Sea World's Carnivale returns bigger, bolder and better in 2018

Carnivale at Sea World offers a vibrant smorgasbord of food and entertainment based on New Orleans and South American culture.

Image: Parkz. Sea World lights up for Carnivale, running throughout January.

Parkz was a guest of Sea World for Carnivale. All opinions are our own.

If Carnivale in 2017 was about the event finding its feet at Sea World following its relocation from Warner Bros. Movie World, then 2018 is about carving its own identity. Everything you've come to like about Carnivale is still there – the eclectic mix of food, music and performance, but in 2018 the event has really come together to offer something unique that plays to the strengths of Sea World.

The addition of the Aquacolour Lightshow is a welcome addition and if the crowd reaction is anything to go by, then this show will help Carnivale become staple of the night events calendar alongside Movie World's Fright Nights and White Christmas.

Carnivale kicks off at 6pm, so the first hour or so is in daylight before fire and light effects take over.
The plaza area is the epicentre of Carnivale, and it's filled with no shortage of performances that are everything from sublime to kitsch.
There's really no describing the mix of performances you'll encounter at Carnivale. It's overwhelming in all the right ways.
The plaza is consistently crowded throughout the night, but it's an area worth hanging around in to catch as much of the entertainment as you can because it changes constantly.
King Neptune towers over guest.
Roaming entertainers fill the park.
New Orleans / Mardi Gras iconography factors very heavily in Carnivale.
With Carnivale it's best that you don't question what you're seeing, and just enjoy it for all its bizarre mayhem.
The CAR NIV ALE sign lights up the front of the plaza once again. Complete with last year's odd letter spacing.
Nickelodeon Land always looks great at night.
Carnivale attracts a lot of families, so the kids' area is naturally packed.
Jet Rescue attracts a lengthy queue with only one train running.
Now that's a good sign...
Of course food is a major component of Carnivale, and many of the favourites are back for 2018.
You're going to want plenty of napkins to get through the beef ribs.
The offerings are a vibrant mix of modern foods like this pulled pork burger. It's far removed from the traditional theme park staples of hot dogs and hamburgers.
Po' boy... where ya been?
Desserts are an area that really shines at Carnivale this year. The key lime pie is great.
The cherry pie is a faithful rendition of an American classic.
This bizarre creation is certainly one of the more interesting on offer.
The apple pie is the dessert you're going to want to save room for at Carnivale this year. It's served warm, freshly made in-house and it goes down a treat.
The lake stadium fills quickly for Aquacolour Lightshow, so if you want a seat you should get there early. This unfortunately means you have to miss a lot of the entertainment and rides on offer to get a good spot.
Those that miss out on the main stadium can fill the hill around the side of the lake, which doesn't offer quite the same vantage points as the main seating.
Aquacolour is the headline feature of Carnivale for 2018 and it's a great addition that makes superb use of Sea World's expansive ski lake.
Tron inspired flyboarders make their way into the lake for Aquacolour's finale.
Aquacolour Lightshow builds over 15 minutes to become a kaleidoscope of lights, lasers and water fountains.
No question Sea World is Australia's best looking theme park – day or night.
With many welcome improvements on 2017, Carnivale is starting to find its place at Sea World, alongside Movie World's Fright Nights and White Christmas.

Carnivale continues January 12, 13, 19 and 20.

Featured in this article