15 Best SeaWorld Orlando Tips to Help You Make the Most of Your Day!
SeaWorld Orlando is where the magic of the ocean comes to life in Orlando, Florida! Perfectly situated on International Drive, the heart of the tourist district, SeaWorld Orlando is a fantastic way to spend a day in Orlando for visitors of all ages.
From awe-inspiring animal shows and encounters to some of the best rollercoasters in Orlando, there is so much to do at this unique park. This park is perfect for all ages with its sesame street-inspired kids area to adrenaline-rushing coasters.
However, navigating this park can be a bit overwhelming if it is your first time. As an Orlando local, I have put together my top tips to provide you with essential tips to maximize your day and ensure an unforgettable adventure.
Here are my 15 BEST tips to help you have the best day at SeaWorld Orlando!
Tip 1 – Arrive Early to SeaWorld Orlando
Arriving early at any theme park in Orlando is the best way to maximize your time at a park. SeaWorld Orlando is no exception. Located in the heart of the tourist district, Sea World can see long lines depending on the line of year you choose to visit.
Arrive 30 minutes before the park opening to allow yourself time to park the car, walk to the front entrance, and get organized for your incredible day ahead.
SeaWorld Orlando opens its park in phases, meaning for the first hour of park operation, not everything will be open. When you arrive, it’s best to ask a crew member what rides will be open for the first hour of the park. You can choose to ride the open rides, or begin your wait for Pipeline, Sea World’s newest coaster, and the only Stand-Up coaster in Florida!
The morning will be your opportunity to get the big rides out of the way. In the first two hours of park operation, I would suggest you ride these rides, as the waits get long.
- Journey to Atlantis
- Infinity Falls (Water Ride. Ride early on a hot day)
These three coasters see the longest waits throughout the day, so ride them early in the morning, or wait for later in the day.
Additionally, if you are visiting on a hot day in Orlando, ride Infinity Falls as early as possible. This family-style raft ride has the longest waits in the park in the afternoon. It is best to ride this as early as you can in your day but be warned, you will get SOAKED!
Tip 2 – Know When To Visit SeaWorld Orlando
Knowing when to plan your trip to SeaWorld can make or break your trip.
The best times of year to visit are during Late January, February, May, September, October, and Early November.
Visiting during these times are drastically reduce crowds in the park. If you cannot visit during one of these times, no worries! The best days to visit SeaWorld are Monday-Thursday. Visiting on the weekdays will reduce park attendance, because less locals will be visiting.
The busiest times of year to visit SeaWorld are over major holidays. These times are Christmas, Thanksgiving, and 4th of July.
But, visiting SeaWorld during these crowded times can be magical because SeaWorld puts on amazing fireworks shows during these times of the year. Additionally, SeaWorld has one of the best Christmas celebrations in all of Orlando.
Over Christmas, SeaWorld fills its parks with an over-the-top display of Christmas lights. It truly turns into a winter wonderland.
There are events happening at SeaWorld year-round, check the SeaWorld events page in advance, to see what interests you the most!
Tip 3 – Carry a Fanny Pack
Packing light for your day at SeaWorld is one way to minimize headaches during your trip. I recommend packing in a fanny pack and just bring the essentials.
Unlike Disney and Universal, Sea World has a strict loose articles policy on rides and required you to purchase a locker in order to ride.
The locker prices, as of summer 2023, can be seen below.
If you bring a bag larger than a traditional fanny pack, it must go inside the locker. The locker system is nice because you can pay only $10 a day to have a locker available all day, but these areas can become crowded and sometimes are hard to find.
Minimize the stress by carrying a small bag.
Inside your fanny pack, I recommend bringing the following items.
- Your park ticket
- Cell Phone
Fanny packs are allowed on every ride at SeaWorld and must be worn on the ride. If you have loose articles such as a hat, sunglasses, cellphone, etc. there are bins next to the ride for you to use.
With these essentials, you should have everything you need for a successful day at the parks. Of course, if you need more than these items listed, that is okay as you have lockers available to you.
Tip 4 – Free Water/Drink Water
DRINK WATER! SeaWorld offers free water to all of its visitors. This is a park that requires a lot of time spent outside. The Florida sun is no joke, and it is important to stay hydrated. Drink water regularly to avoid dehydration later in the day.
Especially if you are visiting from out of state, and not used to the Florida heat, dehydration can kick in quicker than you think. From my experience in working in the Orlando theme parks, it happens all too often. Please please please, DRINK WATER!
To get free water, head to any of the drink stalls and ask where you can get free water to take advantage of this.
