Important Update: Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, SeaWorld Orlando has made operational adjustments since the reopening which include opening / closing hours, attraction restrictions and dining establishments.
It is highly recommended to check the theme park web site before making plans for your next visit.
Over the past several years SeaWorld Orlando has undergone a transformation to much more of a “thrill park” with the addition of new rides & attractions including amazing roller coaster like Mako and the soon to be finished Ice Breaker to wild water rides like Infinity Falls.
If you are a thrill seeker, than a stop a SeaWorld Orlando for your next Florida vacation will needs to be on your list of things to do.
At Endless Summer Florida we enjoy making these type of posts as we really loving seeing how our ” Top 5″ list compares to other theme park visitors.
Now keep in mind that as of May 2021, the new roller coaster called Ice Breaker is not open as of yet (but we’ve watch the tests and it looks fun). So once that opens, we anticipate that it will shake up the order of our “Top 5” list.
The Top 5 Best Rides at SeaWorld Orlando
5. Journey to Atlantis
4. Infinity Falls
3. Kraken (roller coaster)
2. Manta (roller coaster)
1. Mako (roller coaster)
We know that opinions vary on what rides are the best. While some love the coaster and “thrill” rides, there are many that prefer water rides like Infinity Falls or the newer “hybrids” that are a mixture of thrill & screen rides (other than Wild Arctic, there are no hybrid rides at this time).
In the video below, we show ride highlights from a point-of-view (POV) prospective on several of our “Top 5” rides on our list. So for these videos (especially the roller coaster) you will be sitting in the seat right next to us.
Make sure you watch this video after you read this post. You will get a great feel for each of these rides.
5. Journey to Atlantis
Journey to Atlantis is a hybrid roller coaster / water ride that made its debut at SeaWorld Orlando in 1998. The ride is themed on the mythical paradise of Atlantis and was the first roller coaster at the park.
There is very limited theming in the Queue but for the most part it is covered and will get you out of the hot Florida sun. Before you get in line be sure to place your bags in the lockers just to the right of the entrance or near Kraken Unleashed. Each boat type ride vehicle is equipped for up to eight (8) passengers in two rows of seats.
After boarding your boat the ride starts of slow as you enter the template and take a tour of the City of Atlantis. However the pace picks up as you head outside and up the ramp towards the best part of the ride which is a 60-foot drop. Plan on getting soaked at this point with not only the spray but the water coming over the sides of your boat. And beware of the other guests that are trying to get you wet from the fountains.
You head back into the temple of for the final portion of the ride which is a roller coaster type experience finishing in the water to make another big splash. If the first drop did not get you wet then the finale will definitely do so.
The entire ride takes about five minutes from start to finish. Wait times can get somewhat lengthy especially on hot summer days as guest are looking to cool off from the water. Wait times typically range from 20 minutes but can exceed 45 minutes on a busy day. Quick Queue, which is SeaWorld’s version of fast pass, is available at this ride.
Journey to Atlantis has a minimum height requirement of 42 inches but any guest under 48 inches must be accompanied by a supervising companion that is at least 14 years of age.
After your ride be sure to check out the Jewels of the Sea aquarium which is just behind the gift shop. There is not only marine life all around you but above & below as well.
4. Infinity Falls
Be prepared to get fully soaked on this amazing ride. Infinity Falls is a river raft ride that is one of the newest rides at SeaWorld Orlando having opened in October 2018.
Infinity Falls ride holds the record for the tallest drop (40 feet) for a water ride and is unique as your raft is transported to the top of the drop on a elevator. The five minute ride goes along 1,520 feet of “track” where you will only experience the “drop”, but will brave the whitewater rapids.
We have seen wait times as long as 60 minutes during the hot summer days days so if you can get on this ride early before the crowds get to the park, it will definitely save you some time. There is a 42 inch height requirement and guests over 77 inches are prohibited from riding.
3. Kraken Unleashed
Kraken Unleashed is a floorless roller coaster that was originally opened in the summer of 2000. This 65 mph coaster is wild – having a total of seven inversions and two vertical loops as well as a corkscrew, cobra roll and spiraling zero-g roll making it one of the most intense coasters in Orlando.
