Tag Archives: Family trip

Our experience: SeaWorld

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The day we visited SeaWorld was sunny and hot, really hot. I did a bit of the homework and checked what shows were available, their locations and times, to try and plan a bit more the day. It worked kinda ok, except that we arrived there a bit later than planned and ended up changing the order of the shows a little.

The park was incredibly empty park, especially comparing to Universal Studios, which we visited a couple of days before, and it made us wonder if it was all the bad publicity that they had received in the past months/years, or if it is just because there is not that much to see and do.

The shows that we went to were:

Pets Ahoy – a presentation with pets (cats, dogs, mice, geese, pigs…). Seemed so random at SeWorld, but the girls liked it.

Pets Ahoy, cute show. Apparently these are all animals that SeaWorld rescued.

One Ocean – that’s the “famous” killer whales presentation. 25 years ago, they made the whales do way more things than now. Also, there was no trainers swimming with the whales this time. There is also an opening presentation talking about SeaWorld’s work rescuing animals, how important it is to respect the environment, etc. (*I thought it was part of One Ocean, but it’s a different “show”, just at the same place and just before the whales one. It’s called Ocean Discovery and it only happened at 11am, right the time that we were there). All full of good intentions, but the kids got extremely bored and didn’t enjoy the show that much. Laura was actually pretty annoyed that we were in the “wet area” and not a single drop of water came to us. I tried to explain to her that the whole thing wasn’t right, that we shouldn’t make wild animals do these things, that whales should never live in a tiny tank, that they belong in the ocean, etc, but she couldn’t care less about the whole thing. She just wasn’t impressed at all. I’m hoping it is a good thing, that she understands that there is no fun in seeing poor whales obeying a bunch of people in uniforms like they were in a circus.

The Orca shows are much low key now, after all the incidents in the past with trainers, etc. Amazing creatures, but so sad to see them performing shows like they are… pets.

Clyde & Seamore’s Sea Lion High – cute but a bit boring. Clyde and Seamore are two sea lions – from the size of it, I’m guessing they are like… teenagers? At the end, there was a giant one, who seemed VERY old. The kids didn’t enjoy it at all… they were more interested in eating popcorn than actually looking at what the poor sea lions were doing. Again, another tantrum from Laura for not being at the very front and getting wet.

Blue Horizons – we sat in the first row, Laura, Beatrice and I, so we could get proper wet. Unfortunately the view is not the best. Laura was really impressed with the show. Not so much with the dolphins – although she liked how agile and fast they were – but more with the acrobats. And of course, she was very pleased to get soaking wet. Beatrice hated and cried half way through and went to her father at the top.

Unlike the orca show, here the trainers interact a lot with the dolphins. It’s such a dynamic show and makes me feel guilty for loving it. Dolphins are adorable creatures and you can’t help but wish you could have one as a pet. Just wish, because it’s illegal (and wrong) to have one, ok? I saw very few in the wild; they are even better in their natural habitat!

 

Before the show, waiting and waiting. This hair is not wet from the sea water but from sweat. It was boiling hot and we were all sticky.

 

Changing positions, so I could protect them both from the splashes (they don’t like water on their faces, especially salty water)

 

Proper splashed, although I don’t think it’s possible to see how wet Laura’s tee was in this photo.

 

All wet – now from the show – and a bit happier after she changed clothes.

We missed all the animal talks and encounters, although we’ve seen the dolphins in the nursery and sharks and sting rays in a tank. Also, because we were so focussed on the shows, we missed some of the other attractions, such as the Antartica ride (40 min queues for the ride and 30 minutes non-ride), Turtle Trek, Wild Artic or Sky Tower. Nobody wanted to go to the roller coasters (although one of the boys went to Manta on his own). Both the other mum and I went to Journey to Atlantis, a water ride with a drop or two. They advertised it as you getting really wet, but it was no more than a few drops. The queue for this one was huge and so so slow… I think we were there for an hour.

The Dolphin Cove: we arrived there a few minutes too late and the food had finished. This was probably one of the encounters that we all felt sorry for missing. (I did feed and touch them 25 years ago, so I’m not THAT sorry).

The new roller coaster claims to be Orlando’s fastest, tallest and longest roller coaster. Have fun those who enjoy it; I’m not a roller coaster fan for nearly 10 years now.

