On Friday, May 24, SeaWorld Orlando opened their newest expansion, Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin. This 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 Puck.
Grand opening festivities began early in the morning, with opening remarks by park president Terry Prather. Then, award-winning country artist Lauren Alaina took to the stage to sing a special remix of “Antarctica: One World, One Family,” the song she wrote for the attraction. SeaWorld Orlando is even offering up a free download of the song at SeaWorldOrlando.com/Antarctica.
Finally, the huge crowd was allowed to be among the first to ride the new attraction. The ride is a first-of-its-kind trackless adventure ride suitable for the whole family. 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.
The story of the ride follows the adventures of Puck the Penguin, and the car moves and reacts to his experiences, such as waddling, swimming and more.
When the ride ends, guests find themselves among a colony of Adelie, gentoo, king and rockhopper penguins in a 30-degree habitat filled with wind, snow, rock and chilly water. It’s what makes Antarctica the coldest theme park attraction in Orlando. In fact, it was reported to be a little too chilly for some, so be prepared.
Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin also includes educational elements. Kids can “measure up” to all 18 species of penguins carved into the rocks in the plaza. They can engage in kid-height and kid-friendly interactive touch screens and talk with SeaWorld educators to learn more about the importance of community and how penguin colonies work together and rely on each other for survival.
And if you want to take home some penguins with you, the Glacial Collections gift shop has a large selection of penguin-related items, including Puck-themed items. There is also a new eatery, Expedition Cafe, 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.
If you get a chance to experience Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin, let us know what you think of it.
Here are some more photos of the grand opening:
[photos courtesy SeaWorld Orlando]
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