2019 Texas & Arkansas Trip
Our second day of the trip would begin with a visit to SeaWorld San Antonio. This was one of the other parks that was a part of the 2009 Theme Park Review Texas Tour, and this would be my first time back to the park since then. In that time, there have been some big changes to the park as we would see when going to see various rides.
Upon entering, we made our way to the fairly new Sesame Street themed section of the park, which has become a common sight at many of the SeaWorld and Busch Gardens Parks over the past decade because of the partnership between SeaWorld Parks and Sesame Workshop. While I didn’t remember a whole lot about this area before from the 2009 visit when it was themed for Shamu, I do feel like this area turned out quite nicely. As part of the re-theme, the former Shamu Express junior coaster was renamed Super Grover’s Box Car Derby. Not the biggest of rides, but a credit for Nicole and Wes none-the-less (like Kiddee Koaster yesterday, I already had this one).
Unfortunately, the next few hours would be dictated by the winds that continued from yesterday as SeaWorld would close the likes of Steel Eel and Wave Breaker due to them. One of the big differences though that I really appreciated from SeaWorld was that when the wind died down, they would reopen the rides closed by it as soon as possible, as opposed to Six Flags which just kept them closed all day. What we did after finding Steel Eel closed, and then Wave Breaker closing after we got in line was to head over to their Inverted coaster Great White. While it is a Batman clone, this layout does provide an intense ride filled with high positive g’s, and Great White was a prime example of it.
After getting back in a much shorter line because it had reopened, Wave Breaker went back down again due to the wind, only this time we decided to wait it out since we were only a couple trains away from riding it, which would payoff when it opened again later since the line grew quite large behind us with this next reopening. The ride itself was a really fun coaster, as it reminded me a lot of Jet Rescue at Australia’s Sea World, but with a longer and taller layout, taking advantages of quick s-turns to make it feel even faster. This would be the one new coaster at this park for me since it had been built in the past couple years.
One of the highlights of our visit was that the park was hosting the Seven Seas Food Festival. Here there were booths from various countries with different dishes and beverages to enjoy. While the dishes did tend to be on the smaller side, it was a perfect amount if you wanted a light meal, or just to sample it as you could go to other locations as well.
The was one stand that came up that offered an item that I felt like I just had to try, and that was the Jamaican stand. They had a mac and cheese that featured Caribbean Jerk Pork on it, and I will say, it was delicious! I’ve not had a lot of Caribbean Jerk style food before, but absolutely loved this style of pork with the white cheddar mac and cheese. Wes also partook in it and enjoyed it quite a bit! And since it was the Jamaican stand, they also offered Red Stripe beer, which I had never actually tried before, so I thought I would for this meal. It’s not my kind of beer, but at least I can say I tried it.
Another highlight of the festival was that they had a couple of beer and wine stands offering beverages from different countries as well. The only downside was that the beers offered at one of the stands seemed to be the most widely available here in the United States from the respective countries. Even still, it can always be a good time for a beer!
During our walk, we came upon an area that was going through a pretty big change as there was construction fencing along the path, and from the looks of things, this backside area of the park is going to be where they are putting the rumored wooden coaster for 2020. Next year is believed to be a pretty big year for theme parks in general when it comes to new coasters, and this seems to be especially true for the SeaWorld chain as every SeaWorld and Busch Gardens park is said to be getting a new coaster. Based on the location of the footers that have already been placed, it does appear that there could in fact be a wooden coaster on the way here, which would be a good excuse to come back to San Antonio soon, along with getting Wonder Woman and more time at Riverwalk. (*Update, this has since been announced as Texas Stingray, a new for 2020 GCI Wooden Coaster)
Getting back toward the front of the park, we would take a ride on Journey to Atlantis, which is probably the least of the three versions of the ride in the SeaWorld parks. While still a fun ride, it really doesn’t do much more than your average splash boat ride beyond the turn tables after the lift and before the big splash.
Fortunately the wind would finally calm down enough that Steel Eel would begin running again, so we made our way there for a ride, and what I had not remembered about this coaster was the airtime, which was plentiful through it’s hills, but the bottoms of the hills also lead to a bit of a rear end slap. Not sure how I felt about that, but the air right before the bottom slap was pretty good. I like that even though it only sits around 150 feet tall, it still feels like a solid hyper coaster that would have another 50 feet on it.
Before leaving the park, we decided to see some animals since we were at SeaWorld, and thus we went for a visit into the penguin exhibit, which is certainly a bit more dated when compared to that of the Orlando version which underwent a major change with the addition of the Antarctica ride which ends with a visit into the exhibit.
And that ended a great day at SeaWorld San Antonio with some good food and fun coasters. Our time in San Antonio came to an end, and thus we would make our way back to the Dallas area. Along the way, we had a couple of coaster stops to make.
See More of the 2019 Texas & Arkansas Trip:
1: Arrival & Six Flags Fiesta Texas / 2: Exploring Downtown San Antonio / 3: SeaWorld San Antonio /
4: A Shameless Credit Run / 5: Six Flags Over Texas / 6: Magic Springs and Crystal Falls / 7: Some Arkansas Culture
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