We recently visited Aquatica Orlando. While we are frequent guests at the Disney water parks, this was our first visit to Aquatica. It definitely won’t be our last! Aquatica Orlando is a fantastic water park with lots of fun things to do for both kids and adults.
Owned by SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment, Aquatica is located just across the street from SeaWorld Orlando on International Drive.
Before our visit, I did a lot of research to find out what we should bring, what we could not bring, and which attractions our son would be able to enjoy. I was pleased to find out that there were many things we could all do together as a family.
Before you visit, check out my 10 tips for visiting Aquatica Orlando that will make your day more fun and less stressful. Plus, I’ll give you some ideas to save money.
Buy Tickets in Advance
Purchase your Aquatica Orlando Single Day Advance Tickets online the day before your visit to save $15 off the same day single-park ticket price. Not only do you save money, but you receive an e-ticket, which lets you bypass the ticket window and go straight to the entrance gate, after you pass through security, of course. They can scan your e-tickets from your phone or you may print them out instead.
We just kept an eye on the weather forecast and picked a day that had no rain predicted. We purchased our tickets the evening before and saved $45, enough to pay for lunch!
Parking Isn’t Free
Unless you’re an annual passholder, parking isn’t free. Aquatica offers three levels of parking – general, preferred, and premium. General parking is currently priced at $20.
You can purchase your parking pass online in advance, but there is no discount for doing so.
If you arrive at the park before opening time, there is little reason to pay for preferred or premium parking. When we went, general parking was right in front of the entrance.
Arriving early is one of the best things you can do to have an amazing day at Aquatica Orlando. This will help you beat long lines at the parking gate, get a primo parking spot, breeze through the security line, and enter the park before the official opening time.
Once inside, guests must stay near the front of the park to wait for rope drop. You’ll still have access to Guest Services, lockers, and restrooms with showers and a changing area.
Once the rope drops, you can secure seating, then hit the slides. We went to the area between Roa’s Rapids and Walkabout Waters, one of the two children’s play areas. We were able to secure three chairs with a large umbrella for shade. While seating was available all over the park throughout the day, the best chairs with shade were taken early.
What to Bring
There are a few items that you’ll want to bring with you. You can rent or buy these items at the park, but why spend the money or the time in line if you don’t have to?
- Bathing Suit – Pretty obvious! Just make sure your suit doesn’t have a thong bottom, or buckles, rivets, or anything sharp on it.
- Diaper Cover – If your child is in diapers, make sure he or she is wearing a waterproof diaper cover.
- Towels – You’ll probably dry off quickly in the Florida heat, but these were nice to have. Aquatica does rent towels if you forget yours. They are $4 each, but you’ll have to wait in line at Guest Services to rent them.
- Sunscreen – We brought some spray sunscreen to reapply throughout the day. Sunscreen washes off after awhile, so if you want to protect your skin, bring some with you.
- Footwear – If the weather is hot, the pavement and beach sand will be hot. Most of the walkways have water sprayers built in, which helps, but it’s best to wear flip-flops or water shoes. There are cubbies at the entrance to each slide to put your shoes while you ride.
What Not to Bring
There are several items that are not allowed, or just not needed. Remember, you will go through a security check at the entrance to the park.
Do not bring weapons, sharp objects, glass containers, straws, or cans.
If you bring a cooler, it must be 16 quarts or smaller in size.
Outside alcohol is not allowed, but you CAN buy adult beverages in the park!
Pool toys and swim masks are not allowed, but you can bring goggles.
No need to bring your own life vest because Aquatica Orlando provides them for all its guests, free of charge! Sizes start at infant and go all the way up to adult. You’ll see racks of life vests all over the park, as well as piles of them near Roa’s Rapids. Just grab one and use it as long as you want. Children under 48 inches should always wear a life vest for safety.
Rules About Outside Food
Aquatica Orlando’s rules about bringing food are more strict than Disney World’s. First of all, don’t try to bring sandwiches or a full meal into the park. They will make you throw it out at the security check.
What you CAN bring are snacks and bottled water. Snacks must be in individual serving packs no larger than 3.5 ounces. No other beverages besides water are allowed. If you are bringing baby food, it must be in a plastic container.
For guests with special dietary requirements, a limited number of picnic size lockers are available for rent at the park’s ticket booths.
You can also leave food in your car. You may exit the park to eat and re-enter any time during the day. There are a few picnic benches located near the bus drop-off area if you plan to do this.
Protect Your Valuables
We brought very little with us, but we still had our cell phones, keys, and wallets to secure. Aquatica Orlando offers self-service all-day rental lockers in two sizes. The small locker is currently $15 and the large locker is $20.
