As another winter storm is bearing down on the Northeast, it’s a great time to escape to sunny, warm Florida, and one of my favorite places, SeaWorld Orlando. In fact, we did that just recently, and thought you might like a little virtual R&R.
I wrote about planning your vacations back in the 31 Days of 30 Minute Organizing Tips. Did you plan yours yet? Well, that was about when I decided we were doing this trip come
hell or high water snow or ice water. I credit my lovely hubby for booking us great digs at the Marriott Renaissance right across the street from SeaWorld. They have a beautiful pool and 2 spray parks for the tots, and we just walked right across to SeaWorld. It couldn’t have been a nicer property or a better location. In fact, we didn’t even rent a car for our stay.
You probably know I’m a big fan of Sesame Place, and SeaWorld is owned by the same company. So I used my Sesame Place Super Grover Season Pass, which already saves me hundreds on parking and food here in the PA park, to save on food and trinkets there, too, as well as free admission for me, the passholder. And we got a smoking deal on weekday passes, just $50 per person, at SeaWorld.
We ambushed our girls at 4 A.M. to catch an early flight to an undisclosed destination. They played a guessing game all the way to Orlando, still in their pajamas. Once at the Orlando airport, they thought SeaWorld looked like a cool place to visit. Teehee.
By the time we told them we were headed to SeaWorld, they were thrilled with our “adventure”. Yes, we actually planned an entire Orlando getaway and didn’t visit the mouse who shall not be named. We had so much fun at SeaWorld (at a price tag that we can stomach) that the girls never even asked about the big “D”.
We spent two full days at the main park, and still could have easily enjoyed a third day. One of the highlights was their new Arctic Explorer ride, where we got to see real arctic penguins up close. This, after all, was the reason we were here, after our own littlest penguin won tickets from the infamous Claw game when the penguins came to visit us in King of Prussia Mall last year.
The picture above is from last winter in PA, which led to seeing real baby penguins up close…
We thought we’d be disappointed that the Shamu show was closed while the tanks are undergoing maintenance, but the Shamu Up Close experience was even better. Hey there, big guy.
We still got to see amazing antics and acrobatics at the dolphin show. I surely wasn’t the only person to weep a little during the show; it was that beautiful. My pictures do not even do it justice.
My favorite always has been the stingray petting/feeding/splashing. I could honestly spend hours there with those creatures. If you’ve never petted a stingray, well, then you are missing out. They don’t sting, and they don’t have teeth. They are just graceful and super soft, and funny when they splash with their “wings.”
After we played with them, we got to see them up close in the aquarium, where we could walk right under some really big stingrays. Awesome.
The shows are so well done, we even enjoyed the Seymour and Clyde show twice. Hubby and I saw this show when we visited five years ago, but it has stood the test of time. Both girls thought it hilarious, and it featured our own Mr. Otter, KittyCat’s (stuffed) keepsake from her SeaWorld visit back when she was just 18 months. It is complete torture just picking only one picture to share from this show.
KittyCat’s favorite highlight of the park was a very random Three Stooges-type of vaudeville street act with three silly Longshoremen trying to clean a statue. She still talks about it as her favorite part of the trip…perhaps only eclipsed by her being able to adopt her own arctic seal. Of course, the one stuffed animal in the park that didn’t come in a mini-size. Ah, well, Sealy and Dolphina (little LambChop’s new friend) are now part of our family forever.
One of the really nice things SeaWorld does is staff their exhibits with educators. It’s a good thing, because my kiddos have a ton of questions. For each educator they accosted with questions, they were rewarded with these great free trading cards. It was a really nice way to get the kids interacting and learning. We learned so much, I feared the kids would think this was an educational trip. The trading cards were a nice touch.
I just heard that the girls want to go to SeaWorld for 40 days. I think there might have been a little mix up with learning Bible stories too close to our vacation.
Our flight home was cancelled, but luckily, we found out before we had to leave the hotel. This was KittyCat’s reaction to the news that a wrench had been thrown into our plans and we’d have to stay another day.
This was mine.
I have a long history with SeaWorld parks, from my days at Busch Gardens Williamsburg, to our couples trip to Discovery Cove (a SeaWorld all-inclusive resort) to swim with dolphins before kids arrived, to recent summers at Sesame Place, and now glorious family memories again at SeaWorld. Although they are no longer owned by Anheuser-Busch, and the Clydesdales have moved out, the parks remain as high-quality as ever.
KittyCat is eager to put together her own scrapbook of our trip, and I can’t wait to see the story she tells. If you are thinking about getting away with the family, definitely put SeaWorld Orlando on your list. But wherever you go, or even if you decide not to travel far, make your plans now before time slips away. Because, as I had to explain to the little ones…a bad day at the beach is still better than a good day at the office, and it’s CERTAINLY better than a good snow day.
Thanks to SeaWorld for comping us one day admission. For the rest, we gladly paid.