Sea World - Orlando

Nov 6th, 2008, 07:04 AM
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Sea World - Orlando

Well be visiting Orlando next week DH will be at a work conference and DD (8) and I will spend some quality time with the Mouse. We will have one full day (a Sunday) all together before the conference starts, and are considering a visit to Sea World. DD really wants to see Shamu, but Im concerned by the lackluster reviews Ive read about the rest of the park on Trip Advisor. Tickets cost as much as Disney tickets, but Ive read that the experience is far from a Disney experience poor customer service, bad food, not that much to see, etc. DD would definitely NOT be interested in Sea World's big roller coaster, and I wonder if the other rides are too young for her.

Trip Advisor is OK, but I place more trust in the folks at Fodors. Id like to know what recent visitors to Sea World/Orlando have thought about their visit. What did you like? What didnt you like? Would you go back?

Were just looking for a nice day of family fun.

bk123 is offline  
Nov 6th, 2008, 11:24 AM
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Well, I'm sensing that Sea World is not a popular Fodorite destination -- and that, in itself, may be telling. TTT to see if anyone can help.

bk123 is offline  
Nov 6th, 2008, 11:30 AM
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Would like to help but the only time I went (which was in 1988), a tornado came thru after we had been at the park for 2 hours and closed the park. They refused to give us any kind of refund / rain checks. Hopefully things have improved but haven't had any inclination to go back.
tchoiniere is offline  
Nov 6th, 2008, 11:44 AM
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I have been to Sea World twice - 2004 and 2007. I love it - probably my favorite amusement park.

We were there both times during spring break - so lots of kids and people - but it was so easy to watch the animals and relax. I know it sounds crazy but it is true.

For us (sons were your daughter's age) Sea World is much more about the animals than the rides. We loved the shows - especially Shamu and one with a pirate theme and a walrus - can't remember the name right now.

The food isn't the best, but I think Disney is the exception instead of the rule for good theme park food.

I can't really speak to the customer service issue, but I really do not remember anything negative.
reneeinva is offline  
Nov 6th, 2008, 12:23 PM
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Sea World is a perfectly acceptable theme park to visit. I like it and have gone there 4-6 times since moving here. However, don't compare it with the WDW parks - they are the gold standard. Sea World also has discounts available if you search, bringing down the ticket price considerably. For example, AAA members can save $12 over the non-discounted price. WDW, on the other hand, rarely gives discounts.
Orlando_Vic is offline  
Nov 6th, 2008, 12:40 PM
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Thanks, reneeinva and Orlando_Vic, for the info -- you've made me feel a lot better. (And Orlando_Vic, you gave me great advice on Cafe Alcazar for our visit to St. Augustine this past summer -- thanks again!)

Tchoiniere, I'm sorry for your bad experience with a tornado, of all things!

Any other thoughts on Sea World would be appreciated. Thanks, everyone!

bk123 is offline  
Nov 6th, 2008, 02:43 PM
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We were at Sea World about 18 months ago and spent two different days at the park so we could see everything without being rushed. It's mainly an animal park with just a few rides. I thought the Shamu show was blah, but really enjoyed the dolphin show and the Odyssea "undersea circus," which I imagine was Cirque-ish. Your daughter would probably enjoy the backyard animals tricks show with dogs and cats. There's also a sea lion show that's very entertaining. The landscaping was beautiful. I honestly don't remember any food at the park, so either we didn't eat there, or it didn't make an impression either way. Take a look at the park's website, it has an interactive map and list of shows and animal exhibits. I would definitely go back, we enjoyed the park very much.

We had 7-day package tickets with Busch Gardens in Tampa. There are discounts available, check AAA, the park website, and also a consolidator such as (haven't used them but they are highly recommended by Disney fans).
xrae is offline  
Nov 6th, 2008, 06:43 PM
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I grew up in San Diego and now live in Orlando and have always loved Sea World. I think the animal shows would be a thrill for your child. The Shamu show has always been corny and lame as long as I can remember but you simply can't take away the fact of the amazing things these incredible whales do. Food seems to be lousey and overpriced at all the theme parks but that shouldn't be a big deal. Everyone loves the penguins and I would also say everyone loves the huge aquarium with the sharks. Definitely go, you won't be disappointed.

thorspecken is offline  
Nov 7th, 2008, 04:57 AM
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I forgot to mention - be sure to feed the dolphins and don't wear clothes that you will worry about getting wet.

I think what amazed me so much about Shamu is how HUGE they are.

I want to go back now! Can I come with you?
reneeinva is offline  
Nov 7th, 2008, 06:22 AM
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Have you looked at the website for Seaworld? Interactive maps fun.. click Orlando

There are 3 Orlando Seaworld Sister parks....

Orlando Seaworld
Shamu & behind scenes tours
Journey to Atlantis ride is right for 8 y/o
Does your Dtr like horses--the Clysdale paddock is at the main park there. Free Beer samples for the adults...

