It may hit 90 degrees in Orlando today, but SeaWorld Orlando won’t be feeling the heat as the new, highly-anticipated attraction Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin finally opens to the public! And if it’s as cool as it was when he rode it on the VIP Preview Party (trust us it sill is) we know guests will be flocking to the new attraction all day today and for the rest of the summer. With a chilly queue, a state-of-the-art ride and 250 live penguins Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin has it all. Let’s take a closer look at the three elements that bring it all together.


The Queue:
The adventure starts even before you step inside the queue. From the second you happen upon Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin you are transported to the icy world of Antarctica where glaciers line the entrance, icicles threaten to fall and snow is piled just about every corner. And while the prescience of snow may leave you expecting the temperatures to be instantly cooler the moment you walk in, they aren’t. Not yet anyway. Once inside the queue, you’ll begin to notice a slight decrease in temperature as you watch an impressive film that flies you over the freezing water of Antarctica and eventually settles on a colony of penguins seeking shelter from a terrible blizzard. This is actually your first encounter with the baby Penguin, Puck. The video narrates Puck’s hatching as the storm begins to worsen. The last thing you’re told before the doors open is this, “We must seek shelter from the storm. There are many dangers in this beautiful and harsh land. Alone we will not survive but together we will thrive. Now let us begin our adventure!” Hint: where there’s a fork in the queue to choose Mild or Wild, where’s a third option to the left to just enter the penguin habitat area. The Wild Experience has a longer wait time, maybe around 10 minutes longer we were told. When you reached the end, you’ll be escorted to enter a chamber where you’ll see baby Puck. After, Puck is ready to explore the doors open and you’ll see the ride vehicles. Now, you’re ready to see the world through the eyes of Puck.

The Ride:
Upon boarding the eight-person state-of-the-art ride vehicle, you’ll first take in the beauty of the place as you glide through the attraction on the ride’s trackless floor. Designed to feel like you’re actually sliding on ice, the ride vehicle is smooth and seamless, even if you decide to choose the “wild” ride option prior to boarding. Eventually, you’ll come across an almost grown up Puck who decides to venture out into another Blizzard to hunt in the sea. You’ll feel the cold strong winds and experience Puck’s life as the ride vehicle smoothly twists and turns with the video. As he reaches the end of the ice and dives into the cold water, a predator begins to chase him down. After a high-speed chase that puts you in the water, frantically swimming from the predator Puck makes it out of the water alive and returns to his colony on the surface. To ensure you too get to see a penguin colony after your safe return to the surface, SeaWorld Orlando has placed a live penguin colony before you so you get to experience exactly what Puck does. As the ride ends the narrator tells you “now it’s your turn to continue the adventure as your family meets our penguin family.” Here, you’ll exit the ride and be ushered to the incredible penguin habitat for up close views of these awesome creatures.

The Habitat:
By the time you reach the habitat, the temperature has dropped to 30 degrees. It may be a little chilly for you but it’s the perfect temperature for the penguins. And those penguins include kings, gentoos, rockhoppers and adelie who splash, play and swim in the simulated Antarctica landscape. The habitat takes you as close to penguins as you’ll probably ever get, with little more than ropes and a few SeaWorld Orlando staff members standing in the way of actually touching one.

Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin is truly unlike any other ride and animal encounter you’ll find at SeaWorld Orlando or any other theme park for that matter. Make sure you take a journey with Puck to the bottom of the world and back with discounted SeaWorld Orlando tickets right here on Best of Orlando.

Orlando, FL – 05/24/13