Sea World Orlando First Time

Wednesday, January 3, 2018 10:55 PM
Tekwardo's avatar

After getting to my sister’s family’s home Wednesday nite we took most of Thursday easy. Later in the evening my sister, nephew, and I went to Disney Springs to hang out for a while since I’d not been after the change over, and I had Blaze Pizza for dinner (and it was good. Then on Friday morning we headed into Orlando around 11am on our way to Sea World.

We were fortunate that my nephew was able to get us tickets thru work at no cost. We had to meet him and some of his workmates there, and once we arrived at the park I saw the packed parking lot. Of course, I knew it would be busy, this being one of the busiest times of the year in Orlando. Normally I wouldn’t want to go to a new park on such a busy week, but it worked out pretty well.

Sea World Orlando 2017 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

We got in line for the tram, but that line was massive so we just walked over to the front entrance and met everyone. I’d been texted the previous day that it was around a 45 minute wait just to get tickets and get inside the park, and this was obvious when you got to the gate. We, however, walked over and got in the ten or so minute line to get in the front gate. Our first stop once inside was to Guest Services as my sister wanted to get a Handicapped Pass, since she has some major back issues and other health problems, so standing in line isn’t really an option. Once we had that in hand we went to the restrooms and started our day.

We passed by some pink flamingos, then Manta on our way over to check out Kraken. I wasn’t interested in the VR, neither was my sister. We went to the entrance and, although the park was super packed, the lines were never bad, save for Manta. And the way they do the handicapped pass is that you give them the sheet for eligible rides and they give you a return time, much like Disney. And basically they looked at the wait time and assigned your time based on that. With Kraken being a 30 minute wait we were asked to come back in 30 minutes for our timed ride. As we walked back towards Journey to Atlantis, we noticed that it was a walk-on, so we headed there first.

Sea World Orlando 2017 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

Journey to Atlantis-I’d read about this ride quite a bit and watched POVs. Interestingly enough, I knew that most of the effects no longer worked, and that was the case today. You head into the first themed section which, according to what I’ve read, is something about a fisherman, a fairy (or some such something), and then an attack by a stationary Medusa like creature that is supposed to attack before going up the first lift. The first drop out the front is fun and you get pretty wet, which isn’t great when its in the 40s in Orlando. Then you splash around, head up inside the building again where nothing really works theming wise, and then there is the coaster section behind the building before you hit the brakes. I think it could be much better, I wish they’d fix the thematic issues, though.

At this point we were ready to head over for my ride on Kraken. You head up the exit stairs and get in the Quick Queue line. After a few moments a ride attendant came down and got us and put us in line for the next train.

Sea World Orlando 2017 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

Kraken-Loading is…long, at best, but oh well. Of course I never rode prior to the new version of Kraken, but the coaster itself hasn’t changed. I liked the first drop, loop, inversion, etc. I wasn’t aware that the ride dives into deep trenches as much as it does. It may rank as one of my most favorite flourless coasters once I think about it some more.

We walked over towards Mako to get a return time. As we were able to get into the park for free, we’d decide to take advantage of the all you can eat day pass, so after getting a 30 minute return time then went to order our food pass on the phone (which was a pain in the backside, as the Sea World app kept opening up the website and it wouldn’t add the food option to the cart, ugh). Afterwards we walked over by the shark feeding area for a bit. We hung out by the shark area and asked if the shark restaurant was on the all you can eat pass (Its not, but you get a 30% off with it). Then we went by a bird enclosure to look at the birds, before walking thru the Antartica section. Soon it was time for our ride on Mako.

Sea World Orlando 2017 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

Mako-I had heard great things. My sister had ridden it before and loved it. I like the shark effect on the ceiling. We were strapped in and ready to go in no first drop is major. Loved it. Very Fury-esq, just obviously not as tall. Would have been a great opportunity to add in some major sideways airtime, but we didn’t get any. Bummer, but the element is still fun. Then you hit another large hill with airtime, the turnaround, then three more hills in rapid succession with B&M’s standard floaty airtime. After the mid course brakes you have several small hills, some high banked twists and turns, a dive by the water, then the final brake run. The ride was really great. This may be my new favorite sub-300 foot B&M speed coaster. It definitely gives Goliath in Georgia a run for its money.

After Mako we went to get something to eat and, while in line, my sister ran into someone she graduated with. We ate on the waterfront porch. Then we went back to Antartica to get a return time for Empire of the Penguin, which was a 45 minute wait. This gave us ample time to rest. I’d planned to walk around the park as my sister sat for a while and rested, but there was a 20 minute dolphin show getting ready to start, so we hit that up instead. The show was good, featuring several dolphins and birds, but the music was corny. After the show ended we walked around the long way and went to our next ride.

