Do not adjust your internet! I've finally, actually, amazingly updated this thread. I kind of got bored with posting trip reports. It's a lot of work, and this forum has kinda died down a bit so a lot of it has been "why bother" but f*ck it, looks like we're all gonna die anyway, right?
You may recall back in December 2017 my #1 lady and I celebrated my big four-oh with a whirlwind weekend of some Florida parks we'd been wanting to hit: Busch Tampa, Funspot, and Sea World Orlando. After an amazing time we agreed to sometime do it again. Little did we'd realize that we'd be back just a little over a year later, but this time for Dawn's big midlife milestone.
Full disclosure: our original plan for this b-day was to fly off to some booze-and-beach filled all-inclusive resort on some tropical island, but the dates quickly crept up on us and we just couldn't make it happen. However, thanks to finding some cheap airfare and already being SEAS platinum passholder, it turned out to be pretty easy for us pop down to Orlando for a long weekend. She wasn't exactly thrilled by the idea of going to parks all weekend - its my thing not hers - but we've both long had our eye on their Discovery Cove park, and the weekend of our visit would take place during the "Seven Seas Food & Booze Blowout". It's not actually called that but that's what we're going with.
Hey guys! We're on a plane!
We flew out on Saturday morning at an ungodly hour but it made for a few excellent sunrise shots. Our initial plan was to simply stay at the same hotel we stayed at last time we visited Orlando in 2017 (the Wyndham behind the Wawa near iDrive and Sand Lake, that we actually really liked), but Dawn shopped around and eventually settled on the Marriott Residence.
Early ass flight means early ass arrival - we touched down in Orlando exactly as scheduled, around 8:30am. By the time we got out and found an Uber, and took the short drive over to our hotel it was early as hell, but we knew this going in. When we booked we could arrived in the afternoon, but I thought it was a better idea to get into town and start drinking as early as possible.
The Marriott Residence is an official Seaworld hotel, just around the corner from the main park, and this came with some perks - notably free shuttles to all three SW parks, complementary quick queue, animal encounters, etc. The concierge at the hotel noted our request for an early check-in and was able to hold our bags until then.
We'd been up since way early and were starving by now, and happened to just make the cutoff for the hotels' fairly extensive continental breakfast. We quickly grabbed coffees and a few noms and found a place in the lobby to chill before walking around the hotel grounds, checking out the pool area, basketball court and patios, and meeting the hotels many stray cats.
Figuring we still had plenty of time to kill we decided to walk out of the hotel complex, cross a mildly busy highway Frogger-style, and had brunch at the only place nearby serving booze this early, Bonefish Grill. We also had plans to stock up on booze for the hotel room at the nearby CVS, because its Florida and you can buy beer anywhere.
Do not adjust your internet, this place has funky Bloody Mary glasses.
The waitress sold us on some "unlimited Bloody Mary brunch special" and later tried to walk it back when she realized we'd just arrived into town for a birthday weekend consisting of nothing sober. Unlimited means unlimited, hun. I'll have another one, thanks.
The color of the hollandaise was definitely off but the Benedict tasted great. Just as our food came out I got a call from the hotel letting us know we could check in whenever we were ready, a score as it was barely noon. We finished up and popped over to CVS for a few things.
I'm totally dressed for Florida weather. Also, this is practically a highway. Good times.
We got back to the hotel and got all sorted at the desk - room keys, etc. and headed upstairs to unload everything.
We initially found the layout of the hotel confusing but eventually we got it. The hotel itself was nice enough but nothing over the top - it was reasonably priced for a suite and for being so close to the parks.
Love the little details like the inside of the elevator.
Always lots of weird stuff to do in weird Florida.
Our suite for the next four days was just fine.
Once we got all sorted and stretched out for a minute we decided to keep the party going and just head over to the main park. It was mid-afternoon and we had nothing else planned. We waited for the next available shuttle...
and were over at the park in 10 minutes...
... hanging with the flamingos.
So many flamingos.
We love Manta.
But first! More booze. And don't think for a second that Dawn was that far ahead of me, that's #2.
Drinking at Sharks is expensive but the drinks are huge and stiff as a corpse. And there's live fish under the bar! I'll stop here every time I come to this park.
Get a little tipsy, ride the shark tunnel.
Get stuck in the middle of the shark tunnel because there's too many people on it and the conveyor stops.
Eventually make your way out of the shark tunnel and then ride the best aquatic-themed B&M on earth. I'm just kidding. Mako isn't the best aquatic-themed B&M, its the best B&M. I'm not kidding
I don't know what it is about this ride but its just absolutely f*cking phenomenal. Dawn won't ride it because she hates giant hypercoasters, but luckily the ride never has a wait - even on a Saturday early-evening. Ride it in the front row. Can someone please explain to me why this ride is so good in the front row? Jesus H Christ.
So as I mentioned the park was hosting their annual Seven Seas Foods and Booze smashdown. We were booked at the hotel until Tuesday and the only solid plan was Discovery Cove on Monday. We figured we'd check out the fest tomorrow, and while wandering around the park we were checking out some of the booths in anticipation of what we might get the following day. We popped past this boozy stand selling Dreamsicles - basically an orange creamsicle. But with booze. F*cking yum.
Making Dawn pose in weird places cause we're drunk and why not?
After a long day she wasn't up for any coasters, and at this point wanted to head back to the hotel to have a night cap and hit the hay before a long funday Sunday of eatin' and drankin', but she graciously allowed me to do a night-time round of the B&Ms before we headed out.
Yo, can we talk about Kraken?
Hey, Kraken is super good. We rode it a handful of times on our last visit and while I enjoyed it, this time around it was an entirely different animal. Front seat, right side. The first of many laps this weekend.
Mako night rides!
Couldn't help but hit Manta twice in a row (thanks to an empty station and kind ride ops who let me re-ride) in the dark. So, so good.
We really love this park. We arrived here in 2017 with fairly average expectations and left completely blown away. The park is exceptionally clean, the landscaping is pristine, all of the rides are enjoyable and clearly well cared for and the animals and their habitats are beautiful! We were thrilled to see things hadn't changed, and we're stoked to be able to visit a few more times over the coming days.
See you tomorrow, Seaworld!