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

Monykalyn

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jun 11, 2014
And honestly.....the memories were worth it. Priceless! :goodvibes
Yes they are!! Great pics too!!

At times we thought he was as intrigued with US as we were with HIM :laughing:.
I don't doubt it! I never thought birds particularly smart or clever until we had our small backyard flock of chickens...now I want a translator device like Dug had on UP! for the hens...

There was literally not a cloud in the sky.
'That is definitely a marketing type photo-so absolutely perfect!

sometimes on a hammock. It's a tough life ;).
Oooh that makes me want to go to DC soooo bad!

Universal for the next 12+ month
YAY!!! Renewing at least mine and middle DD's passes as we are definitely doing HHN again this year!

My goal, if I can manage it, is to try the Mummy and Jurassic Park this trip......if I can summon the braver
Mummy is fun, short more typical "roller coaster" type experience. And JP was fun-really just the one bigger drop and definitely not worse than Splash Mtn.

(May 4th thru 11th?)
How is it may manage to miss you again???? DD applied for another summer alumni program but it starts May 21.
Hey they may come up with another offer that can't be passed up this year, too!
I hope that I am not too selfish in hoping that the new HP coaster at Uni and SW:GE makes this happen! AND that I can convince DH on another Christmas Florida trip...
 

pattyw

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 7, 2008
DD applied for another summer alumni program but it starts May 21.
We're in Orlando for Memorial weekend!! 5/23-5/28!

I hope that I am not too selfish in hoping that the new HP coaster at Uni and SW:GE makes this happen! AND that I can convince DH on another Christmas Florida trip...
Not selfish at all!! Just think of all the money you're saving with annual passes and discounts!:rolleyes1 Gina- you've taught us well!:thumbsup2
 

Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina

DIS Veteran
Joined
Sep 12, 2008
Unfortunately no. Madeline has a ballet recital on Mother's day so we can't go til after that. We'll just miss you May 15-21.
Well drat! :headache:

We have plenty of ibises where I live, and they aren't a nuisance at all. They might be at Discovery Cove, though, if they aren't full time residents! :rotfl2:

We have never done Discovery Cove. My daughter really wants to go but doesn't want to swim with dolphins...go figure!
If she doesn't want to do the dolphin swim, then the rates drop dramatically. That definitely will make it easier to work into the budget on a future trip ::yes:: (unless the rest of y'all want to do the dolphin swim....not everyone in your party has to partake in that particular activity).

I am surprised she's not inclined to spend time with the dolphins, though! :confused: I wasn't expecting that!

Yay for Universal!! :cheer2: And you never know about DC! Hey they may come up with another offer that can't be passed up this year, too!!:thumbsup2
We plan to make October a big HHN year (one night with an RIP tour with our admission ticket that's included with our Premier AP's, and then two other nights "freestyle" with the BOGO tickets that they are offering until June 5th and the Scareactor Dining) so I'm guessing it won't be in the budget for 2019. But then again, if my lottery win comes through as I'm hoping, I could possibly make adjustments to the plans :rolleyes: :teeth:.

Gina, we are going to Orlando for a quick four day trip due to some free airfare. Other than Sweet Tomatoes which my wife loves, what would you recommend for some good moderately priced restaurant? We are staying at Disney using DVC points but not going to Disney so lots of free time. We still have some Universal tickets and Disney water park tickets so that’s all we will be doing
So sorry its taken me so long to get back to you! I've been off the boards for a couple of weeks.

Some places that we love (that won't break the bank).......

Millers Ale House
Smokey Bones
Hash House A Go Go (sign up for their email club and get a buy one, get one free dinner)
Some chains (if you don't have them near your home): Olive Garden, Chili's, Steak 'n Shake, Longhorns Steakhouse, Cracker Barrel
Kobe's

When is your trip? Yay for free airfare!! :banana:

What a fantastically magical dose of Disney you had with Boma, Trails End, and Sleepy Hollow! I would love be to try all of those things one day. How early do they start Sleepy Hollow in the “Halloween season”? I actually have a solo trip scheduled for Labor Day week, but I think I will save Sleepy Hollow for when my DH can join me. Sounds more enjoyable to share the experience.

