Published: June 10, 2013 at 7:54 AMThis is a completely excellent article. It puts the emphasis where it belongs in this attraction and notes that this is a superior replacement in every way for the previous penguin exhibit. Articles like this one are why I visit Theme Park Insider.
Published: June 10, 2013 at 9:43 AMRussell, you can skip the ride. Look at the following email sent to me from Sea World:
Dear Mr. Etcheberry:
Thank you for contacting our SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment® family of parks. We appreciate your questions; they are valuable in helping us improve our high level of service that we strive to provide.
There is an option to bypass the ride and go directly to the exhibit to see the penguins.
SeaWorld® Orlando and Aquatica™
Guest Correspondence Coordinator
Published: June 10, 2013 at 9:53 AMTo clarify Daniel's comment. You can bypass the ride to go to the exhibit, but you can't bypass the queue. Once you get to the loading area, you can tell an attendant you'd like to skip the ride, and he or she will direct you to another, fifth holding room, which exits directly into the habitat, instead of to the ride loading bays.
While I agree that the ride itself isn't anything special, if you've waited all that time, I'd still do it -- unless you're someone with upper-torso weakness issues, in which case I would consider proceeding straight to the exhibit. Even on the "mild" option, the ride does involve a rotating vehicle that offers no substantial upper-torso support. I'd be interested in hearing your take on the ride from that perspective, Daniel, and I defer to your judgment, but this seemed to me to have some of the qualities that you found troubling with other attractions.
Published: June 10, 2013 at 9:57 AMBeing a math geek, I want to describe people's expected enjoyment of Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin with an equation: Your expected enjoyment is a function of how long you can comfortably spend in the habitat divided by how long you waited for the ride.
Spend a half hour looking at the penguins after a 30-minute wait for the ride and you'll probably love this attraction. Rush through the habitat in two minutes because you're freezing, after roasting in the queue for two hours, and you'll probably be leaving scathing reviews online.
Published: June 10, 2013 at 3:01 PMSo, this is a real life example of how people are reacting to Sea World's Antarctica because my coworker Janelle and her family just got back...and they HATED this ride. Hated it.
The reason? Janelle's husband Darrel had seen a video of what the ride was supposed to be. This is many months ago. That was the video that made it seem like you'd be zooming around with penguins right there in front of you and that it would just be this gorgeous and amazing thing. Well, that's not what Sea World delivered...and the concept art was one thousand times better than the reality of what we got.
Janelle said that the ride looked "junky and cheap". She said the penguins at the end were cool but that the ride was "just so junky and looked like it was made of styrofoam". She was very unimpressed.
Also she said that you could totally see the trees behind this area, like it was supposed to be Antarctic and everything but then they didn't build the walls high enough and you can see green behind. Like, they went cheap and didn't do everything right because they wanted to save money.
Maybe people who did not see the concept art will think it's better, but I am telling you that Janelle and her family are super easy going and if they think this is junky then I bet other people will too.
Published: June 11, 2013 at 12:03 PMI went to Seaworld Saturday June 1 and arrived at Antarctica at about 10:30 am and the posted wait time was 120 min. I thought "I want to see this new attraction" and decided to get in line. It was a very hot sunny day and the queue was very long and I had to start my wait outside in the sun. After about 15 minutes of ABSOLUTELY no line movement except for people leaving the line, I left due to heat and frustration. Over the next 90 minutes, I did Kraken, Manta, Turtle Trek and Blue Horizons. I then left the park and went to Disney Hollywood Studios for Star Wars Weekends events.
All I can say is, after seeing the POV and reading comments, this ride is barely worth a 30 minute wait and I am happy I bailed when I did.