Florida Guide > Sea World
What a great, leisurely and completing absorbing park. If you are
completely "Disney Dazed" and want a break from characters,
thrill rides (although these are not completely absent from the park),
and sometimes very long queues, this is your next stop.
Sea World on the I4, just down from International Drive is easily
accessible and with parking near the gate, very often you can walk to
the entrance but on busier days they run a tram service. Parking is $7
for cars and $8 for other vehicles. $49.50 adult day admission, $40.95
children's admission. Let your kids where their swimsuits under their
clothes or take them with you - they will come in handy at this park as
really with all Disney parks.
As with the Disney parks, you get the professional photographers at
the beginning of the park which is sometimes the only chance the family
have to get a photo taken without one person missing. Let them take the
photo and look at it at the end of the day, there is no obligation and
they never pressure you to purchase when you go and look at it. We have
been pleasantly surprised on many occasions and they make great
souvenirs or presents for people when you return home.
Firstly, as you enter get the all important map with the show times
on the reverse. There are few shops full of Sea World momentos as you
walk in (this is also your exit for when you are feeling sentimental and
want to buy a 5ft cuddly dolphin!! - because you will be moved by the
animals). I think they are reasonably priced and have purchased T-Shirts
for the girls when they have got wet (I'll explain later) and they have
washed beautifully - around $16/$20. Buy them big enough and they wear
them as nighties!
You will come first to the Tropical Reef where you can view over 30
aquariums with all kinds of marine life from around the world. The park
often take in rescued animals, make them better and the release them
back into the sea etc.
Next is Turtle Point. The turtles are huge! A guide is usually
chatting away whenever you go up and they will answer all questions.
Next off to Key West. You can actually touch a Stingray here and if
you are really lucky a Dolphin (Dolphin Cove). Check to see what times
feeding is as this will give you great close ups of the dolphins,
patience is a virtue here and if you want to attract a dolphin, place
your hand in the water with the palm up. They won't come to anyone
splashing or tapping the water, they find that intimidating. Lesson 1!
If there is a person splashing like crazy - move away as they are
putting the dolphins off and they will not come anywhere near you.
Lesson 2 - buy the dolphin food! They will become your best friend.
Lesson 3 - get someone else to throw the fish - they stink!!! Joking
apart, just to watch them play is amazing and very moving. There are
always a member of staff near the animals and they are very informative
and will any questions you have. You could spend hours here but remember
the rest of the park is just as wonderful.
You can get a snack in Key West at Pete's Island's Eats and have a
Bud - they do great Funnel cake here. Remember your Triple A card at
this park as some of the refreshment places and shops give you 10%
discount with this. (For UK families, if you are a member of the AA here
in the UK, simply phone the AA and they will send you one - use for
discounts in a number of places over in Orlando).
Just around the corner is Dolphin Stadium. A funny 20 minute show
with false killer whales and dolphins who perform amazing stunts and
there is the usual audience participation which always brings a giggle.
The kids loved the show and this is beauty of Sea World. Although as
with Hollywood Studios you have to get to the shows 30 minutes before to get a good
seat, they tend to pack in everyone who wants to see it and they
entertain you while you wait - no standing up queueing for the main
part. However, at busy periods, they don't seem to cope with the
refreshment side of things as well as Disney do.
Next to see the Manatees. Huge mammals that don't really do much but
it's worth a visit to this area as they are endangered so I guess they
won't be around for ever.
You can now get your "thrill ride fix". Journey to Atlantis
is a log floom ride, very leisurely for the most part then and then at
the end you will get wet! Takes great photos as you swoop down and you
can view them on screens as you leave. They can be hysterical. You can
see the ride in full swing so you can make your decision about whether
the kids will be OK - my 8 year old loves it. Next to Atlantis Kraken, a
floorless mega-coaster: the fastest, tallest, longest and wildest roller
coaster in Orlando - that's their advertising lingo - can not comment as
there is now way on this earth I would go on it!! Never seems a huge
queue perhaps Sea World visitors are all a bit like me - scared!
