Sunday, January 14, 2007

Sea World

We headed over to Orlando and visited Sea World yesterday. The fun in having annual passes (APs) is that one does not feel any pressure to try to cram everything into one visit. We got there at 1:30 and made a circuit around the park. The only hard and fast I had is that I wanted to see Believe, the new Shamu show. On our first visit, we'd seen some of the dress rehearsals for the show, which opened three weeks later.

Our impression of the park is that it is always immaculate, with employees everywhere. Each encounter with their staff is positive. I get the impression that they took Disney's idea and improved on it by giving their employees free beer!

We stopped at the stingray tank, which is a given with the boys. If there are stingrays anywhere nearby, they'll spend some time petting them (and getting splashed a time or two). Next up was alligators, then penguins.

The hollow leg child chose this point to insist on his ice cream. Mind you, he ate every morsel of his lunch, then finished off my fries. We head to the front of the park, as Ed wanted cake and I definitely wanted a smackerel of something sweet. We get bakery confections for the adults, and I wait in line at the ice cream shop for vanilla soft serve and a pistascio cone for the kids. When I come out, Ed's got one of the staffers with him. She's conducting a survey. Cool deal, and we get free waters for the effort.

One thing I commented on, and I tell anyone asking, Busch does a good job with the food. It's reasonably priced and while not haute cuisine, it's darn tasty. In both of the Florida parks, we've received ample portions for the price. They've got a beef stew in a bread bowl that Ed and I shared on a previous trip that was fantastic. I ended up getting sourdough bread bowls from panera to have with a stew we made at work because the combination can't be beat.

I digress. After the snack break, it was over to Sharks! The funny thing about this is that younger son nearly flipped out the first time we were there. NO WAY was he going inside, he was that afraid. Once through it, he thought it was the coolest-and this is one of his favorite things in the park. After we go through, the kids want to view the tanks outside, and I take the oppportunity to sit down. I'm always amazed at what the kids remember when we do things like this-Older son identified a bunch of the varieties of penguins and younger knows quite a few shark species,

Next, we got to see the Clydesdales. Beautiful animals. Our attempt at a picture is a no go, as someone decided to do his goofy crazed look. No sweat, we'll be back. Into the hospitality house for some beer. Younger son cracks me up "Are we getting wine now?" because we enjoy it at home. Nope, some beer. I tried their new beer shot things-don't do it!

We've now got about an hour and twenty till showtime, so we go to Arctic Adventure. Think of Disney's Star Tours or Body Wars vehicle, with a story that brings you to the arctic. Once there, you see Belugas, Walruses and Polar Bears. We caught the walruses as they were doing their laps.

As there was some time, and the kids insisted, we brought them over to the play area outside the Shamu arena. Older son continues to impress, as we called over to him when time was up and there was not a complaint-he came directly to us.

Believe is a great show. I never saw the previous show, but what these animals do is beautiful. I suppose I should be thankful that Ed wanted seats in the upper arena, the area I'd first chosen to sit did get soaked.

If you're wondering why Sea World/Busch APs and not the beloved Disney? Well, we pay 33 a month for the two Busch parks, while I don't have the 1200 to shell out for Disney. If they went to a monthly payment plan, I'm sure we could find a way to pay for it. Yeah, we miss it, but I'll take days like yesterday anytime.

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