We also looooove Discovery Cove. We did the dolphin swim in Sept 2014 and celebrated my daughter’s 9th birthday there. She got to pull the birthday buoy from our dolphin’s mouth. Great memory! I was glad they did the complimentary photo that trip b/c we received a great family snapshot my daughter still has framed in her room on her nightstand. We returned for a resort only day in May 2016. Even though my heart belongs to Disney, our vacation days at DC are my absolute favorites. The limited number of people allowed in each day and the tropical setting with so many animals to enjoy makes it such a serene and peaceful day. I am sooooo glad you got to add that in for this trip. And I am with you.....we like the Grand Reef, but the warm waters of the oasis and wind-a-way river are our favorites so we spend most of our time there.

Thanks again for sharing so many details and wonderful photos!
If my memory serves me correctly, the Sleepy Hollow event was offered from late September through to Halloween. Not as early as MNSSHP, that I know for sure. I'm almost certain it was well after Labor Day......only because I remember waiting and waiting and waiting for guests from the first few nights to be able to post their experiences here on the Dis!

I'm so sorry I've been so incredibly lax on getting more updates posted lately. I promise I'll make it through this trip report eventually!!

Yes they are!! Great pics too!!

I don't doubt it! I never thought birds particularly smart or clever until we had our small backyard flock of chickens...now I want a translator device like Dug had on UP! for the hens...

'That is definitely a marketing type photo-so absolutely perfect!

Oooh that makes me want to go to DC soooo bad!

YAY!!! Renewing at least mine and middle DD's passes as we are definitely doing HHN again this year!

Mummy is fun, short more typical "roller coaster" type experience. And JP was fun-really just the one bigger drop and definitely not worse than Splash Mtn.

How is it may manage to miss you again???? DD applied for another summer alumni program but it starts May 21.
I hope that I am not too selfish in hoping that the new HP coaster at Uni and SW:GE makes this happen! AND that I can convince DH on another Christmas Florida trip...
I can't believe we are going to miss each other again by yet another scant couple of weeks!!! Our timing SUCKS! :sad:

Have you guys never done DC yet? Not ever?

We're in Orlando for Memorial weekend!! 5/23-5/28!

Not selfish at all!! Just think of all the money you're saving with annual passes and discounts!:rolleyes1 Gina- you've taught us well!:thumbsup2
Taught you well? Or aided in the corruption of the innocent? :rolleyes1 :rotfl:

Patty, I am not exaggerating when I say you and Joe are living my dream life!! So happy you guys are getting so many opportunities to spend time in the place you love!
 
  • Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 12, 2008
    Wednesday, October 31st: Discovery Cove, the conclusion



    Throughout the day, we popped into the Laguna Grill whenever we felt peckish. Breakfast runs from park open to 10:30, then lunch is offered from around 11 am to late afternoon. We tend not to eat huge amounts at any given time, preferring to snack on smaller portions more frequently.





    There are tons of choices, and the Grill staff are happy to mix things up upon request. You're welcome to ask for french fries with your jerk chicken instead of rice, or have a bun-less hamburger or extra saucy pasta.





    There are tons of healthy options in addition to more standard theme park fare, so its just as easy to enjoy a salad and wrap as it is a hot dog and fries.


    I do really like the way the staff prepare your plate for you versus a serve-yourself buffet. It just feels SO much cleaner than 3000 people grabbing onto the serving spoon and helping themselves.

    In addition to the great main courses from which you can choose, there are some pretty tasty sweet options as well:





    One of my favorite indulgences at DC, however, are the warm chocolate chip cookies that are offered at the snack huts throughout the park in the afternoon. I'm salivating just thinking about them!!! :love:



    They are served warm but not hot, just heated enough to make all those chocolate chips nice and ooey gooey and the cookies super soft.



