We took a 5-day vacation to Orlando to visit Sea World, Disney World, and Busch Gardens Tampa. We were so thankful my sister-in-law sent us an email that a cold front was pushing sough into Florida. Lows in the 30’s and highs in the 50’s. Not your typical Florida weather. We began on a red-eye and arrived in Orlando Friday at 6am. Our first stop was Sea World. I hadn’t been there in years and it was Gyendolynne’s first visit. We have Platinum passes from Sea World San Diego which made the trip easy and very pleasant. I’ll break down the days below, but the next few days went like this: Friday (Day 1) – Sea World, Saturday (Day 2) – Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, Sunday (Day 3) – Disney World’s Epcot and MGM Studios, and Monday (Day 4) – Busch Gardens Tampa.
Day 1: Sea World was great, not crowded and the park was fun. The Platinum passes got us parking up front. It was so cold people wore ski caps! And the wind blew too. I wanted to ride Journey to Atlantis but knew I’d get wet and it was just too cold. So we started off riding Kraken and then took in the Clyde and Seamore show. Kraken was a great ride, very smooth. The show was different than San Diego’s and we actually liked it better. Next, we headed to the Pets Ahoy show. Again, our passes saw us in premiere seating at all the shows all day. Pets Ahoy was really great as the animals did most everything without trainers on stage. The trainers came out for a couple skits; but, it was mostly the animals doing their stunts. Very enjoyable. We skipped the dolphin show (Blue Horizons) and had lunch because Odyssea was scheduled for 12:30 and Shamu was scheduled for 1 and it was already after 11. The Odyssea show was interesting; but, we couldn’t stay because we wanted to see Shamu and the new baby. Shamu didn’t disappoint. The baby swam around and came out of the water once in a while, too. One of the trainers appeared very young and she was the one Shamu shot up out of the water on his nose. I always liked that. The whales wanted to just swim around so we didn’t get to see the 12,000 pound whale this time. The weather warmed up after the show so I thought it would be a great time to ride Kraken one more time and then Journey to Atlantis….WHOOPS! I got soaked on JtA. I know, what a shock. Gyendolynne just laughed. We judged it best to leave the park then and put me in some dry clothes. On the way out we bought a couple of souvenirs. I was very glad my brother lived close by as we headed there to clean and dry my clothes. We had planned to see them for dinner anyway and just arrived earlier than expected. After dinner and hanging out, we headed to our hotel. Unfortunately it was over booked and we didn’t have a room. They tried to make some concessions to accommodate us but I wasn’t happy (and we had been up around 40 hours at that point.) Graciously, my brother offered to let us stay with them for the whole trip instead. (We had planned on staying with them Monday night only.)
Day 2: My brother got tickets to Disney World and Park Hopper passes. He worked there in December and he knows some people. Last time we went to Disney, we didn’t visit Magic Kingdom so this time we went there first. It turned out to be a great day, aside from it being so friggin’ cold! There was a new Cinderella show in front of the castle which we saw first. Then we headed to Tomorrow Land to ride Space Mountain. Buzz Lightyear was down for maintenance. It was a terrific day anyway. We rode Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Pirates of the Caribbean, It’s a Small World (yes I know!), the Bear Show (which I will never hear the end of), Haunted Mansion, and did a few other things too. The parade was colorful, also. I have to relay one story about Disney. We were having lunch after Small World and the area was packed. After we paid for our meal we headed outside. (Did I say it is really cold yet?) There was no place to sit and so we just put our tray on a ledge and stood there eating. We weren’t there long when a young man sweeping trash and cleaning the tables came to us and said there was a table available under the covering. I asked him, “Can you hold it?” and gathered our lunch onto the tray and followed him. The young man wiped thoroughly cleaned the table and we sat down and comfortably finished our lunch. I was so impressed by his customer care. He didn’t have to say anything to us and could have just wiped off the table and continued on sweeping up trash. But he saw us and made sure we sat down to eat. That is why Disney World is such an awesome place. When leaving, we stopped at Guest Relations to tell them how he made our day even more pleasant. His name was Michael. For dinner we took my brother and his wife out to Friendly Confines.
