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.”
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.
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.
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 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
Riders may choose between “wild” and “mild” versions of the attraction. Both versions glide through the same scenes side-by-side, but the “wild” version utilizes the attraction’s high-tech vehicles to spin, bump, and even waddle along with the visuals while the “mild” version just smoothly slides through. The videos above were shot while riding the “mild” version, but show a nearby “wild” vehicle in action. The thrill level is fairly low no matter which version is taken.