16 Best Tips for SeaWorld San Diego

In this guide, we will cover our best SeaWorld San Diego tips to ensure that you arrive to the park extremely prepared, and know all of the 'hacks' to maximize your time and money.

seaworld san diego turtles

Table of Contents

  1. Best Day to Visit
  2. Skip the Lines With Quick Queue
  3. Work From the Back of the Park
  4. Bring a Poncho
  5. Have a Plan for the Hottest Time of the Day
  6. Bring a Water Bottle
  7. Rent a Locker
  8. Arrive to the Shows Early
  9. Use a Digital Park Map
  10. Understand What Show Times Actually Mean
  11. Save Money on Admission
  12. Swim With Dolphins
  13. Trade Pins
  14. Phone Accessories to Bring
  15. Get a Stamp
  16. Bring Sunscreen

1. Best Day to Visit

The best days to visit SeaWorld San Diego are Monday - Wednesday.

In simple terms, most vacationers plan their trip around the weekend and arrive on Thursday and leave by Monday.

seaworld san diego ride

By going during the week, you'll most likely avoid heavy crowds, and waiting in line.

We've written a guide that has more details on the best day to visit including the best time of day, the best season to visit, and which season you want to avoid.

2. Skip the Lines with Quick Queue

Do you hate waiting in lines? You're not the only one.

If you can only visit the park on one day, and that happens to be on a weekend, a Quick Queue Unlimited pass is something that you should consider.

seaworld rides

Quick Queue gives you access to single-day unlimited front-of-the-line access at certain rides, including Manta®, Electric Eel, and Shipwreck Rapids®.

They are an additional cost, but after walking right to the front of the line once (rather than waiting hours), you'll realize the immense value it has.

3. Work From the Back of the Park

If you're able to arrive right when the park opens, a great strategy is to work backwards through the park, specifically from the left side.

left arrow

What most visitors do when they enter the park, is they start from the front and make their way deeper into the park throughout the day.

What this strategy will allow you to do is experience rides located at the left-end of the park such as Manta and Shipwreck rapids with minimal waits, if any.

These same rides, especially the new rides, become extremely busy later on in the day as the crowd pours in.

4. Bring a Poncho

Inexpensive ponchos can be purchased online, and they will come in super handy during your visit.

There are rides where you will get wet such as Journey to Atlantis and Shipwrecked rapids, but if you don't want to bring a change of clothes for whatever reason, quickly put on a poncho!

wet

A poncho is much easier to carry and is extremely lightweight.

Another time it can be useful is if you decide to sit in the first dozen rows at Shamu stadium, as these happen to be the Splash zone.

If you do decide to not bring an extra pair of clothes, consider bringing an extra pair of socks (seriously). While a poncho can prevent your head and torso from getting wet, nobody thinks about having to walk in wet socks for an entire day.

5. Have a Plan for the Hottest Time of the Day

During the hottest time of the day cooling off will be your main priority, and by saving the water rides for this time, you can seamlessly do this without having to deviate from your favorite rides.

hot temperature thermometer

Penguin Encounter is another great alternative as over 400 penguins live in this area, and it'll be significantly cooler than outside.

6. Bring a Water Bottle

Although you are not able to bring outside beverages, coolers or food into the park, you're able to bring your own water bottle or refillable water bottle.

water bottle

This will save you a few bucks throughout the day, as it is bound to get hot after hours of walking.

7. Rent a Locker

Lockers are available at SeaWorld San Diego near guest services. There are hourly lockers, where you pay by the hour and there are also all day lockers where you pay a one time fee. You can pay with a credit card or cash.

8. Arrive to the Shows Early

Every show has a scheduled time for the day of when they will perform. You'll want to ensure that you arrive 20-30 minutes before showtime in order to ensure a good seat.

seaworld san diego orca

These shows can fill up quickly as they only perform a few times every day, and visitors don't want to miss it.

9. Use a Digital Park Map

Although you can grab a physical map at the front of the park, you can also have one in your phone through the SeaWorld app

This is much more convenient as you don't have to worry about misplacing it, and you can pull it up instantly whenever you need it without having to fold and unfold the map.

10. Understand What Show Times Actually Mean

Show times actually mean that the surrounding area will be packed near showtime, and once the show ends.

long line and crowded

When the show ends, all of the guests will exit and guess what? They'll go directly to all of the surrounding attractions.

By taking this into account, you can avoid long wait times.

11. Save Money on Admission

When you purchase with us, you will be able to skip the line and go straight to the gate while also saving $20 per ticket.

Our prices will always beat the front gate. You can find out more about how we are able to do this on our Authorized Theme Park Ticket Reseller page.

save money piggy bank

12. Swim With Dolphins

Did you know that you can actually swim with dolphins? This 60 minute session is lead by the trainers, and they'll train you how to interact with dolphins along with educating you on how they communicate, behave and play.

seaworld san diego swim with dolphins

Not only is this a once in a lifetime experience, but you can take some unique pictures for your social media.

13. Trade Pins

Pin trading is a very popular hobby at major theme parks and SeaWorld is no exception. Pins are placed on lanyards and their worn to show off the different types that they've collected.

seaworld san diego pin trading

A cool feature is that you're able to trade up to 3 times a day with staff members, so keep an eye out for them!

There are different pin categories including limited edition pins, which make collecting them all that more exciting.

14. Consider Bringing Phone Accessories

There are times that you can get wet at SeaWorld and there are certain accessories that can help you in the long run.

Consider purchasing a water proof case or external battery for your visit.

A water proof case can help keep your phone in excellent condition while not worrying about taking the perfect picture or riding water rides.

low battery

An external battery can come in extremely handy as your phone battery will most likely deplete during your visit. Finding an outlet to charge your phone can be difficult at times unless you are sitting down, eating inside a restaurant.

With an external battery, you can easily charge on-the-go.

15. Get a Stamp

If you forgot something in your car, or just have to step away momentarily, get a stamp on your hand! This will signify that you've already purchased a ticket and you'll be free to leave the park and come back.

stamp

During your visit, you may leave our park and return the same day. This will not count as a second visit if you have a multi-day ticket. 

16. Bring Sunscreen

Nothing can ruin a great theme park visit like a bad sunburn, and contrary to popular belief, you can still get sunburned when it's cloudy in San Diego. 

Make sure to pack a bottle of sunscreen, and you can reapply it throughout the day to ensure you are protecting your skin.

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