Today was the media day for Antarctica Empire of the Penguin at SeaWorld Orlando! For those of you who might not be aware, about 2 years ago, SeaWorld closed the old penguin exhibit, and transformed the entire area into what is now known as "Antarctica."
The new dark ride features trackless, motion-base ride vehicles, so think "Pooh's Hunny Hunt" combined with "DarKastle", except this is certainly more for families.
One interesting feature about the ride is that it technically has no height restriction! If you are under 42", you can choose to take a "mild" ride, which is simply the same ride you would normally experience, just without a lot of the spinning or ride vehicle jostling around. So younger riders can still experience the ride-through part of the attraction.
The ride itself is very interesting, consisting of a main "follow me room" (which is what I heard someone refer to it as), where the vehicles kind of dance around each other with colorful "rainbow" scenery and lightning around you, and then you move into two different "movie" rooms, that tell the story of "Puck", a Gentoo penguin, and his adventures!
Let's check out the ride!
Here is a complete ride-through of Antarctica Empire of the Penguin including some of the pre-shows and an intro/outro by Brian Morrow, Creative Director of Antarctica.
It wouldn't be an update without an entrance sign!
When you see this sign, you know you're in Antarctica!
Just in case you get lost...
When you go through the queue, you have to make a choice! Do you want Wild or Mild? (And I'll be honest, the Wild isn't like CRAZY OMG WILD or anything, it just spins and jostles you a bit more...so don't worry!)
There is Puck and his Gentoo family. Ready to go on an adventure with him?
Yes, Puck...we see you, too! =)
Here are the ride vehicles... pretty snazzy, eh?
Those other vehicles are in the "load" position. It's an interesting set up, it doesn't feel like your traditional ride "load/unload" type of area.
We're just gonna call this the "purple room." It's the first thing you see, and you'll find some videos of Tuck in this room.
Rainbow caverns, anyone?
Here in this "Follow Me" room - the ride vehicles follow each other, spin, and kind of "dance around" - If you watch the video you'll get a pretty good idea of what we mean.
After the "follow me" room - you encounter two giant movie rooms. During the movies, your ride vehicles move to match the motions on the screen. (again, you can see this in the video)
Just watchin' da movie!
After the movie rooms, then you come to the penguin habitat! Yay!
This is the final room before "unload", so as you're waiting for the vehicles ahead of you, penguins show off what they do best!
They are just hanging out and having fun!
Here you can see the line of vehicles watching the penguins, and then unload is right in the next room.
After unload, there are.... MORE PENGUINS!!! After all, this is the "Empire of the Penguin" duh! =)
You can stay in this habitat area as long as you'd like!
And oddly enough... the penguin habitat no longer smells! Yes! They have removed the smell from the penguins! =)
The new Antarctica area includes new dining facilities such as this new quick-service restaurant.
Noodles are yummy!
In Glacial Collections you can get all the penguin swag you need for your penguin fanatic back home!
I'm sure these will make some penguin fans very happy!
Probably the coolest thing they sell in the shop is this "Cup that Cares" - It's sort of like the Mr. Potato Head of SeaWorld! You can create and mix/match your cup, and once you do, you can use it all year long to bring it back and get 99 cent refills from the Coke Freestyle machine! And every time you use your cup, it will tell you how many trees, etc you have saved by NOT using a throw-away cup!
I made my little guy and filled him with Peach Fanta Zero, because that's my Coke Freestyle jam!
Antarctica Empire of the Penguin opens Friday, May 24th 2013 - Come to SeaWorld Orlando and check it out!
Last edited by robbalvey on Thu May 23, 2013 6:07 pm.
The idea of having two ride experiences is a great idea in my opinion and I hope to see more rides take this approach. Last year at WDW I was able to ride Mission Space with my wife who had neck surgery years ago and would not have been able to ride it without the option for a less intense ride.
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