We traveled south to SeaWorld San Diego to experience the park’s annual SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration with special shows, attractions, ride overlays, food, and lots of holiday decorations! Join us as we take you around the park and show all sorts of attractions the event has to offer!
Yay! We made it to the world of the sea during Christmas time! Time to check out SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration!
But before we get into all of the holiday jazz, here’s a quick reminder that 2017 will bring a new Orca experience to the park! Which was the reason for the Shamu Up-close underwater viewing area being closed.
Nonetheless, you can view the Orcas from above the surface when you pass the stadium! We’ll return to the stadium later for some awesome shows!
First stop: MANTA! Not just your regular Manta, because during SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration this awesome coaster has a special “Merry Manta” overlay!
Before launching out of the multimedia launch tunnel into the element seen below, riders are welcomed by several different holiday scenes and music in the launch tunnel.
Can we all take a moment to appreciate how amazing looking this roller coaster is?
Oh and the fact that you get to pass by stingrays on your way through the line, and then touch them when you get off! (If you wish to feed/touch them without riding Manta, that’s a possibility too, of course).
But OMG MANTA! We’ll be back later to ride it some more!
We actually spent some time at the Sesame Street Bay of Play this visit, I usually skip the area (too much to do at the park!) but we felt like riding the rides! We may have ventured around the Bay of Play climbing structure…
And of course we rode Journey to Atlantis, one of SeaWorld’s more unique attractions.
The reason we LOVE SeaWorld: ANIMALS!
Next up: ANIMALS! Isn’t it awesome when a coaster’s exit also happens to be an aquarium? Journey to Atlantis features one of the prettiest aquariums found at the park!
Next up was Wild Arctic, another favorite aquarium because it houses polar bears, walruses, and BELUGAS!
The Penguin Encounter features adorable Christmas decorations during the event.
Almost as adorable as the actual penguins!
And the puffins! (Or as some people at the exhibit called them: “Muffins”).
Real highlight for the two cat-lovers that we are: SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration features a cat exhibit! LOOK!
This was so adorable, I think we spent the most time looking at cats during our visit. This cat exhibit is located next to the Pets Rule! stadium.
Dolphin Island Christmas
SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration also features a collection of special shows including a Dolphin Island Christmas, which is the holiday version of the park’s new Dolphin Days show.
The show features bottlenose dolphins, pacific wide sided dolphins and majestic pilot whales and should not be missed when at the park!
Behind the Dolphin Stadium guests will find another themed section, which is a white Christmas tree forest!
Riptide Rescue time!
One of my favorite exhibits at the park is Turtle Reef, so of course we visited this interactive exhibit.
But really we were too excited to ride Riptide Rescue, a small Huss flat ride, so we found ourselves riding that shortly after! If you’ve been reading California Coaster Kings for awhile you’ll recognize me on the left, here’s our awesome photographer on the trip, Alex, on the right!
I didn’t get a chance to ride this ride on my previous visits, there’s always so much to do at the park, so I very much enjoyed getting on it this time! Don’t skip this fun flatride when you’re at SeaWorld San Diego.
Food during Christmas Celebration.
Time to discuss food! There’s an awesome amount of special foods available during the event. We decided to check out the Christmas Celebration menu at Mama Stella’s (next to Manta’s launch tunnel) and were very impressed. Their tomato basil soup is so incredibly good. I’d drive back to the park right now, just for the soup alone.
We had to hop on some rides again.
Since weekdays aren’t as crowded at the park, and the park knows how to run their attractions with great capacity, we hopped on Manta a few more times!
And the Bayside Skyride of course! Which is one of the prettiest sky rides out there, as you travel over Mission Bay with a view of the Pacific Ocean, the park, and downtown San Diego in the distance!
Manta + Bayside Skyride = Good times.
The quick transition in the second half of Manta is by far my favorite element on the ride, turning this family coaster into a world-class coaster. It’s one of the reason we call Manta the best family coaster in California.
Also, the trains are uber-comfortable and amazing looking!
To our surprise Shipwreck Rapids was also open during Christmas Celebration. Though I absolutely LOVE riding this ride when it’s hot out (the ride features amazing theming and animals), it was too cold for us to get drenched this time around.
Amaya’s 2nd Birthday!
As we love the park’s 11 Orcas, we made sure to see the Orca demonstration: Killer Whales: Up Close. And it happened to be Amaya’s 2nd Birthday!
