SeaWorld hosts a number of thrilling roller coasters and jaw-dropping entertain shows for all ages. Sea world has 4 parks in total, they are SeaWorld itself, Aquatica, Busch Gardens and Discovery Cove. I will be covering SeaWorld, Aquatica and Busch Gardens in this post.
I will start by providing tips for SeaWorld itself.
If you are trying to maximise your visit to SeaWorld, I recommend arriving 30 mins before the park actually opens, especially if you are trying to get it all done in one day. The vast amount of activities that need to be covered are not the only benefit of being early, SeaWorld has added a number of headliner roller coasters to it’s park in recent years such as Manta and Mako, the latter of which is the new fastest and tallest roller coaster in Orlando. As you can imagine, these new attractions tend to attract queues pretty early on in the day so if you are hoping to ride these coasters I suggest you do so early on in your visit.
Upon arrival, SeaWorld staff will most likely advertise preferred parking to you and your party explaining that it is closer to the park and therefore your walk will be shorter for $30. But the truth is the parking situation at SeaWorld is pretty good and the walk isn’t too bad from any parking spot. Besides, there is a tram which takes you from the car park to the main entrance every 15 minutes or so and with general parking being $20, the extra $10 seems unnecessary.
Make a Plan
I’m sure that you have been planning the day out in your head over and over as the excitement builds to your SeaWorld visit. But I highly recommend that you and your party write down a plan of the day and try to stick to it as much as possible. The reason for this is the number of entertainment shows on at SeaWorld everyday. These shows include, One Ocean (Orca Show), Dolphin Days, the Sea Lion Show, the Shamu Show (Orca Show) and Electric Ocean (On selected nights). These shows are all shown 3-4 times a day with the exception of the Shamu Show and Electric Ocean, the times of which can be found on the official SeaWorld App which can be found on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. Failing to plan which shows to watch and when can lead to you bouncing between shows and losing 30 minutes here and there which at the end of the day can amount to a couple of vital hours lost which could’ve better spent on seeing the other attractions the park has to offer.
Download the Official SeaWorld App
As briefly mentioned in the previous segment, the official SeaWorld App can be found on all major app stores and is vital in getting the most out of your visit. First of all, as previously mentioned, it provides all show times and amendments to show times should there be any. But in addition to that, he app provides users with a park map and all the queue waiting times for all attractions at the park which can prove very useful if you find yourself which a spare 30 minutes towards the latter hours of the parks opening times.
SeaWorld is a massive park! You will easily be reaching around 20,000 steps on your visit and for that reason, suitable clothing will need to be worn to keep you comfortable during your stay. My number one tip would be to wear a pair of trainers due to the amount of walking you will be doing. In addition to that, if you are visiting during the summer months, the weather can be very hot and humid so loose, airy clothing would be a safe bet to keep you comfortable.
All Day Dining Plan
SeaWorld offer an all day dining plan for $35 which is very similar to the deal which Volcano Bay offers. The deal offers 1 entree and 1 side/dessert every hour throughout you visit to the park. But if your party is not bothered about eating together then there is noting stopping you sharing the deal, and that’s exactly what me and my partner did on our last visit. We simply took it in turns to eat and saved a fortune as we would have easily spent upwards of $100 on food and drink if we had not bought the deal as food is not cheap when bought normally.
Depending on the time of year that you visit SeaWorld, Electric Ocean is shown on selected nights. If your stay falls over one on these selected nights then I highly recommend you stay to see the show which starts at 9:30pm. The spectacle shows of SeaWorld’s pyrotechnics, fireworks and water displays and is a great way to end the long day of attractions.
Busch Gardens is located about 1 hour away from SeaWorld in Tampa but is still part of the same company. Whereas SeaWorld focuses on sea creatures, Busch Gardens is very much focused on and animals across the whole world from the plains of Africa to East Asia. It is filled with large roller coasters for the most hardcore coaster fans but still has the smaller softer rides for the little ones. But there are still a few tips to get the most out of your visit and hopefully save a few pennies along the way.
