We debated whether or not to visit SeaWorld Orlando during a recent trip. We can see SeaWorld San Diego from our house so, as you might imagine, we go there frequently.

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I thought it would be interesting to compare SeaWorld Orlando vs. SeaWorld San Diego and talk about why someone from San Diego should or shouldn’t also visit SeaWorld Orlando. These days, with SeaWorld San Diego’s addition of new roller coasters, the parks are quite similar to each other which wasn’t so much the case when this post was first published.

One thing we loved about SeaWorld Orlando is the change of pace from the Disney theme parks. Similar to SeaWorld San Diego, it’s a beautifully landscaped oasis and less hectic than other theme parks.

We went on a Sunday morning and it wasn’t very crowded. Walt Disney World theme parks were crowded every single day and dodging people with a stroller (my daughter was in preschool at the time) gets old. It was nice to take a break from that. Unfortunately, we spent only one morning at SeaWorld Orlando because it started to rain and we were nervous about finding a taxi back to our hotel.

At SeaWorld San Diego, my daughter happily chirps about seeing Elmo at the Sesame Street Bay of Play. She was obsessed with Elmo, Big Bird, and the rest of the Sesame Street gang. When we got to SeaWorld Orlando, she was on the hunt for Elmo, because she associates Shamu with Elmo now. At the time of our visit, there wasn’t a Sesame Street Bay of Play but there is now a Sesame Street at SeaWorld area to suit smaller kids which replaced Shamu’s Happy Harbor play area.

SeaWorld San Diego once lacked thrill rides. Over the past year or so they opened up Tidal Twister and Electric Eel high-speed roller coasters. SeaWorld Orlando also has two high-speed roller coasters and both parks have the Manta roller coaster. The battle of SeaWorld San Diego vs. SeaWorld Orlando is now even in this regard.

Here’s really the bottom line. Most people who visit Orlando with kids on a family vacation go to visit the Walt Disney World theme parks. The cost per day of a multi-day Disney World tickets decreases with the more days you add on, especially because you can buy them at a discount. Depending on SeaWorld Orlando ticket promotions, it might be more expensive to add a day at SeaWorld Orlando than to add a day at Disney World.

Is the extra cost worth it? I would say it depends on your family’s interests (if you have a marine biology lover, then 100% yes) and how much time you have to spend in Orlando theme parks. And, it would depend on whether or not you have a SeaWorld in your backyard as I do.

If you are from San Diego, and are short on time, then you probably can give it a miss (if your kids allow it) since both SeaWorlds have similar exhibits and ours is larger. If you’ve never been to SeaWorld at all or have a long stay in Orlando, consider visiting SeaWorld Orlando regardless of where you live.

We enjoyed our visit there and you will too.

See also: How to Buy SeaWorld San Diego Discount Tickets and 8 Hotels Near SeaWorld San Diego

Katie Dillon is the managing editor of La Jolla Mom. She helps readers plan San Diego vacations through her hotel expertise (that stems from living in a Four Seasons hotel) and local connections. Readers have access to exclusive discounts on theme park tickets (like Disneyland and San Diego Zoo) and perks at luxury hotels worldwide through her. She also shares insider tips for visiting major cities worldwide, like Hong Kong, London, Paris, and Shanghai, that her family has either lived in or visits regularly (or both).

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  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Sea World San Diego vs. Sea World Orlando -- Topsy.com
  2. When I read the cost of the Sea World Orlando ticket pricewas almost the same as a day at Disneyworld I am almost died. I am still trying to get over it. I remember going to Sea World alot as a child but I would not pay $80 to do it now!
    .-= Sharlene´s last blog ..Lantern Bay Park =-.

  3. I’m so glad that you have your post about this now. We are heading to your backyard in a few days. 🙂 And, yes we will be going to SeaWorld San Diego. How could I not?

    Ironically, we have been to Orlando countless times and we have never been to SeaWorld Orlando with our kids yet. It’s good to read about the comparison.
    .-= Amy @ The Q Family´s last blog ..Dreaming of: 5 Places for Family Visit in San Diego =-.

  4. Pingback: Disney World With a Toddler
  5. Well I have not been to the Orlando SeaWorld but have been to the one in SanDiego. Even though I do not have the experience of going to both I would still defiantly suggest going to the one in San Diego. San Diego is known for having a HUGE amount of aquatic life and home of the Scripps Oceanography center (which is by the way the largest and oldest aquatic life center in the world) which contributes to the amount of exhibits and knowledge in our park. And San Diego is the first one out of all the parks. What we lack in shows we make up for in authentic nature. Were also home of San Diego Zoo so might wanna stop by there if you visit So Cal. Hope this was of use!