Most outdoor water parks have lazy rivers and water slides, but only Aquatica has water slides that zip through a pool of sharks and a lazy river that lets you see real live tropical fish while you float. Owned by SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment, the world-class Aquatica Orlando is an ocean-themed alternative to other Orlando water parks like Discovery Cove, Universal’s Volcano Bay, and the two Disney water parks, Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach.
Here’s everything you need to know about Aquatica Orlando in order to have the best Florida water park experience on your Orlando vacation.
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Aquatica Orlando: The Basics
Aquatica is an award-winning water park in Orlando, Florida. (There’s also an Aquatica water park in San Antonio, Texas, as well.) Aquatica Orlando combines wet and wild water rides with the kind of marine animal encounters you would expect at the park’s sister property, SeaWorld Orlando.
With water slides for every age and thrill level, two wave pools, kids’ play areas, a lazy river, and so much more, there’s something for everyone at Aquatica Orlando. The slides have names like Ihu’s Breakaway Falls and Walhalla Wave that add to the South Seas theming throughout the park.
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Aquatica Orlando is also the world’s first water park to become designated as a Certified Autism Center. There are quiet rooms, low sensory areas, and a sensory guide to help you choose appropriate rides. All staff members are specially trained to assist children with sensory processing issues.
Aquatica Orlando: Getting There
Aquatica is situated off International Drive in Orlando, directly across the street from SeaWorld Orlando. There’s signage on International Drive that will direct you toward SeaWorld, but between SeaWorld’s towering coasters on one side and Aquatica’s colorful slides on the other, it’s not hard to find.
I-Drive is one of Orlando’s main thoroughfares and traffic can get congested near the turnoff to Aquatica. Arriving prior to the park’s official opening time should help you avoid long lines at the parking gate.
Which Age Groups Is Aquatica Orlando Best Suited for?
Aquatica’s attractions are age-appropriate and fun for the whole family. Kids under 10 and parents on vacation with toddlers will most enjoy Kata’s Kookaburra Cove and Walkabout Waters. Walkabout Waters is a sprawling kids play structure with stairs, tunnels, slides (36″ and 42″ height requirement), and lots of water. Kata’s Kookaburra Cove (48″ and under) is a large shallow pool with a variety of water slides and water features.
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There is no specific area for tweens and teens at Aquatica Orlando, but none of the attractions have a height requirement above 48″ so they can hop on any of the same attractions adults can. Aquatica also has a number of family-friendly attractions that your family can experience together. Some require life jackets for younger riders, but these are provided free of charge.
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What makes Aquatica Orlando different from other water parks are the live animals you can observe on some of the attractions. Loggerhead Lane (no height requirement) is a lazy river that travels through underwater tunnels where you can view tropical fish; the Reef Plunge slide (42″ minimum height) goes directly through pool with Commerson’s dolphins, leopard sharks, and other cold-water fish. There’s also a viewing area if you aren’t quite ready to take the plunge.
Families with older kids and teens will find plenty of high-octane thrills. For serious adrenaline, head to Orlando’s tallest drop slides at Ihu’s Breakaway Falls (48” height requirement) or the world’s tallest dueling race slide, Riptide Race (42” height requirement). Your family can also face off against one another on the Taumata Racer (42” height requirement) competitive mat ride or take on Roa’s Rapids (no height requirement), a high-speed not-so-lazy river.
Add-On Experiences at Aquatica Orlando
In addition to combination tickets that allow you to visit Aquatica plus SeaWorld Orlando, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, and/or Adventure Island (Busch Gardens’ water park), there are a number of ticket upgrades you can purchase to enhance your visit.
On the Commerson’s Close-Up tour, a zoological expert takes you behind the scenes to interact with and learn about the majestic Commerson’s dolphins. You can also pay an additional fee for an all-day dining pass, cabana, and premium seating rentals; “Quick Queue” passes that let you skip the line for attractions; and photo packages. There are also daily rentals available for scooters, wheelchairs, and strollers.
How Do You Get Tickets for Aquatica Orlando?
Aquatica Orlando uses a date-based reservation system. All guests are required to have a reservation in order to enter the park. Because of this, it’s a good idea to purchase tickets and make a reservation ahead of time. You also save money by buying your tickets online instead of at the gate. You can purchase tickets and make reservations on Aquatica’s website.
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Parking at Aquatica is not included in the price of your ticket. You have the option to purchase a parking pass when you buy your ticket online, but you can also pay when you arrive. General parking and preferred parking are available.
Tips and Tricks for Visiting Aquatica Orlando
Arrive at Aquatica early for the best chance at finding lounge chairs and an umbrella. There is plenty of complimentary seating, but shaded areas fill up fast.
You will want to bring essentials like beach towels, goggles, swim diapers, and/or swimsuits, sunscreen, and bottled water (or a refillable water bottle), but certain items (like snacks and coolers) are not allowed inside Aquatica Orlando. You are allowed to bring your own USCG – Type II, III or V life vests, but complimentary life vests are provided.
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If you don’t want to worry about wads of wet cash or keeping up with your credit card, stop by Guest Relations or the Information and Reservation Counter upon arrival to pick up a Cashless Wristband. The band will be linked to your credit card so you can make purchases throughout the day.
Hotels Near Aquatica Orlando
SeaWorld and Aquatica have a number of official hotels and hotel partners that are nearby the parks and offer theme park benefits. Official SeaWorld Hotels offer complimentary transportation to the parks and other in-park discounts. Some nearby hotels, like the Hilton Orlando and the Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld, even have their own water parks.