Even as the grand opening of TurtleTrek approaches on Friday at SeaWorld Orlando, not much has been revealed about the theme park’s biggest in-the-works project, the new Antarctica realm, since its announcement four months ago. But that changed this week as a few new details and a bit of artwork were released at the annual Pow Wow convention, held this year in Los Angeles.
Previously described as the world’s coldest theme park attraction, Empire of the Penguin will take guests on a unique journey through near-freezing temperatures on a ride that SeaWorld now says will change from visit to visit.
Also revealed this week is the notion that Empire of the Penguin will offer guests a choice of intensities as passengers ride in 8-person vehicles, a first look at which was shown off in the new artwork below.
Though SeaWorld is still remaining tight-lipped as to exactly what visuals will be seen in the signature attraction that will be part of the larger Antarctica area of the park, the artwork does appear to confirm the rumored notion that ride vehicles will be free roaming rather than confined to a single track, particularly noticeable in the vehicle depicted in the background of the new artwork.
Recent permit filings with the South Florida Water Management District show an overview of the layout of the entire Antarctica realm, including a glimpse inside the Empire of the Penguin ride building.
A closer look reveals a winding queue leading to patterns of 8 people moving through a few small rooms (pre-show areas) before entering one of five bays leading into a rather open area.
Though not officially confirmed or announced, the new artwork coupled with this filing and notions that Empire of the Penguin will feature a “unique” ride system producing different experiences upon each ride does indicate that the attraction will be free-flowing and trackless. Though there are other track-free rides in the world, Empire of the Penguin will be the first of its kind in Orlando.
It’s an all-family experience that could only come from SeaWorld and can only be found at SeaWorld Orlando. “Only SeaWorld and its parks can take you on these journeys or bring these experiences to you,” said Terry Prather, SeaWorld Orlando’s president. “We’re excited about what the future holds for our parks and our fans.”
The story of Empire of the Penguin is said to follow one specific young gentoo penguin who will guide guests on their journey through the icy terrains of Antarctica. Empire of the Penguin is being touted as bringing SeaWorld Orlando guests “closer than ever” to real-life penguins, including gentoos, rockhoppers, adelies and kings with encounters that are “first of their kind in any theme park or zoo in the world.”
Beyond the ride and animal habitat, the Empire of the Penguin attraction will also feature a gift shop and restaurant.
Antarctica and Empire of the Penguin are set to debut some time in 2013.