(Sea)Lions & Gators & Dolphins….Oh, My! A Halloween PTR/TR with a “wild” theme - Oct/Nov '18

Discussion in 'Sea World / Discovery Cove' started by Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina, Sep 22, 2018.

  1. chicagoshannon

    chicagoshannon DIS Veteran

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    The little screech owl is so cute!!
     
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  2. bobbie68

    bobbie68 DIS Veteran

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    Hi Gina so glad that you were able to update us on your trip! I am so enjoying it. The Animal Ambassador tour is one at the top of my list to do. I am having a hard time deciding between them. It looks like we can only do one even though I would like to do two. I am using your trip reports to see what might be the best fit.

    I would have cringed too with the python. I really just don't like snakes or anything about them. I am hoping he won't be on our tour. Charlie on the other hand would love to spend the day with him:scared1:

    Oh my those animals were so cute on the tour. I love possums so was so excited to see you saw one. I would have had a hard time not cuddling him:goodvibes. I am pretty sure we will do this tour, if I can fit it in my budget maybe one more. They all look so good:scratchin

    I love your costumes they were simple but perfect.:thumbsup2 I wouldn't have thought about that. However, with you having two cats with that film you must think about it more.

    Infinity falls looks like a lot of fun. I hear you, I hate walking around wet like that. I am thinking it might be an end of the day ride also.

    I am still on the fence with the all day dining for one day. It is so hard with 4 people and the cost. At least I have some time to do more homework on it. It looks like a great plan, I look forward to hearing more about the restaurants.

    On another note I have been thinking of ways to try and keep my new little ones from my tree. I say little but they are big for about a year old. They are so fresh and in to everything. I wouldn't have it any other way:goodvibes:D
     
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  4. Pumpkin1172

    Pumpkin1172 Mouseketeer

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    What a great tour. It must have been great to see those animals sooo close up. I'm like you, I would rather not see a reptile. Once when we were on a holiday in Vernon BC...I took the boys to a nature conservatory. They had different snakes that everyone could hold. Once was a big python as well...which of course several kids had to hold. The boys LOVED it...this momma...not so much :scared1: :scared: :crazy2:

    I was just thinking...he probably loved your costumes...Loved those by the way!

    I was just thinking about that as I was reading about your encounter with a sloth. They are sooo adorable. It is on my bucket list to an an encounter with one some day. ::yes::
     
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  5. Penguinempress

    Penguinempress Mouseketeer

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    Wow, the Animal Ambassadors tour looks great! I love possums and they're one of the few animals I haven't already had an encounter with (I also love slots and owls but have already met both in other places). Very reasonable cost too. I hope the tour is still around for my next Sea World visit.
     
  6. Joanna71985

    Joanna71985 <marquee><font color=green>Characters are my frien

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    I absolutely love the Animal Ambassador tour (I think it's very underrated). And if I'm correct, I think the snake is Artemas/Artimas (sp?)
     
  7. pattyw

    pattyw DIS Veteran

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    That's better than any of mine would do! Yay for the kitty!!:cat:

    So cute!!!:)

    I'd loved to be re-homed to Sea World!:teeth:

    Me neither! They terrify me!!:scared1:

    Great pictures!! We'll have to do that tour!!:thumbsup2
     
  8. Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina

    Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina DIS Veteran

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    I totally thought of you and Maggie as soon as they brought her out! :goodvibes In fact, I think of Maggie EVERY TIME I see a sloth anything! (and oddly enough, Sloth Stuff seems to be popping up a lot.....we have sloth socks at the store where I work, and I even saw a sloth travel mug at Menards last weekend!).

    Henry was adorable. Cute as a button! And the tour itself was a nifty little value ::yes::. SeaWorld just those things so well!

    :rotfl2: LOVE IT! That ride is SUCH a soaker! :crazy2:

    He was definitely a favorite among the participants ::yes::. Mila was probably the most popular, but little Henry was a close second.

    All of the tours are so well done, its definitely difficult to pick just one. So far, we've done the following tours: Behind the Scenes, the Dolphins Up Close, Sea Lions Up Close, Walrus Up Close, Animal Ambassadors, Dolphin Encounter, and VIP (the latter which has changed quite a bit since we did it in 2014). It's tough to pick a favorite, but the dolphin and sea lion tours were definitely tops among them. But the Walrus one was pretty cool, too. Since you're doing the dolphin swim at Discovery Cove, in your shoes I'd probably pick a tour that focuses on a different animal (just for variety). You'll get an inside peek at the sea lion and walrus tours before the end of this report, so hopefully that will help you make a decision :).