We took the kids to Shamu Harbor and they finally started enjoying themselves for good. Until then, I had to listen to Laura moaning that “this trip is so boring, we only get to go where you want to go”. And we were thinking that we were planning a nice day for them… Finally it all changed at the kids area, and they went to the roller coaster a few times, a boat/slide thingy that both Laura and Beatrice loved, an elevator that drops and a few other rides. I went with Beatrice to other two baby-ish rides – a train and one of those “mad tea party” type of spinning cups, while the bigger girls went to the roller coaster, just because of height restrictions. Later we found out that they weren’t checking it at all. She ended up going to two other rides with height restrictions and nobody checked. There was little to no queues, which was brilliant.

 

The free fall elevator for kids. Check out Beatrice’s size on the thing.

 

Spinning round and round…

 

With a new friend at the choo-choo-train.

 

Spinning and going high up in the sky. That thing was tiny and really hard for an adult to squeeze in. Luckily I’m short, but the other couple… poor them.

 

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Beatrice enjoying the rocking-spinning boat, she went at least 3 times.

 

The beautiful sunset at the end of a long and hot day!

So the day started bad, with three very moody and impatient girls, not happy about anything, but ended up brilliantly, with them having so much fun at the kids rides. Absolutely no need for the animal shows, which makes you wonder whether it is even worth going there again, considering that we didn’t even bother with the adults rides.

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Living the Disney dream

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And we have finally made it as a family! We are in Orlando for our first Disney holidays. It’s my second, but first time I was here was 25 years ago, a LOT has changed (for good and bad).

It’s early days to give any in depth review of our experience and the best is still to come. So far, things worth mentioning are:

1. The weather is amazing here. But my kids are too British now and they can’t cope with 30 degrees. They are melting!! I’m as happy as Larry and I couldn’t ask for more. The sun is quite strong though and hard to spend 8 hours under it, so cloudy (but warm, hear that UK?) is welcome and good.

2. Everything is big as it was and as it will always be. Big cars, big fridges, big houses, big packages of everything in the supermarket. Some are good things, some unnecessary. 

3. The kids… Oh, kids… Goodness, kids!!! Where have I gone so wrong??? Are they broken???? For crying out loud, we are on holidays, destination chosen for them and yet, it’s 70% complain, 15% indifference and 15% hapinness. 0% gratitude. Nothing is good, unless you shove ice cream and crisps. Nothing against treats during holidays, but the thing I’ve noticed is that they are not happy because of the experience, but because of the crisps and ice cream. Basically, if we stay at home eatingg ice cream or go to Disney without ice cream, the house wins. By far.

4. On the other hand, when they like something, they REALLY like it. And that’s why water parks are a winner for us. They love them and we live them! They also loved some of the rides at Universal Studios and Sea World and the meet and greet with characters (but can’t stand the queues).

5. Staying in self catering house has lots of pros and cons. I think it was a good choice for us, given the price we are paying, the duration of the trip and the location. If we were staying just a week and only going to Disney, I would probably have trying to stay at one of their resorts. 

6. We are struggling to find the best way to handle our days… They are far too long for the girls and by the end of it, they are ready to kill each other and exploding for no reason. It is very stressful for them and we even tried to cut a day short once, only to get stuck in traffic and end up at home at the same time as we would if we waited another hour or so. Maybe they will get used to it (she hopes).

7. I have problems with the military planning for Disney/Orlando trips I’ve read on blogs; the  lack of spontaneity of these trips drive me crazy, but you know what? It’s needed. This is not your usual holidays, this is a boot camp! It is an military operation to have fun. You have to know, plan, book, reserve, arrange, write down, download, learn, read, call, act upon… Want a relaxing holidays to wind down from a stressful period at work? This is NOT your destination, unless you go every year and are not bother about seeing much. We decided to take the approach of seeing one of two things and whatever comes extra is a bonus.

8. If you are not used to eating the food, don’t over eat it. I think I did (or maybe it was something I ate) and was in really bad shape: a whole night awake putting a week’s worth of meals out. And the next day had to find strength to go to Universal Studios. Not fun. I learned my lesson the hard way (unless it was something specific I ate).

9. So far, prices are very comparable to the UK. Some few stuff might be cheaper, but we haven’t seen that many items worth our dollars.

10. Being online in a trip like this is proving very hard to me. Wifi in all the park, but I need to look after the kids, enjoy the shows, etc. And now it’s 11pm, I’m dead and having a hard time to write this post. 

(Photos in a strange order)

 

Our car: the average size here

  

Our house in Kissimmee

  

our bedroom (very messy!) with a closet – live that all have this mini closet

  

My very first trip to a Whole Food Market

  

Our private pool, by night

  

our private pool, by day