We've got lots of updates from SeaWorld San Antonio in today's post! So much has been going on at the park recently that we figured instead of writing 4 blog posts about each thing, we'd combine it into one EPIC blog post about all of the new events and attractions that have been added recently. We'll break it down into our review of this year's Seven Seas Food Festival, the new Turtle Reef expansion, Aquatica's new water slides, and Sea World's newest quick service restaurant- Pretzel Kitchen. In that order, so if you have a particular section that calls to you, you'll know where to scroll!
Seven Seas Food Festival
This is SeaWorld Texas' FIFTH annual Seven Seas Festival, and it's still one of our favorite food festivals of any theme park. Every year, the park has tried to step it up with new booths, more food and beverage options, and new seating/lounging areas. This year, we definitely appreciate the additions made to the menus. While there was not a new booth added to this year's lineup, the park made an effort to update each of the existing booth's menus.
SeaWorld still offers tasting lanyards which we HIGHLY recommend purchasing. You can go with a 10-item lanyard for $45, or a 15-item lanyard for $60. The good news is pass member discounts DO apply to lanyards, so depending on what kind of pass you have you could be saving up to $18 on a single lanyard.
Lanyards also include a free souvenir cup for any beverages you choose to sample with your pass.
Also be sure to grab an event guide with detailed menus, booth, and entertainment information. Each booth has a dedicated page in the guide that you can get stamped when you've purchased an item from there. If you get a stamp from each booth, you can turn your booklet in for a FREE dessert of your choosing! Worth it!
There are 9 booths at SeaWorld San Antonio's Seven Seas Festival. We tried *almost* everything at each booth (with help- I promise), and these are our highlights from each:
Gulf of Mexico
Cocktails: Mexico Sunset and Caribbean Punch. Food: Mojo Pork with Black Beans and Rice.
The cocktails are both good and pretty similar in our minds, I can't even tell you which is which or what their flavor is. They both taste like sweet, fruity cocktails. The Mojo Pork was surprisingly good! It is pulled roasted pork shoulder marinated in sour orange, garlic and oregano served with rice, beans, and bread. The flavor was really nice on the pork, and it was such a HUGE serving. You definitely get your money's worth here.
Pictured left to right: Braised Beef Street Tacos, Deep Fired Elote con queso, Shredded Chicken Verde Tacos, and the Elote again lol.
The beef tacos which featured braised beef, queso fresco, pickled red onion, radish, serrano pepper and micro cilantro were awesome!! The Deep fried elote AKA deep fried corn on the cob with mayo queso cotija, chili powder and lime was also really good!! The chicken verde tacos with diced green chilies, ancho-pepper cheese and pickled red onion weren't our favorite, but they weren't bad by any means.
France is always a favorite for us. The booth features a variety of different savory and sweet crepes.
Chocolate cherries and cream- chocolate crepe filled with cherries, topped with powdered sugar and vanilla whipped cream. LOVED the taste of this one. Something about the chocolate crepe itself made it a little tougher than the others so it was harder to eat/cut. But, this was a definite favorite of the fest!!
Turkey, Mushroom, Spinach and Swiss- Turkey breast, crimini mushrooms, spinach, swiss cheese and parmesan cream sauce. The parmesan sauce on this one is reason enough to order this crepe!
Monte Cristo- Black forest ham, turkey breast, gruyere cheese, havarti cheese and raspberry jam. Gotta say, we weren't HUGE fans of this one, only because the raspberry jam didn't work well with it. We love a good Monte Cristo (shoutout Cafe Orleans Disneyland!) but having it all mix up together in the crepe just didn't work.
Hazelnut, Banana and Strawberry- Hazelnut spread with fresh bananas, strawberries and vanilla whipped cream. This was also one of our favorites of the festival, but we have a HACK to make it even better!!
Ask to add the raspberry jam to this crepe, so you get the Nutella, raspberry jam, and fruit!! SO GOOD!!
