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Inside Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin as SeaWorld Orlando unveils icy new realm with ‘cool’ new attractions – literally

in Entertainment, Events, Featured, Food, SeaWorld Orlando, Theme Parks

Orlando’s summer just got a whole lot cooler as SeaWorld Orlando showed off its highly-anticipated new realm called Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin. It doesn’t officially open to the public until tomorrow, May 25, 2013, but the immersive new area was fully previewed today, revealing its most impressive features.

Located near the back of the park, Antarctica towers over its surrounding area with icy peaks that don’t melt, even in the hottest of Florida days. With iceberg-inspired rock work towering over 50 feet tall, once guests step inside, they are removed from a tropical climate and transported to what SeaWorld likes to call “the bottom of the world.”

Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin at SeaWorld Orlando

In the video below, SeaWorld’s Brian Morrow, Mike Denninger, and Corey Oxman bring you on an exclusive tour through all areas of Antarctica, including the Empire of the Penguin ride and penguin habitat, Expedition Cafe restaurant, and Glacial Collections gift shop.

Video – Complete tour of Antarctica at SeaWorld Orlando

There are two entrances to Antarctica, with the north side the more impressive way to enter through a grand archway.

Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin at SeaWorld Orlando

At the realm’s center is a spot that mark the south pole, an excellent photo opportunity for all who visit. From there, guests may explore the beautiful environment.

Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin at SeaWorld Orlando

Embedded within the glistening hand-crafted ice are sculptures of penguins, the animal this area pays tribute to. All of SeaWorld’s attractions focus on the environment and nature and in the case of Antarctica, the penguin is the center of attention, particularly so in the new realm’s signature new ride, Empire of the Penguin.

Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin at SeaWorld Orlando

Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin at SeaWorld Orlando

Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin ride

At the heart of Antarctica is Empire of the Penguin, a unique ride featuring a wildly spinning and bouncing trip on trackless vehicles through colorful ice caverns. This attraction sends riders on a memorable journey following a penguin named Puck, seeing the icy area as he does through his imagination until reality sets in encountering a few natural enemies. It’s a surprisingly brief family-friendly adventure that’s part dark ride, part motion simulator, and certainly unlike anything else in any Orlando theme park.

Take a spin on Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin in the video below, followed by further exploration and explanatio of the new ride and area.

Video – Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin full ride, queue, pre-shows, and penguin habitat

Video – Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin ride only


  1. Dallas

    This is ok and all but where is the Mickey and the Magical map update?

  2. Wow… Antarcitca looks great! Ride is a little bit less than I expected. Look forward to seeing it!

  3. Jeff Lynch

    I think a lot of the ride looks pretty cheap and cheesy. And they did absolutely nothing to hide the rest of the park’s visuals, which is disappointing; while in “Antarctica” you can see the green trees and the buildings of other parts of the part. That certainly takes away from the visual feeling of being in a snowy region. Couldn’t they afford a few more bucks to build the ice higher to block out the sightlines?

    I am surprised they went cheap like that. If Disney did an icy environment, I think they would spend the money to hide the greenery and other attractions from view.

  4. Rachel

    I must say that i’m a bit underwhelmed by the ride after all the hype. There seems to be a lot of waiting around and looking at the same stuff, for example the “imagination scene” with the frozen waterfall. The penguin habitat is amazing however, is there a way to get there without going on the ride?

    1. John

      Yes, there is a non-rider line you can go though to go straight to the exhibit….Just bring a jacket!

  5. Did you hear about the penguin escaping the enclosure at the opening today? I thought it was funny to see. The ride does seem underwhelming. Hopefully some company in Orlando will use this ride system to it’s full potential. Ehhem Disney!

  6. Ryan

    The ride looks LAME

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  7. nb4sl99

    We went yesterday. You have to wait in a 2.5 hr line for a crappy ride with unrealistic glittery “ice”, no animatronics, and boring videos all designed by gaudy transvestites with no taste just to see a single real penguin. The old penguin exhibit was 100x better.

  8. Andre

    After I first watched the ride portion of Antartica I too was very disappointed having expected much more. I was under the misconception that the attraction was going to be either a ride through or walk through the penguin habitat giving you different perspectives depending on which way you chose. It was the concept promo art that made it look like guests had that choice leading me to my conclusion. Obviously that is not what the final attraction turned out to be.

    Once I listend to the newest ISTM podcast #425 I was able to have a better understating and better appreciation of this new offering. It is not unlike and maybe even could be considered the sister attraction to Wild Arctic. The “ride portion” of both of these attractions is simply a means to immerse the guest into the environment the attraction is portraying by adding a bit of “thrill” but not necessarily being a thrill ride. The ride portion is not supposed to be considered the highlight, but rather the Animals featured in the attraction. I can now see Antarctica being very similar to the original version of Epcot’s The Living Seas where guests were transported from the pre-show area to the main attraction area via the Seacab ride. Antarctica’s ride seems to be in that same vein. The ride portion of both of those attractions were meant to further the story as well as transportation. One shouldn’t forget that SeaWorld first and foremost is an Animal theme park and the Animals are the attraction, sure they’ve added a few thrill rides over time, but one wouldn’t put it in the same category as a Six Flags or Cedar Fair amusement park as one couldn’t really say it’s in league with Disney or Universal. Heck, it would be a massive understatement to say that Seaworld is similar to an aquarium as much as it would be unfair to compare Animal Kingdom to a zoo. Both of those parks are really in a class all of their own.

    Now that I have a better perspective and expectation of this attraction I won’t go in with the though that I’m there for the ride, but rather I’m there to see the penguins, and the journey to them is only half the thrill. When I visit SeaWorld with friends and family that have no preconceived ideas of the attraction, I will be sure not to call it a ride, but rather the Penguin Habitat. Going in with that mindset will allow for a better experience and a better apprentice for what Antarctica is.

    Thank You Ricky for sharing all of this fantastic information for what truly seems to be a wonderful new addition to SeaWorld.

  9. Craig Hargrove


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