Sea World Orlando 2017 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

Empire of the Penguin-I have to say, I had decently high hopes. I’d read some decent reviews, but nothing much about it. The area is very well done, and the pre-show was cute. When I realized it was one of the trackless RFID rides, I was very excited, especially finding out that the ride vehicles spin and bounce. We boarded and…it was over like two minutes later. I mean, the ride section is well done, but its waaaayyyy too short. Then we hit up the penguins at the end of the ride, even went down and watched them diving, which is really just amazing to see. Then we were pretty much done.

The day was getting long and we had yet to ride Manta, so we went to get our return time for that. It was about a 30 minute wait so that was how long until our return. My sister decided to sit by the entrance and I went around the park by myself for some photos. I walked over by the dolphin nursery and over by the lake. I walked around and saw that there was a Shamu show starting later, which would be a great way to end the day. I walked by the area where the new rapids ride is going in, then back across the wooden bridge, eventually making it back to Manta to meet up with my sister and get our ride on.

Sea World Orlando 2017 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

Manta-I do want to mention that I liked the printed net under the lift with the manta ray design on it. That was cool. So I rode Acrobat back in September at Nagashima Spa Land, which is an exact clone of Manta, meaning I knew what to expect. Granted, this version has slightly nicer scenery, though both rides are well done. And they both have the splash element. I liked the familiar first drop and pretzel loop. One good thing about these layouts is that after that its a decent run at swoops, turns, and some inline twists, not at a high enough speed that makes you sick, especially after the massive positive Gs on the pretzel loop. This was my sister’s first flying coaster. She was not amused. It will likely be her last.

After this my sister definitely needed a break from rides, so we went in to the aquarium. She rested near the entrance to one of the underwater viewing tunnels. We wanted to use our food pass again as some time has passed, so I suggested that we eat dinner, hit up the shark encounter, then hit up the Shamu who. After all of that we’d have another shot to use our food pass one more time before leaving. The shark enclosure was really decent, and larger than I’d expected.
We decided to head on over to the stadium and get decent seats for Shamu, which was a good call. We were able to get really decent seats before it filled up, sit and rest for a while, run to the restroom, and catch the show. It was really well done. I know these shows are on their way out, but I enjoy seeing the Orcas. If they’re going to end up getting rid of the shows everywhere, I hope that they do end up making large well done habitats for the Orcas that people can see and interact with them up close (limited interaction, of course).

Sea World Orlando 2017 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

It was time to start heading out of the park. We stopped at a bakery and I got a really good oreo cheese cake, then we went towards the entrance and backtracked to another restaurant to have another small snack. The park was still open for a couple hours but we were done. We went to the front of the park and took the tram to the overflow lot. I really liked Sea World. This one was playing a mixture of themed music and Xmas music, unlike the park in San Antonio, which played no music other than around some of the rides. But I enjoyed myself. It was a long, leisurely day. I got all of the credits, save for the kiddy ride as we barely walked thru that section. Next time I’ll go when the weather is a little nicer and watch more shows.

Sea World Orlando 2017 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

Sea World Orlando 2017 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr


cebeavers.tumblr.com

Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.

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Thursday, January 4, 2018 9:48 AM
Jeff's avatar

Disappointed to hear about the app experience with food ordering. Three and a half years later, I figured they would have nailed that by now.


Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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Thursday, January 4, 2018 10:32 AM

A flourless coaster? Nice to see they have gluten-free options.

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Thursday, January 4, 2018 10:39 AM

I'm glad you liked Blaze. They have one at Disney Springs and a few others around town and we have been going once every few weeks. My favorite thing is that you pay a base price and then can add as many or few toppings as you like. This way if you like toppings, you aren't paying more for toppings than you are for pizza.

I am actually heading to SWO for the first time in several years on Saturday. Looking forward to a day in an Orlando park in "jacket weather". Can't wait to finally ride Mako, and hoping to snag a ride on Kraken without VR without having to wait hours and hours.

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Thursday, January 4, 2018 12:39 PM

When we went to Orlando to in 2007, SeaWorld was the surprise of the trip. Looking forward to getting back to SeaWorld early next week, especially Mako. I’m glad my son will get to see the orcas before they are gone.


But then again, what do I know?

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Thursday, January 4, 2018 6:50 PM
Tekwardo's avatar

Jeff said:

Disappointed to hear about the app experience with food ordering. Three and a half years later, I figured they would have nailed that by now.

It was really annoying. You add the two food passes to the cart, then click to pay, then it takes you to their website (which is an exact copy of the screen on the app anyways), but the cart would be empty. We tried several times. Then I eventually got fed up and went on their website to order. Now I keep getting emails that I 'Left something in my shopping cart'. Ugh.