    If you're staying a full day at SeaWorld, the meal plans can be an incredible value (especially in the warm months, when you can easily drink your plan price on a hot day). But, a budget is a budget, so I understand that concern as well! There are lots of SeaWorld dining plan pics to be shared, so stay tuned (and don't hesitate to ask any questions you might have).

    If it makes you feel any better, my Violet is still undressing my tree on a daily basis :rolleyes:. But like you, it doesn't bother me one smidgen. How can I get cross with that face?

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    Ugh, I swear I'd pass out if I ever had to hold a snake :faint:. They had them at Gatorland as well, and just seeing people posing for pictures with them made my skin crawl. I'm no fan of reptiles, or "critters" (mice, rats, spiders, or other creepy crawlies).

    The animal care staff also thought that Henry was captivated by the color of our costumes. Either that or he was thinking, "Look at those two fools, all grown up but still acting like a pair of children" ;).

    I hope you get to fulfill that bucket list item sooner rather than later! :goodvibes

    I am so happy that SeaWorld added a tour that was at such an affordable price point :thumbsup2. They have increased the cost a bit since we took park (I think it went up by $5 a person, to $20 each) but even at that price, its an excellent value and within the budget for most folks. Yay SeaWorld!

    We have possums visit regularly in our back yard....they seem to be a "thing" here in Michigan. But the ones who chill in my gardens don't have three legs and a cool story like Ricky! :rotfl:

    I'm glad you caught his name......I was too busy keeping his beady little eyes in sight to fully listen to what the SW Animal Care staff were saying :blush:.
    Will you try and squeeze that tour into your December visit, or is your itinerary pretty full with all the Christmas events?
     
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  9. Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina

    Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina DIS Veteran

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    Just so y'all know .... I hope to get another entry posted sometime tomorrow :thumbsup2. Far as I am aware, I actually get the whole day off (wahoo! :banana:) so I'll be housecleaning in the morning, but hopefully can get something up later in the afternoon or evening.

    In the meantime, I'll leave you with your smile for the day. Since quite a few of us have cats, many of you will find this funny!

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  10. Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina

    Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina DIS Veteran

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    Sunday, October 28th: SeaWorld, continued

    After we wrapped up our Animal Ambassadors tour, we texted @verleniahall to see if it was a good time to meet up for lunch: she and her husband, Sam, knew they would also be at Seaworld on this same day, so we had been planning for several weeks to get together to say hello and lunch seemed to be the time that worked best for us both. While we waited for her response, we decided to stroll over to the passmember lounge.....which had just reopened when Infinity Falls was launched....to check out the changes from the original lounge.

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    The passmember lounge is in the same building, though that facility has been re-launched as the Waterway Grill. The lounge is somewhat smaller than the original concept....the large room with all the windows that had the view of the former Sea Garden has now been converted to restaurant seating....but the portion that remains is still well equipped.

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    In order to gain entry to the lounge, pass members must scan their pass at the entrance desk. A concierge is there as well, and I believe this is one of the locations where passholders could upgrade to the new annual pass platform that was introduced earlier in the fall (bronze, silver and gold levels).

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    Still sponsored by Coca Cola, there are samples available on a self-serve basis. There is also a kiosk where you can order food from the Waterway Grill to enjoy in the comfort of the lounge.

    https://seaworld.com/orlando/annual-pass/pass-member-lounge/

    I was a bit disappointed that the new lounge felt a bit dark, but its still a lovely perk. It's a nice place to rest and recharge outside of the hullaballoo of the park, and the complimentary Coke products are a tasty offering. Overall, I was thrilled to see that the passmember lounge is back in use: especially when Aquatica's has been closed permanently :sad2:.

    As we were wrapping up our exploration of the pass member lounge, we received the expected text from Lena and Sam that they would be waiting for us at Voyagers (the lunch location we recommended, as we were all on the dining plan) so we left the lounge and headed toward the Waterfront. They were quicker to arrive than we were, so they waved and shouted hello as we approached. Everyone, let me introduce you to Sam and Lena! :goodvibes

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    After a round of introductions (more for Steve and Sam's benefit than for Lena and I!) we headed inside to grab some food before we settled ourselves at a table.

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    Steve chose the rib sampler, which came with barbecued chicken, sausage, french fries, and a roll. I had the brisket sampler which, like the rib sampler, also came with chicken, sausage, fries and a roll. We both chose chocolate cake for our side/dessert, and for drinks Steve had apple juice while I ordered lemonade. The total cost of this meal would have been around $56 with tax which was MORE than what we paid for our all day dining passes (our all-day dining was purchased on a passholder deal at $24.99 each.....so in one meal alone, we got the value of the plan plus more).

