SeaWorld Orlando Summer Update and Antarctica Changes

Written by Eric Davis. Posted in Aquatica, Contests and Events, Discovery Science Center, Florida, Fun, Knott's Berry Farm, Orlando Parkhopper, Orlando Parks, Other Destinations, Podcasts, SeaWorld Orlando, The Unofficial SeaWorld Podcast, Uncategorized, X Marks the Spot

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Published on July 14, 2013 at 3:00 am with 7 Comments

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!

About Eric Davis

By day, Eric is in Marketing and Social Media. But on the weekends, he's a theme park addict. Eric is a frequent contributor to MiceChat's Orlando Parkhopper columns and tends to focus his efforts on what's new and what's news at Universal Studios and SeaWorld.

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7 Comments

Comments for SeaWorld Orlando Summer Update and Antarctica Changes are now closed.

  1. Thanks for the update Eric. Have they shortened the ride time on Empire of the Penguins in the process? I assume that is the only way to accomplish additional efficiency with the exception of adding more vehicles? How long does it run now? It’s a little sad (having not ridden it yet) but I guess a natural progression with such high demand. Thanks again for your great work!

    • Hey Country Bear,

      Sorry for the confusion, the ride has been tweaked, but not shortened. The length of the ride depends on what door your board from. Door 4 being the shortest ride experience, and Door 1 being the longest ride experience.

      What is being tweaked is how the ride moves and interacts. I love this ride. I can’t wait to see how much it changes over the years as they tweak this ride and continue to improve it.

      Cheers,

      Eric

  2. Unfortunately I feel the Sea World San Diego 50th celebration will be centered around the new entryway and possibly a renovated show as opposed to any new rides or shows. There are just too many clearances to get from local & state government for them to really start on a new ride now for next year, and a completely new show seems to require lots of changes to facilities and infrastructure well beyond anything shown to date (Blue Horizons closed the old Dolphin Stadium for a year to make the needed changes, and the old 4D Theater had been closed since Christmas just to set up a stage for the new Madagascar show).

    A show renovation I’d like to see for the 50th would be a new ride movie for Wild Arctic, and maybe a more extensively themed line & pre-show presentation, too. Maybe SeaWorld could theme the outside of the Wild Arctic & Penguin Encounter buildings with some of the sculptural and light-up ice & snow elements designed for Antarctica in Florida? Just turn that whole corner of the park into a wonderland of white & glowing ice formations, including the two shops and the food cart(s).

    I know there are changes planned for the area between the new Madagascar show and the Sharks/Turtles encounters building, but will they start on ripping out the old buildings and the garden while the whole front of the park is already behind construction walls?

    Something I’d like to see would be a real sit-down dining restaurant with a decent menu and an exclusive in-park experience; something like a Sea World version of the Blue Bayou or Mrs. Knotts

    • I agree that a nice sit down restaurant would be GREAT for SeaWorld San Diego. Out here in Orlando, luckily we have Sharks Under Water Grille. Which is top notch!

      But I am excited about all the changes at SeaWorld San Diego. I am hoping for some new shows, but I understand your worries, as construction does take time.

      But we will keep you updated with the news and rumors as we hear them!

      Cheers,

      Eric

  3. Unfortunately I feel the Sea World San Diego 50th celebration will be centered around the new entryway and possibly a renovated show as opposed to any new rides or shows. There are just too many clearances to get from local & state government for them to really start on a new ride now for next year, and a completely new show seems to require lots of changes to facilities and infrastructure well beyond anything shown to date (Blue Horizons closed the old Dolphin Stadium for a year to make the needed changes, and the old 4D Theater had been closed since Christmas just to set up a stage for the new Madagascar show).

    A show renovation I’d like to see for the 50th would be a new ride movie for Wild Arctic, and maybe a more extensively themed line & pre-show presentation, too. Maybe SeaWorld could theme the outside of the Wild Arctic & Penguin Encounter buildings with some of the sculptural and light-up ice & snow elements designed for Antarctica in Florida? Just turn that whole corner of the park into a wonderland of white & glowing ice formations, including the two shops and the food cart(s).

    I know there are changes planned for the area between the new Madagascar show and the Sharks/Turtles encounters building, but will they start on ripping out the old buildings and the garden while the whole front of the park is already behind construction walls?

    Something I’d like to see would be a real sit-down dining restaurant with a decent menu and an exclusive in-park experience; something like a Sea World version of the Blue Bayou or Mrs. Knotts. Maybe in the old Hawaiian Punch location behind the Sky Ride’s former ticket booth? Bring back the old patio and fire pits with their view of the sunset over Mission Bay.

  4. Quick comment test.

    • quick reply test. lol