Trip Reports for SW, DC and Aquatica

Discussion in 'Sea World / Discovery Cove' started by jennasmommyinMS, Mar 15, 2016.

  1. jennasmommyinMS

    jennasmommyinMS Mouseketeer

    Sep 9, 2006
    How will this work? Our upcoming trip is in May, and while we'll visit Epcot for one day and do some other things on another day, the majority of our time will be spent at SW, DC, and Aquatica. Do I post my trip report elsewhere and post a link here? Also, where would be the best place to post my trip report?
  2. macraven

    macraven Proud Redhead Moderator

    Apr 21, 2003
    Many vacations have side trips
    You are very welcome to put your trip here and at the Disney trip reports if you choose to

    I see combined trip reports that include Disney and universal in the UO trip reports frequently when it is an account of a family vacation.

    It is enjoyable to read trip reports and learn things that can entice us to visit the park/ sites that others have.

    Since the majority of your trip will be sw, dc, and aquatica, place your trippie in the trip sticky in this forum

    Share your entire trip with us
    We would love anything you want to share with us!
    A day at Epcot and a few other side adventures would be delightful to read along with the fun of your total report
    jennasmommyinMS likes this.
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  4. keishashadow

    keishashadow Proud Redhead...yes, I have some bananas!

    Dec 30, 2004
    Some DISers are more prolific than others as to TR, pre-TRs, not sure how they find the time but many can be very interesting reads. Nice to see things one loves thru a fresh set of eyes.
    schumigirl likes this.
  5. Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina

    Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina DIS Veteran

    Sep 12, 2008
    I have a trip report currently in progress which features both SeaWorld and Aquatica. If anyone wants to check it out, you can find it here:

    By the time it is complete, it will feature reviews and LOTS of pictures of:

    - two days at SeaWorld
    - one day at Aquatica
    - a Roa's Island cabana rental (Aquatica)
    - Quick Queue (once at Aquatica, once at SeaWorld)
    - Dine with Shamu
    - the SW all day dining plan
    - the SW Behind the Scenes tour
    - Pearl Factory (pick a pearl) at SeaWorld

    Feel free to join in if you are interested :).
    macraven and jennasmommyinMS like this.
  6. andyw715

    andyw715 Mouseketeer

    Oct 27, 2016
    My trip report. (I'll post some pics later, we just got home late last night).

    This is our Dolphin 2016 Week.
    My daughters (10 and 8) love dolphins, so much that they listed seeing Winter and Hope and swimming with dolphins ahead of a Disney trip.
    (We went to WDW last year for a week, Oct 31-Nov 7)

    Preface: we had planned on taking a year off of a large vacation, but remembered that we are headed to Austin TX next summer to visit my sister, so moved the trip to this year. We also had 2 other itineraries (Outer Banks, Dollywood), but the girls voted on Dolphin Week.

    Nov 19 depart - drive from NC to Clearwater FL.
    Arrived late at Homewood Suites - nice hotel, but a bit dated. 1 bedroom suite with largish kitchen/eating area.

    Sunday we checked out The Dali, a Salvador Dali musuem in St. Petersburg. Very nice and interactive. Walked around the waterfront. Had dinner with friends.

    Monday went to Clearwater Marine Aquarium to visit Winter and Hope. The first stop was the movie museum where the sets of the movies are on display and other interactive areas. Nice place that is included in the cost of the ticket. They offer shuttle or water taxi to the Marine Aquarium. We had lunch on Clearwater Beach (Frenchy's) then went to the Aquarium. It was packed and not as big as I imagined. But we did see all of the exhibits and learned a lot about the dolphins and other sea creatures.

    Tuesday we went Madeira Beach and took a Pirate Ship cruise, very family friendly...the kids had a blast. Then headed north to Tarpon Springs and checked out the Sponge Docks.

    Headed to Orlando on Tues evening.
    Checked into Holiday Inn Suites Resort - Waterpark. See this thread for my little review.

    On Wed we went to SeaWorld. Used our BOGO All Day Eating pass. I really think SeaWorld Group needs to up their game with the food, it is "ok" at best, it would be a disappointment if the BOGO wasn't offered.
    We did the 4 shows and enjoyed Journey to Atlantis and the walk through of Antarctica.

    The last time we were here was 5 years ago, so it was pretty much new to the girls. One thing that struck me was the shows didn't seem to change much from 5 years ago (esp the Pets Ahoy! show). Clyde and Seymore was updated (as High School). It is still an enjoyable trip though. And I really like how SW does the Christmas decorations.

    Thanksgiving, we stayed at the hotel and did the pool and water slides. Pizza dinner at Blaze @ Disney Springs...walked around there and watch the drone light show.