    The four of us found a quiet spot along one of the window walls and we settled in for a delicious meal and fun conversation. As with every other Dismeet that we have enjoyed, the chatter flowed easily and we found that while we live very different lives, we still have so much in common. Lena and I whipped out our phones and shared cat photos :p and both Sam and Steve got along famously as well. We talked and ate and talked and ate and talked an ate ..... and I could not believe it when I looked at my phone and saw it was soon time for us to make our way to our next tour.

    While I would have loved to have been able to eat all the delicious items that came with our entrees.....the brisket was super tender and flavorful, and the chicken (and even the fries) at Voyagers are always a favorite!....there's no way I could manage to eat all that food at one time. While I hate being wasteful, I ate what I could -- leaving room for cake, of course ;) -- and tossed the rest. Being on the dining plan definitely doesn't make a person feel as if they must eat until they are stuffed at any given time. There will be plenty of opportunities for more snacking later.

    We bid adieu to our new friends (Lena and Sam, it was so great to hang out with you guys....even for just an hour!)....and then headed for a restroom break before making our way to Pacific Point Preserve.

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    We had a date with an adorable group of sea lions and seals: our Sea Lions Up Close Tour would be starting soon! :banana:

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    Stay tuned :surfweb:.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2018
  11. verleniahall

    verleniahall DIS Veteran

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    It was SO MUCH FUN! It was like we had known each other forever!

    The food was awesome and there was SO MUCH of it!

    THEN - once we knew who we were looking for, it was like every time we turned around we ran into each other!
     
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  12. Mrs Doubtfire

    Mrs Doubtfire DIS Veteran

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    It's so great you get to meet up with some of your Dis friends. I wondered, did anyone comment on your outfits or was anyone else dressed up for Halloween?
     
  13. chicagoshannon

    chicagoshannon DIS Veteran

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    That looks like a lot of food! I didn't know there was a passholder lounge at Aquatica. That must have been very short lived.
     
  14. Joanna71985

    Joanna71985 <marquee><font color=green>Characters are my frien

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    Blech. Definitely miss the old passholder lounge
     
  15. Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina

    Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina DIS Veteran

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    We all get to know each other so well on these threads, we really are like a bunch of old friends :goodvibes. I've met so many wonderful people thanks to the Dis!

    SO MUCH FOOD!!!! :crazy2: Seriously, I need to consider ordering kids meals when we eat at Voyagers ::yes::.

    I did find it amusing how often we crossed paths over the balance of the day. Especially when the park was so busy! What were the chances?

    We had a TON of people comment and compliment us on our costumes :goodvibes. We lost count of how many SW team members stopped to compliment us....many of them especially loved the mask glasses :cool2:. And dozens of families pointed as we walked by with an "Oh look! It's Mr & Mrs Incredible!".

    Because it was a Spooktacular event day, there were lots of people dressed up in the park. Definitely more kids than adults, but we certainly weren't the only grown ups who decided to get in the Halloween spirit. We saw one young couple dressed as King Tut and Cleopatra that looked INCREDIBLE!!! As good as some of the fancy costumes that we customarily see at MNSSHP!

    I think it was only open a year, at most. It was to the left of the Banana Beach Buffet, between the restaurant and Ray Rush. We never saw anyone there on our previous visits, so I guess it wasn't very popular with guests :confused:.
     
  16. Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina

    Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina DIS Veteran

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    We loved the old room with all the windows. Do you find the new lounge kind of dark too?
     
  17. Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina

    Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina DIS Veteran

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    Sunday, October 28th: SeaWorld, continued

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    We headed over to the meeting place for our Sea Lion Tour: just to the side of the small building that sells the small trays of fish for $5.

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    A few other families had already arrived, and the SeaWorld Animal Education Ambassador was taking tickets and checking everyone in. This tour would feature a slightly larger group of participants as compared to our Animal Ambassadors tour: pretty sure we had a full dozen people.

    Once everyone was present and accounted for, our Ambassador took us into one of the restricted entry areas to the rear of Pacific Point Preserve: off limits to general guests, this area is only accessible to animal care staff and tours. It was a much different perspective on this area of the park than we are normally used to seeing.

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    There was a covered area here where we had the chance to get out of the blinding sun for a bit (very much appreciated.....it was SUCH a bright day!) while the Ambassador gave us a history of Pacific Point Preserve and a little backstory on the current group of seals and sea lions that call the exhibit home. We learned the difference between seals and sea lions, we heard about some of their unique behaviors and abilities, and how SeaWorld works to recreate an environment that mimics how they would live in the wild. Several of the children who were part of the tour had some great questions for the Ambassador and she was able to confidently answer each of them.

