It has been a while since I’ve personally been to SeaWorld San Diego, and had the opportunity to visit myself this time. I had an absolutely great time, it’s one of the best maintained parks around. The operations on their rides were incredible, and even though I spent 12 hours there, I didn’t even get to experience everything they have to offer (I did make sure to get plenty of rides in on their coasters 😛 ) Take a look at the park and what they offer during their 50th summer celebration!
I started my day off at Journey to Atlantis, as I saw many empty boats being cycled, and I don’t mind getting wet early in the morning. Now sitting in front row as a big guy, meant that I got absolutely soaked, drenched, first thing I did in the park. 😛 I did though get to ride a couple of times, because wise people waited ’til it got a bit warmer. Next up, Wild Arctic, at this moment there were still hardly any people in the park, so we were in the front of the line, and got on in no time. I must say, I didn’t realize this last time I was here, but the screens in the simulator are poor quality, and should be updated. Nonetheless it’s awesome to have a well themed exhibit started off with a ‘helicopter flight’ there. POLAR BEAR! 😀 And their belugas. I really like the fact that the exhibit starts above water, then ends below water where guests can view the animals in the water.
I then made my way to my first show of the day, the Killer Whale Up Close demonstration in the Shamu Stadium. And (one of the reasons I was so excited to be back, was to see Shouka), I stumbled upon this little banner of Shouka! Good start of the day. Shouka used to be at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, after the park was unsuccessful at finding another killer whale to accompany her, they decided to move her to SeaWorld San Diego where she’d have 9 (now 10) more Killer Whales to live with. She’s been thriving at SeaWorld. The demonstration was fun to see, a bit simplistic if you ask me. The questions discussed were very general and many people knew the answer to most questions, I’m sure. We were getting thirsty, and luckily SeaWorld offers souvenir cups too, with free refills on the day of purchase. So we were set for the day.
Then it was time for one of the most underrated coasters around, MANTA! On our social media, the day of my visit, I asked people what the best family coaster is in the state, and the majority answered Manta, without me releasing I was at the park that day! They were correct, I have to agree, it’s family friendly, and incredible. Great mix of forces, nice launches, good theming. I’m a huge fan of this ride. A full Ride Review will follow soon. Look at that fun layout! 😀 Manta has four trains, they were running three, and the line moved incredibly fast. The fact that they have a boarding station, and an exit station speeds up the process even more! Oh, and they have flamingos everywhere, in case you didn’t know. 😛
We then went to see Dolphin Days, they weren’t running Blue Horizons that I really wanted to see, because it was a mildly crowded week day. Still a great show! Really liked the pilot whales seen below, and the use of 13 dolphins at once. Pretty spectacular. A little fun fact, Shouka isn’t the only being that moved to SeaWorld, Dolphin Trainer Morgan moved here from Six Flags Discovery Kingdom recently. I was supposed to have an interview with her after talking to her at Discovery Kingdom, now I know why that never happened… 😛
Then it was time for One Ocean, the signature show at SeaWorld San Diego! I had a great time, over the years they stopped doing a lot of things they used to incorporate in the show. Nonetheless it’s a fantastic show, I mean killer whales are huge and awesome. 🙂 Afterwards I exited the stadium using the Shamu Skywalk, snapped some pictures of the whales. (In case you weren’t aware, they’re big dolphins, not actually whales). Next to Dine with Shamu, there’s an underwater viewing area, appropriately named Shamu’s Underwater Viewing.This view though will change in the future, as SeaWorld San Diego is expanding the killer whale habitat to be almost twice the size. Read more about the Blue World Project here.
Across from that, guests will find Dolphin Point, a largely set up touch pool with several other viewing areas.