    We would each pick up a carton of milk from the Laguna Grill and a package of cookies from the snack hut, then meander over to the Freshwater Oasis to enjoy our snack while sitting in the warm water on the sunken loungers.



    I think the only way you can make paradise even more amazing is to add warm chocolate chip cookies :laughing:.

    Once we finished up our sweet treat, we would take a swim around the Freshwater Oasis to enjoy all that section of the park has to offer.





    The center island in the Freshwater Oasis is the home to a family of marmoset monkeys.



    They are pretty tiny little creatures but they are big on cuteness!! Sometimes it takes a few minutes to locate where they're hanging out, but it's oh-so-worth-it!



    At one point in the day, on of our tours past the island, one of the animal care staff who just happened to be there tending to the monkeys offered to take my phone and grab a few close up shots for me. OMG, they came out so great!!





    And if the cuteness factor of those marmosets wasn't enough, the Asian otters who also call the Freshwater Oasis home were also tipping the adorable scale on that particular day. We spent gobs of time watching them play, sleep and fritter around......they remind me so much of little kittens!





    It's always a toss up as to which we enjoy more: the Wind Away River, or the Freshwater Oasis :confused3. It's like deciding which of your children is your favorite!!



    As always, we ended up staying all the way through until the park closed.....the day always passes quickly at DC. We picked up our photos from the photo kiosk, changed out of our wetsuits and back into our street clothes, and shuffled our waterlogged bodies back down that lush walkway right around 5:30 pm.



    Once again, it had been another picture-perfect, amazing day at Discovery Cove :cloud9:. We were so blessed!

    Back at the resort, we had planned on partaking in the Halloween parties hosted at the Vistana (one family-friendly version earlier in the evening and an adult-centered event later in the night), but the sunshine and waterplay had left us tired and ready for a relaxing night in the villa. We enjoyed a few drinks and hit the sack early......which was a good thing, really, since we had another big day planned for tomorrow. It was a second SeaWorld day...and we couldn't wait for round 2!



    SeaWorld is next!:fish:
     

    Joanna71985

    <marquee><font color=green>Characters are my frien
    Joined
    Feb 28, 2005
    Gah, the marmoset pictures are so cute!! I also loved watching the otters...even when they decided to put on a PG13 show :scared:
     

    PrincessP

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 6, 2008
    The DC desserts are making me hungry. Yum!

    I love the marmosets. We like to swim by to hang out and watch them as well. The animal caretaker got some fantastic photos for you! What a gift! Sooo cute.

    Love your SeaWorld witch and monster shirts. Steve is such a great sport. My hubby would do the same. My teens don’t want to do the matchy-matchy anymore, though. :confused3:rotfl2:
     
  • pattyw

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 7, 2008
    Taught you well? Or aided in the corruption of the innocent? :rolleyes1 :rotfl:

    Patty, I am not exaggerating when I say you and Joe are living my dream life!! So happy you guys are getting so many opportunities to spend time in the place you love!
    :laughing: We're far from innocent when it comes to vacation planning! You've just taught us to do it more economically!:thumbsup2

    We're so happy to be able to travel often! It's so hard to be away from Kyle! But the bonus of his attending school in Florida is that we get to visit him AND a wonderful warm place! :sunny:

    I think the only way you can make paradise even more amazing is to add warm chocolate chip cookies :laughing:.
    Now that's a quote to live by!:)

    Your spring trip will be here before you know it!::yes::
     

    Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 12, 2008
    Gah, the marmoset pictures are so cute!! I also loved watching the otters...even when they decided to put on a PG13 show :scared:
    OMG....awkward!!! :laughing:

    The DC desserts are making me hungry. Yum!

    I love the marmosets. We like to swim by to hang out and watch them as well. The animal caretaker got some fantastic photos for you! What a gift! Sooo cute.