Vanilla Crème Brulee. Pretty standard. We enjoyed it, and it counts as a dessert so this is a good option to order your FREE treat with your completed food guide.
So much promise and potential here at the Italy booth. This is the one we were probably the most excited for, and I think it may have ended up being our least favorite one.
The booth offers a variety of different flatbreads, a meatball slider, and a cannoli.
The meatball slider was very similar to last year's slider, but for some reason we enjoyed it more this year. It's pretty basic, but sometimes that's a good thing! Meatball, sauce, cheese, bread. Can't go wrong.
The flatbreads are the items that left us wanting a little more. Honestly, these could've been really good if only there was time and attention paid to making them. Toppings were thrown about, did not stick to the bread at all, lacked sauce, flavor, and freshness. The bread itself was actually pretty good, we just wanted so much more for these!
(If you tried any of the flatbreads please share your thoughts on them with us, because we only tried them once and we very well could have just gotten a not so great batch.)
Mediterranean Shrimp Pesto- Shrimp, olive oil, feta, parmesan, red onion, red peppers, grape tomatoes
Meaty Italian- Spicy fennel sausage, pepperoni, sweet onion, mozzarella-asiago cheese and sun dried tomato
Chicken Margherita- Roasted garlic, plum tomato, fresh mozzarella, basil and balsamic reduction
Grilled Steak (Churrasco)- Skirt steak, baby arugula, red wine vinegar, parsley, garlic and asiago cheese
The Mediterranean Greece was one of the booths with the least amount of changes form prior years.
The only new addition here is the Greek Zucchini Fritters or Kolokithokeftedes (no idea how to even begin pronouncing that, but it looks fun).
Zucchini fritters with cucumber dill yogurt served over a Greek salad with tomato, red onion, feta cheese, olives and a lemon-garlic vinaigrette. We ended up liking this so much more than we thought we would! The fritters themselves were flavorful and the right amount of crispy on the outside. And it paired well with the Greek salad on the side.
And although not new, we have to shout the lamb burger with spicy feta and gyro with Tzatziki sauce.
The lamb burger is always a solid choice, and the gyro is pretty good as well.
Also not a lot of new options at this booth, but some of it was new to us.
Both cocktail options- Caribbean Breeze and Jamaica Me Crazy are good and worth trying. Similar to Mexico's drinks in that they are both sweet, fruity cocktails and I couldn't tell you which is which.
Jerk Pork White Cheddar Mac and Cheese- Although not new, it is in a different, larger container than last year.
And, overall I think I liked it more. Not sure if that's based on anything in particular, though.
Jerk Chicken with Rice and Gungo Peas- Jerk spiced chicken drumettes, served over a bed of rice with gungo peas and a side of sweet jerk dipping sauce. The chicken was pretty good, and we loved the jerk sauce it came with.
This is one of our favorite booths because it has a lot of options and they're all good!
This year, the Japan booth brought back fan favorites the Korean Beef Short Ribs and Chicken Gyoza.
These two are always solid choices and festival must for us! But this year, we were also gifted with the
awesomeness that is Yellowfin Tuna with Lotus Root Chips.
Hands down one of our favorite items this year!! Marinated fresh tuna steak, fried wonton, toasted black and yellow sesame seeds, wakame salad and red chili aioli. We absolutely loved this dish. PLEASE bring it back next year, SeaWorld!
The Chicken Yakisoba, which is chicken, cabbage, celery, carrot, ginger, onion, scallion, soy, garlic and sesame, also deserves an honorable mention. In addition to chicken, they also offer a Jackfruit Yakisoba. And also not pictured, the Blistered Shishito Peppers, another new addition to the Japan booth.
There were a couple of new options here this year. Although, we're not entirely sure what was new about the Tapas Sampler. They had it last year, and for sure the flank steak toast and pan con tomate was the same, so maybe the shrimp was slightly different.
