From February 2nd to the 10th, I took a nice family vacation down to Florida. We went on a Royal Caribbean Cruise for 4 days to the Bahamas, and afterwards, we went to Sea World and Universal Studios / Islands of Adventure. I gotta admit, everyday was boat loads of fun and everything went soothingly! If you are a picture person, you can skip the the pictures, but here's a nice (but long) written up review for everything!
Cruise: I'll try to keep this short since I want to focus on Sea World Orlando mostly, but Royal Caribbean had some really nice deals for cruises in February. (I'm talking 150 dollars a person for 4 days!) I was sailing on Monarch of the Seas, which was a pretty decent sized ship for my first cruise. We departed from Cape Canaveral and we stopped in Nassau and at Royal Caribbean's private island. It was a blast, especially because Chicago received over 2 feet of snow when we drove down to Florida, so it was a nice break from all the snow! I totally recommend Royal Caribbean to anyone who wants to plan a very affordable cruise, the service was great, restaurants were delicious, and even though the rooms were small, you don't want to spend time in there when you're on a ship full of fun things to do!
Now onto Sea World Orlando! This was my first visit to the park (February 7th) and I had no idea what to expect! It was also my first Sea World park, and I have yet to read one person that does not like Sea World! On the website, it said Journey to Atlantis would be down for Winter rehab, but the ride was up and running, which is a total plus in my book! The crowds were very minimal, it was a Monday and there were clouds up all day, which didn't turn out nicely in my photos, and it did eventually start to rain 5 minutes after the park closed. The animals were great, I didn't even have enough time to see all of them. But the rides were fantastic, and am glad Sea World did it's best to operate the rides even with the passing storms.
The shows, I would say, are average. We first saw the Shamu Show, the now defunct "Believe" and I couldn't be more disappointed! The whales did a couple of tricks, and most of the show was talking, and the only thing keeping me awake was the wind blowing from the top of the stadium. We next saw the Sea Lion, Otter, and Walrus show, and oh my god, the best show I have ever seen at any park, no joke! It was extremely funny, had a great plot line, cute animals, and the tricks were definitely amazing! How can someone not like sea otters?! The last show we saw that day was the dolphin show by Manta. It was alright, it was pretty cool, I didn't really get the whole show, but the kids I was with loved it.
Journey to Atlantis - Walk On - Now, this ride was suppose to be down for today, at least according to their website, so I was not expecting to ride this baby! It was pretty chilly that day, (mid - 60's), and was glad I did not get very wet on the first drop, but I can't say the same for the second "dip"! The ride was pretty interesting and I like the hidden drop at the end, wonder how the other Journey's compare at other Sea World parks.
Kraken - Walk On - Our first attempt at riding this was shot down because of a lightning strike somewhere in the area, but the ride did eventually open. I'd say it is above average. I've ridden Dominator, Batman: The Dark Knight, and Bizarro, and I'd say it's the 2nd best floorless behind Dominator. I liked the tunnels and the great ending, and the cobra roll was pretty intense! Rode it twice in the front and back.
Manta - 10-25 minutes - We first waited 25 minutes for the back, they were running one train all day. Before riding, I really did not like B&M Flyers, especially cause Superman: Ultimate Flight at SF Great America could have been a whole lot better, but Manta changed my mind a bit! I loved the layout and the many inversions, and I sat on the edge closest to the water splash down and it was a very interesting, but good experience! I rode it again in the back, and it confirmed that Manta is definitely a really great flyer!
Sorry for all that typing and my overuse of the word "and"... Here are the photos and feedback is appreciated!
To start off the trip, we had to shovel the 2+ feet of snow, and it was still snowing when we left. It ended up being the biggest blizzard since 1999 in Chicago!
This is the best picture I got of the Monarch of the Seas. It was a pretty decent ship, but I am not sure how it compares to any of the Disney ships or Carnival Cruise ships.
On the first night, I decided to explore the ship with my camera, and I took my most favorite picture I have ever taken, which is now my desktop background! Stunning....
It was neat seeing the famous Atlantis Hotel that we got a tour of. I was surprised at how small the whole city of Nassau was... and Atlantis was the biggest thing there!
Here's the last photo from the cruise that I'll post. The private island had shallow water, so the ship had to stay far away, and a smaller boat would carry passengers back and forth between the island and ship. On the plus side, free food on the ship AND island, simply paradise!
