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SeaWorld Orlando’s Top Rides: A History From Opening to Now


SeaWorld is currently celebrating its 60th Anniversary throughout 2024, inviting guests to partake in event-specific food and beverages, as well as special celebratory merchandise. Reflecting on SeaWorld’s history, it’s remarkable that the journey began with the opening of its first park in San Diego on March 21, 1964, and by December 15, 1973, Orlando was home to its very own SeaWorld location.

SeaWorld Orlando's 60th Anniversary Merchandise
SeaWorld Orlando’s 60th Anniversary Merchandise

Upon opening, SeaWorld Orlando made its mark as a theme park that connected guests with the sea and its inhabitants. Over time, it has evolved into a cherished destination, drawing families from across the globe to enjoy its incredible attractions.

SeaWorld Orlando's 60th Anniversary Kick-Off Celebration
SeaWorld Orlando’s 60th Anniversary Kick-Off Celebration

Back in 1992, SeaWorld Orlando premiered its first ride, Mission: Bermuda Triangle. This would later become Wild Arctic and inspire the park to blend theme park thrills with animal presentations, setting a precedent for future attractions. Since then, SeaWorld has debuted several record-breaking and innovative experiences, such as Infinity Falls and the upcoming Penguin Trek launch coaster.

In honor of SeaWorld’s 60th Anniversary, we felt it only proper to go over SeaWorld Orlando’s best attractions since opening. This journey through time, which combines a look at the park’s history with our favorite rides, will follow a chronological order by premiere date.

Before we get too deep into the waters, readers wishing to visit SeaWorld Orlando and experience the park’s rides for themselves can purchase discounted SeaWorld Orlando tickets with your trusted source at Orlando Informer. With that said, let’s get swimming!

Journey to Atlantis

Opening Date: April 17, 1998

Journey to Atlantis at SeaWorld Orlando
Journey to Atlantis at SeaWorld Orlando

Following the opening of SeaWorld Orlando’s first attraction, it was only natural that a water ride would be introduced. Journey to Atlantis opened on April 17, 1998.

This water coaster invites guests on a thrilling journey to the legendary lost city of Atlantis, weaving through hidden passageways and tunnels. Hold on tight as you glide, twist, turn, and plummet through the remnants of this ancient underwater city.

Since its debut in 1998, the ride has undergone several minor adjustments, including updates to its storyline. Despite these changes, it remains a thrilling water coaster that was the first of its kind to be built by its manufacturer, Mack Rides.


Opening Date: June 1, 2000

Kraken at SeaWorld Orlando
Kraken at SeaWorld Orlando

Kraken has solidified its status as a formidable force in the roller coaster world since its opening day. Towering at 149 feet and stretching over 4,177 feet in length, this thrill boasts seven inversions and speeds up to 65 miles per hour, making a bold statement against its rivals.

The mythical-themed ride features a floorless concept and an initial drop that’s nearly the length of its peak. Beginning in June 2017, the attraction incorporated virtual reality headsets and took on the name Kraken Unleashed. However, this concept was short-lived and ended in June 2018, returning to its original Kraken state. 

For a time, the coaster held the record for the tallest and longest in Florida. As it tends to happen, that title changed hands, which SeaWorld wouldn’t let go for long. Kraken would still remain the tallest and longest roller coaster in the park until another thrill was entered into SeaWorld’s depths.


Opening Date: May 22, 2009

Manta at SeaWorld Orlando
Manta at SeaWorld Orlando

Manta stands as this writer’s favorite ride in the state (and yes — “state,” you read that right!) for its theme and innovative design. The queue’s walkway features 10 tanks filled with 3,000 animals representing over 60 species of sea life and is decorated with colorful mosaic tiles.

With a top speed of 56 miles per hour and a height of 140 feet, Manta falls just short of its siblings. However, since premiering in 2009, Manta has won its share of accolades and is a long-standing fan-favorite attraction for good reason.

The queue alone is breathtaking, and whatever breath you have left is swiftly taken by the exhilarating ride that follows. It’s not often that guests can feel the thrill of gliding over a body of water and the heads of the park’s other guests.


Opening Date: June 10, 2016

SeaWorld Orlando's Mako
Mako at SeaWorld Orlando

By the time Mako came onto the scene, Florida’s theme parks had a habit of raising the bar higher and higher when it came to records being broken and ways they could challenge one another.

The ride took a chomp out of state records with a maximum speed of 73 miles per hour, a peak of 200 feet, and zero-g banks that mimic the real-life shark species’ movements, giving guests moments of simulated freefall during the track’s deep curves.

Pipeline: The Surf Coaster

Opening Date: May 27, 2023

Pipeline: The Surf Coaster at SeaWorld Orlando
Pipeline: The Surf Coaster at SeaWorld Orlando

Pipeline: The Surf Coaster is a first-of-its-kind thrill ride, drawing inspiration from surfing cultures across the globe.

Pipeline’s cutting-edge design enables riders to experience the sensation of carving through totally tubular waves, mirroring the dynamic movements of the sport it emulates. Its innovative restraints offer a simulation of wave motion as they navigate gnarly curls at speeds up to 60 miles per hour along its 2,950-foot track.

Discuss your favorite SeaWorld rides with others on our SeaWorld Community on Facebook, and purchase discounted tickets here. Be sure to follow Orlando Informer on TikTokThreadsFacebookTwitter, and Instagram for the latest news, tips, and more at Universal Orlando, Walt Disney World, and other Orlando attractions.


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About Sean Pagnotti

Sean is an Orlando geek of most trades. Growing up with the theme parks as his backyard, he developed a passion not just for the industry, but also for helping others get their best experience from the city. Aside from travelling annually with his wife, Sean can be found sketching in his drawing book, crafting the next cocktail from his bar, and binge-watching his favorite shows.