Sunday 16 December 2012

SeaWorld Orlando

On our recent trip to Orlando, we spent a day at SeaWorld. Although we've been to Orlando before, this was our first visit to SeaWorld Orlando. We knew that the park was very big and we wouldn't be able to do everything in a single day, but we had a good attempt!

The first thing that we did was to obtain a show schedule and plan our day. We didn't want to see all the shows, mainly because Mia is still quite small and doesn't really have the patience to sit still for too long. But there were a couple that we knew we didn't want to miss.

First we saw the lovely Blue Horizons show, a mixture of dolphins, tropical birds and costumed performers.

SeaWorld Orlando Blue Horizons show

Then we joined everyone else in the park heading to the One Ocean show, also known as the Shamu show. It was only on twice, with the second show at 5.30pm and too late for us, but luckily it is held in a big theatre as it's very popular. It was amazing watching the huge killer whales performing in a number of different themed segments, including one where the sole purpose was to drench as much of the audience as possible!

SeaWorld Orlando show

We also watched Clyde and Seamore Take Pirate Island, We weren't so sure about this show, the performing animals were a bit thin on the ground and we were probably the wrong demographic - I think that older children than ours might have appreciated it more.

In between the shows we had a good look around the other attractions. Turtle Trek really stood out for me - after viewing some turtles underwater you watch a short film in a 3D, 360 degree dome cinema. It was quite an intense experience but a brilliant use of technology. We also enjoyed Shark Encounter, with an underwater tunnel through the shark tank.

We spent quite a bit of time in Shamu's Happy Harbour, which was a children's area perfectly suited to our little ones. There was a little train, some spinny rides and lots of things to climb on and slide down.

Finally my son enjoyed The Polar Express Experience, based on one of his favourite films. There were two ways to enjoy the experience, a walking one and a moving one. Unfortunately like most of the children he was too short for the moving experience (you need to be 42"/107cm), but luckily because it was all enclosed he didn't realise he was missing anything! We watched a short version of the film, then walked through some snowy scenes to see Father Christmas and various polar animals. It was very busy inside. Harry loved the actual Polar Express train that was outside!

Polar Express train at SeaWorld Orlando

We also let Harry have the chance to press a penny in one of these machines that are all over the place at the theme parks. I have lots from a trip when I was younger that he plays with at home, so I thought it was only fair that he have a go. He was delighted!

Pressing coins at SeaWorld Orlando

There are some Seaworld attractions which are firmly aimed at the grown ups. We decided against a boat ride on Journey to Atlantis - it was an overcast day and we didn't fancy getting soaked! The Kraken rollercoaster was great, but the highlight for us was Manta. From the description we were expecting something similar to the face down rollercoaster Air at Alton Towers which we love. However it was way more intense (in a good way), you could really feel the g-forces as you dived down headfirst and then swooped about, we thought it was amazing!

Manta Rollercoaster at SeaWorld Florida

We had a great day at SeaWorld, and although we didn't see every single thing we felt that one day was enough for us to experience it. I'd definitely recommend a visit with the family!

We received complimentary tickets to Seaworld (but we paid for the rest of the holiday ourselves!)

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