Attraction Review Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin at SeaWorld Orlando

Today I visited Antarctica – I mean, I really feel like I went.  This new area of SeaWorld Orlando transports you to the bottom of our earth.  A place that they remind, most of us don’t pay much attention.  Antarctica is the most remote continent on the planet, and guests to SeaWorld Orlando’s new Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin will be completely immersed in this land.  The all new attraction opens on May 24.  Antarctica:  Empire of the Penguin is a first-of-its-kind, family adventure ride, combining innovative, trackless ride technology and up-close encounters with a huge colony of penguins.  Continue reading for more photos, video, and complete ride review of Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin.

Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin

photo by Scott Nadeau

Your journey to this new land begins immediately upon crossing under the massive ice arch, look down and see the cracked and jagged terrain of ice flows, peer closer at the rock and you notice the hand carved penguins.  You have now arrived in Antarctica.

Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin

photo by Scott Nadeau

Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin

photo by Scott Nadeau

Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin

photo by Scott Nadeau

Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin

photo by Scott Nadeau

Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin

photo by Scott Nadeau

Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin

photo by Scott Nadeau

 

Now, while many of us will focus on the ride, which is great, it’s important to remember this is much more than a ride.  It’s a brief journey of discovery.  But let’s focus on the ride for a moment because it was an immersive experience.

The “ride” tells a story about Puck the penguin as he hatches into his icy world.  Your family adventure begins with a choice of MILD or WILD. Guests board round simulator vehicles that seat eight.  They are roomy and truly family friendly for everyone.  We chose Wild and it was still fairly tame as most rides go.  No spinning to the point of disorientation.  Just enough to catch your sense of wonder as you wind through a trackless world, seeing the other vehicles with friends, family or strangers as you embark.  Because it is trackless, you can’t help but ponder how you are not hitting into the other ride vehicles, but you don’t.  There are many different combinations of “invisible track” so the ride is one that you could easily repeat many times without getting bored.

Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin

photo by Scott Nadeau

 

After the brief ride, you disembark into a living Penguin Colony.  It’s cold in there.  As one of the staff pointed out to me, once you are among the Penguins and experiencing that (here I go again), sense of wonder, you just don’t seem to mind the cold.

Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin

photo by Scott Nadeau

Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin

photo by Jason Collier © 2013 SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment. All Rights Reserved.

Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin

photo by Jason Collier © 2013 SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment. All Rights Reserved.

Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin

photo by Scott Nadeau

Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin

photo by Scott Nadeau

Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin

photo by Scott Nadeau

 

We had the greatest tour guide, Lisa Thompson, who is one of the people responsible for branding for SeaWorld Orlando.  Her passion on the subject matter may make me biased but everyone really enjoyed what they saw today.  I can’t describe it except to suggest you watch the videos available here and experience it for yourself.  If I haven’t said it, it gives you a sense of wonder!!!

Antarctica also has new eatery called Expedition Cafe smelled wonderful although we did not get the opportunity to eat.  It appears to be well above average theme park fare.  I would say it seemed like a more casual Tusker House from Disney’s Animal Kingdom type establishment, but we’ll have to come back for a thorough review in the future.

Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin

photo by Scott Nadeau

Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin

photo by Scott Nadeau

Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin

photo by Scott Nadeau

 

Also, the park encourages the use of reusable cups through sales of its Cup That Cares, a cup with a RFID chip that tracks usage and CO2 emission savings.  Guests create their own personalized penguin character cup, choosing from more than 40 accessories.  SeaWorld will donate $1 from each Cup That Cares purchase to the SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund, which helps protect wildlife around the world.

Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin

photo by Scott Nadeau

Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin

photo by Scott Nadeau

Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin

photo by Scott Nadeau

 

While Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin will not occupy your whole day in and of itself, it certainly warrants a few hours and adds, in my opinion, adds a great deal of value to a park already worthy of your discovery!  For more photos of SeaWorld Orlando’s new Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin, click here or on any of the images in the gallery below (Flash Player required).

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About John Saccheri

John Saccheri has been rooted in the Disney culture from childhood. John only had the opportunity to visit Walt Disney World once, at the age of 5. After returning home, he never stopped talking about it, yearning to return. His parents were worried about this “obsession,” but John began working at the age of 12 with a focus on saving up for the next Disney trip. He was able to visit Disney World at least once a year from 14 years old onward. Today, a successful entrepreneur, John was able to move from his hometown of Long Island, New York, to Central Florida to be close to the Mouse. Going to the parks still seems like a fantasy to him!