Now onto Sea World. This was the first thing you would see when entering. I'd say it's alright, seemed a little dull except for Manta straight ahead.
They were running one train on Manta and Kraken all day, so I already excuse myself for not having many photos with trains in them. I do love the layout of Manta though!
Manta had a steeper lift hill than Superman, and I liked it a whole lot better, Superman's lift hill makes me want to puke.
I love the entrance sign and the actual entrance, it really does not feel like an entrance! And I was surprised by the lack of queue's for Manta, where would all the people wait on crowded days?
I really loved the animals at the park. This one reminded me of Crush from Finding Nemo : )
Sea world did an excellent job creating an atmosphere, it really felt like a whole new world.
Here's another picture. I was surprised at how large the park was, but I didn't mind the walking.
Please enjoy one of the only things the whales did.
Was I disappointed with the show? Yes. I felt like it could have been a whole lot better and am glad they installed a new show sequence.
The pretzel loop was a whole lot bigger than Superman's, and it was a whole lot better! Now I won't look down upon B&m Flyers.
Journey to Atlantis could have been build with a building like Jurassic Park's, but the building it is in is just amazing!
The setting all around was great, really didn't feel like a "amusement park" or "theme park," it barely felt like a zoo!
The dude running the show did an excellent job improvising when something went wrong! Seriously a funny show and I recommend it to anyone!
I'd say that Manta is very photo-genic.
I liked the Dolphin show a lot more than the killer whale show. The trainers swam with them and did a lot more tricks. All the flying and trapeze wasn't bad either.
The one of 2 pictures I actually got a train in. And they both turned out pretty bad! You can see the clouds starting to come in, which will eventually start a big down pour.
This dolphin cove thing was very cool! Although sea gulls would try to steal your food, the dolphins were definitely friend to all of the park guests!
I love the detail Sea World put into on making this Kraken! Although I wish the fence wasn't built right up against it.
Kraken is pretty well hidden away from the path. And notice how the ride entrance is part of the "kraken" posted above.
These corkscrews or whatever you call them on a flyer were very fun, I'm glad Manta was built how it was, it's perfect.
Here's the last shot before it started to thunderstorm. Thanks for reading and Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure (Harry Potter!) Will be posted in the next couple of days. Now go dance the Macarena!
I had the chance to ride it recently and I really enjoyed it too! I really also enjoy the fact that Manta just doesn't seem to have a line! I am glad to report that Manta is running 2 trains now and that the capacity is a heck of a lot better now!
I agree with the Shamu comments and can't wait to see the new one!
However the one credit you missed...Shamu Express...don't worry about....its a "WHORE"ible coaster.
HOLY CRAP, Those Orange umbrellas are totally new to the park. I've never seen them before!
No, just kidding, while I really haven't seen them before, I'll leave a positive post like you asked! I really enjoyed this Photo TR, nice photos, and it makes me feel like I should get to the park more often. Thanks for posting it.
I loved Manta when I went to SeaWorld (it was my first flyer). The whole thing from the get-go is amazing, from the aquariums, to the layout, to the colors of the ride. They really hit a home run with that ride.
Manta and Kraken are my top coasters in the flyer and floorless categories for good reason. You can't really judge B&M flyers on the Superman clones, just ride Tatsu and/or Manta and you'll see just how good they can be. Manta in the back row is so damn good. If Kraken's ending was a little better, it would probably be my favorite B&M.
Skycoastin I am too stupid to spell Steel Vengeance so I'll just write SteVe and pretend I'm being cool wrote:Manta and Kraken are my top coasters in the flyer and floorless categories for good reason. You can't really judge B&M flyers on the Superman clones, just ride Tatsu and/or Manta and you'll see just how good they can be. Manta in the back row is so damn good. If Kraken's ending was a little better, it would probably be my favorite B&M.
Yeah, I really knew that the Superman clones were lacking the extra "umph" that other flyers being built had, especially Manta and that new one in China! So I really looked down upon B&m Flyers until I got my chance to ride Manta.
BaMiTsPaT wrote:Nice pictures! SeaWorld is such a beautiful park! I'm glad you liked Manta and Kraken, as I would put them both in my top 25 coasters!
Thanks! And I agree... Sea World is definitely a park where quality beats out quantity... And it definitely worked out well!
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