Empire of the Penguin: Closed Forever?


Will the Empire of the Penguin attraction at SeaWorld Orlando ever open again?

Photo via Wikipedia

Right now, park guests are taken into the preshow room for the attraction where we are introduced to the newest baby penguin, Puck, who is the main character for the shuttered attraction. The doors open, and guests wait in a line to enter a side door that leads right into the penguin habitat which was the end of the attraction. It’s quite reminiscent of the old Penguin Encounter before SeaWorld opened Empire of the Penguin in 2013.

King penguin curious about guests outside the glass

Within the line are various controls for the attraction that are readily accessible to guests to touch including an emergency stop (or E Stop in theme park lingo). I guess the access to the E stop doesn’t matter as the ride is not operating.

This new entrance and watching of the old preshow is quite wonky. Guests can see the controls for the exit of the attraction and all the exit ramps, but the ride sits eerily quiet. I suppose watching the preshow for guests who have never experienced the attraction leads to the question who is this new penguin, Puck and why should I care about him?

I got curious about why the attraction was closed and asked a team member who worked for the Education team near the penguins about the closure. Her response was that it has been closed since Covid closed the theme park, that it is quite expensive to operate, and she wasn’t sure when it would open again to park guests.

If you have never been on Empire of the Penguin, it is a trackless attraction that follows Puck, the new baby penguin, through some obstacles in his young life including a run-in with a leopard seal. Guests were able to not ride at all and just see the penguin habitat or choose between a mild or wild ride. The trackless technology was similar to that of Disney’s Hollywood Studio’s Runaway Railway. At the end of the attraction, guests were exited into a very tight penguin habitat that was 32 degrees – a great escape from Florida’s heat. Guests are now just seeing the penguin habitat which houses a variety of different penguins including Gentoo and King penguins.

Here is a 2018 video of the attraction from Attractions 360:

Who knows what the future will bring for this attraction. Will SeaWorld Orlando reopen the attraction, refresh the attraction, or just let it sit there abandoned for all guests to see when they go to see the penguins?

What do you think SeaWorld should do about Empire of the Penguin? Comment below!

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