Discovery Cove interactive with dolphin swims-every family I know has been very happy & and I saw Convention attendee discounts & $99.00 afternoon tickets..amazing bargin.

Aquatica Waterprk & newest park amazing with an actual beach and Dolphin Dip & commerson dolphins darting around a slide tube.

Every park had promos and BTW Seaworld is still offering military discounts even in this economy.

As for Tornado says they DO give refunds.

I bet you will have a great time..pls post back. We are considering tickets for xmas gifts..
1JAR is offline  
Nov 7th, 2008, 06:55 AM
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I think your daughter is a great age for Sea World. Its one of our favorite parks. We enjoy the animals and the laided back atmoshpere.

If you can, sign up for one of the back stage tours. We did one that took us behind the scenes at the artic exhibit. They showed us the main living area for the polar bears and taught us lots of interesting things about them. We also learned more about walruses and seals. They finished by bringing a penquin and letting people pet it. The March of Penquins movie was huge at that time, so the kids on the tour got quite a thrill. The tour leader was great, very informative.

As xrae said, DD might really enjoy the pet show. They rescue animals from shelters, and train them to do all kinds of tricks. Feeding the dolphins, seals, and stingrays seems to be a highlight for lots of people, too.

Our weather has been fantastic, hope you have a wonderful time on your visit!
rascat is offline  
Nov 7th, 2008, 08:21 AM
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OK, you've all convinced me! Thanks so much for your comments -- we'll definitely be making a visit to Sea World. And I will post back.

Thanks again for taking the time to help!

bk123 is offline  
Nov 8th, 2008, 05:35 AM
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Glad you decided to do it.
I LOVE Sea World. It's the only park I go back to over and over again.
The Shamu show is great. I usually try to see it twice in one day.

The Clyde and Seamore show is always funny - year after year after year.

I like small parks. Sea World and Busch Gardens in Tampa were my first choices when the kids were little. Not overwhelming but still a lot of fun. Dollywood too - and much cooler
starrs is offline  
Nov 9th, 2008, 05:00 AM
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I really enjoyed our visit to Sea World Orlando. It has my favorite roller coaster ever - Kraken. It is so smooth! Although you have to be 54 inches tall to ride it, so your daughter may be too young.
BarbaraS is offline  
Nov 9th, 2008, 09:48 AM
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Frankly we found Sea World a lot more real than Disney. they have curators on the spot and if you're interestd will answer a lot of questions about any of the animals.

The food is awful - but we found it awful in all of the parks - unless you go to one of the few upscale restaurants.

The animal shows can be a lot of fun for kids - but be sure to plan the times in advance - since each takes place only a couple of times a day.
nytraveler is offline  
Nov 17th, 2008, 02:57 PM
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Wanted to quickly post back and thank everyone for the great information. We had a fabulous day at Sea World! The park was lovely -- clean, beautiful landscaping and not too crowded or hot on a gorgeous November Sunday.

We saw the Shamu show, which was appropriately corny but incredible to see those huge creatures! Clyde and Seamore and their pirate/sea lion show were great fun, too. We also saw a special animal show with Jack Hanna - that was a little long and not as entertaining as we'd hoped.

The rides in Shamu's Happy Harbor were perfect for our daughter and fun for all of us, actually. Had it been a touch warmer, we would probably have done the Journey to Atlantis. We also enjoyed petting sting rays, going through the shark exhibit, visiting the seals and sea lions at Pacific Point preserve, and seeing dolphins, manatees, alligators and sea turtles.

We only had time for the one Sea World park on this short visit, but the water park looked like it would be a blast on a hot day. 1JAR, I think passes would be a great gift.

We got a discount (I think $10 or $12 off each adult ticket) when purchasing the tix online through AAA -- thanks for the idea, Orlando_Vic!

Thanks everyone. We really had a great time -- and we only went because all of you talked us into it!
bk123 is offline  
Nov 17th, 2008, 03:05 PM
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Yay! Glad you enjoyed it.

Next time...Busch Gardens!
starrs is offline  
Nov 17th, 2008, 03:47 PM
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Glad your family had a great time! That's great to hear from you. Come back soon.
Orlando_Vic is offline  
Nov 17th, 2008, 05:04 PM
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If your son is interested in animals, SeaWorld can be great. SeaWorld may be my 7 year old's favorite park.

We've been about 6 times to Seaworld. The best parts are the shows, so plan your schedule accordingly. Shamu is the big ticket show. The SeaLion show, the small animal show (dogs/cats mostly) and the dolphin show are also worth taking in.

While not high end dining, I didn't think the food at the restaurant that overlooked the shark tank was awful. A bit pricey for what it was but I don't remember it as being a rip-off.

Ryan is offline  
Nov 17th, 2008, 05:05 PM
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NEver mind, saw you've already been and enjoyed it.
Ryan is offline  

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