Conquering Orlando between Christmas and NYE: "low expectations and HIGH crowds."

smiths02

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 13, 2009
Excited to read about SeaWorld. I am considering it for our February trip, which reminds me I need to research if they are giving out passes for veterans and guests in 2020 like they have in the past.
 

angryduck71

DIS Veteran
Joined
Dec 9, 2010
I am so excited to read your SeaWorld days! I just booked my daughter and I for September and I am trying to decide on which tours to buy. If I leave it up to the girl, she'll book every, single one. But she wants to be a marine veterinarian when she grows up so that is no surprise! The penguins look super fun and it looks like Underwater Grill is a MUST! Can't wait to read more!
The tours are the best part!!! Book every one! :) The Underwater Grill is delicious and so much fun! Just don’t go in soaking wet. LOL.

Excited to read about SeaWorld. I am considering it for our February trip, which reminds me I need to research if they are giving out passes for veterans and guests in 2020 like they have in the past.
it was fun. The rides were just OK in my book other than I enjoyed the water rides (I love water rides!) and the tours are AMAZING! I got cheap military tix from Shades of Green.
 

angryduck71

DIS Veteran
Joined
Dec 9, 2010
Day 3 continued (FINALLY!)...

So sorry guys! I got a nasty sinus infection when we got back (Davy got a cold for ONE DAY -- I had the sinus infection for WEEKS!). And, I started a new job! A promotion for me and so much fun! Then, KANSAS CITY CHIEFS! Yay! Anyway, I finally have some down time to finish this thing!

So, after the penguins, we had a beluga whale tour scheduled. When I booked it, we had 30 minutes to get to the tour. The nice tour guide from the penguins was worried we would be late, so she offered to walk us there to make sure we got there. She also radioed ahead to the tour to tell them we were on our way. Above and beyond! We chatted about her schooling and experience to work with the penguins. She clued us in that training with ANY animals was what they look for in a potential employee. Interesting!

We made the tour in plenty of time. Started outside. I will tell you - there was a lot of "fluff" in the beginning that bored me a bit. With the penguin tour, they immediately showed us a baby penguin, gave a few tips, and sent us in with the penguins. Here, they talked a lot about the equipment and toys used for the whales. I was kind of bored.

We were taken to lockers to put EVERYTHING in them -- no one wants cell phones in there and the whale accidentally swallow it. Because we could not take our phones, they had a "professional" photographer take photos. I have to say... they weren't great. But, we of course bought some to have memories!

FINALLY, we got to go in. AMAZING creatures. We all stood in a line in front of one whale while it did tricks and the trainer told us some facts. While that was going on, individuals or small groups who were together, went to interact with the other whale. We were the last two called to interact. I am kind of glad as while we were having our personal interaction, everyone else had to sit down and the first whale was "done" with his presentation -- so we didn't miss a thing with either whale! We got to feed both whales, and of course pet one. Davy said he thought he may have liked this even better than the penguins (later he changed his mind). I personally liked the penguins better as there was tons more interaction. But, these beluga whales were just amazing. <3
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I really wish we had more pics... sigh...

I think after this, we may have ridden a few more rides. I KNOW we went back on the water rides. We kept chuckling how everyone else was bundled up and there was very little line for the water rides. We were like - um, it's in the 70s! Warm enough!

Then, we decided to go back to the room and relax. We had ONE check on our quick queue pass as we either didn't need it on some rides or the attendants didn't check off that we used one on others. So, pretty much full. By this time, it was starting to get crowded in the park with folks coming in for the Christmas festivities. We weren't really interested in them (I did want to see one of the shows, but Davy was meh about it, and I wasn't that excited, so figured we'd mosey on out).

Before we left, I told Davy we needed to find two deserving people to give our quick queue passes to. I think this was the highlight of the day for Davy. LOL. We finally found a young couple who looked nice. We went up to them. I asked, "do you have quick queue passes?" They looked a little stunned and said, "no." I said, "well, then, here you go! You do now!" Davy giggled and spun around excitedly. They were so thankful! :) So happy we could make someone's day!

We went to get our whale pics. While in line, a mom with two kids got a bit distracted. Her toddler TOOK OFF and she did not notice. I had heard the mom earlier called the girl by her name, so I knew it. She was zooming off. I told Davy to stay put. I ran after the kid as she was going FAST. I called her name and she turned. I said, "go back to Mama! She is looking for you!" So, she (luckily) toddled back. The dad, who had not been in line, but kind of saw me chasing after his girl, then started to come forward. The girl went back to mama and the dad told me, "thank you!!!" He then told his wife what had happened and she looked horrified that she hadn't noticed. She too thanked me. So hard to keep track of everything (and everyone!) in an amusement park. We all have to help out! Davy was so proud. LOL. Any mom would have helped out I told him.

We took a lyft back to the hotel as we were beat from walking back and forth already. The DoubleTree at Sea World is just lovely. Glad we walked around a bit (WHY DIDN'T I TAKE PICS?!?!?). I highly recommend it... but for one thing that comes later....

