The Ultimate Guide To SeaWorld San Diego Rides

SeaWorld San Diego

SeaWorld San Diego Rides

There are many facets to the SeaWorld theme park that bring people from around the world to its gates. Some people like to go to the park for the variety of aquatic animals they can see at SeaWorld. Others go for the many world-famous water shows. Then, some come to SeaWorld for the park’s many rides.

SeaWorld San Diego, one of SeaWorld’s three primary locations, contains a variety of rides, including thrill rides, kid’s rides, and water rides. SeaWorld San Diego has 16 different rides to experience on your next trip to the park.

This guide will focus on all the SeaWorld San Diego rides and give you all the information you need to know about them, including ride experience, height requirements, wait times, and more. By the time you reach the end of this guide, you should have all the knowledge you need for your next trip to SeaWorld San Diego!

Here is the Ultimate Guide to SeaWorld San Diego Rides!

#1 – Shipwreck Rapids

Shipwreck Rapids is a winding river water raft ride where you won’t just get wet; you’ll get soaked.

Sea World San Diego Shipwreck Rapids Ride Experience

The ride begins with riders slowly drifting away from the turning pier in their nine-passenger round raft. Riders first float under a bridge with a sign that tells passengers to remain seated and keep arms and legs inside the raft at all times.

The water then picks up speed and takes riders past their first turn, directly into the quick-moving rapids. Three small bumps in this section of rapids will mark the first instance of riders getting wet. A small drop after the third bump increases the raft’s speed and takes riders under two bridges from the queue.

The ride makes a sharp turn under the bridges as the water picks up speed, causing the raft to bump into the wall, which then causes the next big splash into the raft.

From there, riders pass the Bayside Amphitheater. In this area, there are water squirters that SeaWorld San Diego guests can use to hit riders with surprisingly large sprays of water.

Riders then pass the first shipwreck of the ride, the Dream Boat II, which has a piano hanging from the side.

Next, the raft passes through the dual-wall waterfalls, but they don’t make the riders wet. Riders then pass by the next shipwrecked ship called the Holy Mackerel, which marks the ride’s finale, a waterfall under which the raft floats directly, soaking the riders.

From there, the riders go into a cave that contains one final water rapid that crashes into the raft, causing the riders to get one last splash. Riders exit the cave, which turns out to be a shipwrecked ship called the Royal Star.

The raft then ascends a wooden conveyor belt that takes the riders back to the launch pier, thus ending the ride.

Height Requirements for Shipwreck Rapids

You must be 42″ to ride this SeaWorld San Diego ride.

Wait Times for Shipwreck Rapids

You can expect to wait 15 minutes for Shipwreck Rapids.

#2 – Tidal Twister

Tidal Twister is a rollercoaster that uses momentum and physics to propel the rider forward towards its only inversion before repeating multiple times.

At first glance, the Tidal Twister may look like a small coaster. There is only one inversion in the center of the track before it loops around in an infinity-like structure. However, even though the track is small, the ride’s intensity is more significant than the other “kid-friendly rides” that Tidal Twister counts itself.

SeaWorld San Diego Tidal Twister Ride Experience

Depending on the rider’s seat position, their ride experience will change. Sitting in the back, Tidal Twister will be a backward-facing and moving experience throughout the ride, while sitting in the front will make Tidal Twister a forward-moving experience.

The ride begins with the vehicle tilting to the side. The vehicle then goes up to the top of the small hill nearest the back of the ride cart before returning past the launch zone and reaching the top of the apex nearest the front. Before going over, it goes backward, reaching the top of the back hill, stopping, and coming back down at speeds fast enough to take the vehicle over the front hill.

At this point, the ride continues forwards (or backward, if you sit in the back) until it comes to its first inversion, a slow roll that simulates zero Gs. The ride continues down the same figure-8 path at a top speed of 30 mph and repeats three more times, taking the rider over the same roll until it loses momentum and brings the rider back to the launch zone, ending the ride.

Height Requirements for Tidal Twister

Guests must be 48″ to ride the Tidal Twister.

Wait Times for Tidal Twister

You can expect to wait 10 minutes to ride this Sea World San Diego ride.

#3 – Bayside Skyride

The Bayside Skyride is a relaxing gondola ride that takes you across the edge of Mission Bay, giving riders an incredible view of the many yachts and boats parked on the water and great views of the west side of Sea World San Diego.

SeaWorld San Diego Bayside Skyride Additional Fee

This ride has an additional $6 fee for all guests ages three and up.

