If you are planning on blitzing Orlando’s theme parks then you’re probably allowing 1 day – if that – at Sea World. So here’s my list of the Top 5 attractions you won’t want to miss:
1. The new Manta rollercoaster ride. It opened last year and is meant to soar through the sky over the aquarium below where the water-breathing ones live as if you were a manta ray. Yeah right. I have yet to see a manta ray swim as fast as I just flew and make as many twists and turns so far from the ground. Personally it was terrifying, but in that macabre sense where you want to do it again even though your heart hasn’t beat that fast since you nearly had that car crash. The seats tip forward when you get in so you are lying face down (and face up when the coaster launches around the bend) and all I could think of is whether or not the metal harness could possibly fall off. There are 6 rides at Sea World.
2. You have to see Believe – the show with Shamu (and all the other Shamu’s) – up to 4 of them in the pool at any one time. I went in the evening and it was a full-on rock concert with a live band, raging lights, 4 enormous movie screens, trainers doling out fish rewards and the whales flipping and flopping and splashing the audience. I couldn’t help but be reminded of the one that killed its trainer only last year though and somehow, even though I watched, it felt a bit like eating foie gras – it just felt a bit wrong.
3. Blue Horizons is the dolphin show and the acrobatics that entails, as well as stunt actors and exotic birds like blue and gold macaws and an Andean condor. It’s kind of like sea meets sky meets Broadway.
4. Take a Behind the Scenes tour. I reckon the Beluga whale one sounds like the shizzle. These guys are used to living in the icy antarctic so Orlando is a bit of a change, but to keep it authentic, you’ll be provided with a wetsuit for the chilly water. Of course kissing people is probably not that authentic if you were a Beluga – but hey, at least you’re not being kept for caviar!
5. And for best thing #5 you could either meet (and hold) a penguin, or go and visit the ugly-as manatees that have been rescued and are being rehabilitated. (They can do a bit of damage to a boat should you drive into one – and that is why many of them are here.)