Sea World’s Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin Review

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Antarctica Empire of the Penguin 1We didn’t research Sea World, Orlando before our trip last week — as you may have guessed from my lack of planning for the All-day Dining Deal.  Having been to the park many times, we knew the park layout and how to juggle show schedules… but we didn’t know that the penguin makeover was complete. Finding out that the newest attraction “Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin” had opened, we made a beeline for the attraction… and prepared to wait in queue for 90 minutes (though it took less than 75 minutes from start to finish).

With large fans throughout the queue, we stayed fairly comfortable — even in the hot Florida sun. We also found ways to entertain ourselves: acting like penguins, reading about them and chatting with our neighbors in line. Next time, though, I will get a snack to enjoy while we wait.

As for the attraction itself, it’s absolutely cute! Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin offers guests two ride options, mild and wild. The mild ride is required for passengers under 42″ tall. Riders under 48″ must be accompanied by an adult. We took the wild ride and loved every minute of it! Sea World did a magnificent job creating a sense of penguin life.

The Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin Experience

From the moment you enter the queue, it’s clear that this attraction is all about penguins. Surrounded by soft evergreens reminiscent of arctic climates, we were isolated from the rest of the park. This experience truly begins the moment you step into the queue. Once entering the building, we found more ways to entertain ourselves. Of course, the black light and cute videos of Puck, the show’s star, certainly helped.

Our first ride (yes, we liked it enough to go twice), we sat in car #2 which is great. The second ride, we got car #4, which lagged behind the video a bit and wasn’t quite as enjoyable. Of course, we also knew what to expect. Hopefully, you’ll get car #2 or #3 when you ride. The car slides away from the loading zone and takes you on a spinning, swirling, sliding ride through the world of penguins. The special effects and music add to the magical experience. In my opinion, this fun journey ends a bit too soon. I do wish the ride was a minute or two longer.

But enough talking. Here’s our adventure in pictures.

Antarctica Empire of the Penguin 2

Puck is the star of the show. Guests get to watch him hatch from his egg! Young riders will especially enjoy his fluffy arrival.

1. Ellie was the only one willing to be photographed as a penguin.

2. Information on penguin research and the life of penguins is included in the queue area… Once you get here, you’re close…. Well, closer!

3. Inside the building, the lighting makes for fun photos.

4. Notice, everyone smiled on the ride — even the teens.

5. Nearby, we visit the penguins. They’re soooo cute!

Rating Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin

Everyone in our family enjoyed the attraction, but we don’t agree on overall score.

Ellie and I: 5 out of 5. Ellie says, “The penguins are sooooo cute!!!!”

Son #1: 3 out of 5. He says, “Once is plenty.”

Son #2: 3 out of 5. He says, “This is definitely more geared toward kids and the ride is too short.”

Husband: 3 out of 5. He says, “The ride wasn’t as good as the penguins. I’d rather just visit them.” **For those who share his opinion, you can skip the ride and go directly to the penguin viewing area.**

3 Tips to Enjoy Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin

To make the most of your time, get a snack or plan a carryout lunch during your wait. Why not use time efficiently? There’s a snack area directly across from the attraction entrance, but it is not included in the All-day Dining Plan. Sigh…

Be sure to take kids to the restroom before you get in line. There is one nearby.

Four species of penguins call Sea World Orlando home. Learn about them before travel and see if you can identify them during your visit to the Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin attraction. You can “meet the stars” here. For more fun before or after your trip, take a peak at the penguins using the Sea World Penguin Cam. How fun is that?

Have you experienced Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin yet? Did you like it? Love it? Do tell!!!

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  1. Jennifer Jean says

    We didn’t have the best experience on the penguin ride. I took our 3 year old on mild while hubby took our 5 year old on wild. My ride was fine except we were in the 2 and row and my 3 year old couldn’t see anything with the tall seats in front. Definitely too short of a ride for an hour + wait. The ride had technical difficulties just as we got off which meant my husband and daughter got stuck. Their car didn’t work and they were back to must of the videos, when they worked. My daughter says “not awesome.’. We got a front of line pass to try again. We still had to wait in line indoors for about 30 min. It worked this time for them and was better. I still got stuck on 2 and row, but at least put my 3yr old on then end. He could see a little, but not much.

    There is no way to see the penguins without waiting in the very long 60+ min. Line. Yes you can skip the ride, but you still have to wait. There should be a bypass line to just see penguins. The penguins were one of or favorite parts and now we can’t see them without a huge wait.

    • says

      Thanks for your valuable feedback. We traveled as a family of five, so our daughter got to sit in the front row both times. Her big brothers didn’t mind the back row. Hopefully as curiosity wanes, the lines will shrink so that those who want to see the penguins without the ride can do so without the long wait.

      **The day we visited, people who only wanted to see the penguins were able to bypass the line entirely. Maybe Sea World will work out the signage for that as well.**

  2. says

    We haven’t experienced these penguins yet, but we have at the Newport Aquarium which is closer to home for us, and we love, love, love them. I know my family would enjoy the Antartica Empire of the Penguin as much as you guys seem to have. Big Ups to Ellie for posing as a penguin, too!

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