A visit to the original SeaWorld

SeaWorld San Diego

Shipwreck Rapids

Not far from the entrance is the Shipwreck Rapids, a very nicely designed rapids ride from the manufacturer Intamin. While I was lucky not to get too wet on most of the rides on my trip to California, the Shipwreck Rapids really got me down.

Orca Encounter

For a few years now, the focus of the big orca shows at SeaWorld has shifted more towards edutainment. The main aim of the show is to splash the guests in the soak zone with as much water as possible by an orca. Apart from that, the Orca Encounter presentation is a very rewarding experience as long as you keep your expectations low.

Bayside Skyride, Sky Tower

Since 1967, SeaWorld San Diego has been home to a Von Roll cable car, which took visitors to the SeaWorld Atlantis restaurant on the other side of Mission Bay until 1988. Nowadays, there is no stop and you only enter the station on the other side briefly, only to turn round again straight away. Like the large Sky Tower observation tower, however, the ride is not included in the admission price.


The Manta roller coaster is also located in the front part of the park and is therefore also very well embedded in the gardens of the theme park. The ride on the Mack Rides Mega Coaster begins after a quick right-hand bend with a short show in the launch tunnel, which is, however, very dark. With a little momentum, we are then sent on our journey. After a steep right-hand bend, we first race over a water basin, whereupon we take an equally steep turning curve. A left-hand bend is followed by a series of smaller hills, which are repeatedly interrupted by short bends. However, as we are slowly running out of breath, we approach the second launch section, where we are slowed down briefly. After the launch, we immediately rush into a left-hand bend and then over another hill. A dip is followed by a turn into a fairly intense helix. This is followed by a fairly wide right-hand bend, which takes us into the final bend of the ride, whereupon our ride soon comes to an end.

Manta is a very nice family roller coaster. Here and there, the coaster lacks a little dynamism, which is particularly noticeable at the point before the second launch. I don’t understand why it was necessary to slow down here and not accelerate straight away. Nevertheless, a great ride.

Dolphin Adventures

As expected, the Dolphin Adventures presentation at SeaWorld San Diego was very entertaining. With the best view of the theme park’s rollercoaster skyline, the dolphins performed numerous tricks, always focussing on the edutainment character of the show.

Electric Eel

There is a Premier Rides Sky Rocket II in almost every park in the SeaWorld group, including here at SeaWorld San Diego. The name Electric Eel is reminiscent of the great Steel Eel roller coaster from SeaWorld San Antonio. As is so often the case nowadays, comfort collars are also used on this roller coaster, which are designed to simulate the use of shoulder restraints in order to offer passengers a greater sense of safety. As the Premier Rides Sky Rocket II fortunately does not offer any real curves, the ride comfort is in no way restricted by the use of the harnesses – only the entry is a little more annoying than usual.

The first launch on Electric Eel largely resembles the initial acceleration of a modern boat swing. After changing direction, the ride is admittedly much more powerful and we almost reach the apex of the non-inverted loop, where we can briefly enjoy the view of the neighbouring Journey to Atlantis roller coaster and the amusement park’s car park. With plenty of momentum, we are now accelerated a third time, whereupon we reach the top level of the ride after a 180° turn without any difficulty. After a very short breather, we enter the ride’s inversion, which is clearly visible from afar, where we experience a very pronounced hangtime. Shortly afterwards, we dive into the non-inverted loop once again. Another encounter with the apex of the element then heralds the finale of the ride, whereupon we come to a precise stop after another run through the station and our wild ride comes to an end.

Journey to Atlantis

This is the third time I have been on a Journey to Atlantis roller coaster and once again I am surprised by a completely different layout. As in Orlando, the ride here is a water coaster from Mack Rides, but instead of a dark ride section, the ride begins immediately with the first lift hill. Once at the top, we approach the ride’s big shot ride in a wide right-hand bend with a small dip, which we tackle straight away. Slightly soaked, we bob along a little through the canal, getting closer and closer to a building. This contains the large vertical lift of the rollercoaster, which transports two boats upwards at a time. After a short stop with the best view of the amusement park’s car park, we immediately descend a large steep curve and then immediately ascend again. After passing through another braking area, we descend steeply once again, initially heading slightly to the right before taking a left-hand bend that takes us directly into the next pool of water. Completely soaked, we then return to the station and our entertaining ride slowly but surely comes to an end.


The Emperor is the largest roller coaster at SeaWorld San Diego and dominates the sky-blue skyline of the theme park from afar. The 46 metre high dive coaster starts in the classic way with a turning curve at a lofty height before reaching the ride’s vertical drop, where we are held in position for several seconds in a holding brake with the best view of the abyss in front of us and the brand new Arctic Rescue roller coaster. After a successful drop, we are immediately drawn into an oversized Immelmann, where we change direction. After a turning curve – reminiscent of a cutback – we are pulled into a wonderful roll, which immediately turns into a steep curve and releases us into an oversized corkscrew. After another right-hand bend, we reach the final brake of the ride and our great ride draws to a close.

Arctic Rescue

It’s really something different to know the project manager of a rollercoaster in person. Accordingly, I was on a mission at Arctic Rescue to take the best possible pictures for him. A mission on which I unfortunately failed miserably. It doesn’t really make sense to me why they put their latest and greatest roller coaster in an area that is almost 100% protected from view (you can actually only see the roller coaster from Emperor or the Sky Tower) and don’t even set up a stage or something similar so that others can also take part in the hustle and bustle of the roller coaster. That simply makes no sense! Luckily, as a single rider, it was my turn quickly and I was immediately able to take a seat in the last row of the rollercoaster.

After a left-hand bend, we reach the ride’s first exit, whereupon we speed over the first turn at full speed. This is followed by an extremely successful sequence of rapidly alternating right and left turns before we reach the second launch and increase our consistently high speed once again. After a long left-hand bend close to the ground, we climb the second large hill of the rollercoaster – which includes three short changes of direction. Once back on the ground, we whizz through numerous tightly timed bends on the way to launch area no. 3. Once again at speed, we are then drawn over a long turning curve to the park boundaries, where we then endure two extremely daring manoeuvres. The path then takes us over a series of smaller hills, whereupon we find ourselves on the final brake of the ride.

Arctic Rescue is a bloody good rollercoaster and is reminiscent of the absolutely fantastic Juvelen rollercoaster from Djurs Sommerland in Denmark or Yukon Quad from the French theme park Le Pal, only without the slow hills towards the end of the ride. The extremely dynamic ride and the constantly high speed define the ride like no other; there is virtually not a single quiet second from start to finish.

To wind down a little at the end of the ride, it is worth visiting the neighbouring Wild Arctic area. This is home to several large enclosures for beluga whales and walruses and is very well themed and absolutely worth seeing.

Pictures SeaWorld San Diego

Conclusion SeaWorld San Diego

SeaWorld San Diego is probably the best located SeaWorld theme park. The location on Mission Bay is impressive, as is the portfolio of the animal and theme park. Together with a visit to nearby Belmont Park, it is well worth a visit.

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