Mellower than other Orlando theme parks—though it has several rides, including Kraken, a thrilling, floorless coaster—SeaWorld is noted for its roster of elaborate stadium shows starring whales, dolphins, and the odd rescued puppy. The most famous headliner is Shamu, the killer whale who douses onlookers with each splash. The park’s low-key vibe may take a turn in the next few years: it opened Aquatica, a water park with 36 slides, in 2008, and in 2009 will unveil a multimillion-dollar ride that’s part animal attraction, part roller coaster.
Tip: Plan your day around the shows; a timetable is printed on the back of every park map.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.