Bayside Skyride Height Requirement

All guests under 56″ must be accompanied by a supervisor.

Bayside Skyride Ride Time

In total, the ride is six minutes long.

#4 – Manta

Manta is a high-intensity rollercoaster that’s perfect for guests of all ages.

Sea World San Diego Manta Ride Experience

The ride begins inside a cave, where serene music plays. The ride train rocks back and forth as the music slowly intensifies with drums. The walls light up with bubble and water effects, symbolizing that the riders are underwater and are now manta rays. The wall door then opens as the train launches at high speed.

The first element is a twist that occurs shortly after the launch. Next, the ride continues forward and makes a wide right turn, followed by a left turn. The ride makes multiple sharp turns until it slows down and reaches its second launch reaching a top speed of 43 mph. It continues forward, making a few more twists and a tiny drop until finally slowing down and returning to the launch zone, ending the ride.

Manta Height Requirements

Guests must be 48″ to ride Manta.

Sea World San Diego Manta Wait Times

You can expect to wait 10 minutes for Manta at SeaWorld San Diego.

#5 – SeaWorld San Diego SkyTower

The SkyTower is a relaxing, 5-minute trip 400 ft into the sky that gives riders a fantastic aerial view hundred miles in all directions to the Pacific Ocean and San Diego skyline. Looking down gives an overhead view of the entire SeaWorld San Diego Park.

Like the Bayside Skyride, the SkyTower is an attraction that guests must pay an additional $6 fee for all ages three and up. However, guests with a silver, gold, or platinum pass can ride the SkyTower for free.

Sea World San Diego SkyTower Height

The SkyTower is 400 ft.

Height Requirements for the SeaWorld San Diego SkyTower

No height requirements exist, but all guests under 48″ must be accompanied by a supervisor.

#6 – Riptide Rescue

Riptide Rescue is a fast spinning and tilting ride.

Riptide Rescue Ride Experience

While on the ride, riders are spun around in two ways. First, the ride spins the riders in a large circle for the entire duration of the ride. However, the spinner has three arms with four sets of rafts that allow two passengers per raft.

Each arm spins the riders at the same time that it takes riders around in a circle. The force of the spin also makes the rafts (where the rider sits) tilt left and right as it goes around.

The duration of the ride is approximately 2 minutes before it ends.

Will you get sick on Riptide Rescue?

As Riptide Rescue is a pure spinning ride, if you are susceptible to motion sickness, you may get sick while on the ride. If spinning rides make you uncomfortable, you may want to skip Riptide Rescue.

Wait times for Riptide Rescue at SeaWorld san Diego

You can expect to wait 10 minutes for Riptide Rescue.

#7 – Emperor

The Emperor is a high-intensity rollercoaster that tests your bravery regarding heights and upside-down elements.

SeaWorld San Diego Emperor Ride Experience

Emperor begins with the riders ascending a 150 ft climb up the hill. At its peak, the track takes a slow turn bringing the train to the edge of the massive 140 ft drop, hanging there for around three seconds. The train then drops at 90 degrees, reaching a speed of 63 mph and taking riders into the 120 ft tall loop that transforms into a twisted inversion that takes riders entirely upside-down.

The riders go through the subsequent inversion that twists riders halfway. The riders then go through a corkscrew twist that turns into a wide turn that brings them back to the launch zone, ending the ride.

SeaWorld San Diego Emperor Height Requirements and Limitations

Guests must be 52″ to ride the Emperor at SeaWorld San Diego. However, there is a maximum height of 78″ (6’6 or 198 cm).

Emperor Wait Times

You can expect to wait 10 minutes to ride the Emperor.

#8 – Journey to Atlantis

Journey to Atlantis is a mixed flume water ride/rollercoaster that mixes elements of both types of attraction to give the rider a unique experience that will leave them wet.

SeaWorld San Diego Journey to Atlantis Ride Experience

The ride begins with the flume boats climbing a hill. At the top of the hill, the boats make a U-turn while a voice gives safety instructions. The U-turn leads into an 83 ft tall tower that contains the main drop of the ride, a 60 ft plunge. A bowl of continuously falling water pours onto the riders at the top of the drop right before they come down into the pool below, creating a large wave that soaks the riders.

