SeaWorld’s water slide park is across International Drive from its parent park (a free, 3-min. van ride links it), and you can pay for admission as an add-on to your SeaWorld visit. While Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach are heavily themed, Aquatica is merely colorful and tropical. It’s a perfectly nice park, but the others have more tricks. The company entices tourists to swim with the fishes on the Dolphin Plunge slide, a tube that curls off a tower and then turns clear acrylic as it passes through a habitat for Commerson’s dolphins. It looks exciting on paper, but in truth you’re going too fast to see anything, even if the dolphins could be reliably near the tubes (they aren’t) and there wasn’t water splashing in your eyes (there is). There are nearly two dozen major slides, many of them similar to each other, and the newest of which is Ihu’s Breakaway Falls, three curling slides that you begin by standing eight stories up in a shower-sized chamber on a floor that gives way, dropping you onto the ride. The pleasantly aggressive lazy river of Loggerhead Lane passes you by a big window into an aquarium. Roa’s Rapids is novel in that it’s a river with a very fast current meant to sweep your body along, without a tube. It’s all fine, not scintillating, and bears the whiff of having been scaled down from something more notable. Aquatica does run with a smart, picnicky idea when it comes to meals: You can pay $20 adults, $15 kids for unlimited fare at the all-you-can-eat Banana Beach (bad chicken, pizza, hot dogs), $15 to jump to the front of one line, or $30 for unlimited front-of-the-line access to 6 rides. Otherwise, Mango Market sells chicken tenders and sandwiches for the usual $11 per-meal price. If you’re bringing a picnic, stick to snack-sized bags; large ones will be confiscated and so will straws of any kind, which choke animals.
5800 Water Play Way, Orlando. www.aquaticabyseaworld.com. 888/800-5447. Adults $57, kids 3–9 $52, online tickets $10 less, discounts for combination SeaWorld tickets, parking $13, $12 online.
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.