Amaya is the park’s youngest Orca and got a Jell-O, Ice and fish cake to enjoy and play with during the show. Which was very cute.
Of course the demonstration also featured a large educational section with Kasatka’s family demonstrating some basic behaviors. Here’s Kasatka and her family including Nakai and Amaya.
Next up: the Sky Tower!
With awesome views of all the Christmas decorations and Manta!
A quick note: The construction of the new Ocean Explorer attraction, which includes a new dark ride, family rides, aquariums, restaurants and shops, is in full swing. Click here to find out what SeaWorld San Diego’s 2017 attraction will look like!
Santa’s Christmas Village and Rudolph’s Christmastown!
Time for some more SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration! Let’s start at Santa’s Christmas Village!
Which is home to real reindeer!
And Santa’s Cottage, where guests can take pictures with Santa Claus!
Another look at the adorable reindeer at the park’s event.
The area also features a shop, small stage, Christmas tree, food vendors, and was very nicely set up. On the quiet day it was, this section of the park was very popular! (Take a look at the Christmas ornaments that are being sold in the area, they are amazing looking!).
Before we moved on to Rudolph’s Christmastown, we made sure to ride Journey to Atlantis again. Really it was just me pushing to ride it even though it was cold out, as I simply can’t get enough of this ride.
The sunset splashdown was worth riding the MACK Water Coaster in the cold for. <3
But now… let’s move on to Rudolph’s Christmastown, which is located on the other side of Journey to Atlantis, in front of Wild Arctic. This area is new this year and looked great! There was a stage with music in front of the huge tree, as well as gourmet foods and lots of scenery in the area.
The whole area is set up with cute Rudolph photo-ops, and a lot of amazing lighting!
In addition guest can play games as well!
And visit the gift store/ photo op to take pictures with Rudolph and his friends!
Speaking of lights, no holiday event is complete without lights. SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration was definitely no exception. The park’s awesome vegetation and lanscaping allowed for a lot of different light fixtures around the park!
Like on these palm trees! Making this event the most Californian of them all, perhaps!
Unlike some other events, all sections of the park have lights at SeaWorld San Diego. The lights blend well with the park’s buildings and trees and it doesn’t look overly lit up. Very nice balance.
These lights over at Shamu Stadium were particularly satisfying, as they waved in the wind. It doesn’t get much more SeaWorld than that! 😀
The real impressive lights at the event is the 300 foot tall Christmas tree of lights created out of the park’s Sky Tower attraction!
And one of my favorite shots of the lights at the event is another set of palm trees near the entrance of the park.
Shamu Christmas Miracles
Before heading back to Shamu Stadium, we had some delicious Hot Chocolate (it got really cold outside eventually), something I pretty much make sure to get at every Holiday event I visit.
We finished our amazing SeaWorld visit with the event’s star-attraction, the Shamu Christmas Miracles night-time show! Which featured live singing of Christmas songs, amazing lighting, music, and of course… ORCAS.
The show featured several Orcas including Orkid and Ikaika, as seen below!
It’s one of SeaWorld’s best shows, over the years it has slightly changed as the company is changing, and it’ll be the last theatrical show we’ll see at SeaWorld San Diego, as starting in 2017 a special exhibit and new demonstration will take its place. So get out there and enjoy this amazing show before SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration is over this season!
Check out SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration!
Overall, SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration is a very fun event that offers something no other parks have: animals! The event has well-developed shows, exibits, an impressive Santa’s Christmas Town, and the perfect balance of lights, which really sets this event apart as one of the best in the state. Later in the season there’s a snowhill near the Bayside Skyride, which is a ‘must’ when visiting the event!
SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration runs daily through January 1st of 2017 and offers plenty of attractions for everyone to enjoy. I never manage to experience everything that SeaWorld San Diego has to offer in one day, and with all these additional Christmas Celebration attractions, you’ll have an amazing time with plenty of things to do!
Yes we did.
To get back to our Bay of Play adventure… and to be completely fair, we asked a staff member if there was an age limit, and there was not. Climbing around the Sesame Street Bay of Play we did… and we loved it! A quick thanks to my new partner in crime, Alex, for being an amazing photographer on this trip. He’s been covering the Holidays at the Happiest place on Earth in an amazing Disneyland report, so make sure to check that out!
Thanks for checking out this SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration report! It’s one of the better events in the state for sure! Make sure to check out our Knott’s Merry Farm report, our Six Flags Magic Mountain Holiday in the Park report as well as our California’s Great America Winterfest coverage!