Riders then are brought around into another opening in the tower, leading into a dark room with walls that look like they are from an ancient civilization. The boat stops, music plays, and a woman’s voice excitedly says that you’ve made it to Atlantis. She begins to explain the legends of the city, then decides to take a picture. A camera shutter sound goes off, then the music changes to a fast-paced drum beat. An imposing man’s voice says that you’ve disturbed the sacred city of Atlantis and have come to your doom. He says that you’ll stay in the city forever, then the woman, in a panic, says to go inside quickly.

The flume boat continues forward and stops at a gate while the fast drums continue in the background. An elevator lifts the flume and tilts left and right as the riders rise. The man’s voice says there is no escape as the elevator lifts the riders and brings them to an opening. The woman’s voice says here’s our chance, and then the boat takes a 70 ft curved drop on a rollercoaster track. The track rises again before taking a small drop, leading to another curved turn directly into a pool that wets the riders. The boat then floats towards the loading zone, ending the ride.

SeaWorld San Diego Journey to Atlantis Height Requirements

Guests must be 42″ to ride Journey to Atlantis.

Wait times for Journey to Atlantis at SeaWorld San Diego

You can expect to wait 40 minutes for Journey to Atlantis.

#9 – Electric Eel

The Electric Eel is one of the most intense rollercoaster rides at SeaWorld San Diego.

SeaWorld San Diego Electric Eel Ride Experience

Electric Eel begins with the riders accelerating forward and up into a half-twist. The riders then fall back through the launch zone and up another half-twist, with the back of the ride vehicle reaching the highest point.

The riders then accelerate back through the launch zone at a speed of 60 mph, making it past the first half-twist and into a slow heartline roll that leads into a 150 ft drop.

The 90-degree drop leads into a twist, then a loop, which brings riders back through the launch zone and up the first half-twist before dropping backward slowly into the station, ending the ride.

Electric Eel Height Requirements

Guests must be 54″ to ride the Electric Eel at SeaWorld San Diego.

Wait times for Electric Eel at SeaWorld San Diego

You can expect to wait 5 minutes for this ride.

#10 – Tentacle Twirl

Tentacle Twirl simulates swinging on the tentacles of a jellyfish during this classic family-friendly ride.

Tentacle Twirl Ride Experience

Tentacle Twirl is a simple hanging swing ride that takes the rider into the air and swings them around in a circle. As the rider revolves around the swing, Tentacle Twirl tilts the rider to make them go higher or lower depending on where they are seated.

Tentacle Twirl Height Requirements

Guests must be 48″ to ride the Tentacle Twirl at SeaWorld San Diego.

Wait times for Tentacle Twirl

You can expect to wait 5 minutes for this ride.

Motion sickness on Tentacle Twirl

As Tentacle Twirl is a spinning ride, motion sickness is possible during or after this attraction. If you are prone to dizziness or nausea, you may want to skip this ride.

#11 – Octarock

Octarock is a kid-friendly swing ride that is perfect for toddlers and kids of all ages.

SeaWorld San Diego Octarock Ride Experience

On this ride, riders sit on a giant park bench-like swing that rocks riders back and forth. A safety bar comes down and covers the riders for the duration of the ride. The ride lasts for approximately 1 minute and 20 seconds.

Octarock Height Requirments and Limitations

Guests must be 31″ to ride the Octarock, but all guests between 31″ and 36″ must be accompanied by a supervising companion. Guests over 6’1 are not allowed to ride the Octarock.

Wait times for the Octarock

You can expect to wait 5 minutes for this ride.

#12 – Aqua Scout

Aqua Scout is a kid-friendly miniature aerial carousel that takes guests on a bumpy ride.

SeaWorld San Diego Aqua Scout Ride Experience

Though the Aqua Scout technically belongs in the aerial carousel family, it doesn’t take riders high into the air. It only lifts riders a few feet into the air before the rotation begins.

What makes the Aqua Scout different from most aerial carousels is that instead of allowing guests to lift themselves with a lever in the vehicle, it bounces the rider for the duration of the ride. The result is an aerial carousel that will bring a smile to your child’s face.

Height Requirements for the Aqua Scout

Guests must be at least 36″ to ride the Aqua Scout, or no height requirements if they are accompanied by a supervising companion 14 years or older. However, if the guest is smaller than 36″, they must be able to walk unassisted to ride the Aqua Scout.

Wait Times for the Aqua Scout

You can expect to wait 5 minutes to ride this attraction.

#13 – Sea Dragon Drop

Sea Dragon Drop is a kid-friendly drop ride perfect for children of all ages.

