On our Saturday in Florida we got up early so that we could redeem our free Sea World tickets. That happened to be another item on my bucket
list. Speaking of which… maybe I should start worrying because in the last year I’ve gotten to cross several items off my bucket list. I hope the universe doesn’t know something I don’t!
Anyway, hubby had redeemed his coke rewards points for two free Sea World tickets so he took them to the front desk of the hotel to see if they could verify that they were good. She told him she had never heard of anything like that. We planned to take the shuttle from the hotel so we didn’t have to worry about traffic but I had thought they said that the shuttle left the hotel at 9 and got back around 6 but it didn’t leave until 10:00 and got back at 7. We asked about taking a taxi which was about $15 or $20 but decided we’d go ahead and drive since it was only a few miles from the hotel. Parking was $14 so turned out it was a better deal and we got there right around opening time so we weren’t having to park all the way out in apple valley so I was happy with that.
We took our tickets to the window with a little apprehension because hubby said he had to activate them from our house and our internet had been acting up and he said when he tried to activate them the computer froze so he wasn’t sure whether it had gone through or not. NOW you tell me! Anyway, it was all good. They scanned the tickets and apparently they were good because they didn’t cuff us or make us lay down on the ground spread eagle while they called the cops. So, right off the bat we saved $164 bucks first thing in the morning! That’s the way I like to start my day.
We got our little park map to plan our strategy for the day. We decided that the MUST SEE items would be the Shamu show, The Whale and Dolphin Show and A’Lure which we guessed was their answer to a Cirque de Soleil type show which the desk clerk at the hotel advised us to see. She also told us we should try to eat at Voyagers Smokehouse. The Shamu show times were 11:30, 2:30 and 5:30. Across the park the Whale and Dolphin Show times were 10, 11:30, 1:30 and 3:00 and the A’Lure show times were 12:30 and 3:30 and that theater was about halfway between the two. The shows lasted between 15 and 45 minutes and they said to get there 30 minutes ahead of time…. Since we didn’t know which show lasted how long it was kind of a guessing game.
Since we came in on the lefthand side of the park and that was the area where the Whale and Dolphin show was we decided we’d do that one first. We went by the Dolphin Cove first because it was about feeding time. On the way we passed the flamingos who had a new arrival. Of course you could pick him out right off the bat because he was a grey color instead of the well know pink of flamingos. Their diet is what gives them the pink color so they don’t turn pink until they are older.
We got to the dolphin cove right before feeding time so we got to watch the dolphins feed and I came about thisclose to actually getting to touch one but no banana! As we were walking back from the cove to the Whale and Dolphin Theatre they were moving the flamingos to another area and the little baby flamingo was so freaking cute! He looked like he was drunk because he was literally staggering from one side of the walkway to the other. She finally had to stand over him with one leg on each side to keep him upright. I got pics so enjoy:
I got lots of pics of most of the shows so I will do them in a separate pictorial post but suffice it to say that their shows are amazing! The Whale and Dolphin show was called Blue Horizons and it was like a young girls fantasy of being in like a rain forest. There were divers and whales and dolphins and macaws and it was fabulous. Turns out it was a great idea to do that one first.
We decided to do the Shamu show – One Ocean – next and since it was the first show (11:30) it got pretty crowded but it also was amazing. I’m not sure if that’s the original Shamu or not but he was about 3 times the size of the next largest whale. And I can’t believe that the soak zone was like the entire first section all the way around the theatre and trust me… they got soaked! Even the camera man that was behind the first section apparently had seen the show enough times that he knew and when that time came he covered his camera! People just a couple of rows in front of us were feeling the splash.
When we left there we decided to stop at the Nautilus and catch that performance before we ate lunch or else we’d have to wait until 3:30 to see it. Of course it wasn’t as elaborate as a Cirque show but it was quite fabulous in its own right. We weren’t allowed to take pictures in that show since the flash of cameras would be too distracting to the performers which could be very detrimental to their safety. They were doing high wire acrobatics and those sash swing things (I have no idea what they are called obviously) where they swing from like ribbon/sashes that are attached to like trapeze harnesses? Anyway… it was fabulous. It was the story of a fisherman who falls overboard and finds a fantastical underwater life. Sort of like the Little Mermaid (along with a character very reminiscent of Malevolent) and Cirque du Soleil had a baby. That show would be that baby. I was quite impressed with it and even hubby had to give it props! It was the only show we saw I think that didn’t have actual water (but it did have lots of bubbles!) but it made you feel like they were in the water. Acrobatics, dance, trapeze, juggling, trampolines… what more could you ask?
