SeaWorld Orlando combines world-class marine life exhibits with a selection of major theme park rides, providing a unique experience for its guests. There's lots to see and do for any visitor - but what are the essential attractions that shouldn't be missed?
Since we launched our theme park guides last year, we've been collecting our readers' ratings and reviews of SeaWorld Orlando's rides and attractions (as well as those of 90+ other parks). We're focusing on SeaWorld Orlando as our "Park of the Month" in November, so we thought now would be a great time to look at the top 5 rides and attractions at the park - as rated by Theme Park Tourist readers.
5. Journey to Atlantis
One of the first thrill rides to be installed at SeaWorld Orlando, Journey to Atlantis is a hybrid water coaster-dark ride. Fittingly, it is based around the mythical underwater city of Atlantis, with guests being pulled down into the depths by the call of the evil siren Allura.
The shimmering golden seahorse Hermes guides the way towards an dramatic ending - the final splashdown is suitably spectacular, leaving guests soaked from head-to-toe.
Full details: Journey to Atlantis guide
The first major roller coaster to open at SeaWorld Orlando, Kraken is a floorless model manufactured by Swiss firm Bolliger & Mabillard. While it is inspired by the ancient, underwater beast of legend, theming is relatively light and undermined by the ride's position close to a major road.
Still, any coaster that is packed with seven, smooth inversions is going to pull in a crowd. The 150-foot-tall beast races in and out of cracks in the earth, past waterfalls, and through tunnels, splashing bystanders with plumes of spray.
Full details: Kraken guide
3. Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin
Having turned around declining attendances, SeaWorld Orlando announced in 2012 that it would build a major expansion the following year. The end result was Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin, billed as "the world's coldest theme park ride". While it lives up to that moniker, the attraction also boasts so much more, with guests able to come face-to-face with a variety of species of real-life penguins in a convincingly natural habitat.
The ride itself is a major technological achievement (if disappointingly short), combining an impressive "trackless" ride system with impressive visuals and variations in temperature. Guests experience life at the bottom of the world through the eyes of a penguin, although the set design is hardly Disney or Universal-quality.
Full details: Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin guide
2. One Ocean
SeaWorld's killer whale shows have always been one of the park's biggest draws, although they continue to cause controversy in equal measure among animal rights groups.
The latest iteration, One Ocean, boasts the usual environmentally-friendly messages. Really, though, guests are there to see the incredible stunts performed by the majestic whales. A riveting performance packed full of excellent music and beautiful creatures.
Full details: One Ocean guide
Bolliger & Mabillard has been building its flying roller coasters for some years, but Manta became by far the best example when it opened at SeaWorld Orlando in 2009. After passing through an underground exhibit filled with real rays, guests board a ride that simulates the smooth gliding of a manta ray.
The experience is impressive, particularly when riding at the front (so that you don't need to stare at the socks of the rider in front). If anything, it can be a little too intense, but the sections in which riders swoop past waterfalls and kick up spray more than make up for this. Perhaps just as importantly, Manta provides a stunning visual centrepiece close to the entrance of the park, pulling in guests and raising their excitement levels for a fantastic day out.
Full details: Manta guide
What are your favourites?
Do you disagree with the rankings above? Let us know what your favourite rides and attractions at SeaWorld Orlando are by adding your own ratings and reviews.