Friday, March 03, 2006
A drippy day at Sea World
Since rain was due in the area today we decided to head down to San Diego to visit Sea World. Again, I'll say that once you've experienced Disney you find everyone else lacking. I'm sure part of it was due to the rain also, but Sea World just wasn't what we had hoped for.
We started by leaving early in the morning and arrived at the park just prior to the 10am opening. Our first stop was to see the Budweiser Clydesdales grazing outside their paddock. We then visited the Dolphin Encounter. We purchased a tray of fish and let each of the kids feed the dolphins a fish. They got to pet them and really were quite thrilled with the interaction.
We then headed to find a seat for the Shamu Experience. There were 5 killer whales in the show, including one who was just 1 year old. They jumped, flipped, waved and splashed. This was the highlight of their animal experiences today.
After the Shamu show we stopped by the Forbidden Reef where the kids got to touch huge bat rays. These things were awesome! Most were very large, 24" or longer from wing tip to wing tip. They floated around the pool and even splashed at us a few times. A very neat and unique experience.
Next went to watch the sea lion comedy show, "Deep, Deep Trouble". It was funny and cute, perfect for the kids.
Next we visited the flamingos ... boy were they colorful. I always think that they will be a nice color of bubblegum pink, but they are really a very vibrant salmon color. The kids had never seen flamingos before so were temporarily excited, though once they realized that all the flamingos did was stand there they were ready to move on.
Next we went to the Shark Encounter, a cool exhibit with all sorts of sharks. We viewed them from above and then went and viewed some from a tube that extends through their tank. It was pretty neat.
We tried to find food after this, as it was lunch time and we were all hungry. But an order of icky nachos and 2 restaurant menus later we decided that Sea World didn't have much to offer in the way of food. And to top it all of the rain we had been trying to avoid somehow found us in San Diego. Once it started raining we decided to just rush through the remainder of the park and then leave to eat and return to the hotel. So we did just that.
The kids wanted to experience the rides (all 2 of them that they offered), so Brian, Dad and all 3 kids decided to ride Shipwreck rapids, a rafting ride of sorts. Unfortunately it was not an exciting ride and got them VERY wet. Carissa managed to get the brunt of it and walked bowlegged, like a cowboy who had been on his horse for too long. She was soaked from head to toe. We threw her in Grandma's lap, covered her with Daddy's jacket and left to finish up the park.
Next was the manatee tank. These animals are HUGE. They were so slow and graceful looking though, especially when one came up to the window we were viewing from and started twirling and twisting around in front of us. The kids got to see them eating lettuce and swimming round the tank.
We quickly toured the penguin encounter, which was filled with all sorts of neat penguines. We saw emperor penguins, king penguins and a variety of smaller penguine species.
By now Carissa was officially frozen and the rain wasn't letting up, so we decided to make our final stop the parks most exciting ride (and only ride besides the aforementioned boring raft ride). The "Journey to Atlantis" ride was one of the saving graces of this park. It was a mixture of a roller coaster and a water ride. Immediately you went up a steep hill then plummeted to the bottom. Around a few turns and bends and into an elevator .. yes, our entire boat went into an elevator. It raised us up to the top of the ride and we rode the fast twisty and turny track all the way to the bottom. We all got soaked but weren't so worried about it, as we knew we were leaving the park. And since Sea World was so dead and no one was waiting in line we decided to ride it a second time. Unfortunately, the rain hit us the second ride. Boy, does that sting when you are speeding down a roller coaster! We were all laughing and having fun though. Carissa was shaking with cold but kept asking if we could go on the ride again. She is crazy! Brian just kept saying "We are such retards!" I mean c'mon, who goes riding water roller coasters in the rain when it's cold outside? (The answer, WE DO! Might as well make the most of the vacation we have.)
We came off the ride and seperated for the very wet and cold run to the van. On my way out I saw the most awesome black and white dolphins. I didn't stop to grab a photo or watch them, as I was FREEZING and soaked, but they were awesome nonetheless.
Back at the van I had the kids strip their clothes and replace them with the extras we brought along (yeah for Mom, remembering to bring extra clothes and shoes for once! LOL).
We jumped in the van slightly drier but starving. We grabbed some fast food and headed our way back to Anaheim. The traffic in places was horrible and the drive that earlier took up less than 90 minutes stretched into longer than 2 hours. Ugh. California traffic stinks at times.
We did get back to the hotel by 5pm and went back to our rooms to relax and shower. Duly warmed and cleaned, we visited IHOP for their kids eat free dinner then came back to the hotel to play some Phase 10. While we were playing the fireworks at Disneyland started going off so we stepped outside to our deck to enjoy the view. It was awesome, even from outside the park! It made the extra charge of our Disney view rooms well worth it.
Now we have retreated to our rooms for some much needed rest. Tomorrow is our final day at Disneyland and we are all so bummed that it's almost over. We made a list of our favorite rides and will be visiting them all one more time before we leave. We also plan on catching the parades and fireworks tomorrow and just enjoying our final day filled with Disney magic.