Trip Report Friday April 6, 2012
As many of you know, the Travel Channel did some filming @ Seaworld Orlando April 5-6. It will air sometime in mid-late July. In addition to the posting here by Indigo Films, the park did a contest through Facebook and I was selected to come on Friday the 6th. All thanks goes to my friend Kijofa who entered me while I was sleeping...lol We got up at 4am to get ready and head to Orlando from Gainesville. I think I slept for all of an hour. We left about 5 and arrived at the park just before 7. The event was scheduled for 7:15am-10am.
After filming, all those who participated were allowed to stay in the park for the rest of the day. This was nice of them as some parks will escort you out after the filming/event is over and you have to either pay or have a season pass to come back in. Parking was free for participants as well and was kind of funny not having someone greet us at the parking toll booths. Since we both have annual passes, we would get in and had free parking anyways. However we did end up parking in the preferred area, so it was nice to have a freebie upgrade (not to mention we were only feet away from the entrance...lol).
After parking and heading to the gate, we all signed our lives away. Well, for 3 hours anyway and using the footage at their discretion...Hope I looked ok...lol. Then we went into the park. I obviously edited the form above so not to show my personal info.
Today they were filming Manta for the show. They filmed Kraken the day before. After receiving some general directions on what was to take place, it was definitely a process of waiting & watching and seemed to go on forever. There were about 52 of us and several were picked for interviews, wear hand cams and/or camera harnesses during the ride. It was interesting to see and be part of filming this type of show.
Here I am just waiting to get on...I waited...and waited...
...and waited even more...lol Stuff on TV looks like it was done with ease, but all the takes, waiting and behind the scenes seems to take forever. I saw one lady reading a book. I guess she's done this before...lol.
Finally I get on! This pic was actually my second ride. The first ride I sat on the other end and got a little wet on the splash down. I like this seat better because you come real close to the waterfall and it looks like you are going to fly right through it.
Even sitting there waiting to dispatch was a waiting game....lol
Yes! Finally...Here we go! This was definitely nothing like an ERT session whatsoever. I still had a good time; even while waiting. Also it was interesting hearing others points of view about the ride experience in person vs. reading them over a forum post.
When it comes to the camera, I’m a bit shy, so I didn’t do an interview. I should still show up there somewhere giving a thumbs up and/or smiling in footage on the ride and queue areas.
My friend Kijofa however, did an exit interview. He had quite a different perspective of the ride compared to the others. You’ll just have to see the show to see what I mean...lol
Here are some other shots of Manta from around the park taken after the filming was over.
The park was quite busy even before the official opening @ 9am. While riding Manta during filming, I could see a huge group of people waiting behind the ropes at the holding area. On my last ride @ around 9:15, they had opened the queue for Manta, and I could see it backed up to the splash down effect. I was like wow. I knew it was spring break & Easter weekend, so I expected the park to be quite packed. Since this was the case, the rides that were open had long waits, and show theaters filled up quite fast. I knew I wasn't about to wait an hour (or more) for rides I've been on many times. So we just kept moving on, taking in the scenery & whatever was manageable.
I was a bit disappointed that several attractions were down for various reasons. Some were to be expected due to construction of new & updated attractions:
The Manatee area was still under construction for Turtle Trek; opens April 27…
The Penguin Encounter turning into Antarctica Empire of The Penguin; opens Spring 2013…
& the underwater viewing area for the Killer Whales was still under construction (& Dine With Shamu), so we didn’t get to see them this time. This was all to be expected since I follow several forums…no biggie.
In addition to the above, some attractions were closed due to weather and/or technical difficulties. The Skytower was closed due to high winds, so I was unable to take pics of the construction from overhead. I'm not sure if it ever opened later.
Kraken was closed for some unknown reason when we went over after filming. All they would tell us was that it was currently not in operation, but to check back later in the day. So I was a bit bummed I didn't get to ride my favorite coaster this trip. It was still not running by the time we left the park.
Since I did ride Manta during filming (the main reason for coming), it was not a wasted trip. However I do feel bad for some people who actually paid to come to the park or first timers with all these areas/attractions being closed. I even heard several complaints while walking around the park. But hey, progress is coming and things happen. Of course safety should always come first.
Even with all that closed, we still managed to find a few things to do:
Always fun to watch is Clyde & Seamore Take Pirate Island. Since I've seen the show several times, I just sat back and enjoyed it instead of taking endless pics or recording this time.
After the show it was time to each lunch. The place desired was Seafire Inn, but they had changed their menu so someone wasn't going to get what they wanted. So we ended up @ the other usual place we go to...The Spice Mill.
Then we went through the Shark Encounter. Unfortunately, unless you have a real high powered (expensive) camera, you won't get many decent pics in here. I also hate using a flash in these types of environments since it reflects off the glass, so I refuse to do so.
We also played Skeeball and won a couple prizes....Ok, so Kijofa won but I was 10 points from winning as well. I still got one....lol
Most of the animals were readily available and glad to pose for a picture or two:
Here are some of the egrets, a wood stork and harbor seals in the Pacific Point Preserve.
The underwater viewing @ Dolphin Cove is always a nice place to escape the heat and relax while you see these graceful creatures swimming and playing. The dolphin feeding was going on above. I still haven't done this, but I may next time. They had already closed for this feeding and the next one was later.
The park has a few rescued Sea Turtles on display. The poor guy on the right has been amputated. My guess is the leg was cut by a boat propeller. The park does do a great job with rescuing animals and releasing them back into the wild when they can.
Inside the Manta Aquarium is an array of sealife. Of course this lil guy on the left is not a manta ray....I didn't get any decent pics because of the lighting in there. This is a still from video footage. To the right is a Sea Urchin.
We skipped One Ocean this time. I'm sad we didn't get to see "Shamu" this go around, but we saw it in December and should still be running next time we come, as it's still fairly new. Plus I know that stadium was going to be a mad house and packed.
Instead, we opted to see the 2pm showing of my favorite show Blue Horizons before leaving the park. Unfortunately when we arrived at the theater it was already closed do to capacity. It was about 15-20 minutes early too. I've seen it more times than I can remember, so I guess that's ok. This just wasn't our day to enjoy our favorite attractions and shows, but we accomplished the objective for coming.
We left the park around 3, mainly to avoid the afternoon traffic after walking through the Waterfront shops. Despite the crowds and attraction closures, we still had a good time. We had both been to the park several times in the past and I’ve been going since ‘07. We’ll be going back after they open up Antarctica sometime next year.
A visit to the park wouldn't be complete without an obligatory photo of the lighthouse at the entrance. I usually take it when I arrive, but didn't because of lighting that early in the morning. So I just waited until we left....I almost forgot!