Tapas Sampler- with Flank Steak Toast, Pan con Tomate y Aceitunas, and Rede Eye Shrimp.
Paella- Mixed paella with pork, clams, mussels, shrimp and saffron infused rice
Hawaii!! Our favorite booth! Not only does it have tons of options, they're all SO good!
Plus, you've got the novelty of ordering a drink IN A PINEAPPLE! How could you ever beat that??
Huli-Huli Chicken Wings- Sweet soy marinade, grilled and served with spam fried rice
SPAM Fried Rice- SPAM, sesame, soy sauce, carrots, onion, celery, edamame and scrambled egg
Sticky Ribs- Slow roasted pork ribs in a sweet sticky soy marinade garnished with toasted sesame seeds
SPAM Fries with Red Chile-Garlic Dipping Sauce- Deep fried SPAM, aged red chile, fresh garlic aioli
Seriously, ALL of these options are good! We loved the sauce on the chicken wings, and I may even venture to say I enjoyed this rib more than the ones in Japan.
In our opinion, you can skip on the Kalula Pork Sliders.
And we, unfortunately, did not get to try any of the Poke Bowls...YET!
And as stated above- IT'S A PINA COLADA...IN A PINEAPPLE!! Love it.
Brazil is admittedly not our favorite booth. That's not to say it's bad by any means, there's just so much at the other booths that we love, that we always end up ranking this one last.
Pao de Queijo-Brazilian cheese bread. These were really good!! And the side of garlic dipping sauce was PERFECT!
Guava & cheese pastry- Not a new item, but definitely something we recommend.
Brazilian Roast Beef Sandwich- Roast beef, tomato, dill pickle and mozzarella cheese. This sandwich was a little dry for us, but we dipped it in that garlic sauce from above and it helped a lot!
Choripan Con Chimichurri- Grilled sausage on a country style roll topped with a spicy garlic parsley sauce.
There you go! All 9 booths covered. The Seven Seas Food Festival runs for one more weekend, so if you haven't been yet, get there SOON! It's truly worth it!
Still with us?? That last section was a lot to digest (pun ALWAYS intended).
This section is all about the newest SeaWorld San Antonio expansion- Turtle Reef!
SeaWorld Texas hosted a Pass member exclusive event for the grand opening of Turtle Reef a couple of weekends ago. It was really neat that the park took the time to put something together to raise excitement for the new area.
The new area of the park includes Turtle Reef Sea Turtle viewing area, Sea Swinger ride, and Riptide Rescue ride.
The pass member grand opening event featured meet and greets with Shamu, free Krispy Kreme turtle donuts and tumblers, a few words from the park president, a ribbon-cutting ceremony, and exclusive ride times.
If you'd like to watch any of the morning greeting delivered by Park president, Carl Lum, you can see some of it here:
The new area has a couple of kiosks set up with turtle merch and snacks in addition to the main attractions.
We absolutely love the fact that SeaWorld San Antonio has added sea turtles to the park!!
We love SeaWorld's rescue missions and the addition of animals into the park is always more than welcome to us!
And honestly, it's about time this park has turtles!
An excerpt from SeaWorld's website:
"Created in partnership with the University of Texas Marine Science Institute, Turtle Reef is designed to educate guests about endangered sea turtles in the wild and the threats they face.
Because the more we learn, the more we can do to protect these amazing animals."
We just kind of wish the viewing area was bigger. Discovery Point, an also relatively new expansion for SeaWorld, is a dolphin lagoon with PLENTY of viewing space. I know that there is no way Turtle Reef could be anywhere near as expansive as this, but we were just hoping for a bit more as during peak times, this area will become very congested.
There is an additional viewing area on the side of the tank which adds a fun element.
There was a line to get photos and view the turtles from this area on the pass member opening day, but we haven't been back since so we're unsure if this will be a regular occurrence.
As mentioned above, there are also two new rides in the area as well: Riptide Rescue and Sea Swinger.