    Love your SeaWorld witch and monster shirts. Steve is such a great sport. My hubby would do the same. My teens don’t want to do the matchy-matchy anymore, though. :confused3:rotfl2:
    Steve is an AMAZING sport when it comes to our vacation wardrobe ::yes::. We've got a few really fun ones for this May....we actually just worked with an Etsy crafter for the most AWESOME t's for the day we have our Despicable Me breakfast at the Royal Pacific. They are so fun!!

    DC is such a lovely day, and you certainly got perfect weather. Those chocolate chip cookies look delicious
    Oh, how I wish carrots tasted as good as those cookies!! If that were the case, I might actually be thin :rotfl2:.

    :laughing: We're far from innocent when it comes to vacation planning! You've just taught us to do it more economically!:thumbsup2

    We're so happy to be able to travel often! It's so hard to be away from Kyle! But the bonus of his attending school in Florida is that we get to visit him AND a wonderful warm place! :sunny:

    Now that's a quote to live by!:)

    Your spring trip will be here before you know it!::yes::
    Yes, it's coming up fairly quickly!! We have a lots of stuff going on in the coming weeks.....Jake visits us here in MI next weekend (for the Raptors vs. Pistons game at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit), we have a mini-getaway in Toronto at the end of March with him for the Blue Jay's opening day, we are in the midst of some more upgrades to the house (the contractors have been working here all day today.....its such a mess :crazy2: but progress is being made!) and as soon as the weather changes, we'll be starting all the annual spring clean up projects that we have been planning over the course of the winter. I have a feeling that May will roll around before we know it.
     

    Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 12, 2008
    Thursday, November 1st: SeaWorld, day 2



    We arrived at SeaWorld in time for park opening. We knew as soon as we pulled into the parking lot that we were in for a MUCH quieter day than we experienced on the weekend: the lot was crazy empty and there were almost no lines to enter. With it being a weekday in the off-season (meaning the locals were at work or in school) and the Spooktacular event having concluded, it was certain to be far less crowded. We were super excited to enjoy the park without crowds or lines.

    We stopped for Photokey pictures after breezing through security and ticketing. Love the Photokey AP!



    Once inside the park, we stopped at Guest Services and purchased tickets to the Walrus Up Close tour for later that afternoon. The tour was the November Passmember special offer, so this was the first day for the 30% off incentive.....at the deeply discounted price, we couldn't pass it up. The team member who assisted us had a bit of a hard time figuring out how to apply the discount (their computer system hadn't been updated to reflect the offer) but eventually he figured out a work-around with some assistance and we had passes in hand in short order :thumbsup2.

    It turned out that the brief delay in obtaining our tour tickets worked out in our favor, because as we were waiting at Guest Services, one of the SeaWorld characters appeared for a meet-and-greet at the giant SeaWorld sign :banana:. We managed to get photos with this very friendly shark with absolutely zero wait at all.



    This day was starting out pretty darn fabulously.

    While we had the all-day dining plan again this visit, neither one of us were really feeling like eating just yet. We decided to skip breakfast and grab an early lunch once hunger finally set in. For now, we opted for a ride on the SkyTower instead.





    While the SkyTower is an extra charge for day guests, admission is free for pass members.....another nice little perk of having annual passes.



    I'm also pretty sure that's a bit of an increase since our May visit. I'm certain it's gone from $2 per person to $5 :crazy2:.



    It was another glorious day: deliciously warm (but not hot), a light breeze, some clouds in the sky but the sunshine was there too. Once again, we had appeared to hit the weather jackpot :sunny:. We are always so grateful when Mother Nature smiles on our vacations.



    It was a marvelously peaceful twirl through the sky. We had the entire pod to ourselves, save for one other couple. It was a wonderful way to kick off our day in the park. And those views! :love:









    You can actually see how empty the park lot was from the top of this photo:



    What a difference a few days makes!

