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

Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina

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



Following Journey to Atlantis, we decided to meander over to Shark Encounter: Steve could use an opportunity to air dry in the warm Florida sun, and I wanted to see if magic photos were being taken inside the exhibit. We had missed them on our visit to the park the Sunday prior (there was no staff there on either time we passed through Sharks) and they've always been a must-do on each trip.



Heading inside the attraction, we were happy to see that a photographer was there and eager to start snapping some pics. A slow park day must seem SOOOO long to those who work in positions that involve guest care and not animal care :faint:.

I just realized now that you can see how wet Steve still was :rotfl:. Atlantis can really give you a good soaking sometimes!!



The magic shots are all taken on a green screen, so if you're planning on taking advantage of these be sure you don't wear a green shirt on the day you visit.....otherwise, you'll end up being a floating head (we are speaking from experience on that one!! :rolleyes1).



They poses are all a bit corny... but yet, they're fun. And they are tradition :goodvibes. So we do them every. Single. Time.





Our photographer was lighthearted and entertaining, so all in all, it was a painless little stop. Getting the pictures on our Photokey......not so painless :headache:. We were sent back and forth between the Shark Encounter photo kiosk and the Mako photo kiosk a full THREE times before my patience finally ran out. While we eventually got each of the photos loaded onto our Photokey, I was feeling like I needed a good stiff drink (or a primal scream!!!) by the time it was achieved.



Shark Encounter is a long-time favorite SeaWorld attraction for us, so we also enjoyed a leisurely tour through the exhibit. They are mesmerizing, captivating, amazing creatures :fish:.



With virtually no one else around, we also had a little fun with some of the interactive displays. Say cheese! :teeth:



Once we had finished up at Sharks, we made our way past Infinity Falls (we'd be back to that ride later, when we were ready to get drenched:umbrella: ..... I didn't want to look like a drowned rat in our walrus tour photos) and stopped to appreciate some of the beautiful landscape. This park never ceases to wow me :goodvibes. So incredibly pretty!



While most of the kids area was closed for construction (Sesame Street Land opens next month!! :banana: So exciting!), my keen eye noted that the Sea Carousel was still in operation. I couldn't help myself.....I was just DRAWN to it! It's like my legs were in charge and there was no stopping them :laughing:.



There was not a single soul around, save for the ride operators. I'm pretty sure we were the only people in the park who knew this ride was still open.



We ended up enjoying a private ride :love:. Well, I enjoyed it :rolleyes1 .... Steve "tolerated" it :lmao:. Ladies and gentlemen, this is how you know someone really and truly loves you.



Who needs Mako or Manta when you can ride THIS?!?!? ;)



Stay tuned for more......:surfweb:
 

Mrs Doubtfire

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 27, 2006
Great post Gina. I totally agree with you on the carousel ride, they’re my kind of rides too
Although an empty park is great it always makes me wonder how they survive, it’s such a shame as SW is one of my favourites.

Hope you are both doing ok x
 

Pumpkin1172

DIS Veteran
Joined
Sep 14, 2016
It's great your posting again. I just love reading your trip reports! Those t-shirts :love: :rotfl: I just love them. I don't know if we did a trip, if my other half would want to wear matching shirts. But then again...maybe he would :rolleyes1 If we ever get to Orlando...I will be trying to see if anyone would be good sports and do it for me. Can't wait to hear more.

Your next trip must be coming fast and furiously if I remember right. What is your countdown for the next one?
 
  • Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 12, 2008
    Great post Gina. I totally agree with you on the carousel ride, they’re my kind of rides too
    Although an empty park is great it always makes me wonder how they survive, it’s such a shame as SW is one of my favourites.

    Hope you are both doing ok x
    Seaworld was super busy on the weekend (their Spooktacular event was PACKED) so I think we just got lucky on the extra quiet Thursday. It was that sweet spot after the Halloween festivities ended and before the Christmas celebrations began. Locals were at work, kids were in school, and we reaped the benefits. I honestly think SeaWorld is doing much better these days than they have in the past few years, based on the various reports I have read. I sure hope that's true, too, because I seriously LOVE that park!

