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SeaWorld has a leisurely pace, in part because its biggest attractions are up-close encounters with the animals. Don't be in a rush -- you won't have to hurry everywhere, for a change. This park can easily be enjoyed in a day. Its layout, lush landscaping, and many outdoor exhibits give it an open feel. Because of the large capacity and walk-through nature of many of the attractions, crowds generally aren't a concern except at Journey to Atlantis, Kraken, and Manta. You also need to be in Shamu Stadium in plenty of time for the show. Wild Arctic, at times, can draw a sizable crowd, but the lines here don't come close to reaching Disney's proportions, so relax. Isn't that what a vacation is supposed to be about?

Ticket Prices

A 1-day ticket at the gate costs $79.99 for adults, $69.99 for children 3 to 9, plus 6.5% sales tax. The park's online ticketing system allows you to go to www.seaworld.com, buy your ticket over the Internet (saving about $8 on an adult ticket), print it out, and take the printout right to the turnstiles. Note: SeaWorld also offers multipark passes and, at times, free days, discounted pricing, and other money-saving promotions, so be sure to check online for the most up-to-date offers.

SeaWorld's VIP Tour ($125 adults, $100 kids 3-9, plus mandatory park admission) is a 7-hour guided excursion that includes front-of-the-line access to Journey to Atlantis, Kraken, Manta, and Wild Arctic; reserved seating at the shows; lunch at Shamu Stadium (Dine with Shamu); and a chance to touch or feed penguins, dolphins, stingrays, and sea lions (tel. 800/327-2424). It's one of only two ways to dodge park lines, though these usually aren't as long as at Disney or Universal. Here, however, the pass allows unlimited front-of-the-line access. The second way to avoid lines is via the park's new seasonal Quick Queue pass -- starting at $14.95 and topping off at $24.95 for one-time access, $19.95 to $34.95 for unlimited access -- which is similar to Universal's fee-based Express Pass program.

The Flexiticket -- The most economical way to see the various "other-than-Disney" parks is with a multiday pass that counters Disney's Park Hopper add-on. With the FlexTicket, you pay one price to visit any of the participating parks as many times as you want during a 14-day period. A five-park pass to Universal Studios Florida, Islands of Adventure, Wet 'n Wild, Aquatica, and SeaWorld is $274.95 for adults and $254.95 for children 3 to 9. A six-park pass, which adds Busch Gardens in Tampa, is $314.95 for adults and $294.95 for kids. Both passes also include entrance to Universal CityWalk. The FlexTicket can be ordered through Universal (tel. 407/363-8000; www.universalorlando.com), SeaWorld (tel. 407/351-3600; www.seaworld.com), Aquatica (tel. 800/363-2559; www.aquaticabyseaworld.com), or Wet 'n Wild (tel. 800/992-9453 or 407/351-1800; www.wetnwild.com). Note: There's a round-trip shuttle available to Busch Gardens that's free for FlexTicket buyers (it's $10 for other guests).

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.