You can then go and quietly look at Penguins in their artificial but
apparently very authentic surroundings - very cold water. Did you know
that when a penguin malts, they cannot go into the water as it is so
cold and they would die, they have to live off their fatty deposits
until they are fully plumed again-I'd be Ok for years. The park keeps
you informed about the animals the whole time and keeps the adults
interested as well as the children.
Off next to the Clyde and Seamore Sea Lion show! Entertaining and
funny - in parts corny but the seals are very talented - watch out for
Sir Winston Walrus, you cannot help but fall in love with him. First few
rows get wet but nothing substantial - they save the real soaking for
SHAMU. You can get go to Pacific Point reserve and feed the sea lions -
you can spot the greedy ones - they are the most noisy!! $5 for two
Shamu and his family are the most famous residents at Sea World and
the show is SPECTACULAR!! I won't spoil it, only to say that if you have
expensive camera equipment or it's a cold day - DON'T sit in the first
14 rows! The staff will warn you and heed their warnings, they are
honestly not exaggerating! Great pre-show for Shamu so get there about
30 minutes before.
Just beyond the Shamu stadium is the Shamu's Happy Harbour play area.
My children just love it here. There is a bouncy dome, very high
climbing nets, a ship and Pete's Watermaze. My kids got soaked
here-hence the T-Shirts. There is also an arcade type area where you can
win various cuddly toys - $40 later and nothing but why is it that we
just won't give up!!
We all wanted to eat now and there are rib places, burger places,
chicken places etc but as it was busy, they had long queues at all, so
we decided to check out Bimini Bay Cafe by the Tiki Bar. The wait to be
seated was 15 minutes so we put our name down, told them we would be at
the bar and they came and called us about 10 minutes later. This is an
indoors waitress service restaurant and very good value. There is a kids
menu - price $6.50 and they get a drink in a souvenir cup - my children
loved their pasta. I had the grouper meal and the bill was only $24 -
although I think we chose the wrong desert. We got great seats beside
the bay and were able to watch some of the Water ski show which takes
place a few times in the day - this can be seen better from the Atlantis
Stadium however. The Tiki Bar serves great cocktails, a lovely bar-lady
has been there 12 years and is so quick. The cocktails are $6 and you
get a plastic Sea World cocktail glass and if you feel like another,
take the "glass" back and they are only $5 - you are free to
take them home. They also serve beer etc. We also purchased a souvenir
soda cup - $4.25 (most people seem to walk around with them) and they
are only $1.30 to refill each time - we took it back another day we went
and just paid for refills - don't know if you can do this indefinitely
This area is also where the Polynesian Luau takes place and it is
around $37 for an evening's entertainment and meal. Never done this but
always looks fully booked (you need to make reservations during the day
or even before you visit - you can also just attend the meal at night
but don't have to pay admission to the park - there are more details on
the forum from other villa owners who have experienced this).
There is a Dolphin Nursery here and you can see the moms with their
young splashing around.
We then decided to go and see the "Pet Show" at the
Nautilus Theatre-not as good as the Universal version but nevertheless
something different - dogs etc and you get to pet them at the end of the
show which the children enjoyed.
It had by now been a long but enjoyable day and we decided to head
home. We again, after our sixth or so visit not done the Wild Arctic
ride but again the forum discusses this and if we go next time, it is
definitely going to be explored - a motion ride or walk ride - the walk
option is always less wait time.
There is much more to Sea World than people imagine, we are still to
try restaurants etc there and the Sky Tower which takes you high above
the park which must be breathtaking. We never tire of this park and
highly recommend it for all ages. If you are a frequent Florida visitor
and like this park, the annual pass is only around $85 which entitles
you to unlimited entry and free parking plus 10% off most refreshment
areas and in the shops. You can just pop in for a couple of hours if you
like or do a whole day - gives you great choice.
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Page added on: 19 July 2004
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