    We are both doing okay, thank you for asking. Crazy busy trying to catch up at work (those missed days are painful to have to catch up on) but its been a good diversion. Grief is a process, for sure.
    It's great your posting again. I just love reading your trip reports! Those t-shirts :love: :rotfl: I just love them. I don't know if we did a trip, if my other half would want to wear matching shirts. But then again...maybe he would :rolleyes1 If we ever get to Orlando...I will be trying to see if anyone would be good sports and do it for me. Can't wait to hear more.

    Your next trip must be coming fast and furiously if I remember right. What is your countdown for the next one?
    Those shirts got SO much attention!! While we had originally intended to wear them on Halloween (before we knew we would be at Discovery Cove that day), I think they still seemed appropriate for our Seaworld day.

    Matching shirts have definitely become our "thing" :o. For our upcoming trip, I literally have matching shirts ready to go for almost every single day (I think I have one non-matching day on the itinerary.....and if I can refocus again on the details, I might be able to make it a clean sweep before May arrives). Some of the designs we have for this upcoming vacation are so much fun! Etsy crafters are so amazing! ::yes::

    Our countdown currently sits at 45 days......OMG! Six weeks from Saturday! I am SO not ready :crazy2:.

    So glad to see an update. Gotta love the penguins!
    As my momma would say......"It's about damn time" :rotfl:.

    It's good to be back :goodvibes.
     
  • starrzone

    <font color=purple>Quirky with snack cakes<br><fon
    Joined
    Mar 27, 2006
    ~Hugs~ to you and your family as you deal with your loss, Gina. I just wanted to let you know that your trip reports (both this one and your previous ones) are a great comfort to me when I'm having a bad day or when I want to do a bit of dreaming about a future Orlando vacation. Your reports are full of fun, laughter and happiness...not to mention yummy food pics through which I drool vicariously! I hope this trip coming up will be a time of relaxation and happy memories :goodvibes
     

    Mrs Doubtfire

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 27, 2006
    Gina I'm not on social media and others may know where you are at. But just wanted to say I keep thinking about you both and checking in on the Dis to make sure I haven't missed you :goodvibes
     

    Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 12, 2008
    Gina I'm not on social media and others may know where you are at. But just wanted to say I keep thinking about you both and checking in on the Dis to make sure I haven't missed you :goodvibes
    ~Hugs~ to you and your family as you deal with your loss, Gina. I just wanted to let you know that your trip reports (both this one and your previous ones) are a great comfort to me when I'm having a bad day or when I want to do a bit of dreaming about a future Orlando vacation. Your reports are full of fun, laughter and happiness...not to mention yummy food pics through which I drool vicariously! I hope this trip coming up will be a time of relaxation and happy memories :goodvibes
    :wave2: Hi everyone!

    Thank you so much for your messages. I am very sorry that I've been missing for so long. Time has definitely got away from me over the last several weeks.

    I'll be 100% honest.....we're still feeling kind of blah following the death of Steve's dad. Grief is a process, and we're both definitely still working our way through it. 3 of his siblings have been really struggling emotionally, so we've spent quite a bit of our leisure time trying to support them in whatever way we can while still being so far away. There have been a lot of phone calls, Facebook conversations, and text messages as everyone tries to make sense of it all. It's been emotionally exhausting and it translates into a very physical weariness as well.

    In the midst of it all, we've been pretty busy both personally and professionally as well. We squeezed in a couple of days in Toronto with Jake in late March to catch the Blue Jays home opener. After such a horrible start to the month, it was absolutely wonderful to indulge in two days of fun and leisure with our boy.



    Our Jays ending up dropping the game to the Tigers (I'm afraid we will be saying that a LOT this year :rolleyes1 ... they are definitely in a "rebuilding" phase) but otherwise, we had a ton of fun. And there's nothing like a few days in the big city to make me appreciate home.