Although it can be more difficult to get to Busch Gardens before opening time due to the hour drive beforehand, it is well worth the effort. Due to the amount of roller coasters at Busch Gardens, queue times are not usually that long with the exception of “Cheetah Hunt” and “Cobra’s Curse” so I suggest doing those 2 first straight after arrival. But with 9 large rides at the park you will need all the time you can get.
Save the Safari
Busch Gardens offer a safari train ride across park including the plains of Africa which is a must see on your visit. But this Safari train is easily capable of transporting over 100 people at a time and therefore queue times are non-existent as long as you plan to turn up at the station at the right time (Trains run every 30 minutes). Meaning, it is best to save the safari for when you have a spare 30 minutes on your visit and starting your visit with the busier more attractive rides when queues are still low. Doing this the wrong way round may lead to much lengthier queue times.
Much like SeaWorld, preferred parking is also offered at Busch Gardens but is not worth the extra $10 if you are able to arrive before 10:30am. Although i do suggest trying to park near the tram station which will take you straight to the main gates.
All Day Dining Plan
Again, Much like SeaWorld, Busch Gardens offer an all day dining plan allowing you to have 1 entree and 1 side/dessert every hour and unlimited drinks. But please note, the price at Busch Gardens for this deal is $40 which is $5 more expensive than the same deal at SeaWorld. “Why?” I hear you ask, I have no idea, but it is still well worth the money, especially if you utilise the deal the same way by sharing with a friend.
Although there are signs everywhere stating that no food or drink is to be taken into the park, bottled water is an exception. I strongly recommend you take your own water bottles if you are not interested in buying the All Day Dining Plan. This is because drinks are quite pricey when being purchased individual without the dining plan and due to the heat and humidity of the Florida weather, you’re going to need plenty of fluids to keep you going.
Download the Official Busch Gardens App
The Official Busch Gardens App which can be downloaded for free from all major app stores is vital to getting the most out of your day. It’s layout is much the same of the SeaWorld app and the same information can be seen (Park map and rides queue times). Due to a lack of entertainment shows at Busch Gardens, you will find yourself using the app mainly for seeing the queue times for the rides you wish to go on. You will be able to see the size of the queue for a ride on the other side of the park.
Busch Gardens offer a range of unique experience opportunities to get up close to many of the animals at the park. All sorts of animals are available to encounter from gorillas to tigers and at prices between $19 and $39 per encounter, the price isn’t too bad for what could be a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Aquatica is SeaWorld’s main water park and is a welcome reak from the hussle and bussle of the theme parks in the area. Aquatica is a much more relaxing experience than thenother two parks on this blog and is ideal for those who enjoy sunbathing by the beach as well as enjoying action packed water slides. Take a look at the following tips before your visit:
Much like the other SeaWorld parks, being early is essential to getting the most out of your day, but the benefit of being early is slightly different at Aquatica. SeaWorld have a great focus on safety at Aquatica and have been known to turn guests away to avoid overcrowding when attendance numbers get too high. To avoid disappointment i suggest getting to the park no later than 10am to ensure your entry.
Bring your own food
Unlike the oter SeaWorld parks, Aquatica does allow you to take a cooler into the park for your snacks. You can’t take a feast though, Aquatica only allow individual size snacks such as a bag of crisps or fruit snacks and bottled water into the park with you. But these items alone could save you a fortune by not having to buy them in the park.
Don’t walk around barefoot
This tip become especially useful in the summer months as temperatures can reach north of 35 degrees Celsius (95 Fahrenheit) when the floor can become very hot. Aquatica have tried to solve the issue by installing small sprinklers on the edge of walkways to cool the pathways but you will still encounter patches of scorching pavement. To avoid this all together i advise you to wear something on your feet when walking around the park to avoid burns and use the shoe holders provided should you wish to go on any rides.
Take sun tan lotion
Again, this tips is especially applicable in the summer months when temperatures soar. But much of Aquatica’s seating areas are in direct sunlight for a least some part of the day. This is great for sun lovers as it’s a great chance to catch that golden tan you can take back home and show off to your friends.But not great for those looking to have a break from the sun every no and again. Whether you love the sun or not I strongly recommend you take plenty of sun tan lotion with you to avoid bad burns.