SeaWorld Orlando extends free admission offer for preschoolers

January 15, 2018, 11:17 AM · All major theme parks offer free admission to children under age three. Now SeaWorld Orlando is extending that free admission to all Florida residents under age six.

It's not just a "roll up in your stroller and get in" deal, though. Parents must register online to get a SeaWorld Orlando Preschool Card for their youngsters. But that card is free for kids ages five and under and gets them admission to SeaWorld Orlando for the rest of 2018. Parents can pay to upgrade the card to include the Aquatica water park, for $59.99. That's the current walk-up price for a one-day ticket to that park, though advance-purchase, one-day tickets to Aquatica are available for $39.99 on SeaWorld's website.

Please note that this offer is for Florida residents only and proof of residency (from the parents, one presumes), will be required when activating the card.

SeaWorld has offered extended free admission to toddlers and young children in the past, as the park continues to pursue a value-pricing strategy relative to the more-expensive Disney and Universal parks in the Orlando market. SeaWorld Orlando's attendance peaked in 2009, at 5.8 million — the year the company was spun off from Anheuser-Busch (and thus lost its free beer giveaways) and the year before rival Universal Orlando opened The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which fundamentally changed the balance of the theme park industry.

Even if SeaWorld Orlando lacks attractions based on the fictional entertainment franchises that so effectively draw tourists these days, it has tried to counter-program to appeal to locals with a variety of food, music, and holiday festivals. To further reach out to families with young children, the park this spring will offer a "Just For Kids" event on weekends from April 21 through May 13. SeaWorld's not released much detail about this event yet, except to say that "families can spend their weekends dancing to the beat and learning together along with everybody’s favorite furry, finned and flippered friends."

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Replies (4)

January 15, 2018 at 10:04 PM · My wife and I are teachers and my kids are both 5 and under, so my whole family gets in free, outside of parking. I really appreciate their generosity and I spend alot on seasonal fare especially. Their christmas offerings, particularly the ice skating show and lights are wonderful and really capture a lot of that holiday feel that Disney has lost from the closure of Osbourne lights and the ones they used to have at Epcot.

Particularly, seaworld's food fest in March is fantastic and for about 60 dollars I got 15 food portions that were not only larger than what they serve at Epcot but just as good. In addition the lower crowd levels and relaxed atmosphere make it feel like the food and wine festivals of old and if you want to catch one of the musical acts, bayside stadium has considerably more seating than America gardens theater. Also, the bacon pretzel at pretzel kitchen is amazing.

January 16, 2018 at 4:19 AM · @Jeffrey H
Agreed ... the relaxed atmosphere, variety of events throughout the year, great coaster selection and generally lower crowds make SeaWorld a winner (despite the bad public perception.)

It should be noted that last year this offer included admission to SeaWorld AND Busch Gardens, but for 2018 is SeaWorld only.

Oh, and one last thing ... this is supposedly the final year for the Shamu show as we know it, One Ocean. Assuming, that is, that SeaWorld goes forward with plans to retire the show in Orlando after 2018.

January 16, 2018 at 11:21 AM · Chapeau SeaWorld! A major theme park owner giving something away to their customers. A huge novelty these days. Your Discovery Cove Ultimate ticket continues to be the best value for money as well. Orlando still has a place for you. Good luck with your recovery strategy.
January 16, 2018 at 12:03 PM · The problem is Sea World is giving free admission because they are having trouble attracting paying customers. Hopefully this will give Sea World a short term boost in attendance and revenue while it figures out a way to do so in the long run.

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