    We've also been kept hopping with some pretty major renos here at the house. We have completely reimagined our outdoor space at the back of our home, removing an old Florida room and building a custom gazebo. We've installed a new hot tub, replaced our existing solid panel steel door with a new door with half glass (so we can see outside from our living and dining rooms), and re-done all the exterior lighting. We've extended our wrought iron fence, re-done all of the backyard gardens, removed three trees and one shrub so far, and replanted an assortment of fresh new trees and bushes. We've put down more than 30 bags of mulch so far and we're still not done.....Mother Nature seems to throw us from spring to summer to winter and back on a maddeningly frequent basis, so we're forced to make hay while the sun shines and wait it out when it's miserable. There's some pretty good progress now visible, though......here's a good shot of the "before":



    ....and this is what it looks like now (well, as of a week or so ago.....we've done a few more things since then:



    The hot tub has been a wonderful place to relax and wind down when we've been so stressed. It couldn't have come at a more ideal time.



    On top of all the reno chaos, Steve has been feeling a bit crummy (we chocked it up to stress) but we made a point of seeing our doctor for our annual physicals. We just found out late last week that he is severely diabetic, so now he's began a round of medications and is having to make some sweeping lifestyle changes: no more sugar, carbs, or high-fat foods. More exercise. And he must lose weight.

    And of course, we leave for our trip in just 3 short weeks :headache: :crazy2:.

    Dining on this vacation is going to be a real challenge. I am trying not to get overwhelmed by it all. I am running on the hope that most restaurants will have some sort of accommodations for those with special dietary needs. I'm hoping he can swap out things like potatoes and french fries for vegetables and salads without a whole lot of difficulty. I plan to adjust my own eating habits as much as possible too (I think that kind of support will be so helpful for him) so I'm doubtful that much-anticipated places like Toothsome and Voodoo Donuts will end up being locations that we visit on this trip :sad:. But.....his health is WAY more important than any milkshake or donut.

    But I'm going to miss our daily Butterbeer :sad1: . Not gonna lie.

    However, I have been able to continue to chip away at our trip plans and I think I have most things in order. We are excited to get back to Universal for the first time in more than a year, especially with our Premier AP's that will give us Express Pass after 4 pm. We are able to squeeze in a partial day at SeaWorld with our current AP's, so we'll be able to visit Sesame Street Land for the first time and take in the Seven Seas Food Festival for the first time (hopefully we can find a few foods that Steve can eat on their event menu!!). We have Blue Man Group booked, we will be doing the Marvel character dinner and Universal character breakfast, we are doing Capone's Dinner & Show once again, and we just bought tickets to the Disney After Hours event at MK on the Thursday night of our trip......a late-stage splurge that we are both super excited about.

    I know I am woefully behind on this trip report, and I still vow to finish. Probably the last trip report I will attempt, unless I'm able to switch jobs to something that takes up a little less of my time (always a hope, but right now I don't have any other hot prospects). I do want to thank each of you are still here, even when I haven't been.....you guys are such great friends. I definitely owe you a proper conclusion.....and besides, there are two more Dismeets from the fall trip that would be so wrong not to share!

     
  • bankr63

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 3, 2010
    Hi Gina,

    So nice to hear from you again! We are all wishing you and Steve a wonderful trip.

    I know how adventuresome both of you are, so don't worry too much about a T2D diagnosis. My DS was diagnosed T1D at 16, and if there is one thing we have learned it is that we shouldn't view it as a limitation but rather as the opening of a door into all kinds of new opportunities. Please don't lament what is lost but rather look at it as an opening of a door into all kinds of new and tasty culinary opportunities.

    DS now has a girlfriend who is a vegetarian and lactose intolerant (he is Celiac and T1D). You would think this is a challenge, but it is more of an adventure in finding things that can satisfy all of the requirements while maintaining our standard of tasty and memorable meals. Thank God that no one in our family has been diagnosed as allergic or sensitive to Hot Stuff, or we would be lost; capsaicin is the saving grace in our family since we all agree on heat as one of the great flavours. I know it won't work for you personally but I'm sure that you can still find something that both of you can zone in on that meets your happy spot gastronomically while meeting the needs for a "sensible diet".

    I know you are now at about 3 weeks from departure. I hope you both have a healthy and restful getaway from stresses of life. A bit of downtime can go a long way toward regenerating your batteries and preparing you for another dose of real life.