    The Waterfront is one of my favorite places in the park, so after we disembarked the SkyTower, we strolled around a bit and just soaked in the peaceful atmosphere and colorful sights. It's really, really hard not to be happy here :cloud9:.







    Since we hadn't taken time to visit Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin on our other SeaWorld day, we opted to head there next: if any attraction was going to have a line by later in the day, it was quite likely to be this one ::yes::. Popular with adults and children alike, it's family-friendly appeal always makes it a popular place.

    Our timing turned out to be absolutely impeccable, because as we meandered along the walkway toward that section of the park, we encountered one of my favorite impromptu SeaWorld sights:



    THE FLAMINGO PARADE! :cool1:



    They just strolled down the paved walkway like a cluster of runway models. There is something about flamingos that just oozes poise and class.....I think it's their amazing posture. Aside from the flamingos and their animal care ambassadors, we were literally some of the only other people in sight, which almost made it feel like this amazing little display was done just for us. Of course it wasn't, but how special to be right in the middle of that wonderful event!

    We literally stood and watched them until they were completely out of sight.



    Arriving at Antarctica, we were definitely in high spirits.



    I am always impressed by this area of the park. SeaWorld did a GREAT job bringing frosty Antarctica to Florida.



    It's always nice on no-crowd days to get these kind of photos. On busy days, you're hard pressed to not have some other guest standing against this showpiece.



    Posted waits were 5 minutes, but we were ushered inside almost immediately. We watched the pre-ride video, then we were on our way into the ride queue.....having never found any benefit to the "wild" version (the spinning does nothing to enhance the experience :confused3), we opted, as always, for the Mild side.



    I know there are tons of critics who have nothing positive to say about this attraction, but on the whole, we enjoy it quite a lot. It's not revolutionary but its fun: and that's enough for us :thumbsup2.





    Of course, they always leave the best for last: my favorite part is the Big Reveal, when the ride vehicle turns 180 degrees and the doors open up to the most wonderful sight of all:



    :love::love::love:

    It's crazy cold in this exhibit so we can never spend as much time there as we'd like to. Those penguins are so entertaining to watch. Whether they're doing their adorable little waddle across the rocks and snow or speeding like mini torpedos through the water, they just give your heart a big ol' squeeze.





    When we couldn't stand the frosty air any longer, we moved out to the underwater viewing area where the temperature is a bit more civil.





    Getting photos of them swimming that aren't blurry in that low light is almost an impossibility. They may have stout little bodies, but man....those little suckers can MOVE! :p





    More to come!
     

    I-4Bound

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jun 26, 2011
    We got to see the flamingo parade years ago when my hubby and I visited Sea World for the first time. It was a fun memory!
     
  • Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 12, 2008
    We got to see the flamingo parade years ago when my hubby and I visited Sea World for the first time. It was a fun memory!
    This was our second time getting lucky in being in the right place at the right time. I love those little unexpected surprises!

    That is amazing!! Would love to see it sometime! Is there a set time for it?

    :cold: even for us Northerners!!

    So glad we have annual passes this year so we can visit often!:thumbsup2
    I'm not sure if it's a scheduled event (or even a daily one :confused:). @chiamarie might be able to answer that question. We've been visiting SeaWorld quite regularly since 2012 and we've only been fortunate enough to catch it twice....in two totally different locations within the park.
     

    chiamarie

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 12, 2010
    This was our second time getting lucky in being in the right place at the right time. I love those little unexpected surprises!



    I'm not sure if it's a scheduled event (or even a daily one :confused:). @chiamarie might be able to answer that question. We've been visiting SeaWorld quite regularly since 2012 and we've only been fortunate enough to catch it twice....in two totally different locations within the park.
    As far as times for Flamingo Parades.... . Usually first thing in the morning and they enter/exit near at the Rescue Gate near dolphin cove. No idea if there's a specific path they take, but it's usually, definitely done before 11am (no matter what time the park opened...9 or 10) it's usually first thing in the morning.
     

