March 2, 2019

What you need to know before taking your family to SeaWorld Orlando

It has been 10 years since I was last at SeaWorld and it held up to all my expectations in every way. With my crew of 12 people we spent the day conquering SeaWorld and all it had to offer trying to hit everything on our list. After a successful day at the park I can say we all wished we could spend one more day because it was a fantastic day of fun! 

Let me first tell you between my family and my sister-in-laws family we had 4 adults, a handful of teens, a couple kids, and two toddlers. I am pretty dang confident in giving my opinion of SeaWorld for families! So here it goes- these are all my tips and tricks to managing SeaWorld with a family in a day. If you are smart… make it two days.

Buy your tickets online at least 3 days in advance and save $20

When it comes to buying tickets for a family, theme parks can be expensive. SeaWorld though I think is really a great price AND if you buy your tickets 3 days in advance you can get them for $84.99 instead of $104.99. For my family that’s almost a $100 savings!

Get the Quick Queue Pass

There is a lot to do and the lines can get long. Get the Quick Queue pass and you will skip the line for the following attractions:

  • Mako
  • Manta
  • Kraken
  • Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin
  • TurtleTrek
  • Journey to Atlantis
  • Wild Arctic
  • Infinity Falls

Not only will it get you to the front of the line for these rides but it will get you reserved seating for:

  • Shamu Stadium
  • Dolphin Theater
  • Seaport Theater
  • Sea Lion & Otter Stadium

The Quick Queue Unlimited + Infinity Falls and Signature Show Seating Pass starts at $50 – but will save you a lot of standing around and give you amazing seats for the shows!

Rent a Stroller

We rented our stroller at SeaWorld and it was the best decision ever! We flew to Orlando and I didn’t want to pack my big stroller so we just rented one at SeaWorld. It was so easy- and affordable! I am so glad I did, because by afternoon my little buddy was sleeping in the double stroller while the other kiddos kept playing. Let me tell you, I was glad I wasn’t carrying around a hot sweaty sleeping baby all afternoon! 

Double Stroller Rentals are $25. 

You can also rent Wheelchairs and Electric Scooters.

Get Character Photos

My kiddos LOVED all the fun friends at Sesame Street! We ran into lots of characters just walking around and got lots of fun photo opps! Make sure you have your phone out to capture all the fun moments with your kiddos.

We also got the Photos with Elmo and Friends – Priority Access and got to have one-on-one time with Elmo and Cookie Monster with two free 6X8 prints included. Photos with Elmo and Friends is free, but the priority access got us to the front of the line and made waiting in line with kids super easy!

Arrive early. We were there an hour before the park opened

We arrived at the park an hour early (now… let me tell you, this was my bad. I misread the open time. But, I don’t completely regret it. We were the first ones into the park and the first ones on lots of the rides. Now… my advice, go a half hour early so you are ready to go when the gates open, an hour was a bit overkill.

Bring LOTS of water and be prepared for the heat

This is a given, but I am going to say it anyway. It is HOT in Florida and this poor dry heat mama from Utah was dying! Remember to dress for the heat and bring lots of extra water. We ended up getting the unlimited refillable drinks and just filled them up with water All. day. long. If you don’t want to carry a lot of water- the refillable drinks are the way to go for sure!

Sesame Street in the afternoon 

Wait until afternoon to go to the Sesame Street area because they have WATER! The afternoon is the hottest time of day and the kids are also the most exhausted. Sesame Street has a big splash pad in the middle that the kids can run through and cool down… and if your not afraid of looking silly… adults too. I might have run through a couple times “pretending” to chase my kids and it felt great! 

Sesame Street in and of itself is adorable! My kids LOVED all the “Big” rides that they got to ride on. We honestly spent a few hours there and could have stayed longer.

One thing you don’t want to miss is the Sesame Street Party Parade. My kids were dancing and so excited to see all their favorite characters. Gosh- I don’t even know what else to say about that… don’t miss the parade! It is so worth it.

Schedule your day around the shows

Oh. my. gosh. The shows. SeaWorld has some breathtaking shows that you don’t want to miss! If I am being completely honest, I get a little emotional during the shows. They have some truly amazing animals and it’s really a little overwhelming to see their beauty and be a part of something so special. 

These are the shows they have right now. Check the daily schedule as you walk into the park and set alarms on your phone for all the shows you want to see so you don’t miss any of them!

  • Dolphin Days
  • One Ocean
  • Sea Lion High: The New Class
  • Pets Ahoy
  • Ocean Discovery
  • Touch the Sky *
  • Sea Lions Tonite *
  • Shamus Celebration: Light Up the Night *
  • Ignite *

*Summer Exclusive

Get a map or download the app

As you walk into the park grab a map, sit down, and take 10 minutes to plan out your day so you don’t miss anything. Better yet, download SeaWorld’s official park app. It has all the show times, ride wait times, a map, tips, and more. You can even pay for things in the park with your phone and beat long lines. 

The app also helps you find your car when you leave the park, has a list of height restrictions, shows all the nearest bathrooms & places to eat, and all kinds of information about their animals and where you can see them.

Get the Sea World All Day Dining Plan

If you are planning to spend the whole day at SeaWorld you are going to have to eat… a few times. Theme park food can rack up a pretty penny fairly quickly, but Sea World has made it affordable. You can get an all you can eat dining plan for $34.99 (adult) and $19.99 (child). You can then eat at any of the participating restaurants all day and get an entree, side or dessert, and drink anytime you go to eat. The only downside is that you can only eat once per hour… and nobody’s got time for that anyway so you are seriously set!

These are the restaurants where you can use your all day dining plan:

  • Waterway Grill
  • Expedition Cafe
  • Mango Joe’s
  • Seafire Grill
  • Seaport Pizza
  • Spice Mill
  • Voyager’s Smokehouse
  • Mama’s Pretzel Kitchen
  • Captain Pete’s Island Hot Dogs

Go to the park on a Weekday

We went to the park on a weekday and saw way less people and shorter lines. Weekdays are always going to be a little less crowded.

Go on your favorite rides first and make sure you know the height requirements.

Our FAVORITE ride was most defiantly the Mako followed closely by the Manta!

These are the current rides and their height requirements:

Infinity Falls **42″ Min. Rider Height
Mako54″ Min. Rider Height
Kraken54″ Min. Rider Height
Manta54″ Min. Rider Height
Journey to Atlantis **42″ Min. Rider Height
Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin *Must be accompanied by an adult if under 48″
Turtle TrekAll Heights
Wild Arctic42″ Min. Rider Height
Sesame StreetAll Heights
Sea Carousel42″ Min. Rider Height
Flamingo Paddle Boats **Must be accompanied by an adult if under 56″
Sky TowerAll Heights

*Kid Friendly

**You will get WET

Hours and Location:

SeaWorld Orlando
7007 Sea World Dr.
Orlando, FL 32821


Park hours are listed here, but they generally open at 9:00 am and close anywhere between 6:00 pm and 9:30 pm. 

Military Tickets

If you are active duty you will receive one complimentary admission per year as well as up to three direct dependents. I think this is really neat that they support our troops and their families. Thank you!

We enjoyed a couple of complimentary tickets to SeaWorld in exchange for this review, but all opinions are my own.