Revisiting SeaWorld San Antonio 13 Years Later

13 years and 2 new coasters later, I thought it was worth revisiting SWSA for half of a day. My experience this time was just OK.

Recap of my Previous Visits

I visited SWSA twice before as a young child with my family. In 2004, I rode Shamu Express 3 times and was less than an inch too short to ride Steel Eel. I was crushed. Four years later, I returnd and rode Steel Eel, Great White, and Journey to Atlantis once each. Both visits, my family rode flat rides and water rides. We also did the wildlife attractions and shows. I remember sitting at a killer whale show in 2004 but only paying attention to Steel Eel as it navigated its hills by the show venue. Anyway, even though SeaWorld is one of the closest large parks to my home, it wasn't on my radar for a revisit until Texas Stingray was built.


This report is part 2 of 3 about a July 2021 trip to San Antonio that I took with a friend. Check out part 1 at ZDT's and part 3 at Six Flags! After visiting ZDT's, we spent the rest of the day at SeaWorld from 3:30PM-8:30PM. The landscaping, atmosphere, and employees here were generally nice. It wasn't very crowded; the longest wait of the day was 35 minutes for Wave Breaker. We could not ride anything during a 1 hour "weather break" while it misted. My ride totals were 4 on Steel Eel and Great White, 2 on Texas Stingray, and one on Wave Breaker and Journey to Atlantis. We were usually assigned seats at this park. I left SeaWorld thinking that they had 3 really good coasters, but none that blew my mind (sort of like at Thorpe Park). SWSA really needs a standout extreme coaster, and my vote is for a launched B&M wing coaster.


Great White, a B&M Batman clone, was my favorite ride of the day. It does indeed feel like a shorter version of Afterburn at Carowinds. I've ridden smoother Batman clones at other parks, but I enjoyed all of my rides on Great White, especially in the back row. Being an inversion-lover, this ride is the saving grace for me at SWSA. I've moved these clones up a few spots in my rankings because I appreciate the pacing and great combo of inversions. Even though Great White is my favorite coaster at the park, Batman clones collectively rank below Steel Eel because they are located at so many parks.

I was curious to see how my 2008 opinion of Steel Eel held up, and after getting 4 more rides this trip, it is a little better than I remembered. There is airtime (usually ejector) on the drop and all hills. The layout is too repetitive though, and I still prefer every single B&M hyper and giga I've ridden for having comfier seats, clamshell restraints, and usually more diverse elements too. Steel Eel slammed me harshly into my lap bar and seat several times, but it wasn't too painful. I prefer the larger hills found in the first half than the Magnum-esque smaller hills in the second half. This coaster is imposing from just about anywhere in the park and looks nice running along the water. I moved Steel Eel up 10 spots from its previous ranking for the excellent quantity and quality of airtime. This ride is the only unique coaster at the park to make my Top 50.

Texas Stingray, the park's newest coaster, was a bit of a letdown for me. Starting with the positives, this GCI has good pacing, speed, smoothness, and length. It also has a decent amount of airtime, which I think is too brief and gentle for the most part. My issue with this coaster is that it lacks character. It's nothing special. No element or combination of elements wowed me, which is also how I felt about Viper at SFGAm. San Antonio needed a woodie, and even though Texas Stingray is good, I wish it were better somehow. I had hoped to get a couple more rides on this coaster to try to pinpoint exactly what unimpressed me, but it broke down when we were next to board for our third ride, and stayed down until we left SWSA just before closing. After my two row 11 rides, I rank Texas Stingray as my #52 overall coaster and #11 woodie.

A water coaster that I didn't care to reride, Journey to Atlantis was alright. The experience felt very similar to a shoot-the-chute, but with a tiny backwards drop. My friend and I sat in the back middle seats to avoid getting soaked (the rain had already done that twice earlier) and only got our shirts a little wet from the splash.

A nice little family coaster called Wave Breaker: The Rescue Coaster was my least favorite ride of the day because it was not thrilling at all. The "launches" had crappy acceleration, and there were no forces or airtime to be found on this ride even in the very back row. Plus, the restraints were awkward and the layout just pointlessly cruised around the water. This ride is great for kids or people who are scared of more extreme coasters, but from an enthusiast's perspective, it stunk.

Other Rides

We did not ride any flat rides on this trip, but I rode many of the kiddie rides in '04. SeaWorld has a nice waterpark, arcade/carnival games, sea animal exhibits, and shows.

Food & Merchandise

I only got a soft pretzel and soda at a snack place near Texas Stingray while at the park. Both the service and food quality were OK.


One day admission and parking at SeaWorld on a Wednesday (purchased online two days early) cost me $106, which is the worst amusement park value I've had since visiting Michigan's Adventure. Coaster-wise, going to SeaWorld for a half-day (which is all that's needed to experience the coasters) was not worth the price paid. My snack was $11.


These photos were taken by me. Please credit this website if used. Check out the photos page for pictures of SWSA from 2004 and 2008.