    Callie

    Always Dreaming of Disney Magic
    Joined
    Mar 31, 2005
    I'd like to go to Discover Cove just for the food after that review!

    The penguins are always so cute as well.
     

    goofballs

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Sep 11, 2013
    I appreciate all of the details throughout your trip report. I have a few (or a lot of) of questions:

    1st a wetsuit question: did you and Steve wear the same bathing suits at DC under your wetsuits as at Aquatica?

    I’m just trying to imagine if it will be comfortable for my husband/boys tucking their 9” board shorts into the wetsuit.

    And my ‘regular’ suit is separates with a skort. I guess I will pick up a different bottom piece.

    2nd a snorkeling question: Do you know if the snorkels are the basic open-tubes? We have only used the ones with one-way valves so I am wondering if we should bring our own?

    3rd question on eyeware: are you allowed to wear glasses for the dolphin swim? Youngest son does not have the option of contacts and I would like him to be able to see during the experience!
     

    Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 12, 2008
    Oh it was! I had to go back and double-check all of the photos (plus the commentary from others was quite amusing)
    Hilarious!! :laughing:

    Those rascally little otters were just trying to make your visit "unforgettable" :p.

    As far as times for Flamingo Parades.... . Usually first thing in the morning and they enter/exit near at the Rescue Gate near dolphin cove. No idea if there's a specific path they take, but it's usually, definitely done before 11am (no matter what time the park opened...9 or 10) it's usually first thing in the morning.
    Thank you! For questions like these, I always prefer to ask the expert ;).

    I appreciate all of the details throughout your trip report. I have a few (or a lot of) of questions:

    1st a wetsuit question: did you and Steve wear the same bathing suits at DC under your wetsuits as at Aquatica?

    I’m just trying to imagine if it will be comfortable for my husband/boys tucking their 9” board shorts into the wetsuit.

    And my ‘regular’ suit is separates with a skort. I guess I will pick up a different bottom piece.

    **I wore a one-piece rather than my tankini. I prefer having as snug a suit as possible under the wet suit, rather than a tankini where the two pieces can separate (which would drive me bonkers :crazy2:). Steve wore the same or similar suit under his wet suit as he did at Aquatica.

    2nd a snorkeling question: Do you know if the snorkels are the basic open-tubes? We have only used the ones with one-way valves so I am wondering if we should bring our own?

    **Hmmm, we don't tend to use the snorkels, so I'm not sure. @pattyw , would you happen to know?

    3rd question on eyeware: are you allowed to wear glasses for the dolphin swim? Youngest son does not have the option of contacts and I would like him to be able to see during the experience!

    **Both prescription glasses and sunglasses are permitted during the dolphin swim :thumbsup2, as long as you keep them on your face (i.e, you can't have them up on the top of your head).
    See my responses above, in red. If there's anything else you are wondering about, don't hesitate to ask! :goodvibes
     

    pattyw

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 7, 2008
    2nd a snorkeling question: Do you know if the snorkels are the basic open-tubes? We have only used the ones with one-way valves so I am wondering if we should bring our own?

    **Hmmm, we don't tend to use the snorkels, so I'm not sure. @pattyw , would you happen to know?

    Joe and I aren't snorkelers, either. I would ask if they allow you to bring your own, though. They may be strict on what they allow in the pools.
     

    DontRushMe

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jun 16, 2010
    Just jumping in to add a bit of information. Yes the snorkels are open ones. But they do allow you to bring in your own if you have them, we saw a whole family with full face snorkels and boy did they look a lot easier to use. They said they purchased them at Walmart for $20 the day before.
    I wear glasses and tried last time to wear my glasses inside my mask to see and it was a big fail. This time we were sure to get there early to get one the limited prescription masks they have available and it was amazing! So if you have the chance to get there early, try that. I know they only have a few so if they are gone try back later in the afternoon and maybe someone will have retuned theirs. We were to sure to return them once we were done so someone else could have a turn, but don't know if that's the case with everyone.
     
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