You can also purchase a refillable cup and use it throughout your visit.
Tip 5 – Plan Your Shows Ahead
SeaWorld Orlando offers many amazing shows throughout the day. From keeper talks, animal shows, and theater performances, there are so many to take advantage of!
I recommend planning your shows ahead, or early in your day, and prioritize what is important to you. Have a look on the SeaWorld App to see what time the shows will be. Some animals only have 1 show per day, and other have 6. Talk to your group and see what is important to you.
The Keeper Talks are opportunities to learn more about these incredible animals. At the keeper talks, you will hear from one of SeaWorlds amazing keepers and learn how they care for the animal, fun facts about the animals, and hear stories about the animals.
The Animal Shows are with the dolphins, Sea Lions & Otters, and the Orcas. These shows are an opportunity to see the trainers with the animals. These shows are high energy and popular to attend. You’ll see the animals swim, jump, and play with their trainer, as well as learn a bit about them too! If you want to visit the animal shows, I recommend arriving 20 minutes early to get a seat, or 45 minutes early to the Orcas show.
Pro-tip: Arrive early to the Sea Lions & Otters to see the SeaWorld mime! This hilarious improv show happens 15-20 minutes before the start of the show, and should not be missed!
Tip 6 – Download the SeaWorld Orlando App
Before your visit to SeaWorld Orlando, download the app! The SeaWorld app is free and easy to use. The app offers a map of the park, show times, ride information, food ordering, animal experiences, and more!
This app will be your lifeline during your visit.
One of my favorite features of the app is the “map” section, which allows you to type in where you want to go and then provides directions! Your first time at a park can be overwhelming if you don’t know where you are going, so this feature is fantastic to help first-timers!
Additionally, use this app to plan your showtimes at. I recommend downloading the app in advance and having a look at it. Many of the showtimes stay consistent and don’t change too much.
Additionally, you can download your ticket to your app and have everything in the palm of your hand!
I personally like the SeaWorld Orlando app more than the Universal Orlando app, and find it very easy to use.
Tip 7 – Consider All-Day Dining Plan
If you plan to spend all day at SeaWorld Orlando, consider purchasing the all-day dining plan. Starting at $49.99 per adult, this dining plan gets you 1 drink, 1 entree, and 1 dessert every 90 minutes! It is an incredible deal, if you plan on eating at least twice in the park.
The average lunch entree in SeaWorld is around $17, then add a drink and dessert, it’s about $30 per meal. This dining plan can save you serious money if you use it right.
Although SeaWorld Orlando isn’t known for its food, like other parks, SeaWorld has a wide variety of food options included with the dining plan.
There are 8 quick-service restaurants included in this dining package, from Mexican-inspired cuisine to American and BBQ, there is something for everyone.
Pro-tip: Try to eat during off-peak times. Eat at nontraditional times to avoid lines and enjoy a more relaxing atmosphere. This means eating early or late in the day, around 3-4 pm.
Tip 8 – Ride Rides in the Morning and Evening
This tip applies to most theme parks in Orlando, ride rollercoasters, and attractions in the morning and evening. This is when the rides have the shortest wait times during the day. Arrive early to knock some rides out, and stay late to experience the shortest waits.
Note that many of the rollercoasters will close early due to fireworks. As you go throughout your day, notice what attractions will be closing earlier.
Spend your afternoon enjoying the keeper talks, animal shows, and aquariums. There are so many hidden gems and aquariums in SeaWorld to keep you cool during the hot afternoons.
I highly recommend the Shark exhibit, as its a great way to stay cool and see some incredible sharks up close. The Shark exhibit will get crowded in the rain, as many people flock there.
Additionally, the Antarctic Penguins are a fantastic way to stay cool, but the outside line can get quite long. This is best to visit in the late afternoon.
Tip 9 – Stay for the Nighttime Dance Party and Fireworks
SeaWorld truly comes to life at night! As previously mentioned, SeaWorld has many events happening throughout the year. Most of which happen at night. From concerts to dance parties, SeaWorld Orlando always has something going on.
Stay in the evening to enjoy many of these offerings, including the fireworks.
SeaWorld’s fireworks happen in the lake in the center of the park. Most nights, the fireworks are a quick 10 minutes. During New Year’s and 4th of July holidays, SeaWorld puts on one of the best firework displays in Orlando.
On a regular night, the fireworks are best viewed from the Bayside Stadium but can be viewed anywhere around the park. To avoid crowds, I’d recommend watching them from in front of the Pipeline Rollercoaster. This walkway has benches and lots of space for people to spread out, then you beat the crowds on the way out.