    Our Ambassador pointed out that several of the seals and sea lions birthed calves earlier in the year, and those babies now enjoyed soaking up all that marvelous sunshine with their mommas on the rocks. So cute!

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    They remind me of how Violet and Dash snooze in the warm sunbeams :goodvibes.

    Once we had wrapped up the information portion of the tour, our group headed to Sea Lion & Otter Stadium for a much-anticipated meet and greet with one of the stars of Sea Lion High.

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    We all picked a spot to sit on the lower bleachers, and once we were all comfy......this handsome guy made his grand entry:

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    This is Gunner, and he is so much bigger up close than he seems when you are watching the show!

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    And not only is he good looking and strong, he's also unbelievably smart. His handler was happy to show us all the cool things he could do......and the entire group was instantly charmed :love:.

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    You know what really struck me about Gunner and his trainer? There was LOVE in the way they interacted: true, perfect, beautiful love. It didn't matter that one was human and the other was not. It was unbelievably heartwarming to watch :goodvibes.

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    After we learned all about our new friend Gunner, each family had the opportunity to come up to the side of the tank and have their photos taken with the handsome devil. A Photokey photographer was there to capture professional photos, but our tour guide also took pictures of each group with their individual cameras or phones.

    Mr Gunner was quite intent on checking me our for the first little while, despite the coaxing of his trainer to look at the camera :laughing:.

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    I could see him watching me out the corner of my eye, and I wondered what it was he was looking at......did he think I had a big nose? :scratchin

    But, the trainer's patience and coaxing paid off....and we got a perfect shot :goodvibes.

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    Such a cool experience!!! Seriously so awesome!!

    Once each family had an opportunity for a photo op with Gunner, it was sadly time to bid our new friend adieu. He was a busy guy, after all....with so many adoring fans, his shows must go on! ;)

    We all trooped back up the hill to Pacific Point Preserve, where another Animal Care staffer was waiting for us with a whole cart full of stainless steel buckets.

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    Each participant was given a full bucket of fish to feed to the seals and sea lions in Pacific Point Preserve. After an explanation of what was in the bucket (two different sizes and types of fish) and what they provide for the animals nutritionally (the tiny ones just for hydration, the larger ones actually for sustenance), we were given final instructions on the feeding do's and don'ts before being given the go-ahead to select a bucket and start tossing!

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    Yeah, this was going to be fun! :teeth:

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    Those adorable little faces knew exactly what the smiley humans were here for. All of a sudden, there was a sea lion surge in our general direction :rotfl:.

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    I could have happily stayed right in that spot, all day long, tossing those wet and squishy fish to those sweet little faces. I even stopped noticing how LOUD they were! :rotfl2:

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    There were a ton of fish in that bucket, though, so the fun lasted a lot longer than I had expected it to :thumbsup2.

    Once our buckets were emptied, we returned them to the cart and washed the fish residue from our hands. We collected our belongings and stopped to thank our tour guide for an absolutely wonderful experience. Sea Lions Up Close Tour for the win! :cheer2:

    With both our tours and our Dismeet behind us, we had one major to-do on the day's itinerary......and that would be the Spooktacular Events! Trick or treating through the park? Why yes, that sounds delightful :teeth:. Growing old is mandatory, growing UP is optional ;).

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    And we still had our Quick Queue passes for Infinity Falls!! :cool1:

    Pitter patter, let's get at 'er....the clock was ticking and we still had much to do!

    More SeaWorld coming up next.
     
  18. Mrs Doubtfire

    Mrs Doubtfire DIS Veteran

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    What a great tour. I love the pictures of you both with gunner.
    I may not be around as much, as we fly out tomorrow and I've still got to go to work today and pack!
     
  19. halfpintpeggy

    halfpintpeggy DIS Veteran

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    The sea lions are gorgeous!!! Oh....not sure if I would have wanted to leave them lol. Love the pic when Gunner is staring at you - amazing! Were you wearing earrings? Or maybe you reminded him of an old friend!:flower:
     
  20. Joanna71985

    Joanna71985 <marquee><font color=green>Characters are my frien

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    I love Gunner! He's one of my favorite sea lions at SLH (and I actually had him the last time I did the tour)

    Yes!! Very much so (and I especially miss the old porch area)
     
  21. afan

    afan DIS Veteran

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    I really need to go to a Sea World whether it's Orlando or San Diego. So much fun with the tours.
     

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