After getting on the road at 5:30 in the morning, we arrived in Mission Bay around 7:30. After getting some fast food breakfast, we arrived at the park at 8.
We were told we should process our passes now instead of inside of the park.Since we had about an hour and there was zero line, that was the best option. We got up to the main desk and they processed our passes in about 30 secs!
This was my first time back since they got the new main gate. It’s pretty good looking! It’s supposed to be a breaking wave. There’s sound effects of waves crashing and small lights flash on it. It doesn’t have the Seaworld logo on it which made it seem a little bland.
We talked to one of the people who scan the tickets before they opened. She told us this is the most crowded day of the whole year! She told us yesterday it was crazy packed and today was gonna be worse. Keep what she said in mind later in the trip report.
At a little after 8:30, they opened the gates and allowed us to explore Explorer’s Reef! They have quite a few hands on activities here. These guys nibble on your fingers.
Tip: a typical San Diego morning is overcast, cold, and slightly humid. This is always the way it is here, so you’ll see it clear up around 10ish. Don’t bring a sweatshirt as you’ll only need it for an hour or so.
First up was Manta!
Just so you know, I have ridden Manta in the past many times. This was not my first time. I address this because I haven’t been on it since December of 2013. Many people on my social media were thinking it was my first time since I have almost no pictures or reviews of it.
Manta wasn’t open right away. At about 9:05-9:10 it opened. So we watched it go a couple times and listened to the amazing queue music (which I’ll put below)
We rode Manta 3 or 4 times in a row. Edgardo wasn’t too impressed at first, but this ride becomes addicting after 3 or so rides!
As much as we could have ridden Manta all morning, we decided to check out the others rides as well. First off was Journey to Atlantis. The operations were so bad on it, we were saying it must VR now if it’s running this slow. Welcome to The New Revolution VR Water Coaster on Journey to Atlantis ;)! I’m not kidding about the operations… as bad as a VR coaster! Also none of the rides theming was even working. No audio, no effects, just nothing.
Wild Arctic is right next door to Journey so we hit up that. This is the only ride at the park that’s down right terrible. It’s motion simulator. It’s the exact same model as Star Tours. Atleast they tried to give it a story though. The story is that you’re going to a Seaworld rescue facility in the Arctic. The only way there is by helicopter. Then the story starts to make no sense. Once the ride starts, you fly around by animals in a soarin’ style of video and you get ground level without landing. Then you go, get this, UNDERWATER to see whales. May I remind you that this is helicopter! Then to make use of the ride actually being a motion simulator, a random storm comes in and then the ride just straight up copies Star Tour by flying fast through a tight valley and barley flies through a narrow tunnel. Then you land the seaworld facility. The coolest thing about the ride is that the exit makes you walk through their arctic animals exhibit. It’s not a bad idea, but it needs to be completely redone.
Then we went to the Penguin Encounter next door. I couldn’t get any good pictures from inside as it was too dark and all my long exposures came out blurry.
We were gonna walk back towards Manta’s side of the park again, but on the way, we did Riptide Rescue which is a random flat ride in the park. It’s a little out of place and hard to find, but it’s pretty fun. This is a Huss Airboat ride and definitely something you’d expect to find at Belmont Park down the road. It’s fun and has some decent forces to it. Not to mention it’s right on the ocean!
This is the view from Riptide’s queue!
Then we did Shipwreck Rapids, the park’s rapids ride. This is the only ride at Seaworld I had never done in the past. It’s almost a clone of World’s of Fun’s Fury of the Nile, but with much better theming. The theming is kinda like Grizzly Bear Rapids.
There was still no line for Manta so we did it 5 or so times.
We wanted to do Journey again, but it was broken down. as you can see there’s 3 boats stopped on the top.
So we decided to do lunch at Shipwrecked Reef Cafe. The theming of this restaurant is outstanding, but the food was kinda bland. We both had the Chicken Alfredo which was ok at best. The pasta was partially cold and the chicken was fried chicken strips on top. Not bad, just a bit disappointing.
After lunch, we went to go see the 1 o’clock show of One Ocean at Shamu Stadium.
The whole show is about showing park guests the beauty of these animals and how to help protect their brothers in the wild.
What I noticed immediately about the show is that the whales tricks are very basic with only 4 types of easy things: Jump, Breach, Splash, and Landing on shallow areas. They would quickly do the trick and run back for a treat just like a dog would. The animals didn’t even go at the beat of the music, they just went at their own pace. The trainers put no pressure on their animals to do the tricks. They would be told a hand signal from trainers and it was just up to them if they wanted to do it or not. The reward is always fish, ice, or something Orcas enjoy. This is why I don’t have a problem with Seaworld doing Orca shows. They allow the whales to go at their own pace and almost zero pressure is put on them to do it.
The dorsal fins were only down on one of them, the rest pointed straight up!
What was also awesome is that Six Flags Discovery Kingdom’s (my favorite park in Cali) old whale, Shouka, was performing today. He was sent to Seaworld so he wouldn’t be alone. I don’t know which one he was, but he was out there.
After the show, we went down to Belmont to get Edgardo his Giant Dipper credit!
We both agreed this Giant Dipper was the better of the two dippers. This one is much more intense, has better airtime, and has some crazy twists!
He’s Giant Dipper’s second car awaiting refurbishment.
After riding Dipper, we went back to Seaworld. They lucky allow re-entry to their parking lot.
We did Manta 3 times in a row.
After that we did a few of the exhibits.
In the Shark Tank!
Then we did Journey to Atlantis where got front row. Front row is like jumping into a pool. I knew this, but I didn’t care when we were assigned it.
We left once again. This time to go get our hotel room and eat outside the park.
When we returned, first thing we did was the Skytower! The operation on it were horrible! They were super slow and only filled 3/4th of the seats as they were too lazy to fill them all up. We waited 45 mins! Also the lights around the tower destroy the view. We were extremely disappointed.
We decided to leave out the Skyride as it was too long of a wait (for a sky ride that is) and Manta was walk on! We rode it about 7-8 times in arow as there were empty rows and they allowed us to cut back through without going around.
We got to ride it during the fireworks which was fantastic! Fireworks, plus airtime machine is just awesome!
The fireworks were pretty cool! Just if you were concerned, the fireworks are set off at the other side of the park and away from the animals.
After the fireworks, the line was reopened for the last 5 mins of the park so we rode it one last time in the front on the 2nd to last train of the night!
We had an awesome time at the park! We enjoyed the rides (especially Manta) and learned a lot about different types of Marine Animals! We can’t wait to come back! Also, crowded for Seaworld nowadays is nobody as the park was not that crowded as you could tell. The longest any of the lines were was 45 mins and that was for the Sky Tower.
Happy 4th of July Weekend from GAC!