Forewarning, if you're not into spinning rides, then these are NOT for you.
But, if these things don't faze you, then they're great, fun family rides!
Riptide Rescue (Sea Turtle Rescue Mission themed ride)
Here's a video of Riptide Rescue in action. And side note- that employee warning is 10000% directed at Parker. oops
Sea Swinger (Swinging ride)
Does not go upside down, but does get almost parallel with the ground.
Around the ride area you can find several of these cool fact boards with information about conversation and SeaWorld's rescue initiatives.
That's basically Turtle Reef in a nutshell. It's a welcomed addition to the SeaWorld San Antonio park.
The two rides are great fun for kids and families with a slight 'thrill' element to them.
And the turtle viewing area fits in perfectly with SeaWorld's overall message. We love Turtle Reef!
Ihu's breakaway falls
You made it through the lengthiest sections of this blog post! Congratulations!
You're prize awaits: water slides!
SeaWorld isn't the only one with a new addition this year. Aquatica, SeaWorld's waterpark, also got some love for the 2019 season. Ihu's Breakaway falls is a new slide complex developed by Proslide that features the tallest drop-style slides in Texas!
There are 2 of the "drop-style" slides in the complex that require you to step into a pod where you anxiously await the dropping of the floor beneath you, and there is 1 regular body slide. It's still a thrilling body slide, because I mean come on have you SEEN how tall it is, but not having the floor-drop element definitely eases the anxiety of it a bit.
Are you excited to take this almost 80° plunge?!
And now, the end is near. The last section of the blog post is all about the new quick service option at SeaWorld San Antonio- Pretzel Kitchen.
Pretzel Kitchen replaced the previous spot, Sea Star Market Cafe, which featured sandwiches, salads, and wraps. And I think it's safe to say this is a delicious upgrade.
This is new restaurant option features a variety of different savory and sweet pretzels.
We tried the Texas Favorite, Cinnamon and Sugar nuggets, and the Smoked Sausage on a Stick Pretzel.
You also have the option to add on side dipping sauces which we are all about! So we ordered the cream cheese frosting, spicy mustard, and beer cheese.
The Texas Favorite is a giant pretzel topped with beer cheese and Hot Cheetos. Okay, first of all, OMG. Second of all, it is definitely a Texas favorite. As an avid Hot Cheetos fan since practically birth, I am LOVING the utilization of this spicy treat in so many things recently. Now, we do want to point out that the menu says this pretzel comes topped with beer cheese, but the employee working the day we ordered topped ours with nacho cheese. When we asked about it, he told us that it should actually be nacho cheese. So, not sure if the sign or the employee was mistaken, but honestly, it's good either way and you can always order an additional side of any of the sauces.
The Cinnamon and Sugar nuggets were a perfect dessert snack. I can honestly see us ordering these pretty often whenever in the park because they're easy to eat and share. And the side of cream cheese was completely worth it!
The Sausage on a Stick Pretzel was messy! It tasted awesome, but definitely make sure not to ditch the paper boat it comes in because the sausage will definitely drip. This paired well with both cheese dips and the mustard!
Overall we're happy that the park decided to bring a pretzel shop to San Antonio! We love Mama's Pretzel Kitchen in SeaWorld Orlando so we were excited as soon as we heard pretzels were coming here! Plus any new additions in the food and beverage department are always exciting!
Congratulations on making it all the way through. Although, this should have been something you actually enjoyed rather than a feat. We want to thank everyone for your continued support of Ride or Dine! We love taking crazy cool trips across the country to different theme parks and blogging about it along the way! If you haven't already taken the time to follow us on social media make sure to do that below! And don't forget to comment and let us know your thoughts on what we've posted! Have any of you seen these new SeaWorld San Antonio expansions yet, or plan to soon? We want to know!! Until next time, have a whale of a day!
Parker and Brittany Ruhmel- Lovers of all things food and theme park related!