Out of order day OR Our Saturday Trip to Sea World

Today is the first day of NaBloPoMo, in which I promised to blog once a day for a month. I've got about five different things I can write about this very day, but I'm going to save the non time sensitive items for the days where the muse escapes me.

In a first for me, I'm blogging out of order. Can you feel the rebellion?

Saturday, we took a trip over to Orlando and enjoyed Sea World's Halloween Spooktacular. In a first for the blog, you get a photo review of the day along with my stunning prose. Aren't you all so very excited?

I'll start the out of sequence of events entry with an out of sequence picture, but it serves as a reminder of where we were:

Isn't that pretty? We are fairly frequent patrons of this Orlando park for a couple of reasons. The kids love it (they ask to go there before anywhere else they know we'll go) and hey, Anheuser Busch understands people have budgets. We've got Gold Passes for Sea World and Busch for less than $40 a month. (That nearly parking for one day at WDW) Oh, they do a monthly deduction from the checking account. This is much nicer than having to plop down $1200 a year for Disney. Yes, a year, why do you think we haven't been to Disney since I left the stores?

Ed woke up early in the morning Saturday to hear the thunder claps and decided that heading out probably wasn't a good idea. We waited, and decided to head out around 2. Since we've got the passes, it doesn't seem so bad to go over for a few hours.

We had a detour to make. A very nice lady I know from the DISboards, Roberta, posts amazing nature photos on the boards fairly frequently. In September, she submitted a spectacular picture of lightning to one of the Tampa TV stations. They agreed that the picture was stunning and used it on air. In return, they gave her a nice umbrella. However, they don't mail those suckers (it's huge) and she lives a distance from Tampa.

As I worked a stone's throw from the station, I offered to pick it up and deliver it when next we passed by her exit. Today was delivery day. In return for doing this, Roberta made me a photo collage of some of her photography, including that gorgeous lightning photograph. I was floored by the gesture. It was nice to finally meet the person behind these pictures!

Onward we go. We get to our exit and are confronted by a stupid person going into Sea World. First up, he saw "Sea World" on a sign and immediately got into the turn lane before realizing the sign says "Buses and Taxis ONLY". Oops. So he cuts me off to get out of that lane. Next, we get to the Sea World entrance. There are two turning lanes-he's in the left, I'm in the right.

When the arrow turns green, he turns into MY lane. Hmmm, hello moron, I'm already HERE-get OUT! I later found great amusement in that he went through the entrance and then made a left exit out of the park. Either he was really stupid and didn't realize it was an exit or he was looking for Discovery Cove. In any event, when you're traveling READ THE SIGNS. Designate one of the passengers to do it for you if you're not good at multi tasking. Geez.

Once in the park, we've got things to do: their accessability pass (which we really didn't need today) and a bandage for Chef Jr. We are directed to the first aid office, located over by the Stingrays. We take care of this, then we are confronted by this:
Insert several minutes of heavy rain here. Today we were smart, we brought our Incredibles Beach umbrella. As soon as the rain slacked off to a light level, we got out from the porch we'd sequestered in and ventured over to the Spooktacular.

There's only one path in the park we hadn't been down before, the one that takes you by the old Shamu stadium. The current show there is Elmo's Adventures in Alphabetland and let's face it, my kids won't sit through that. Today, it was the Spooktacular trail. There were fifteen treat stations set up, face painting, snack booths and at the stadium, concerts. Oh, and about a half dozen photo opportunities. Here are two:

Somehow, Jango Fett is not nearly as intimidating when he wears green mickey head crocs. Oh, and the candy treat bag? So not scary, dude!
Chef Jr pretends to beat up an octopus while Gameboy decides to save his costume for Halloween. Guess he decided if he couldn't have a weekend at Hogsmeade, he wasn't dressing up. I suspect if they'd had Butterbeer, he would have worn his costume!