We figured that by the time this one was over we’d have just enough time to run get lunch at that Voyagers Smokehouse before the 1:45 show for the Sea Lion and Otter show. We didn’t realize until we got in the building that it held 1094 people and I think 1000 of them were in line in front of us. But since we were already in the building and we hadn’t eaten breakfast so we were starving. We decided to get a “sampler” platter and then an extra side and divide it. It had 3 kinds of barbeque with barbeque chicken, brisket, and spare ribs. The chicken and brisket were good. The spare ribs were horrible! They were so tough you couldn’t even get the meat off the bone. And if you were lucky enough to fight a piece of meat off the bone it was so tough you couldn’t chew it! I would NOT recommend the spare ribs. Everything else we had there was fine.
They even had a nice selection of desserts. I didn’t pick one but hubby picked one of his favorites… chocolate pudding. Yes…he’s been to cooking school and one of his favorite desserts is chocolate pudding. I had to laugh because it took us SO long to get through the massive line that we were kind of pressed for time to make it to the SeaLion and Otter show for the 1:45 show. I actually ended up inadvertently timing how long it took up to eat because we were pressed for time and it took us like 10 minutes to eat our meal but then it took hubby 8 minutes to savor his pudding. Seriously! He slowly and rapturously took each spoon full and I think rolled it around his mouth like he was doing a wine tasting!
By the time we had finished we were about 5 minutes late to get to the SeaLion and Otter show (Clyde and Seamore Take Pirate Island…. ARRRRGGGGHHH) and the signs all say that they “close the gates” once a show starts but we tried anyway and we found we could come in from
the top of the stadium and not disrupt anything and then we didn’t have to push it to get to the last two shows. I was determined to see all the shows. It really didn’t matter that we missed the first 5 minutes or so. It was very cute with these performers being more of the clown variety. They had seals and otters and weasels and at the end a HUGE walrus that made like four of the seals. GINORMOUS is the best word to describe him. We were out of there by about 2:15 which gave us an hour before the “Pets Ahoy” show. Turns out it was the perfect amount of time to do the Sky Tower and share an ice cream cone before the next show.
What I found most interesting is that we got to the Sky Tower just as it had left to take another group up so we were first in line for the next group. We were there for a few minutes by ourselves and then a couple came up and then a group of like 4 and then a group of like 10 and then another group of like 4 and another couple. From where we were standing we could “hear” all the conversations going on. Mind you I did NOT say that we could understand the conversations but we could hear them and of those 5 or 6 groups behind us and including us, the ONLY ones who were speaking English were hubby and I! And it appeared that none of the other groups spoke the same language. From what I could glean from what I heard the languages included Spanish, French, Italian, Farsi and some language that sounded like maybe an African language. It was just odd to me to be standing in line in the United State and be the ONLY ones speaking English!
The views from the top of the tower were AMAZING! There was a storm brewing in the not too distance and it was clear you could see where the rain started. See for yourself:
The whole time we were eating our ice cream cone (after we finished the Sky Tower) hubby kept grousing about going to see the “Pets Ahoy” show. He didn’t dare say he didn’t want to go but I could tell he thought it was silly to stick around “just for some dogs and cats… we have those at home!” Yeah, but ours don’t do these kind of tricks. We also learned that every animal used in any of the shows at SeaWorld are either born
on the premises or are adopted at the local ASPCA. I like that. They had dogs, cats, birds, rats, birds and even a pig! I even asked one of the trainers afterwards… how in the world do you train a cat? Ours have pretty much trained US!
Even hubby had to admit it was well worth waiting for. The animals were adorable and so smart. The whole day was magical. I felt like a little kid again. I do know that by the time we left there my feet were KILLING me! I am so thankful that even though hubby could have used his Coke Rewards points to do something he wanted to do (he’d been to SeaWorld before) he thought of me and did something he knew I wanted to do and after 30 years he still sometimes surprises me! I am such a lucky woman!