Day 14: Happy Feet | Back To The Magic 2013

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[Today’s photographs can be found on my Flickr and the whole collection of days can be found here.]

SeaWorld + Dinner at Red Lobster
August 27th, 2013

Today we went to SeaWorld and our main aim was to try and see all of the shows as we didn’t manage them all on our first visit in 2011. I think with some forward planning it is do-able and that means taking a mo to look at the show times before going about your day.

This has been a hard trip report to post because of the coverage SeaWorld has had due to the docu-film, Black Fish. I haven’t seen it, but I do plan to. Whether the film will change my mind, only time will tell, but on the day that we went, we all enjoyed our day at this theme park, we loved watching the shows and seeing the animals.

I grabbed a couple of maps (which are huge A3 things, and not the most practical!) and we sat down for a couple of minutes for me to work out what order we would do the shows. The plan was: Blue Horizons, Clyde & Seamore Take Pirate Island, A’Lure The Call of the Ocean, Pets Ahoy and finally One Ocean.

So off we walked in the direction of Dolphin Theatre, giving everything not much more than a passing glance as if we missed this show it would throw the plan completely out of order!

We went into the theatre and found some seats. I really enjoyed this show the first time I saw it so was looking forward to watching it again. I’m not sure what the story is supposed to be about, but I look at it as the connection (somehow) between the sea and sky. The show features dolphins, acrobats and tropical birds.

There is in the water interaction between the trainers and the dolphins, and towards the end of the show, where the female trainer rides on the back of two dolphins, she is supposed to be elevated into the air (she is harnessed to a hoist), however, this didn’t work and she just stayed in the water looking very glum – having seen it before I knew that she was supposed to go flying, but no one around me seemed to notice or much care! She eventually was pulled into the air and then got the hump because no one applauded -_- The show must go on as they say!

My note keeping on this visit to Orlando was very, very sparse, and towards the last half of our holiday, even worse! I’m having to go via photographs as to what we did. It looks to me that we decided to go to the Clyde and Seamore Take Pirate Island show at 2.15pm, and did a bit of park wandering in the meantime. I also see we didn’t get to see Pets Ahoy as timings were not going to work out how I thought!

We took a visit to the bottom of the world – the new Antartica: Empire of the Penguin area. Felt so weird to be surrounded by ice and snow yet have the sun beating down on your back! I personally loved this area of SeaWorld area and was looking forward to seeing the penguins – one of my favourite animals!

I had read some bad/mixed reviews about this new attraction, but, as with all things, I like to get my own experience and formulate my own opinions, so we joined the short line and was eventually inside a holding area that very dark and felt very disorganised. There are two versions of this ride – mild and wild. The wild one shakes you around a little more, but essentially, this ride is just a way of getting you to view the penguin exhibit.

Once inside the ride area we had to wait a little while to be shown to one of the pods/vehicles where we took our seats and waited. And waited…and waited some more. The ride had broken down, but we were assured it would be up and running again soon. After about 10/15 minutes, we were on the move. As we moved around there were screens telling the story of a little penguin and his family, which I don’t remember much of to be honest, and then, with a final turn we were facing the real penguins!

You do whizz by quite fast and I was quite disappointed, however, when the ride is over you do get to go in and see all the penguins – yay!

But, prepare yourself for the shock of cold because it is (of course!) f-r-e-e-z-i-n-g! The staff member who was running the ride was wearing a huge coat with a fur hood and balaclava and gloves – and there is us tourists in sleeveless tops and shorts!

Because of the ride breakdown, we were handed some passes to go to the front of the line on any ride we wanted, as an apology. So with those safely tucked away, we went to look at the penguins. There were (I think) four different kinds of penguin – king, rock hopper, gentoo and adelie. There is also an underwater viewing area where you can watch the penguins swim.

SeaWorld’s website describes this ride as ‘exhilarating’ which I think is a bit over the top! It’s a cute little ride that gets you from A to B – A being the ride entrance and B being the penguin exhibit! I don’t think there is any other way you can see the penguins, so if the line is long I think I’d be pretty miffed. As it was, we only waited maybe 15/20 minutes, and then it wasn’t rammed in the exhibit area so it was nice to be able to take time and watch the penguins jump about on the rocks and swim in the water.

We had time for a quick bite to eat before making our way to the Sea Lion & Otter Theatre for the next show, and so, stopped at Seaport Pizza for food. Three pizzas, a salad and some drinks set us back $37.52. The service was rubbish in that the server was miserable, and really didn’t look like she could be bothered to be there. The pizza was fine, usual theme park fayre, and after finishing our lunch we went onward to the next show.

