Summer crowds have descended on the SeaWorld Orlando resort, with Aquatica closing at capacity most days during the busy 4th of July holiday week. Lines for Antarctica hovered around the 2 hour mark during day time hours this holiday (and we have a secret tip on how to skip those 2 hour lines). We have lots of news to share, along with a new episode of the Unofficial SeaWorld Podcast! So let’s Journey On!

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Antarctica Updates

Over at SeaWorld’s newest attractions, there have been lots of tweaks and changes since the ride opened to guests this past May!

Much Ado about Nets

We were heartbroken when we learned in early June that due to some excited jumping penguins, the nighttime nets were being used 24/7 to keep the penguins from getting too close to guests. We are thrilled to report that this past week SeaWorld has been testing the removal of the nets.

SeaWorld has done this by rolling up the bottom of the nets leaving about 2 – 3 feet of open space, allowing guests and penguins to admire each other barrier free. We have been told that so far the test is successful, and that we can begin to look forward to having the night time nets removed entirely.

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We have learned that SeaWorld does anticipate that penguins will jump out and get close to guests from time to time going forward, but that the frequent occurrence of jumping should be a thing of the past, now that the penguins have become more accustomed to their new home.

Ride Changes and dealing with Capacity

Antarctica was named the most anticipated attraction of the summer, by MiceChat, and numerous other publications. And one problem with building anticipation, and desire, is taking those big crowds that descend on your park, and moving them through your highly anticipated new attraction! Since opening Antarctica, the operations team at SeaWorld, has been working hard at moving as many guest through the facility as possible. However, when looking at the guests per hours counts, the Ops team’s current record is 950 guests in an hour, with an average of 800 guests per hour, which explains the constant 2 hour lines at the attraction. (For reference, Peter Pan’s Flight has an hourly capacity of around 800 guests)

On the ride, there have been subtle and not so subtle changes happening, with both the Mild and Wild versions of the ride. The beauty of the trackless ride system, is that it gives the engineers and designers freedom to make changes via relatively simple programming changes, and that seems to be exactly what is happening. One of the the most notable changes is that in the 2nd room, you no longer pause and look up at the Rainbow Ice fall and there seems to be more spinning. It will be fascinating to watch this ride evolve over the years.

Take a tip form the Parkhopper: For people looking to skip those 2 hour lines during the day, if you wait until the sun goes down, and when the ice begins to shine, you are most likely going to experience a wait time of 20 minutes or less!

Expedition Cafe pulling in big numbers

The new Expedition Cafe in Antarctica has become the number 2 highest grossing restaurant at SeaWorld, behind Voyagers.

New Cell Phone Charging Stations

Over by Manta, SeaWorld has installed a new cellphone charging station, where you can sit down and rest your feet while you charge your device in the shade, next to a nice Southwest Airlines advertisement of course!

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Charging cables are built right in. Let’s see how long they hold up under theme park usage.

Penguin One takes Flight

Speaking of Southwest Airlines! lol SeaWorld and Southwest have continued their 25 year partnership with the debut of Penguin One, a Boeing 737 with a lovely Gentoo Penguin wrap on the body of the plane.

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Baby Dolphin Born at SeaWorld

We are happy to report that another baby dolphin was born at SeaWorld Orlando a few weeks ago! We welcome this adorable new baby to the SeaWorld family!

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Blue Horizons Refurbishment Complete

Over at the Whale and Dolphin Theater, they have finished the refurbishment on the stage, backstage and in the theater. Sadly, as part of the refurbishment, they did not fix the side sun banners that are supposed to come out during the finale.

New Episode of the Unofficial SeaWorld Podcast

Now it is time to take a dive into the the latest SeaWorld podcast with Eric and guest host James. We’ll take you on a journey updating you on all 3 SeaWorld parks in the US, with special guest Joseph Taylor (MiceChat’s SeaWorld San Diego columnist), with news, rumors and animal rescue stories!