I’ve been waiting for this ride to open for a long time and the wait is finally over!
I was invited by SeaWorld Orlando to experience this one of a kind attraction before any SeaWorld guests in a media preview and let me tell you, it was spectacular. SeaWorld Orlando takes guests on an epic voyage to the bottom of the world, combining innovative ride technology and up-close encounters with a huge colony of penguins in their 30-degree world. All-new adventure allows guests to experience the sights, sounds, thrills, chills and penguins of Antarctica, through the eyes of a special penguin hero named PuckTM.
On board a first-of-its-kind trackless, sorta like you are gliding along the slippery ice. Each mobile simulator ride car allows guests to choose one of two levels of exploration – Wild Expedition or Mild Expedition – for various degrees of ride intensity. Designers say each version has multiple variations for a feeling of unpredictability, just like the continent of Antarctica. I went on the Mild Expedition and while you still experience quick spins It’s still a very safe and calm experience and as long as the child can sit up on their own they can ride. The Wild Expedition on the other hand does have a minimum height requirement of 42″. The ride is literally about 3 minutes long (as you can see below) but it does feel shorter when you are actually there on the ride.
A video of my experience on the Mild Expedition. The turns and jolts are not me moving the camera, that’s the ride itself:
The ride is just the beginning though! Usually after a ride you are dumped off in a gift shop but not on this ride. Puck’s adventure ends in a very chilly 33°F room where you literally come face to face with the penguins of Antarctica (Picture below: No glass blocking my view and my camera wasn’t zoomed in!). If you’ve been to SeaWorld Orlando in the past and visited the Penguin Exhibit you may remember that before the room was a moving track and penguins behind thick glass. Well not now. There is a small wall that is in between you and these amazing (and adorable) creatures. If you watch my video you will see just how up close and personal you get with them. Of course you are not allowed to touch the water or touch the penguins but you may get splashed by them like I did. It is very cold and SeaWorld doesn’t provide jackets because of course they want to keep you moving.
Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin is the single largest attraction expansion ever at SeaWorld Orlando and the coldest theme park attraction in Orlando. A combination of innovative technology and up-close encounters with penguins in their 30-degree world makes Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin an all-new realm and a thrilling, chilling adventure of a lifetime.
[exceptional-citing quoted=”undefined” template=”elegant” date=”” ]“When our little hero penguin learns to waddle and slide, we’ll feel what it’s like as the car moves and reacts to the storyline. When he takes his first swim or barely escapes danger, our guests will feel as if they’re right there with him,” explains Brian Morrow, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment® creative director. “On this adventure, we learn that we’re a lot like penguins. We’ll find we need each other and our families to survive,” said Morrow.[/exceptional-citing]
Culinary delights can be found at Expedition Café, where American, Asian and Italian – the three major signatories of the Antarctic Treaty – cuisines are featured in a mess hall setting. A hydroponic garden produces fresh herbs that chefs incorporate into the menu. Outside seating available under canvas type sails, and two Quonset-type huts provide seating for guests dining on a mix of cooked-to-order food and quick-serve delights.
With every penguin gift imaginable, Glacial Collections gift shop is the place to shop for all penguin lovers. The retail shop’s color scheme of black, bright yellows, oranges and whites, and the penguin-shaped displays welcome guests to browse the cache of splendid penguin-related items. Hero Puck is anticipated to be the popular take home treasure. His journey, his love of family, and his connection, especially to children, make him a very desirable keepsake.
Also new at Antarctica are souvenir cups created by SeaWorld and Coca-Cola®. The Cup That CaresTM is a novel reusable cup program with a twist of technology: A RFID (radio frequency identification) chip embedded in each cup interacts with software at Antarctica’s Coca-Cola Freestyle dispensers to calculate CO2 and tell guests how they are being more environmentally responsible by choosing to refill and reuse. And there’s more: SeaWorld will donate $1 from each Cup That Cares purchase to the SeaWorld and Busch Gardens® Conservation Fund, a not-for-profit foundation that helps protect wildlife around the world.
Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin was definitely worth the wait and as of yesterday it’s open to the public so book your SeaWorld Orlando trip now!
Disclosure: I was invited to SeaWorld Orlando has a member of the media for this coverage. No monetary compensation was received in exchange for this review. All opinions and pictures are my own.