The theatre was already quite full by the time we reached it, but we found some seats and waited for it to start. To ‘entertain’ the crowd there was a mime – the exact sort of entertainment I really, really dislike! And even more so because part of his act was to make fun of people walking into the theatre behind their backs and then when the crowd laughed, the person being made fun of turned around, the mime gave a “wasn’t me” kind of look. Maybe it makes me a miserable git, but I don’t find that sort of humour funny, so was glad when he finally went. We were at the show very late the first time we saw it, so thankfully missed this “funny guy” then :P

The Clyde & Seamore Take Pirate Island is a funny, slap-stick show with two sea lions – Clyde & Seamore, an otter, a walrus and some trainers.

An otter with a cutlass… your argument is invalid!

After laughing our way through the show, we exited quickly so as to go to watch A’Lure The Call of the Ocean at the Nautilus Theatre. We didn’t see this show on our first trip, so wanted to make sure we saw it this time around!

Didn’t know what to expect from this show as I hadn’t read anything about it before, but it turned out to be a story about a mariner with acrobats and tumblers. Very entertaining!

With some time before the final show of the day at Shamu Stadium – One Ocean, we walked through my favourite part of SeaWorld, the Sea Garden. I love wandering around looking at the plants and they are designed to be an above ground coral reef with fake fishes ‘swimming’ around. Very pretty.

We also had a look at the flamingos which can get very close, so stand back!

We then took an ice-cream break. They sell Dippin’ Dots here, so that what hubs and I had, and Liam had a bowl of soft serve ice-cream in a waffle bowl.

We still had our ride pass to use, and it was a choice between Journey to Atlantis or Wild Arctic. (We don’t do the coasters, because of size rather than not wanting too! I will do them one day!). Since we had done Journey to Atlantis on our first visit in 2011 (and it’s a cool water coaster!) we decided to opt for Wild Arctic as it was something we didn’t do last time around.

That was to wait though as it was time to go to Shamu Stadium and wait for the doors to open. With it being the final Shamu show of the day, it was likely to be busy, so we stood at the rope at one of the stadium’s entrances to wait for them to drop.

Once inside, we waited as the stadium filled up. They were training a whale in the pool using a long stick to encourage it to jump up into the air. Then the show began. The easiest way to tell you about it is through photographs, so here they are.

After the show, we headed over to Wild Arctic to use our ride passes. My friend told me that it’s quite a bumpy ride and made her feel sick…kinda wish I had listened to her now!

It is a simulator ride where you fly over the arctic to look at the wildlife. It is unnecessarily bumpy in my opinion and you could see people lurching forward as the ride did! A shame as I’m sure the film that is shown is pretty good :P Towards the end Liam said he was feeling sick, as was I and I said just close your eyes and hope it will be over soon!

When the ride is over, you can go and see the animal exhibits – beluga whales (my favourite), walrus and polar bear. You can bypass the helicopter ride and go on foot to see the animals…we’ll do that next time!

We made our last port of call the gift shop where I bought a few Christmas decorations…

Dinner this evening was to be at Red Lobster, so we drove back to the one near us on Hwy 192.

We are shown to a table – the restaurant is quite busy, but then we are eating a lot later than we have done on our last few meals out – and are given menus along with a basket of their cheddar bay biscuits, which are essentially scones rather than a digestive ;) They are so, so good, and you’ll only appreciate how yummy these are if you have eaten them! Oh, and they’re FREE!

We ordered some drinks and got down to looking at the menu to decide what to have.

For starters we got a create your own appetizer combo with mozzarella sticks and crispy calamari and vegetables. We ordered a portion of onion rings for Liam and they all came on the same plate.

Liam had a rock lobster tail with fries. He was really looking forward to eating lobster again after trying it (and surprising us both by doing so!) on our first trip in 2011. He couldn’t quite manage the whole tail, but it meant mum had a little bit more lobster on her plate ;)

I had the wood-grilled lobster, shrimp and scallops which has a lobster tail, skewered shrimp and scallops with rice, veggies and a side salad – I had Caesar salad. The seafood didn’t disappoint.

Steve ordered Admiral’s Feast with shrimp, scallops, clam strips and flounder. A misunderstanding of the wording on the menu meant that he didn’t realise the whole dish would be fried food and after a fried appetizer, didn’t enjoy his main course at all.

Even without a fried starter a plate of fried food is hard going – which I realised when we had gone to Bubba Gumps a few days before.

Not fancying dessert at the time, we took a slice of carrot cake to go and paid the bill – $116.53 and headed home to chill out for the remainder of the evening.

Read about the previous day: Day 13 – What Kind of Sorcery Is This?: Fantasia Gardens Mini Golf + Downtown Disney + Dinner at Bongos Cuban Cafe

Read about the next day: Day 15 – Figment of Imagination: Epcot + Lunch at La Cantina de San Angel

Read ALL the days! Back to the Magic Trip Report Index 2013

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