Although founded in San Diego in the 1960s, SeaWorld has been a staple of Orlando, Florida, vacations since 1973 when the park opened just two years after Walt Disney World.
Today, it draws roughly 5 million visitors a year, so no trip to Orlando is complete without a stop at this park. And to make sure you get the most out of your visit—even if it’s just one day—we’re sharing our list of the top five rides, shows and attractions at SeaWorld.
5. One Ocean
Starting off our countdown is the One Ocean show. This magnificent display of acrobatics by the killer whales is the park’s classic water show. What really makes this show work is the close relationship between the whales and the trainers as they produce entertaining stunts that are coupled with an inspirational message.
Here’s a tip: Bring a waterproof camera if you plan on sitting up close during the show. Killer whales displace a lot of water when they land their jumps.
4. Journey to Atlantis
As we count down our list, we turn our attention toward Journey to Atlantis.
Now it’s your turn to make a big splash. In this log flume ride, you’ll enter the mythical, sunken kingdom of Atlantis. Suddenly, you’re cast from the darkness and back into the world above as you’re tossed down a 60-foot drop into the water below. A few final twists and turns are sure to have you soaked.
3. Blue Horizon
Landing at No. 3 is the high-flying performance, Blue Horizon. This energetic program features the talents of bottlenose dolphins in choreographed acrobatics while the show tells the story and adventures of a young girl named Marina as she explores the wonder of the sea and all its creatures.
But let’s be clear: It’s the highly intelligent dolphins and their supporting cast of beautiful tropical birds which always steal the show.
Coming in at No. 2 on our list is Manta!
Since 2009, Manta has been a can’t-miss part of SeaWorld Orlando. First, you get to enjoy majestic aquariums of manta rays while you queue up, but then the excitement begins. You'll lie facedown and soar through the sky just like a manta skimming through the seas. The smooth-riding coaster begins with an inverted nosedive that hits an exhilarating 56 miles per hour. You’ll experience a pretzel loop, two inline twists and even a corkscrew while barely missing a waterfall. It’s two and a half minutes of pure flying fun.
Just when you thought you were safe, here comes our No. 1 pick: Kraken!
This monster coaster is consistently ranked as one of the top rides in the world. The steel coaster climbs to almost 150 feet before dropping riders into loops, corkscrews and other hair-raising twists. You’ll have great views of the park, reach speeds of up to 65 miles per hour and hit almost 4 Gs of force. Oh and did we mention the best part? There’s no floor below your feet!
One last travel tip before your SeaWorld trip: The rides and shows are great, but ask about the daily feeding schedule for the animals. It makes for an even more interactive experience for your family.