Day 3: We used the Park Hopper passes for Epcot and MGM Studios. My brother accompanied us to ride Mission Space. It was his first time riding it. We rode Test Trak next, and then bought some more souvenirs. My brother took the souvenirs home for us and we went to MGM. We just had to get on the Tower and I wanted to ride Rock ‘n Roller Coaster again. We ate at MGM and then went back to Epcot where we used the fast pass for Honey I Shrunk the Audience. The Soarin’ ride was packed, there was an 80 minute wait and the fast passes were already up to 7:30-8:30pm. It was only 4! We’ll have to do that another time. The Living Seas was next door and it’s great. I’ve been there before and they change it every time. I enjoyed this visit best. The pictures will probably show the fun. After a full day of park hopping, we headed to Cracker Barrel for dinner--a favorite place.
Day 4: This was the day for Busch Gardens. It may only be an hour and a half trip, but sometimes it feels like a lifetime! We started our day where we finished the night before, at Cracker Barrel for breakfast. We arrived at BG around 11am and our platinum passes got us up-front parking again. Anheuser Busch really runs their parks well and they take good care of pass members. We have Cedar Point and SFMW season passes, but no one takes care of you quite as well as AB parks. Even arriving 2 hours after the park opened didn’t hurt the day. We went immediately to Sheikra and rode twice in a row in the front with our passes and without much of a wait. We wanted to ride twice and get our pictures which we did. We also bought the DVD, too. It was really great. I wanted to ride Python and some others I missed last time. They’re the kind of rides that are hard on Gyendolynne and I knew she wouldn’t ride them; but she loves taking pictures of me riding. Unfortunately Kumba wasn’t running so I was glad we rode it the last time we visited Busch Gardens. Next, we took the skyride to Nairobi to ride Montu and then the Serengeti train. Unfortunately it was only a 20 minute round trip due to maintenance. So we rode a couple more coasters and then headed to Gwazi and the Hospitality Center…MMMM BEER! Gyendolynne suggested we take the beer training school. It was a good suggestion and now we are both honorary Beermasters. Watch out Wally! It was our last night in Florida and my sister-in-law treated us with homemade “pasties” for dinner. (“Pasties” [pronounced with a short a sound] are individual pastries made of pie dough filled with potatoes, meat, and onions—an English and Moore family tradition and a very nice thing for my sister-in-law to make considering she is a vegetarian.) I especially enjoyed them as I haven’t had any for 2 or 3 years. They were the perfect end to a fun trip and we flew home the next day.
If you have made it this far, thanks! Here are the pictures!
Hey it's Shamu, we made it!
Pink flamingos. Can you tell it is cold? The wind is blowing too.
It definately looks cold to me. :)
The entrance that everyone was avoiding early in the morning.
We decided to ride Kraken.
I'm in the second row on the far right.
Ooooh, Kraken eggs, don't disturb!
Be careful Gyendolynne
This thing can get mad.
Gotta get my smashed pennies
Clyde and Seamore show.
These trainers did a great job with the sea lions.
These 2 need to be rescued off the island
Time for something to eat.
The pets ahoy set.
The sky ride. We thought the flag looked great blowing in the wind.
Of course it is an Anheuser Busch park, here is the proof
The donkey, I just loved those commercials.
Yay, Shamu stadium
How about a couple of stars!
The one on the left was the baby. All you can see is it's dorsal fin.
If I weighed 6000 pounds, I couldn't do that. :)
Going across the stage. I think it must be her favorite move because she does it all the time.
Let's go surfin'
My favorite move. I like it when Shamu brings the trainer up on the nose. I think it would be great to be able to do that.
The baby is on the right trying to splash the crowd. It was really cute and funny.
Here's another shot of the baby trying to splash the crowd.
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