    Friday was our Discovery Cove day, with dolphin swim. Girls had grins from ear to ear the entire day!
    It was really cool. Again I'll harp on the food, it was ok, but could definitely be better.
    We got back to the hotel and watched a movie at the pool, a nice end to a great day.

    Saturday, back to SW. This time early in the morning to catch a short line for Antarctica. The ride is "ok", I'd hate to wait for more than 10 min for it though. The penguin viewing area is where its at. If I had to wait I would forgo the ride and just view the penguins.
    As always the Christmas shows at SW are outstanding. We made a mad dash to see all but Elmo.

    Tip: Go to the last Christmas version of One Ocean (if that is your cup of tea). You won't have trouble finding low center seats.
    You can walk through the Christmas Market and met Rudolph, time it just right and walk behind the Ice Show while making your way to Shamu Theater.

    The Winter Wonderland On Ice show was great, and even better with the Sea of Trees behind.

    Sunday morning, headed back home :(

    2 gripes with SW (isn't there always something)
    1- the kids play area, it would be nice if that was fenced in a bit. Sure its up to you to keep an eye out, but there are a lot of people.
    2- carnival-midway games. These seem to cheapen the experience. At least make them part of admission and just let the kids play.

    ETA: link to Holiday Inn Resort review
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2016
    macraven likes this.
  7. kace08

    kace08 Mouseketeer

    Jan 8, 2016
    I noticed that SW offers special seating for various christmas shows at a price. Do you think it would be a worthwhile purchase for Thanksgiving Weekend?
  8. andyw715

    andyw715 Mouseketeer

    Oct 27, 2016
    Well here are my thoughts on the reserved seating.
    We had it for the regular shows as it came with the reservation at Holiday Inn Resort (signature show seating for official and partner hotels) and it was nice.
    We got to One Ocean about 10 min before start time and got center seats above the soak zone (10 or 15 min earlier and it could have been soak zone seating) same thing for Blue Horizon. The first time we saw Pets Ahoy we forgot and sat toward the back....the second time was center about 10 rows up.

    Now for the Christmas ones, since the show times are very close, it might be beneficial for at least Winter Wonderland On Ice.

    Here was our show itinerary. Saturday the 26th

    O Wondrous Night - 530 - we got there late - actually they were announcing that there might not be seats. Well we got in and ended up sitting stage right second row from the top. My youngest was confused why we couldn't use the hotel special seating. So she went up to the usher about 10 min before show time and asked if we could move down. They said once it starts you could. It wasn't looking good by showtime so my wife and girls went down and got seats, but the lights went out before I could see them, so I sat alone. My seats were ok, the stage is curved so somethings aren't always biggie. I think if you got there 15 min early, then center middle or even back are ok seats.

    We then booked it to Winter Wonderland On Ice - 645 - again my daughter tried the special hotel seating to no avail. We ended up in the upper deck just left of center. They were ok seats. I would recommend the preferred seating for this one.

    Ice show ended with 15 min to spare to head over to Clyde and Seamore Countdown to Christmas. We got there just as the main show started. I'm not sure if the pre-show mime or elf was there or not. But the mime is funny for the regular show, which is why I like to get there 20 min early. There were plenty of seats. It was about 1/3 full. We sat center, just above the splash zone.

    From there we caught the Waterfront Snow Flurries, Rudolph and Friends, and the Christmas Village stuff. We weren't planning on Shamu Christmas Miracle because we thought the girls would be pooped being there all day. They persevered though, on to Shamu Stadium.

    Shamu Christmas Miracles - 930 - we got there 20 min before show time. Sat just left of center at the top of the soak zone, stadium was about 1/2 full at show time. Christmas song sing along. About 10 minutes before showtime a sax soloist came out and played 5 or 6 songs....really impressive. Funny thing is One Ocean isn't my favorite show I like Blue Horizon better, but this show with the lights was really really good.

    Sea Of Trees - 955 - left Shamu Stadium and took a left onto the wooden bridge walkway at the start of the Sea Of Trees show. Very impressive, about 3 million lights. The trees also play a part in Winter Wonderland On Ice backdrop.

    So to answer your question. I would recommend it if you are planning on trying to see all of the shows in one night, especially for Winter Wonderland and maybe O Wondrous Night. The other alternative is to try the later shows such as Shamu Christmas Miracles where the seating was plenty. YMMV.

    macraven and kace08 like this.
  9. macraven

    macraven Proud Redhead Moderator

    Apr 21, 2003
    Just a gentle bump up

    Hope others will post a trip report

    When you share your experiences, we all learn something new we might have missed on our trips
  10. macraven

    macraven Proud Redhead Moderator

    Apr 21, 2003
    Bumping again ...

    If you have a trip report, we would love for you to share it with us here!

    I know we can count on Gina to do a report for us once she is settled back home
    Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina likes this.

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