Last week, I set out on my first-ever vacation with my daughter…and no husband. I received media passes to visit SeaWorld, Orlando and my husband, having just started a new job, was unable to make the weekday trip with us.
I was a little nervous about making the drive and handling two rambunctious kids – aged 13 and 11 – all by my lonesome. This was also the first time I’ve taken my daughter to a theme park since she became a teenager, and I was really excited and anxious to see how she reacted to her favorite theme parks now that she wasn’t a “kid” anymore.
The drive to Orlando was without incident. The girls giggled and busied themselves in the backseat – and then they wore themselves out and passed out as we neared Orlando.
I couldn’t even make this stuff up if I tried. They literally collapsed on top of one another for about 30 minutes. It was hilarious!
When we arrived Tuesday evening, we went to Medieval Times – I blogged about that experience the other day. Wednesday morning, we woke up early, grabbed some muffins and danishes from the hotel breakfast bar and headed to SeaWorld. We got really excited as we stood in line to get our tickets…
Once we were in the park, I quickly realized that my teenage daughter was not too old to get excited about a theme park after all! She grabbed her cousin, a map from the information center, and made a straight bee-line for their most anticipated ride, Manta. Now, I am not a roller-coaster rider…unfortunately, I get insanely motion sick when I ride rides – even the tea cups at the annual fair in Miami. So I sat that one out and the girls made their way through the crowd to the line. As we met up after they finished the ride, they were red-faced and practically jumping with joy. They LOVED it! It’s a face-down ride, with over 3300 feet of track – going almost 60 miles an hour…what’s not to love? They were thrilled!
It was so hot at SeaWorld that after the girls finished Manta, we headed directly to the Wild Arctic Ride in the Wild Arctic area of the park. I even went on the ride, seeing as how it’s just a simulated helicopter ride through the Arctic. It was really fun and being the total dork that I am, I started squealing whenever the helicopter almost fake-crashed.
After that ride, the park really began to fill up! Most of the rides had a long wait, and since the girls are both animal lovers, we decided to spend the rest of the day checking out all of the animal exhibits and watching shows.
I really enjoyed the cheesy Clyde and Seamore take Pirate Island show – it was about a pirate who crash lands on Pirate Island and tries to trick a marooned lady into helping him find the buried treasure. The story line was generic but it was completely adorable and family-friendly. I laughed my butt off! Each character has their own Sea Lion pal and they really make the show!
My favorite animal exhibit was the Stingray Lagoon – there were even baby Stingrays! The kids got a kick out of being able to pet the Stingrays as they swam by in their pool.
I loved that they had so many animals there – I also love animals and I get a kick out of seeing things I don’t get to see every day, like Polar Bears, Beluga Whales, Penguins, gigantic Walruses…It was truly amazing to stand in front of a live polar bear. The Wild Arctic was easily my second favorite area of SeaWorld! What was even more exciting was watching penguins swimming right in front of me!
We spent roughly five hours at SeaWorld that day, and headed back to our hotel exhausted by the sun and excited about everything we had seen! If you are visiting Orlando, you must add SeaWorld to you list of places to see and things to do. You won’t regret it! Regardless of age, they have exhibits and rides for all ages – from an 11 year old adventurer, a hard-to-please teenager, to an adult like me. We all had a blast!
*Thank you to SeaWorld for providing my daughter and I with media passes! All opinions are my own!