Monday, May 25, 2015

SeaWorld Orlando with Kids Under 42"

Day Two in Orlando we used our Waves of Honor tickets to visit Sea World.  I packed a small camelback with snacks for the day, diapers, sunscreen, small first aid kit and we filled the bladder with ice and water. SeaWorld wont let you bring in lunch but we had no trouble with our kids snacks. We also had our City Mini Double from Kingdom Strollers and a bag of all our rain gear that I just stowed in the stroller basket.

We stayed at the SpringHill Suites, SeaWorld so we were able to catch the free shuttle to the parks and avoid the $15 parking fee. The first shuttle of the day (8:30) got us to the park before it opened.

We downloaded the SeaWorld App, but found it largely useless.  We downloaded the app a few days early to familiarize ourselves with it, but were unable to access many of the features until we were in the park. I was able to pre-order and pay for our pizza lunch from Seaport Pizza when we arrived and were awaiting the "rope drop."

The entrance is not well signed, we got into what we thought was a stroller line only to be told when we reached the front that our stroller (rented through Kingdom Strollers) would not fit. We needed to be in the 5th or 6th gate over... however that is not signed. Luckily it was not very crowded so we easily moved over to that gate.

We were inside the park and waiting by the flamingos when the "rope drop" happened at 9am. We went directly to the Antartica ride. Our little ones are both shorter then the 42" height restriction. We were able to get into line to ride the "mild" experience. Our one year old was required to demonstrate that he could walk "one step" on his own.. he barely did it. We were put in our own queue and loaded into the same ride vehicle as the other riders, except ours was programed not to move up and down and side to side. It just followed the normal trackless experience. Everyone must be able to sit and be buckled into their own seat. The ride ends in an open penguin exhibit that was excellent. The penguins were all swimming around and playing.

We headed to the back of Turtle Treck to see the sea turtles get their morning meal. The manatees are also back there and were quite active so the kids enjoyed watching them swim around. This was the perfect diversion to burn some time while we waited for the 10am dolphin show, Blue Horizons, to start. We parked the stroller outside the theater and grabbed some seats. The kids liked the dolphin show, but there were slow parts that lost their attention and we were glad to have snacks with us to help us bridge those gaps.

We headed toward Seaport Pizza when the show was done stopping a few places to see some animals on the way. We had scheduled an 11:30 pizza pick up via the app. There was plenty of shaded seating and our pizza was ready right on time. This meant zero waiting for the kids to get lunch. It did not appear that many people were using the app but we were glad that we did. The pizza was perfectly acceptable. Seaport Pizza gets enough bad reviews online that we were worried about it, but honestly it was fine and quite edible.

After lunch we loaded onto the Tower Ride, which takes you up 300 feet and provides a great view of the park and surrounding area. Online there is a 42" height restriction but that is for riding unaccompanied. We had no trouble getting on to the ride with both kids.

We caught the 12:15 Pets Ahoy Animal Show, which was the highlight of the visit for our three-year old. This fast paced show filled to capacity, so arrive a bit early for good seats. Even my one-year old had a blast since pets are constantly moving across the set in and out of doors. After the show we were able to go down to the stage and meet a few of these pet stars.

When we emerged from the theater the clouds were looming. We ducked into a few more animal exhibits - turtles, sharks, walrus, beluga's. Many of the exhibits have rides or movies before you get to the animals. We had no trouble simply passing through these areas and going directly to the animals - just inform the employee loading the ride/movie area and they will send you right through the exit. This helped us be able to see more of the animals while the kids were still in a good mood.

We ventured over to the kids play area, but literally as we arrived they were closing the large kids climbing structure due to the impending storm. The smaller rides were still running though and they said would be until there was actual rain. We though, decided to head back to the shuttle since our littles ones were getting sleepy. We saw a few more animals in pools (dolphins and manta rays) as we headed out of the park but got on our shuttle back to the hotel as the rain started to come down.

We were all ready for a little down time out of the sun so it was the prefect time to leave the park. The kids got nice naps which will make for a better day tomorrow. The dinner plan is to drive 10 min to the Whole Foods, one of our favorite ways to eat out without feeling like we ate out. Hopefully we will catch a little pool time before bed too!

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