    Love to you both; take care of yourselves and enjoy the relief of another getaway to your happy place!
     

    Mrs Doubtfire

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 27, 2006
    Gina your life certainly never seems to slow down and throws you your fair share of punches along the way for sure. You both definitely deserve a wonderful holiday and a big Disboards hug.

    The back of the house looks great and I bet the hot tub has been on overdrive! Hope Steve adjusts to his new diet and feels the benefits soon, it will be hard on holiday but you'll have to make him drive past that 'hot donuts' sign :goodvibes
     

    I-4Bound

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jun 26, 2011
    I'm sorry to hear that y'all have been going through so much, particularly with Steve's diagnosis. Hopefully, he can get on a treatment regimen that will help him to feel much better. I know you will still have a wonderful trip, even if you have to forego doughnuts! We saw the Blue Man Group last month, and we really enjoyed it. It's all thanks to you and your tip on those cheap tickets. I have been thinking of you all and praying for peace and comfort. Your backyard looks amazing!
     

    JaxDad

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 23, 2014
    Hi Gina! I’m so sorry you all have been through so much lately. I agree with @bankr63 that Steve’s diagnosis may end up being less of a burden and more of a lifestyle change that leads to both a healthier and a happier future for you guys. And selfishly, I’m so glad to have you back on the DIS. I really missed your posts. I hope we can have another DISmeet soon!
     

    Joanna71985

    <marquee><font color=green>Characters are my frien
    Joined
    Feb 28, 2005
    Wow, the renovations look great! Here's hoping I'll still be able to run into you whenever you're in FL :)

    (you will love Sesame Street, just saying. It is adorable!)
     

    Pumpkin1172

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 14, 2016
    Grief is a very difficult and personal thing to have to swim through. Been there...still struggle with it - Especially when the death was so unexpected. I can relate on many levels of it. I'm sending many thoughts and prayers to both you and Steve and your family.

    The renovations look amazing!!! Seeing your hot tub...makes me want another one. Our current home came with one, but sadly it died and we couldn't afford to replace it. All three kids learned to swim in it lol. And we still talk about our evenings spent in it.

    I'm glad Steve found out about his condition now - instead of later down the road where more complications could happen. We have several diabetics in our family, and yes, it can be challenging at times, but I know many eating facilities cater more and more to dietary restrictions now than they ever have. I hope this new venture for you two is an easy one.

    I can't wait to hear more of our trip...and if you don't get around to posting before your next trip...have a GREAT time!!!! Enjoy your time away and relax and just spend time with each other. Some Florida sun may be just what the Dr prescribed for you two!
     

    Inhislove

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Nov 9, 2013
    Gina, I was so thankful to find another trip report from you- I’ve missed being on disboards! Baby #5 keeps me hopping.

    Your renovations look amazing! I’m incredibly impressed with your efficiency and hope you all enjoy the results.

    I’m just catching up with your difficult news. Much love from Florida. My heart hurts for you both. When my husband’s parents died within 3 weeks of one another in 2014, we both experienced grief in the form of physical symptoms. After my grandmother (only 44 years older than me and like a second mom) died suddenly in 2015, I participated in a faith-based program called Griefshare that was very helpful for me.

    I pray all the love from friends and family near and far carries you. Y’all are sunshine on the internet! ❤Hugs❤
     

    Penguinempress

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    May 11, 2015
    Great to see an update from you Gina! Your renovations look amazing, wow! Nice that you'll be able to really enjoy your yard & hot tub now. I'm sorry to hear about Steve's health, especially at a time when he's already dealing with the grief and stress of losing his dad. I'm sure making these big changes will be challenging but once he starts to feel the result of those changes, I hope it will be easier.

    I just came back from a trip that included After Hours (at MK and Hollywood Studios). I absolutely loved it - so much fun to do all the rides with no real lines and the park was so enjoyable without the crowds. It lets you slow down and enjoy all the details - I'm sure you'll have a great time! Also, after reading about it in so many of your trip reports, we finally tried Sweet Tomatoes on this trip - it was great! Delicious, fresh & healthy (well, except for all the soft serve I had...but hey, it's vacation!)
     

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