Each of the parks covered here has its own specialties and special features. It will help your planning to have a basic understanding of what each offers. Here they are in the order that they are covered in this book. I have provided the shortest URL (or Internet address) to get you to each park’s web site, but you will have to do some more clicking to get to the information you want. In addition, all of these parks can be reached via... www.seaworldparks.com.
In many ways the centerpiece of the SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment empire in central Florida, SeaWorld is dedicated to marine mammals, especially the orca (or killer whale) personified by Shamu, the park's star. The signature experiences here are a series of spectacular shows, starring whales, dolphins, sea lions, and other creatures, presented several times each day in large covered amphitheaters. There is also a small (but growing) selection of thrill rides, but they are more in the nature of an "extra added attraction" than the main order of business. There are some very nice dining options that lure annual passholders for frequent return visits.
This upscale theme park limits daily attendance to just 1,000 guests and can best be likened to a visit to a Caribbean resort island, without having to bother leaving the conveniences of Orlando behind. The main lure here is the opportunity to swim with a live dolphin, an experience that’s open to just 750 guests each day. It costs extra and requires booking well in advance. Discovery Cove is unique in that it is not part of any multi-day, multi-park Passport. If you want to come another day, you pay another full day’s admission. For this reason, most guests arrive when the park opens and leave only when the park closes, around dusk.
The newest SeaWorld park is a water park with a difference that only SeaWorld could provide — marine mammals and tropical fish. Spacious and beautifully themed, Aquatica has fewer thrill rides and better dining options that most water parks, making it especially attractive to families and those who want a “day at the beach” experience but find Discovery Cove a little too pricey. There are two wave pools here, an enormous beach area, and a speedier version of that water park staple, the “lazy river” ride. But the signature attraction is a water slide that carries riders through a salt water pool filled with Commerson’s dolphins — speedy, compact Shamu look-a-likes from Australian waters.
Overview Continued . . .
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