If we hadn't stopped for food on the way here, I think we would have grabbed some food from one of the vending stations. They had cheese steak sandwiches that looked good and smelled great.
This is the DJ booth for the Ice Witch, who was really a warlock. I suspect on the days that the sun shone down, there were kids dancing. Instead, he had kids looking at him like he was certifiably crazy(well, he was if he was calling himself a witch). Only the adults knew the song he was playing, anyway (Buster Poindexter's Hot Hot Hot)
The end of the line. No more candy, or "what do you mean, it's over?" We all (yes, treat bags were given to everyone here) raked in a decent amount of sugar. There wasn't very much chocolate, but what non dye items we had, the rest of us gave to Gameboy. I think that the thrill of the chase meant more to him than the booty, though.
If you stand anywhere near this boat in Shamu's Happy Harbor, you are probably going to walk away wet. Today, the crew was light and we escaped unscathed. I didn't get a picture of the new carousel that they just added to the kiddie section, perhaps I'll do that the next time over.

Typically, if you're going to see Believe, the Shamu show, you are strongly encouraged to arrive more than 30 minutes before the show starts. Why? The stadium fills up. Seriously. Every show. Except for rainy days. Like today. If you look to the left of the next picture, you'll see empty bleachers. Can you believe it, empty bleachers. Wimps.
The only thing that keeps us from the show every time is that darn show up and sit in one place for a half hour. Though, I must say, now that I am using the walker, we have used the handicapped seating these last two times. We took our places a mere ten minutes before show time.

I just had to add this picture. One of the whales had her baby about six months ago, and the baby follows her EVERYWHERE. It's just adorable. Thankfully, he (she?) doesn't splash the way the rest of them do. The people in the picture above are not wearing those ponchos for the rain, there because they are decidedly in the Soak Zone. You WILL get wet in the soak zone, especially in the first fifteen rows. Count on it.

After the show, it was time for treats for Mom and Dad. Gotta love free beers, folks. Alas, Ed got stuck with skunky beer this time and no sooner did he leave that they twirled Bud Select onto a tap and I was happy. My lesson learned from a few months ago is to stick to what I know. I made the mistake of getting the TarponLager. Boy, was that crud.

While enjoying the brewskis, the boys went over to look at the huge Aquatica model on display at the hospitality house. It looks so awesome. We departed after looking for a few minutes, visited with the Clydesdales and went to encounter the Sharks.
Hey, who are these people? Chef Jr actually took a picture of me and Ed without cutting off our heads. (Oh, and there's the way cool glow in the dark nail polish). Ed found his costume, see?
These are fish. They look like lettuce, right? My question is if you're a vegan, can you eat them and get away with it? I mean, they look like lettuce...it could be an honest mistake.

After viewing the lettuce fish, sharks and the like, we took the rare opportunity to go up in the sky tower at dusk. It was pretty cool to see the surrounding area lit up. It did make it difficult to see Aquatica's progress. Now that Chef Jr has become a pretty strong swimmer, he is most anxious for the place to open up already. We've got until March to get Gameboy more proficient.

Ed's not happy unless he gets to see the penguins and puffins, so we went off to the Penguin house. For some reason, there were no Rockhoppers to be seen. Weird. The puffin exhibit had the lights out as the park is normally closed at this hour. Ed was bummed, but apparently, there are some party animals in there. They were still swimming and cavorting and looking out the window at us.
Shamu gets into the costume action, too! We found him on the way out of the park. If only the park photographer had been next to me instead of Gameboy's left, because the picture was good.

We decide to grab a meal in Orlando. We ventured to Pizzeria Uno, since we don't have one in Tampa. Alas, the service was horrible. Gameboy's plain pasta came out as a mac and cheese. The server said that it takes 30 seconds to get a new one (which I can vouch for, after working for one when Chef was a baby), but it took 20 minutes to appear. I was done eating by the time it arrived. Chef was the hungriest of the four of us, too.

It was a pretty neat event, and included in park admission to boot. It's a safe assumption that we'll be doing this one again next year.

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