Yeah, Mako is really great. Definitely the best coaster there, but the other B&Ms are good too.


cebeavers.tumblr.com

Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.

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Thursday, January 4, 2018 7:27 PM
Jeff's avatar

That's a fairly broken architecture. I have all kinds of ideas about why they might be doing it that way...


Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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Friday, January 5, 2018 7:40 PM

We haven't been to Sea World since 2010, and we thought about hitting on our recent trip through Orlando. We held off to wait until we are going to do our Orlando trip where we visit every park except Disney.

We always buy Fun cards for BGW early when they offer both the water park and amusement park for the price of a days admission. We'll visit early in the season and then again in the summer when we can do both parks.

The year we hit all parks not Disney we'll buy season passes and go to Sea World, BGT, Adventure Island, Aquatica, and Discovery Cove(We have yet to hit a Water park in Orlando not disney.) Along with Universal.

Mako does look like an exceptional layout, and I'll have to take your word on Goliath(Another park we need to get back to.) Looking forward to riding. Who knows what else will be added by the time we get back there.

Manta was by far our favorite B&M flyer(still need a visit to SFMM.) Much more comfortable with the steeper lift hill. I still like the Vekomas better except for Manta.

We also enjoy the animal shows at sea world and Busch. I'm still sad the whales will be leaving at some point. Damn animal activists. If it wasn't for the money sea world contributes to conservation where would we be? Doesn't make sense to me.

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Friday, January 5, 2018 8:00 PM

When does this “Fun Card” voodoo happen?


But then again, what do I know?

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Friday, January 5, 2018 10:54 PM
Jeff's avatar

The whales aren't going anywhere.


Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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Saturday, January 6, 2018 7:23 AM

You’re right, they aren’t being removed. But when they are gone, they’re gone for good. I’m glad my son will get to see them before they are gone.


But then again, what do I know?

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Saturday, January 6, 2018 3:31 PM

I am here now and the place is packed to the gills. I knew it wouldn't be a ghost town on a Saturday but it's still New Year's week crowds. The front gate was a cluster - to redeem a ticket and get in was a 55 minute ordeal largely due to poor operations and non existant help to assist at the self serve ticket machines.

Kraken has been absolutely destroyed with VR. What should be a people eater and "doable" ride on a busy day literally isn't even an option to ride. Manta was posting a 60 minute wait and dispatching trains only about every 5 minutes. Even the non-rider option for the penguin exhibit was a 15 minute wait.

Just got in a posted 45 minute wait to pop my Mako cherry. I should have my fanny pack revoked for allowing this much time to pass before riding it when I literally live just down the road.

Last edited by BrettV, Saturday, January 6, 2018 3:34 PM
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Saturday, January 6, 2018 3:35 PM

ShaneDenmark said:
When does this “Fun Card” voodoo happen?

The Fun card is a pass that is the same price as a one day ticket at gate price good for the remainder of the calendar year of purchase. When purchased the first week of January, it is essentially an Annual Pass that doesn't include parking.

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Saturday, January 6, 2018 3:52 PM
Jeff's avatar

Kraken wasn't operated efficiently before they put the VR crap on it. It could only get worse.


Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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Sunday, January 7, 2018 7:15 AM
sirloindude's avatar

Agreed, and I've found that to be my experience at each of the four ex-AB parks I've visited (SWO, SWSA, BGW, and BGT). They're all positively spectacular parks, but I've yet to have a visit to any of them where operations were even remotely efficient, and that's been true for the twelve years I've been visiting them.

Last edited by sirloindude, Sunday, January 7, 2018 7:16 AM
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Sunday, January 7, 2018 1:51 PM

Busch Tampa has always had abysmal ride operations. I don't remember SWO being all that terrible, but it sure was yesterday.

Kraken VR was posting a 150 minute wait with two trains. Mako took about 45 minutes with two trains stacking. Manta was posted between 40-60 with two trains dispatching roughly every 5 minutes.

Simply eyeballing how far the lines were stretched out and knowing how long the Manta & Kraken queues are, Cedar Point would have easily cranked out the number of guests in those lines in 20-30 minutes on Raptor or Rougarou running three trains. Combine this with our front gate experience yesterday and it is the main reason why I don't visit SeaWorld or Busch Tampa very often despite living in Central Florida and having access to FL resident discounts, etc.

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Sunday, January 7, 2018 8:13 PM
Jeff's avatar

Mako should be a people eater, easily. The throughput on that ride is the B&M sweet spot that parks with solid operations can hit every time. What a shame.


Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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