Sea Dragon Drop Ride Experience

On Sea Dragon Drop, riders sit next to one another on a bench capable of carrying six passengers. The ride lifts riders into the air and slowly drops them a few feet before taking them up again and dropping them again. The back-and-forth dropping continues multiple times before the ride ends.

Is Sea Dragon Drop Scary for Toddlers?

Sea Dragon Drop is not a tall ride. At most, the ride is 30 ft tall, and the drops are no more than 5 ft at a time. Therefore, Sea Dragon Drop is not a scary experience for kids of any age.

Height Requirements for Sea Dragon Drop

Guests must be 36″ to ride Sea Dragon Drop, but those smaller than 36″ may ride as long as they are accompanied by a supervisor 14 years or older. In addition, those under 36″ must be able to walk unassisted.

Wait times for sea Dragon Drop

You can expect to wait 5 minutes for Sea Dragon Drop.

#14 – Abby’s Sea Star Spin

Abby’s Sea Star Spin is a classic teacup spinning ride in the Bay of Play area, themed after Sesame Street.

Abby’s Sea Star Spin Ride Experience

Even though Abby’s Sea Star Spin is a kid’s ride located in a kid’s area, this is potentially one of the most intense rides in the entire park. Similar to Disneyland’s Mad Tea Party, Abby’s Sea Star Spin allows riders to determine how fast they spin on the ride with a wheel located in the center of the teacup.

The faster the rider spins the wheel, the quicker the teacup moves. It is possible to spin the teacup so fast that everything outside the cup becomes an unrecognizable blur.

However, if the rider decides not to touch the wheel in the center of the teacup, Abby’s Sea Star Spin becomes a relaxing ride that slowly moves the rider in a circle.

Motion Sickness on Abby’s Sea Star Spin

Because of the nature of the ride, depending on how fast the teacup moves, you should expect motion sickness and dizziness during and after this ride.

Height Requirements for Abby’s Sea Star Spin

Guests must be 42″ to ride Abby’s Sea Star Spin.

Wait Times for Abby’s Sea Star Spin

You can expect to wait 5 minutes for this ride.

#15 – Elmo’s Flying Fish

Unlike Aqua Scout, Elmo’s Flying Fish is a traditional aerial carousel.

Elmo’s Flying Fish Ride Experience

On Elmo’s Flying Fish, riders hop into fish that look like Elmo and fly around in a circle. Riders can raise their fish higher or lower by pushing up or down on the lever inside their fish.

In the center of the ride, Elmo stands with snorkeling gear and a bathing suit. At the beginning of the ride, Elmo talks to the guests about the fun everyone will have.

Height Requirements for Elmo’s Flying Fish

Guests must be 48″ to ride this ride or be accompanied by a supervising 14 year or older companion.

Wait Times for Elmo’s Flying Fish

You can expect to wait 5 minutes for Elmo’s Flying Fish at SeaWorld San Diego.

#16 – Oscar’s Rockin’ Eel

Oscar’s Rockin Eel is a spinning, kid-friendly version of the classic pirate ship ride.

Oscar’s Rockin’ Eel Ride Experience

On Oscar’s Rockin Eel, riders sit in an Eel that resembles a boat. There are six rows on the Eel, with each row allowing four passengers. The riders seated in the front three rows of the Eel face the riders sitting in the back three rows.

The Eel spins and rocks back and forth on a halfpipe ramp during the ride. The ride lasts for around 2 minutes before it ends.

Height Requirements for Oscar’s Rockin’ Eel

Guests must be 42″ to ride Oscar’s Rockin’ Eel.

Wait Times for Oscar’s Rockin’ Eel

You can expect to wait 5 minutes for this ride.

Additional Important Information About SeaWorld San Diego:

Where can you Buy SeaWorld San Diego Tickets?

You can buy SeaWorld San Diego Tickets directly from the official website for a discounted price of $59.99 per ticket compared to $99.99 per ticket if purchased at the gate.

What are the closest (and best) hotels near seaWorld San Diego?

What are the SeaWorld San Diego Hours?

Monday: 10:30 AM–5 PM
Tuesday: 10:30 AM–5 PM
Wednesday: 10:30 AM–5 PM
Thursday: 10:30 AM–5 PM
Friday: 10:30 AM–5 PM
Saturday: 10 AM–7 PM
Sunday: 10 AM–7 PM

You can find two more incredible theme parks not too far from SeaWorld San Diego. Disneyland and Universal Studios Hollywood are just a drive away, where you and your family can form many more memories!

Click the guides below to get started on your next adventure!

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