Tip 10 – Buy Tickets Online in Advance for SeaWorld Orlando
One of the best things you can do before your visit to SeaWorld Orlando is to purchase tickets online in advance. You can purchase tickets on the website or with a 3rd party reseller.
I have found Costco to give the best ticket deals to SeaWorld.
If you purchase online, be sure to look at the ticket options. SeaWorld is a sister park to Busch Gardens, Aquatica Waterpark, and Adventure Island Waterpark. Package your tickets for the best pricing. Purchasing online is where you will be able to receive discounts.
Buying tickets at the gate can have long lines and cost the most money. In the morning, the lines to purchase tickets at the parks become extremely crowded. The last thing you want to do during your trip to SeaWorld is stand in a line before you are even inside the park!
Tip 11 – Dress Appropriately and Wear Sunscreen
Orlando has four seasons, hot, hotter, rainy, and warm. Being in the sunshine state, it is important to dress appropriately for the day. I recommend wearing lightweight dry-fit clothes to maximize your comfort. You might even want to pack a swimsuit if you have little travelers with you.
It rains a lot in Florida, so you can be prepared for the rain by wearing dry-fit clothes or packing rain gear. If you need, you can purchase ponchos inside the park. These can be useful while riding the water ride and sitting in splash zones during the animal shows as well.
Leave the jeans at home, and wear something you can move easily in. In the event you are traveling in January or February, Orlando can receive a few cold days a year during these months. Pack a sweatshirt or something warm.
No matter the day, be sure to check the weather before your trip!
Additionally, wear comfortable shoes! You will be doing a lot of walking during your day, as SeaWorld Orlando is a big park. Wear comfortable shoes that you have worn before.
Lastly, wear sunscreen! The Florida sun is no joke, and you will burn easier than you think you will. Be sure to lather up the sunscreen in the morning and throughout the day.
Pro-tip: Pack a portable fan or a cooling towel to help you stay cool in the hot summer months.
Tip 12 – Visit Aquariums During the Rain at SeaWorld Orlando
As previously mentioned, Orlando receives a lot of rain. Especially if you are visiting in the summer months of June, July, August, and September, expect rain every day.
It is best to embrace the rain during your trip, as it is just a part of life down here. If it plans to rain on you during your trip, have a plan. What indoor things can you do? Check out the Antarctica Penguins, have a look around the Shark Encounter, or visit the rescue and rehabilitation turtles and manatees.
SeaWorld, in my opinion, is an awesome rainy-day park because there is a lot to see and do inside. Plan these visits to the indoor attractions during the rain, but note they will get crowded.
Another way to spend your time during those afternoon rain showers is to eat! Have your lunch or dinner during this time to maximize your day. Many of the quick-service restaurants are inside and will keep you dry.
Tip 13 – See the Shows and Entertainers!
SeaWorld Orlando has an indoor theater that is dedicated to Broadway-style shows. Currently, they are showing the Surf Holiday and Nautilus Theater and Sesame Street Party Parade. This show includes singing, dancing, and a story about conservation. These shows are fun for everyone and worth seeing.
I absolutely love the Sesame Street land, even as an adult. It is extremely well done and offers shade, indoor entertainment, and a parade!
These really are hidden gems in SeaWorld Orlando.
Additionally, you will find street performers on stilts walking around the park. Interact with them and take photos, they are a lot of fun!
Tip 14 – Animal Encounters and Tours at SeaWorld Orlando
Get up close and personal with the sealife with animal experiences! Encounter Beluga Whales, Walrus, Dolphins, Penguins, and more with these VIP tours!
These tours take you behind the scenes to learn more about these amazing animals and how SeaWorld cares for then. The tours are a great way to learn more about SeaWorld but also have a unique and memorable experience at the parks.
These bucket-list experiences are unlike anything else you can get in Orlando and are worth trying on your next trip to SeaWorld.
If you are looking for a more premium experience, head across the street to Discovery Cove to swim with Dolphins.
Tip 15 – Eat at Sharks Underwater Grill
One of the best-kept secrets of SeaWorld Orlando is its amazing dining! Eat at the Sharks Underwater Grill for the experience of a lifetime. Not only is the atmosphere here insanely cool, but it also offers you a break from your busy theme park day. This is one of the best dining experiences in all of Orlando, and worth visiting!
On most days, this place doesn’t get too full, meaning you can book reservations the day of or walk up.
The Sharks Underwater Grill is located conveniently next to the shark exhibit, and once again, offers a rare and unique view of these magnificent creatures all around you.
Planning a trip to SeaWorld’s Aquatica Water Park? Check out my guide here!