Welcome to Theme Park Insider! Join the community or log in
Theme Park Insider
Facebook Twitter YouTube Email Newsletter

TurtleTrek opens at SeaWorld Orlando

Written by
Published: April 27, 2012 at 5:32 PM

This morning, SeaWorld Orlando reached a new milestone by opening the TurtleTrek attraction. TurtleTrek is the world's first 360-degree 3D dome theater.

The 3D film follows the journey that every sea turtle goes through from hatching and finding its way to the sea, to coming back to the beach it was born on to lay its eggs.

The presentation, while it might not be the world's most realistic 3D, the full experience of being enveloped by the 360-degree dome screen and watching the 3D film is unique. You can look all around and visually explore the area surrounding you.

In the film we encountered everything from a small crab to a large great white shark, and got to explore the open ocean, a coral reef, a ship wreck, and even see the SeaWorld rescue team back at the beach. The film gives great insight into what sea turtles have to deal with throughout their lifespan, and its quite an inspiring story.

And since this 360 degree experience is in 3D, it really feels like you are in the film. Sea creatures float right above you and it looks like they graze the top of people's heads. With 3D always comes the challenge of the 3D glasses, but SeaWorld went with the simple 3D plastic glasses (think the old Spiderman 3D glasses). Yet unlike the simple, old 3D plastic glasses, these are designed to allow you to see more of your peripheral vision with the lenses wrapping around the sides. Most importantly for me the glasses fit perfectly over my prescription glasses so I was able to enjoy the full experience. The colors of the 3D are vibrant and you don't loose any noticeable brightness with the glasses. TurtleTrek is definitely a unique experience and I would recommend checking it out.

Here are some fun facts about TurtleTrek:
-Each frame of the film has approximately 26 million individual pixels (more than 13 times what is considered “high-def”)
-The six-minute film takes up 950GB
-34 projectors have a combined total of 368,800 lumens of light output; more than 15 times a typical digital movie theater projection system.
-The sound system includes 22 discrete audio channels that have all been mixed on-site. This allows for 3-D sound and pinpoint placement of audio effects.

Of course it would not be SeaWorld if there was not live animals to view. There are two tanks which you can view from both above ground and underwater. One features the Manatees, and the other the Sea Turtles. The Sea Turtles under viewing area is the pre-show to the TurtleTrek 3D film. There are several sea turtles in the tank as well as many different fish making for a very colorful experience. After watching the TurtleTrek show you exit towards the above ground viewing areas. There you can find two game stations set up that allow four people per station to take up the sea turtles journey to the beach.

The game controllers are made to look like turtles and by simply tilting the controller up, down, left, and right you control your turtle. Of course there are educators all around to help answer any questions you may have.

We also got a chance to talk with SeaWorld Orlando Creative Director, Brian Morrow, and he gave us some insight into what it took to create TurtleTrek including a tip of where it is best seen from as well as talking a little bit about the new Antarctica attraction which opens up in 2013.

Update from Robert: BTW, Domenik told me that Brian said he loves all the wrong information that is out there about Antarctica, and that we were close, but "trackless ride" is not quite the correct description for Antarctica's ride system.

Next guess? ;^)

Also, here is the video from TurtleTrek's opening ceremony:

Readers' Opinions

From Robert Niles on April 27, 2012 at 5:57 PM
Thanks, Domenik!
From Neil Basabe on April 28, 2012 at 4:02 AM
Thanks Domenik. Excellent report. I'm already including Sea World in my plans. But I always do. Sea World is always in our vacation plan in Orlando because is like an oasys in the middle of the fast pace that we have to mantain to enjoy all the attractions in the theme parks on a short 12 or 15 days trip. In the hot summer is really smart to take a day to relax and rest from that pace. For us is always a stay in the rental home pool a mid day of the first week while enjoying WDW and the next week while enjoying Universal, is Sea World. The water theme attractions makes it a refreshing day (plus the free beer) and the newest attractions for the little one mke the day a slow and energy charging day. We always enjoy the killer whale show, the comedy of the sea lions show, they seems to be the same year after year but again is a day to relax and enjoy the view. So is always smart to include Sea World in your plans.
From James Rao on April 28, 2012 at 7:07 AM
Great report! Thank you! I am looking forward to visiting next time I am in Orlando. SeaWorld is definitely trending up!
From 65.35.142.19 on April 28, 2012 at 11:09 AM
This article is nice. But the video is very, very well done. Good job!

- Brian

From Michael Gilmore on April 28, 2012 at 11:56 AM
Kudos to Blackstone and Sea World for being inventive and holding their own with Universal. Sea World Texas is a park I go to a lot. Hey Sea World, you need to spend more money on your largest park at Texas' version of Orlando...San Antonio. I can't wait to "sea" this show and for the new Antartica attraction to open.

ExCellent Reporting as ALWAYS. Thank-you.

From robert morris on April 28, 2012 at 2:30 PM
Was a good attraction, but I may have been caught up in the hype. The theater is not that big and while the 3D at times absorbs the theater overall the film came of as poor computer generated while I was hoping for a more live action experience.

It probably falls in the top half of the 3D movies in Orlando and its great to see Sea World expanding, I feel this attraction will need a "rehab" on the film pretty quick

From Manny Barron on April 30, 2012 at 12:27 AM
Turtle Trek sounds great. Sea World did a great job with their new turtle exhibit in San Diego so this one(done on a larger scale) is probably pretty awesome as well.
From 195.153.194.169 on April 30, 2012 at 3:20 AM
Oops pressed enter by mistake. Looking forward to going in June, have they brought the free beer back now Neil

This article has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.

Previous article: Vote of the week: Would you stay at a hotel on its opening day?



Planning a trip to Walt Disney World?

Family vacation

Insider's Pick: Don't try to do Disney without the ever-entertaining and informative Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World 2014. Save time and money with these tested tips and strategies for getting the most from a Disney World vacation. It's a great investment in happiness for you and your family.

Get it! In paperback | For Kindle | For iBooks