Is SeaWorld Worth It? An Honest Opinion With Pros and Cons

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An analysis of the pros and cons of a Seaworld vacation by a travel blogger

As someone who has been planning family theme park vacations for nearly 20 years, I understand the equation of worth. The question “Is a vacation destination worth it?” requires a complex calculation of the relative value of memories and experiences. In this article, we will factor all of that equation to determine if SeaWorld Orlando is worth the price.

Yes, SeaWorld is worth it. Utilizing bundles and promotions you can get into the park for as little as $100 or get a season pass for around $138. Pros include up-close animal encounters as well as Orlando’s best collection of roller coasters. Cons include the lack of food options and expensive upsells.

View SeaWorld Sky Tower
For a small fee, guests can enjoy the view from the Sky Tower at SeaWorld (photo by John Gullion/

Things to do at SeaWorld

SeaWorld Orlando is a curious mix of (mostly) aquatic zoo exhibits and the trappings of a traditional theme park. The roller coaster offerings are certainly the best of any single theme park in Orlando. In fact, in my opinion, the coasters at SeaWorld are better than the combined coasters at Universal, though it’s very close. 

There are a variety of animal shows – called presentations – and exhibits. You can see Beluga Whales, Orcas, dolphins, and manatees. Other animals on exhibit include sharks, rays, flamingos, Emperor penguins, a walrus, and seals. Sesame Street Land at SeaWorld rivals Seuss Land at Universal’s Islands of Adventure for children’s affection. If I’m being candid, it also proved to be quite nostalgic for this Gen X child who discovered in the park he can still sing the song. 

For a small extra charge, the Sky Tower takes guests 400 feet above the central lake, offering stunning panoramic views of Orlando. 

Roller Coaster at SeaWorld
The roller coasters at SeaWorld are top-notch (photo by John Gullion/

SeaWorld pros 

Did I mention the coasters? The SeaWorld collection of roller coasters is top-notch. SeaWorld offers five coasters that vary in quality from good to great with the Pipeline being an example of the latter. They are a boon for families with older kids who may think they’ve outgrown places like Fantasyland. And there’s more on the way. The Penguin Trek is scheduled to open in late 2024.

I loved the animal exhibits. I could have spent an hour with the Belugas alone and found myself obsessed with the walrus. The orcas – we will discuss habitat situations in the cons section – are the signature animal attraction.

Sesame Street is well done. I thought my son – age 11 – would consider himself too old for Elmo and the crew. However, the rides – which are around the same level as a good carnival – had enough zip and pull to keep him entertained. And in the morning, the rides were walk-on where he could pop off one and right onto the next. Also, as a theme park guest approaching 50, I found myself pleased with the number of benches and available seating. There is also quite a bit of shade in many parts of the park. 

SeaWorld Chicken and Fries
The food options are somewhat limited at SeaWorld (photo by John Gullion/

SeaWorld cons 

I went in aware of the orca controversy and found myself wishing many of the animals had larger areas in which to roam. The belugas and walrus could use some more space. I suppose their areas are small due to the cost of keeping in Arctic level cool in the Florida heat. I wanted to give them more room. It’s impossible – for me at least – to watch the Orca show and not think about the Blackfish documentary. As someone who began going to SeaWorld when Shamu was a star, I’m glad we saw the exhibit. As someone who wants what’s best for the animals, I understand why this will be the last generation of orcas at SeaWorld. 

On another note, I found dining in the park to be difficult. There are plenty of snack options but there aren’t enough real dining locations to meet the demands of a crowded park. Compared to Disney and Universal the mobile order options were limited and for my son – who has several food allergies – nigh impossible. In fairness, I think some better planning on my part may have helped the situation. We ended up with lunch at the Expedition Café – which at the time of this writing is going under renovation. We were lured by the promise of international options but found a severely under-prepared dining location with a long line and limited seating. The international food options were school cafeteria grade Asian flavors, some pizza, a Ceaser salad and chicken tenders and fries. Compared to its theme park brethren the dining options need a significant upgrade. 

Finally, the number of upsells for animal encounters and experiences can get a little steep if you want the full experience. 

Is SeaWorld worth it?

Yes, SeaWorld is worth it. With the various pricing discounts and bundles available, you’re looking at about $100 to get into the park at the time of this writing while you can get a season pass for $138 – an exceptional value IMO. We found the park to be entertaining. The rides are excellent and the exhibits interesting and informative. We live in a changing world that views animal exhibits and zoos with different eyes. And that’s good. I’m glad the animals are better kept than when I was a kid. I hope the people in charge of the park do a good job of balancing the animals’ needs against profits. Ultimately, we had a ton of fun and left planning for our next visit. 

P.S. Are you going on an Orlando vacation soon? Don’t forget to check for area discounts on attractions and lodging before you go.

Photo of author


John Gullion

John Gullion, Managing Editor at the Citizen Tribune, is a freelance contributor for LLC – the parent company of and

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