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 coasters like Mako and 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 10” list compares to other theme park visitors. Please keep in mind that this list is as of January 2023 and with the opening of Pipeline: The Surf Coaster in 2023, we anticipate a shake up in our list.
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).
Make sure you watch the videos for each ride so you can get a feel for the intensity and fun factor.
The Top 10 Best Rides & Attractions at SeaWorld Orlando
10. Sky Tower (observation tower)
9. Super Grover’s Box Car Derby (roller coaster)
8. Dolphin Adventures (animal show)
7. Journey to Atlantis (hybrid roller coaster)
6. Orca Encounter (animal show)
5. Infinity Falls (water ride)
4. Kraken (roller coaster)
3. Manta (roller coaster)
2. Ice Breaker (roller coaster)
1. Mako (roller coaster)
10. Sky Tower
Guests visiting SeaWorld Orlando can see all of Orlando from the Sky Tower. One of the original attractions when the park first opened in 1974, this observation capsule takes you to to heights of 400 feet in the air where you can see all the way to downtown Orlando on a clear day.
We have seen queue times as long as 30 minutes during typical summer days but it is definitely worth the wait. Guests under 48 inches in height must be accompanied by a supervising companion.
Unfortunately the Sky Tower is a premium experience and costs $5 per rider. Silver, Gold and Platinum annual passholders are able to ride free to charge.
9. Super Grover’s Box Car Derby
One of the most popular family friendly attractions at SeaWorld Orlando is Super Grover’s Box Car Derby. This entry level roller coaster than is perfect for first time roller coaster riders and is located in Sesame Street Land section of the park.
Riders must be a minimum of 38 inches in height and those between 38 and 41 inches must be accompanied by a supervising companion. Due to the attraction’s limited capacity, wait times can exceed 30 minutes on a typical summer day.
8. Dolphin Adventures
Dolphin Adventures is one of SeaWorld’s most popular shows featuring the well known bottlenose dolphins.
Located in the Dolphin Theater, in this fairly new show guests will learn more about the dolphins story including “what’s behind their playfulness” as well as their “natural behaviors and the traits they’ve evolved to help them survive and thrive”.
There are multiple shows offered throughout the course of the day which typically start just after park opening and end before sunset.
7. Journey to Atlantis
Originally opened in 1998, Journey to Atlantis is a hybrid water themed roller coaster that features one of the best drops of any water ride in Orlando. Guests board an an 8-person boat where the journey begins in the lost City of Atlantis before climbing to the top of the temple where the 60-foot drop awaits. The final part of the ride is a short roller coaster blast and into another pool of water.
Wait times at Journey to Atlantis range from 20 minutes but can exceed 45 minutes on a typical summer day. Quick Queue is available and there is a minimum height requirement of 42 inches. Any guest under 48 inches must be accompanied by a supervising companion that is at least 14 years of age.
6. Orca Encounter
The premier show at SeaWorld Orlando is the Orca Encounter. This current version of the “Shamu Show” originally opened on January 1, 2020 and is structured as 30-minute educational and entertainment presentation. According to SeaWorld’s web site, the “Orca Encounter will leave you with a deeper understanding of these magnificent animals and will inspire you to care even more profoundly for the wonders of our natural world”.
Situated within Shamu Stadium and held several times a day, guests will learn how orcas (killer whales) live, hunt and play. There are several different parts of the show for guests to enjoy including a video presentation as well as trainers interacting live with the orcas.
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.
Kraken 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. 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.
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 include a 360-degree pop-up aquarium. There are more than 3,000 marine animals including 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.
2. Ice Breaker
All new for 2022 is the Ice Breaker roller coaster. Ice Breaker is a unique roller coaster experience as it is a multi-directional launch vertical drop coaster that features a 100 degree vertical spike, four launches, a 93 foot tall top hat and multiple air time events.
Rider will experience speeds of up to 52 miles per hour as they breeze along the shores of the SeaWorld central lagoon.
There is a 54 inch height requirement to ride alone and guests between 48 and 54 inches must be accompanied by a supervising companion at least 14 years of age or older.
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.
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.
Here is a list of some of our favorite Official SeaWorld Hotels
Jerry Joyce has been a Florida resident since 1998 and has lived in a variety of places in the South Florida area. Jerry is an avid boater & water sports enthusiast, beach aficionado, a lover of great food, muscle car fan and a theme park annual passholder for many years.
Some of his favorite places in Florida include the Florida Keys, Walt Disney World, Cedar Key, the Loxahatchee River, St. Augustine and Ten Thousand islands.