There are 3 locker locations in the park. Many people rented lockers at the main location near Kiwi Traders Gift Shop close to the park entrance. However, we picked lockers near Walkabout Waters, since we also had chairs nearby. There are also lockers available near Kata’s Kookaburra Cove, the play area for younger children.
Visiting With Younger Kids
Check height requirements before you go and talk to your kids about what slides and attractions they can and cannot do.
You can have your younger ones measured near the park entrance to get a colored wrist band that shows which rides they can go on.
Besides the slides, there’s the huge children’s area, Walkabout Waters, to keep kids of all ages busy.
There are water cannons, a huge bucket dumping water every few minutes, and kid-size slides. The slides at Walkabout Waters are color-coded at the entrance to show the height requirement, but the overall play area is for everyone to enjoy.
If you have an infant or toddler, check out Kata’s Kookaburra Cove, which is for those under 48 inches. It’s a splash pad with several water features and small slides for little ones to enjoy.
There are two wave pools at Aquatica Orlando. Cutback Cove has larger, stronger waves, so Big Surf Shores is a better choice for younger kids. The waves at Big Surf Shores vary throughout the day, so even if your children are good swimmers, they should wear a life vest at all times.
At the edge of the wave pools, you’ll find a huge white sand beach. Kids can play in the sand and then wade into the water to wash off!
The lazy river, Loggerhead Lane, requires life vests for those under 48 inches tall.
Roa’s Rapids, which is like a fast-moving river, requires life vests for those under 51 inches tall. I highly suggest life vests for everyone. We all wore them and we’re glad we did because the current is very fast.
Don’t leave the park without visiting the Commerson’s dolphins at the shaded viewing area near the entrance to the Dolphin Plunge slide. You can also see them, as well as tropical fish, while floating around Loggerhead Lane.
All-Day Dining May Not Be a Good Deal
Just like the other SeaWorld Parks, Aquatica offers an All-Day Dining Deal. You pay one price and you eat and drink as often as once every hour, all day long, at participating restaurants. Prices start at $34.99 per adult and $19.99 per child.
If you plan to stay at the park from open until close, this deal might be right for you. You can even buy the All-Day Dining Deal ahead of time with your tickets and this will often get you a discount. You get a wristband to wear all day and you don’t have to worry about fussing with your wallet when you want to eat.
However, many visitors to the park have complained that the food isn’t very good and the lines move slowly. Some have reported spending an entire hour just to order and eat their lunch or dinner. And, you’ll definitely have to eat two large meals to get your money’s worth, even if you get the plan at a discount.
We chose not to get the dining deal during our visit, so we could maximize our time in the water. We had a big breakfast at our hotel, then grabbed sandwiches, fries, and fruit from Mango Market, the park’s quick service eatery. They also serve chicken tenders, hot dogs, salads, and desserts. Our cost for lunch for 3 was $37. The day we went, the park closed at 5:00 pm, so we had dinner elsewhere. If the park is open longer hours during your visit, you may want to have dinner there as well. In that case, the all-day dining plan may be worth it.
Rent a Cabana…Maybe
For the ultimate experience, splurge and rent a private cabana. A cabana offers a quiet place for relaxation with lots of shade and amenities.
Amenities include a locker, ceiling fan, rental towels, and a refrigerator with 12 bottles of water. There is also an attendant nearby to assist guests. Food can be delivered to your cabana for an additional charge, but the menu is limited.
Cabanas are located in different areas around the park at different price points, which also vary depending on the season. The lowest-priced cabanas start at $49 per day, but on the day in June that we visited, the same cabanas were priced at $99.
For us, the cost wasn’t worth it. We knew we wouldn’t use it enough. However, if you have a little one that naps, or anyone that needs a bit of downtime during the day, a cabana could be worth it.
Book your cabana well in advance of your visit to make sure you secure the type and location you desire.
Be aware that you will have to queue at Guest Services to get your cabana assignment, even if you’ve pre-booked it. This is where arriving early to Aquatica is helpful. If you arrive later in the morning, you could spend a lot of your time in line rather than enjoying the park.
The most important tip of all is to have fun! Aquatica Orlando is a fantastic water park with something for everyone in the family. We really enjoyed our day there, and hope this guide will help you enjoy it, too!
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Our most favourite “Must Do” attraction to visit every year with our kids and grandkids, since it opened.
We park and leave our wee dog at Sea World who offers kennels.
We pay extra to have preferred parking…. closer to the gate at Sea World. We jump on the free shuttle bus to Aquatica, located not too far from the Pet Kennels.
The pet kennel is super clean and the staff are friendly. You are required to return, to walk and free/ water your own pet, but we didn’t find this difficult at all.
***Check with staff re: Closing time