Florida Vacation #4 of 6 - Sea World

Associated parks:

We went to Sea World and expected to do it as a half day…get there late (12:30) and leave early (By 4:30). Here are the details…

Weather: Air-sucking hot and humid. Admission was free since we already plunked down a grand at Discovery Cove. (Just show your photo ID and off you go).

Wow is the park clean. Saw some birds, turtles, and rays.

Went to a dolphin area, which was crowded. Some trainer types were on kayaks in the pool watching the people to make sure they didn't do anything stupid. One of the kayak girls was holding a frozen slupree between her legs. Did you ever notice how most people who work with dolphins are young and attractive…especially in wet suits.

Honestly, the best part was going downstairs and watching the dolphins from under the water. They are the coolest creatures. I want one!

The manatee exhibit was nice and Preflux got into a conversation with the staff member about Pokemon. One of the manatees was hit by a boat and was missing half of its tail and most of one flipper. Ouch! (Song: You had a Bad Day.) Such cute critters. Too bad they are slow moving.

HEAVY RAINS CAME. Instead of ducking into an exhibit, Mother Fluxer thought we should quickly take cover. We did…under a bathroom canopy. I will not go into details about the water attractions there. While under the awning, I head a pre-recorded announcement saying due to the weather, Journey to Atlantis was closed.

Shamu Show (Believe) – We got there and found a seat after walking across a beautiful bridge complex. It's a large stadium. A trainer came out and told us that there would be a rain delay and they would return in a few minutes to let us know if the show could continue or be cancelled. On the jumbo screens were videos about Busch parks and how they care for animals. Then there was one for Discovery Cove. (It didn't mention the price).

Finally a team of black and white tight skinned trainers came out and the place erupted. Then came the most moving part of the show. One of the trainers said something like "On behalf of Bush we would like to take moment to dedicate this show to our servicemen and women and she asked if they would stand and be recognized. The place went nuts with applause and it was very emotional. Easy to do and well done!

The show starts off with a movie about a boy who reads a book about whales and then he starts dreaming about them. He then carves a necklace out of wood of a whale's tail and wears it around his neck. When a man dives into the pool out he comes and guess what he is wearing. The same necklace. Then there's a before and after photo of him and the boy on the screen.

I'm not going into all of the tricks that the whales and trainers do. Basically it's all been done before, but never with the music and a theme (not storyline) about dreaming. He ends up giving it to a girl in the audience who becomes the only non-cast member to touch the whale. (I wonder how many of those necklaces they have stored in a back room.) She is then the kid who becomes the female trainer on the video screen. There's mist, a lots of splashing the audience and shooting water jets. All in all the audience was entertained.

My only suggestion is that if you see this show try to sit close and center. That means get there early. Once it runs, it's about 35 minutes, but hey…these are whales. Also, prepare to get wet if you are anywhere in rows one to six. This show is a must-see.

Question: There is no one Shamu. They don't tell us the name of the whales. There are three or four I think who are used. Why? How did he/she get his/her name?

Journey to Atlantis…very cool ride, though the story-line was hard to follow. The best part of the ride is after the big splash, a voice says something like "I'm not finished with you yet." A nice touch, but I don't know who is saying it or why we are being toyed with. Great effects, comfortable boat and Preflux and I loved it.

A neat part is the aquarium in the exhibit. Take a few minutes and see this. There is a glass bottom floor where fish swim and a glass ceiling where baby sharks and skates swim. Take a few extra minutes and see this…it's brilliantly themed.

Kraken – Yes I waited an hour for a front seat ride. I was surprised that the line for this was so long. There are mostly animal attractions and then a few rides tossed in for whatever reason. Well, whatever the reason…it works. The que tells the story of Kraken and why it was unleashed.

I have to give Busch a lot of credit here. In the que were not only one, but two water fountains. The platform had a decent crew, four checkers and one upstairs to push the button. One helped me get the OTS down into locking position. Phew…made it. (It had the typical floorless setting with the comb-shaped gates that open in front of you to track.) I liked the colors, which meshes nicely with Seaworld's ocean attractions. By the way…no line cutting at all.

I tried to see other Orlando attractions from the lift hill, but I couldn't really do it…lots of hotels though…and my glasses were in my pocket. Overall…a nice ride with a fun layout…I felt it was much shakier than Medusa…not severe head-banging, but lots of shaking. Twice I felt like someone threw pepper in my face. Weird feeling. I liked the ride, but hoped there would be more.

When we got back to the station I found out what the pepper was. GNATS! Hundreds of them. On my shirt, dead on my arms and legs. PRIZES! I also liked the exit of the ride with the sign warning about the eggs. (Another Nice Touch)

Sea World is much bigger than you think it would be. There were tons of things that I missed: Sharks, Sea Lion Show, Needle, Mystify (The night time show). I don't know if it should get more rides or not, as the park had a pretty decent layout.

Clearly the animals come first and clearly Shamu (or whoever it is/whoever they are) is the star attraction. I wish we had more time and I wish my family wasn't bogged down from the heat. Overall, People were happy, polite and the bathrooms were not Discovery Cove clean, but close. By the way…I hope my spelling is getting better.

Next up…Epcot and then Islands of Adventure. *** Edited 8/30/2006 2:56:49 PM UTC by Richie Reflux***

Here's To Shorter Lines & Longer Trip Reports!

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