We took a ride on the Skytower, which is actually really nice! The double-deck vehicle has nice cushioned seating, and offers a fantastic view of the park, the bay, the ocean, and San Diego. Below you’ll see the Sesame Street Bay of Play kiddie-area. Which houses a gigantic playground with three flat rides. Right next to it, in fact the new entrance to the park, is Explorer’s Reef! I absolutely LOVED Explorer’s Reef! They have plenty of touch-pools, with an incredible amount of animals in them. It’s not like you have to wait for sharks or rays to swim by, they’re everywhere! Then there’s a huge cleaner-fish touch pool, where the fish will come to your hand and eat off bacteria, I was so entertained. It tickles, so be gentle and don’t just hit the fish away. I came back a couple of times, I was probably just as excited as 5 year old kids around the touch pool. It’s something very simplistic, but a huge hit with the public. I really enjoyed this. I think this is the perfect entrance to a park like this. You’re immediately engaged, you’re instantly interacting with the environment. It’s also open after the park closes of course, because it’s also the entrance and exit of the park. With LED lighting, the entire ‘reef’ looks very nice at night. I must admit I forgot to snap a pic at night because I was too busy having fish all over my hand. Sorry, not sorry.
Continuing in the afternoon, we went to see Cirque de la Mer. A great acrobatics show over the water, with very talented acrobats. I loved the theme, but I personally thought the pre-show was very overdone. In addition, they don’t really use the wonderful huge set in the background, which is what made most excited for the show. We then went to the park’s three aquariums. My favorite being the Freshwater Aquarium, I remember it always being my favorite, because it’s made up of a large amount of small aquariums with a huge variety of tropical fish and some reptiles. Very interesting, I advise everyone to visit the aquariums around the park. Yes they have whales jumping up and soaking you, but the sheer amount of different fish there are to see, you can’t see that anywhere else either. Their Shark Encounter exhibit is quite a fancy one! Really enjoyed it. The first half exists of pools from which you watch the sharks from above, after which you walk down through some caves, and experience the sharks through an underwater glass tunnel.
There’s a fun little break-dance-esque flatride right next to the Shark Encounter, called Riptide Rescue. Lines were pretty short and offer a great look at the adjacent bay, so even waiting in line is not an issue.
Passing by some loud but adorable sea lions, on my way back to Journey to Atlantis.
Had to ride Journey to Atlantis a few more times, because I’m in love with this Mack Water Coaster! They board three boats/trains at once, so the line moves very fast. And the ride has one of the best exits on earth, a huge aquarium in the underwater world of … you guessed it… Atlantis!
Nearby guests will find the Penguin Encounter, where they have three exhibits, one outside (shown below) and two inside. With a crazy amount of penguins.
Now the crowds died down for Shipwreck Rapids, we decided to get drenched again. It’s probably the best themed rapids ride in the state, by far. It incorporates animals, incredible scenery, waterfalls, etc. Though it is a bit short, wait with riding this ’til after 5-6PM, for 10 minute lines.
Bayside Skyride is a very popular sky ride, so we didn’t brave the 45 minute line before, but decided to ride around sunset, for amazing views and shorter lines. Really, a can’t miss attraction at SeaWorld. LOOK! It’s Manta. I felt like going on it again. (I haven’t mentioned all the times I passed by the ride and had to ride, it’s just a fantastic little launcher, love it!). So back to Manta it was, let’s appreciate the cool aquarium line. And the cool twisty layout, paired with some good ejector in the second half of the ride. I took my mom on it, and she hasn’t been on a coaster in over 10 years, haha, her face!
Night hit, and it was time for the Shamu’s Celebration: Light Up the Night, part of their Summer Nights event. I really liked the use of lights throughout the stadium, including the fountains. It’s not like Shamu Rocks, but it isn’t trying to be. It’s a fun alternative show with a DJ, and I was happy to see Shouka perform! 😀 A couple of minutes after the show, there was a Celebrate the Wonder fireworks show, one of the best fireworks I’ve ever seen, and it worked out perfectly, as the Killer Whale show and the fireworks show are scheduled so that guests can remain seated in the stadium and watch the fireworks show seconds after the Light Up the Night show has ended.
I had a great time at SeaWorld! Thanks for checking out this trip report, we’ve got a couple of detailed Ride Reviews underway, as well as the updated Tips and Guidance, and Show Guide pages that will include SeaWorld San Diego!
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