This 4,177 foot coaster was refurbished and renamed Kraken Unleashed (from Kraken) with an optional virtual reality experience (with VR goggles). However, the virtual reality experience was pulled in the 2018 but the name remained the same. We think that the VR experience took too long to set up and limited the number of rides per hour.
Before you get in line be sure to place your bags in the lockers just to the right of the entrance. Wait times typically range from 30 to more than 60 minutes during the busy periods. Quick Queue is offered for this ride and there is a 54 inch height requirement to ride Kraken Unleashed.
The Manta roller coaster is one of the most fun coaster throughout Orlando. Riders are in a “prone position” (flying like Superman) to experience what it feels like to be a manta ray.
Opened in 2009, this ride reaches top speed of 56 miles per hour and has four inversions. It takes about two and one-half minutes to ride Manta so while it is a quick ride, it’s definitely worth the wait.
In addition to the ride there is the Manta Aquarium which features 10 unique aquariums includ a 360-degree pop-up aquarium. There are more than 3,000 marine animals includijng rays, octopus and sea dragons.
There is a 54 inch height requirement for this ride and Quick Queue is accepted Bags are not allowed on this ride and there are lockers available outside the ride entrance. Wait times vary but typically range from 20 to more than 60 minutes during the busy periods.
Mako is the most extreme coaster in central Florida known for its fast speed, deep drops and tight turns. It is the tallest, fastest and longest roller coaster in all of Orlando.
Opened in 2016 and still one of the newest rides at SeaWorld, Mako is themed after a Mako shark and has speeds of up to 73 miles per hour with drops from up to 200 feet in height.
Bags are not allowed on this ride and there are lockers available outside of the entrance. There is a 54 inch height requirement on Mako. Wait times can vary on this ride and during busy days, we have seen wait times range from 20 to more than 60 minutes. Quick Queue is also available.
Wild Arctic is a motion simulator where you take a jet-helicopter ride to Base Station Wild Arctic. However, the ride starts out with a quick film about the Arctic before moving into the ride simulator room.
Once you are in the simulator room, buckle up as you will ride above and below the surface, seeing arctic wildlife as well as fighting the arctic storms that come up. And after landing at Base Station Wild Arctic you will get up close with walruses and beluga whales in a frozen wonderland. The tour of this habitat is a walking tour where you can go at your own pace.
Depending on how much time you spend in the habitat, this experience ranges from around 15 to more than 25 minutes. Wait times can vary but typically range from 20 to 30 minutes. There is a height requirement of 42 inches for Wild Arctic.
Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin
One of the newer rides at SeaWorld Orlando, Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin opened in 2013. This ride was is a motion-simulator combined with a trackless dark ride through Antarctica featuring a penguin named Puck.
The queue at Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin is very will thought out and is broken into separate segments where you learn about the story of Puck and the penguins. As you progress through the queue, you will have to choose either a “mild” or a “wild” ride experience.
We consider both of these experiences mild in nature as the “wild” ride just adds more bobbing, twisting and turning than the mild (which is fairly stationary during the ride experience). While on the ride vehicle you take a bird’s eye view of what it is like to be a penguin (including experiencing the cold). And at the end you get to see the penguin up close in the Penguin Habitat.
Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin takes about 15 minutes for the entire experience. Wait times can vary but typically range from 20 to 45 minutes. All guests less than 48 inches in height must be accompanied by a supervising companion.
Where Should We Stay When Visiting the SeaWorld Orlando?
While there are no “on-site” hotels at SeaWorld Orlando, there are a host of hotels that are “Official SeaWorld” hotels and SeaWorld “Partner” hotels. There are a number of benefits from staying at an official or partner hotel with the difference being that official hotels include a complimentary one time Quick Queue pass per person each day of your stay.
- Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld
- DoubleTree by Hilton at SeaWorld
- Hilton Garden Inn Orlando at SeaWorld
Some of our favorite SeaWorld hotel partners include:
Other recommended hotels near SeaWorld: