I have to admit that I as a little apprehensive about bypassing the land of Mickey & Co. and spending the majority of our time at Sea World/Aquatica/Busch Gardens. Yes, everyone had agreed with this decision. Yes, I knew it would be a better fit for our family. Yes, I knew the crowds would be smaller and everything would be a little bit more affordable. But I was still half-expecting one of the young’ins to ask in the middle of the week when we were going to go to Disney World.
To my relief, that never happened. Everyone was just too excited to keep going back to Sea World. Here are some of the reasons why:
- Rides that were perfect for Mihret
- Manta – Aiden’s favorite ride
- We could pet dolphins. Be sure to go to Dolphin Cove at the beginning of the day. They’re extremely active and playful.
- We could pet stingrays. Same as with the dolphins. Get there early. They’ll be ready to be fed and they go nuts (in a good way).
- The shark tank
- 99 cent refills with the souvenir cup. I realize you get free refills at Disney, but this cup could be used at each park and Sea World has Coke Freestyle machines. Everyone got a chance to pick their favorite flavor. Most of us were big fans of the vanilla-flavored South Pole Chill, which is exclusive to Antartica.
- Flamingos! Aly loved these birds. I think it’s because of the crazy way they stand. Mihret kept asking if she could go see the “pink ones” all week long. Who knew these would be such must-see animals?
- Shamu Rocks! We went to two different killer whale shows. The first one, One Ocean, was…well…it wasn’t that exciting. The second one, however, knocked our socks off. Shamu Rocks lived up to the name. It was a high-energy show full of lights, sounds, fireworks, and lots of soaked people. If you happen to visit Sea World during the Summer, bypass the regular killer whale shows and watch what might be the most amazing animal shows I’ve ever seen.
- The post-party dance party. I have no idea what the official name is, but there was a block party at the exit with music and dancing with Sea World characters and a guy who was dancing like a madman on stilts.
- Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin. I think this was the family favorite. It’s full of penguins. You get so close to them that you can almost touch them. I actually got splashed by a few of them. The open-air exhibit is a balmy 35-ish degrees, so it’s a great place to cool off. I was still chilled some 15 minutes after we left the exhibit. It’s long wait, but definitely worth it. Just be prepared to freeze for a while.
Skipping Disney was probably the best decision we could have made for this trip. We’re still planning on returning to the land of Mickey sometime. It’ll probably be after Star Wars Land opens in a few years. We might even include a trip to Kennedy Space Center to see Atlantis, just to solidify the nerdiness of that trip.
Who knows? We might find a way to squeeze in another visit to Sea World while we’re there.
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