Busch Gardens Tampa, Tampa Bay, Florida, USA
SeaWorld Orlando, Orlando, Florida, USA
Hello to all my fellow coaster/theme park enthusiasts. I'm really late with this report. It's been in my phone typed and ready but I just didn't feel like posting it. Forgive me if I missed the deadline ;-).
Today's Trip report will be about Seaworld Orlando. I haven't been to this park since 2000. That was when Kraken made it's debut and I came with my family. This visit came because I'd been in Orlando since mid June and was leaving, to go back home in NYC, today. I wanted to try out Manta check out a few other rides & attractions there. I went with a few close friends on the start on the 4th of July Weekend, which was Friday July 3. Man, I didn't really expect such a head ache in wait times. My God!
We arrived at the park around 1PM but didn't get inside until 2PM. The parking lot was ridiculously full resulting in them using what it looks to be employee parking; near the Human Resource building. This is where we ended up parking. Once we got to the park entrance one of my friends needed to purchase a ticket/passport. Why she didn't wanna use a credit card/debit card is beyond me but I waited as the line moved SLOW.
Upon entry we headed straight for Manta.
Wait Time - 100 minutes!?!? Why?
There was no way in hell I was going to wait that long for a flying coaster even if it was B&M. Only one I'm close to in NY is Superman: Ultimate Flight at Six Flags Great Adventure. Although Superman has that awesome Pretzel Loop and inline twist, it just doesn't do anything for me. I so badly wanted to ride Manta right now, cause in person, it just looks amazing! But, we figured it was more to do first before that.
We went through the Manta Exhibit, not sure if I'm saying the name right, right next to Manta and I thought it was well designed. Love the tank were you can go underneath it and look as if your with the fish.
We then walked towards the back of the park to check out the wait times for Kraken & Journey to Atlantis. Kraken was next.
Wait Time - 40 minutes (That's what I'm talking about)!
Last time I rode Kraken I was only between 11 - 13. At that time I'd only ridden Medusa @ Great Adventure & Batman: The Dark Knight @ Six Flags Worlds of Adventure (Yes I'm aware of the park's closing & name change). I was in love with Kraken's design, theming, & color that it became my favorite looping/floorless coaster. Back then it was a slow day and I ended up riding about 13 times. With those expectations in mind again, I was hoping for the same experience.
The Kraken lurking right at the very front of the entrance still looks good although I do think it's a little faded in the left eye. Maybe it's just me. I didn't realize how small the que line was compared to the other Theme park/amusement parks I've been to. It's not likely to be huge anyway if there running all three trains, not stacking, and filling every available seat.
First ride of the day in the back, the seat furthest to the right, was awesome. Loved the every inversion on the ride, as it smoothly takes each of them like it's nothing. I feel that no pressure was applied to the mid course brakes but I'm not complaining. Loved it. Now I do wish the ride had a double helix or a few more turns after the final corksrew.
Now the only thing that was really upsetting was that they refused to operate with 3 trains. It just doesn't make any sense that on a day where the water is full to capactiy until 5PM, your theme park is open from 9Am-11PM, all shows & attractions are jammed pack, not to mention that it's independence day weekend, that there short staffed. I kid you not that Kraken's dispatch was like pretty much pushing 2 minutes. Seems like they basically let the next train go after the first one reach the brakes right by the transfer track. Plus they were even letting people with quick que line seat first before they opened the airgates. The coaster staff definately didn't seem like they enjoyed there job. 9/10
We checked out the Whale & Dolphin Theater to see the Blue Horizons. I thought everything was pretty good. Not the show I was looking for but the dolphins were fun to watch. 8/10
In the same area,we went to the Manatee Rescue & Alligator Exhibits. The alligators are extremely small compared to Busch Gardens Tampa. I wasn't to fond of the size of the area compared to Busch Gardens but at least it's a little bit "Up close" to the animals.
Moving towards the Dolphin Cove area, we first went to see the underwater viewing of them until someone mentioned you can touch them on the upper level. Aww how I just wish I could've paid the few to swim with them. A few of them came up to us and let us touch them. I backed off a few times because I just got scared. Finally touched on and just had a bit of a coaster rush.
We finally did Manta around 5:50PM...well waited in line for it.
Wait time - 130 minutes
I could not beleive I actually waited about an hour in a half for a flying coaster. The dispatch was even worst, averaging about 5 minutes. A ride that is clearly a hit with the crowds I would expect Seaworld to have this coaster moving to full capacity.
Anyway the ride itself amazing. The only other flying coaster I've been on is Superman: Ultimate Flight and this blows it out the box! The pretzel loop of course is the best inversion and the corksrew before the mid course breaks. I do like how non riders can see the whole course and even watch riders lay on their stomach, as the train goes up the hill. Best seat I would say is the front row, far left or back far left.
I'm a huge fan of sea life so being in a que line that's filled with different types of fish was great. It kept me busy once we were inside the cave. I also like where the train skims water on a few guests waiting in line as it makes turn near the waterfall. It was funny seeing my friend get wet unexpectedly.
Throughout the rest of the night, we visited the Stingray Lagoon, Shark Encounter, Wild Arctic(The ride side), Shamu Rocks - The finale show.
Also That night was the 4th of July at Seaworld: Reflections Fireworks and Patriotic Finale. 10/10
Magic Kingdom's Wishes and Epcot's Reflections definitely has some competition with this final show. I'm not sure if they do it every night, but it was awesome. Adding the Patriots show was a great touch.
For a park that's in the top 10 for most visited in the world they have got to do a better job with just the ride capacity during peak times. I would definitely go back and visit this park, to be honest, over busch gardens Tampa. Yes Busch Gardens has Gwazi, Montu, Kumba, & Sheikra but overall, when it comes to Theme Park entertainment, Sea World Orlando takes it. They just have to brush up on that "Disney" Hospitality, lol
Sorry for it being so long :-(
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