-on. Plan this into the family budget, as SeaWorld offers extra cost opportunities to feed the dolphins, stingrays, seals, and sharks.
Sure, the animals are the main draw, but SeaWorld has plenty of rides, too. Some, like the Manta and Kraken roller coasters, are for the braver members of your family. Others, like the Sky Tower, are great for everyone. You can even do a combination ride/animal habitat visit by hopping aboard Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin. This new ride takes guests quite literally into the park's penguin habitat to see the cute little black and white birds in a very personal way. If it's a hot day, hop aboard the Journey to Atlantis water coaster and get cooled down with a drenching.
If you've got young kids in tow, head over the Happy Harbor. It's a cute little kiddie area with a nautical theme and rides that are just right for the young 'uns.
It easily takes a full day to see SeaWorld Orlando if you want to catch all the shows, do the rides, and check out all the animal habitats, too. Getting there right at opening time gives you the most flexibility to plan your day around your must-do shows.
Find out how to include SeaWorld Orlando in your vacation by checking out the packages and specials on www.orlandtravelproviders.com or calling 1-800-618-5002.