See inside Seaworld Orlando’s Antarctica and Penguin Trek roller coaster construction site

We were invited out to SeaWorld Orlando yesterday to see all the construction progress they are making on their new Penguin Trek family roller coaster. We also found out what changes will be coming to the whole Antarctica area.

Penguin trek building construction

The Antarctica area of SeaWorld opened in May 2013 and originally featured a trackless dark ride called Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin. When it first opened, guest could choose to a mild or wild ride. Although many considered the ride fun, most were unimpressed. After a while, the “wild” option went away, and eventually, a few years ago, the ride just closed unannounced, leaving only the penguin exhibit, restaurant, and gift shop in the Antarctica area.

In September 2023, SeaWorld Orlando announced its replacement, Penguin Trek. SeaWorld is calling it a family launch coaster with ride height of 42 inches. But there’s a difference between a family coaster and a “kiddie” coaster. This one will be a lot more thrilling than their Super Grover’s Box Car Derby roller coaster.

Let’s take a walk through the construction area and see what changes are coming to the Antarctica land and the construction of the roller coaster.

New gift shop in Antarctica

As you walk into the area from the side near Journey to Atlantis, you’ll see the ride exit gift shop. The existing gift shop across from here will be staying, but now guests will walk through this new gift shop as they exit the ride and/or penguin encounter. Guest not wanting to ride, may still visit the penguins. The penguin exhibit is remaining the same as it was.

They had their blueprints on display, along with some concept art. The blueprint on the left shows the former/current ride and exhibit building. The building isn’t being expanded, but as you can see in the blueprint on the right, the ride starts inside the building then goes outside, then back in.

A seaward team member talks to media as he stands in from of some concert art.

Walls torn down in Antarctica

They have torn down some of the existing walls just outside the Expedition Café Restaurant to open the area up more and allow more seating. The cafe will be adding one more food station inside. They are also adding a walk-up bar near the cafe’s entrance.

If you’re been visiting the park over the years since Antarctica opened, you’ve probably noticed the walkways, “snow”, and rocks haven’t been as shiny white as they once were. They said they area going to give the whole area a refresh with the reopening of the area.

Roller coaster track

Here you can see the Penguin Trek roller coaster track (white) comes pretty close to Manta’s (dark blue).


They are in the middle of adding lots of greenery on the hill between Antarctica and the Sea Lion & Otter Stadium.

building roller coaster track exit

Here’s a look at where the ride track comes out of the building during the launch.

where the coaster track goes back into the building

The track crosses over itself and returns inside the building here.

track and rockwork framing

All of this wire will become rock work, and a large floor to ceiling screen will be added just before the launch outside (back left). The screen will simulate being in Antarctica and will show falling ice and a mix of computer generated scenes and real footage.

Penguin Trek load area

This is the load area. Riders will load into the coaster cars on the left, and exit on the right.

load area

This is the other side of the load area. The bridge above is where guests will cross to get to the load area. This also shows where the coaster reenters the building. After guests get off the ride, they’ll be able to visit the penguin exhibit.

Here’s a full video of our SeaWorld team member-led construction tour with many more details and a look at the queue.

Although it looks like they still have a long way to go, they are still saying the ride and land will open this spring, which gives them until June 19, 2024. For more information about SeaWorld Orlando, visit

Penguin Trek Coaster Car Reveal for SeaWorld Orlando at IAAPA Expo 2023

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  1. Thanks for the update Matt
    If you had to make a comparison as far as thrill level of Penguin Trek, what current Orlando based roller coaster would you say it is comparable to?