This Week, SeaWorld Orlando released a new promotional teaser video advertising Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin.  This new mega attraction and land will transport visitor to the frosty southern reaches of Earth for an up-close encounter with these beloved birds of the snow. Set to open in 2013, the new land will replace what was once the Penguin encounter and will take up a large section of the center of the park.

Speculation has remained high in regards to what type of attraction will be built to take visitors through the glacial landscape.  Would it be a boat ride, a slow moving dark ride or something different?  Well, if the new video is any indication, we may have our answer.

The video suggests that the ride will utilize a trackless system similar to Tokyo Disneyland’s Pooh Honey Hunt attraction. Though, simulated rides videos often take great liberties with what the actual ride experience will be. It also appears that we may have missed a clue delivered in the poster a while back.  Let’s look at that again.

Notice the vehicle in the background of this poster.

Looking closely, we can clearly see that there is a large white base under a boat shaped vehicle.

The vehicle in the foreground is obscured with a splash of water. Is this an artistic liberty taken to convey the illusion of maritime fun or will this be a mix of trackless conveyance and water attraction?  Regardless of the direction, we are excited! Below are pictures of the current construction.

We are really looking forward to what SeaWorld has in store for us when the attraction opens next year. So, what did you think of that video? Did you spot any more clues? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

  • steve76

    It looks like the same system as Aquatopia in Tokyo DisneySEA – a trackless vehicle (like Pooh’s Hunny Hunt) but pottering around in a couple of inches of water. But with added penguins!

    It looks fun!

  • The vehicles look high enough off the ground that they might have motion bases as well. I really do hope that your theory about these being trackless is true. That would be fantastic,

    Very interested in this ride and all of the Antarctic expansion. Looking forward to hearing more.

  • Timekeeper

    I hope it’s trackless and I hope it kicks Disney World in the shins for sticking their noses up at the notion.


    • I hate to say this, but I feel the same way. I think the best thing that could happen for Disney World fans is for Universal and SeaWorld to deliver so many new attractions which out-shine Disney that Disney World is finally forced to do something really big.

  • chesirecat

    From my perspective, you have trackless vehicles that travel about on concrete painted to look like blue frozen ice. The vehicle at the end is not splashing down in water, but kicking up some ice/snow (IMHO, you can see chunks of snow clearly).

    So, you ride on a trackless system through a polar/dark ride with some penguins, and when you get off you walk through a penguin exhibit which uses artfully hidden barriers so you feel that you walking around in the polar region.


    I assumed that was what it was going to be since that poster was released. It was pretty clear from the car in the back that’s what it was.

    I don’t think there will be physical water directly under the vehicle, though I suppose it could be possible. Maybe it will go down a slight slope into a foot or so of water.

    I do think that splash is indeed a “artistic liberty” though, just as the people standing just off the path of the ride vehicle and within feet of penguins with no barricades is.

  • KingEric

    What I am excited about is getting close to the penguins. It looks like you will really be able to explore Antarctica.

    Also these buildings are going to be MASSIVE.