Disney Day 4 – Sea World

On our fourth day in Orlando, Randi, Scott, and Julia, headed off to complete the quartet of Disney parks at Animal Kingdom. I didn’t really fancy a glorified zoo—especially without travelling companions that would be joining me on the couple of thrill rides that are there—so I convinced Mom and Lynn to spend the day with me at Sea World. (OK, ok, so Sea World is a glorified water zoo. Shut up.)

We took our time getting there in the morning, but it turned out that with only two or three rides in the park, lines really weren’t an issue. Over the course of the day, we saw tortoises, sting rays, sharks, manatees, dolphins, whales, an otter, a walrus, sea lions, penguins, puffins, clydesdales (huh?) and lots and lots of fishes.

We saw three shows:

  1. Blue Horizons Whale & Dolphin Show. This was a beautiful mix of human and animal artistry, sort of a bit of Cirque du Soleil meets Sea World. I hadn’t been expecting all of the (human) acrobatics, and while at times it seemed a bit over the top (leaps and flips by dolphins and whales are really just fine for my purposes), the whole thing was a pretty fantastic visual sight to behold.
  2. Clyde and Seamore Take Pirate Island. Clyde and Seamore are sea lions. This is the comedy show, and it was quite funny… but not always for the expected reasons. Clyde wasn’t exactly at the top of his game, and many of the lines (and even full scenes) had to be redone when he would swim away or wander out of sight while the trainer broke down in laughter at his inability to keep the show on track. Plus, there was a sneaky little otter and a great big walrus. Fun times.
  3. Believe. This is the famed Shamu show. Lots of killer whales swimming around, leaping out of the water, soaking the audience, and just showing off in general. Yet, somehow, after the first two shows, this show was somewhat disappointing. Perhaps it was because they seemed more interested in showing off their four-part big-ass movable video screen then in letting the orcas do their thing. Don’t get me wrong, Shamu and his mates are still stunning and pack quite the punch, but I did leave this one thinking, “is that all?”

Mom and I went on one ride.

  1. Journey to Atlantis. This is Sea World’s log flume, but it’s much more than just a log flume. It’s part (double) flume, part roller coaster, and part sadistic exercise in how to get people soaking wet when it’s barely 70 degrees outside. So you ride through some peaceful indoor rooms filled with glowing coral, and then you head up and around and plunge down in a normal flume. You get decently wet at the bottom. But then your boat leisurely turns the corner by the platform where non-riders are watching, and—unbeknownst to us at the time—people have paid a quarter a pop to shoot extra bursts of water at the sitting duck riders. And to add insult to injury, they then send your boat down a five foot or so micro-flume, which serves no purpose whatsoever other than to tip the boat into deep water that floods the inside of the boat. And so now you’re soaking wet and laughing at the evil nature of the ride, and what’s this? Oh, we’re going up again. A slow, slow, slow climb while we’re soaking wet. And then the ride gets cool again, as it turns all roller coaster on you to go through a high-speed corkscrew into the second flume. And then it ends. And you get out and you look ridiculous because you’re entire bottom half of your body is drenched. But yeah, it was a great ride outside of the sadism; I tried to convince Mom to ride it again later in the day, but to no avail.

At the end of the day we fed the dolphins. Now, many of you might not know this, but underneath my macho, tough guy, pickup-truck driving, gun-toting, cigarette-smoking, rough-and-tumble persona, I’m a sucker for dolphins. I think they’re ridiculously adorable, and it helps knowing that they’re pretty damn smart, also. So I was pretty glad to fork over a few dollars and feed several dolphins a few fish. Pretty much the height of touristy clichés at a place like this, but that didn’t (and doesn’t) faze me one bit.

We had scheduled our one more sophisticated dining experience for this night, as Mom, Lynn, and I checked out Citricos at the Grand Floridian. The appetizers—a boring salad and an elegant cheese plate—were good but not spectacular. But the main courses blew my socks off. Lynn had a sautéed shrimp dish that happened to be standing in for a swordfish (?) dish for one night only. Mom had a meltingly tender braised veal. And I had a filet—which was cooked & seasoned beautifully—with house-cured vegetables and the most unbelievably delicious four-cheese mashed potatoes I’ve ever had. We shared an excellent tiramisu for dessert and called it a night.

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This page contains a single entry by Lee Feigenbaum published on February 19, 2009 1:21 AM.

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