We got in and ordered some room service pizza. It was delicious! I asked Davy if he wanted to go anywhere else tonight. Nope, he was happy hanging in the room. I watched some TV, played on my phone, probably made some calls. He read and played on his ipad I think. Tonight was a night I always dread every year. On Dec. 28, 1989, I saw my best friend, Sarah de Leon, for the last time as she was murdered in the middle of the night. There was recently another show about her (they had a Dateline on her too), hosted by Paul Holes, who helped solve the Golden State Murders. You can watch it here: https://www.nbc.com/the-dna-of-murder-with-paul-holes/video/taken-in-the-night/4054150 I was interviewed for it a few months before this trip. I like to be on vacation or somewhere else during these days. I do want her memory kept alive though. I of course was thinking of her a lot this night and the next day. More to come on that...

So, we were off to bed early as we were going to Discovery Cove EARLY tomorrow.... such comfortable beds and we were all settled in for a good night's sleep when... we were awoken at midnight by a dad cussin gout his son. At one point, the Dad SCREAMED, "shut the F#$% up!" I had already tried knocking on the wall and such (and I know it was the dad because he said something at one point about the other guy being his son, but he was being a pain). Anyway, I called security. I could hear everything -- the walls were rather thin! They did quiet down after that. Davy said, "well, I guess we're doing the old 'we'll be REALLY LOUD when we wake up early tomorrow,' right Mom? RIGHT! :)

Tomorrow... Discovery Cove and bonding with my son over the 80s!
 
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  • schumigirl

    It's a bit of a roodie doodie word for lady parts
    Joined
    May 15, 2007
    Glad to see you back on course Alice.......and nice update.

    I tried that link and like the other ones you sent me before, the links just won’t let me open them!!

    I keep checking the Crime channel we have over here as they have a lot of cases similar to Sarah’s on there. Yes, had to be a tough time for you......:hug:
     

    angryduck71

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 9, 2010
    Davy 4: Discovery Cove and Universal

    We got up EARLY so we could check in and be at Discovery Cove right at 7 a.m. We had two extras booked: the dolphin swim and SeaVenture. We had done them both before -- SeaVenture was "the greatest thing I ever did," according to Davy. I had told him we could go to Discovery Cove but we couldn't do any extras. I lied. LOL. More Christmas presents! This he was MOST excited for! So, Davy's eating some breakfast and playing on his iPad, I'm getting our swimsuits out and.... CRUD!!!! I FORGOT TO PACK DAVY'S SWIMSUIT!!!!! Poo!!!!! HOW DID I DO THAT? I was in a bit of a panic. I told Davy I would find a suit for him and be right back!

    The hotel gift shop had some suits but didn't open until 7 a.m. The desk ladies told me there was a Walmart nearby. I ordered a lyft. And then I saw the license plate of the driver.... ummmm.....
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    YIKES! I texted Davy and showed him. I said, "if you don't hear back from me in 10 minutes, call the front desk and show them this and call the police!" But, of course, the guy was nice as could be. I asked him about the license plate. He said he got it when he was young and silly and just never changed it. Well, ok!

    He said he had been at Disney but it was INSANE with drivers trying to get folks to Hollywood Studios for Rise of the Resistance. I chuckled and told him my earlier experience. I talked to a few drivers over the next couple of days and they were all SICK of going there. Anyway, he had had enough and came our way. I told him I was an idiot and forgot my son's trunks, so needed to RUN to Walmart. He said he would try to hang around the parking lot so I could get him as a driver when I got out.

    We arrived and I BOLTED into the store.... it's Florida... there's got to be TONS of suits... and... I COULDN'T FIND ANY! I asked for help. They showed me ONE MEN'S SWIMSUIT LEFT! It was a size bigger than Davy wears, but that was the only option! I knew he could put a wetsuit over it, so that was that. I RAN to check out and called for a lyft... and, got good ol' SUICIDL again. I was back in the room in a flash! Davy put on the suit and it fit! We still had time to get there a little after 7. We called another lyft. No SUICIDL this time. I was actually a little disappointed.

    We got to Discovery Cove about 7:10 I think. Birds!

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    Not too bad of a line. WE got all checked in and headed for some breakfast. Now, last time, I made the mistake of eating eggs. I can't really eat egg yolks... maybe ONE. I thought last time I'd be ok eating the scrambled eggs. I was NOT ok. So, this time, I was sticking to a light, bland breakfast. I can't remember what we had, but it was bland. Then, before everything opened, we relaxed by the beach and watched the dolphins jump out of the water. Then, when everything opened, we realized we had time to jump into the lazy river.

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    So pretty! And this time, I didn't have to SWIM FAST because of scrambled egg emergency hitting me at the middle of the river!

    After a bit of laziness, it was about time for our SeaVenture! Last time, I was actually very nervous about this. I felt calmer this time. Went through the safety training, then were ready to explore! We were the first to go down. My ears clogged up quite a bit this time but I used all the tricks they taught us. Never were completely clear, but I could live with it. Davy has the same issue this time. Weird. Anyway, still enjoyed it and Davy was still overjoyed with this experience!

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    So much fun!

    We then ate some quick lunch I think... don't remember what we had, but I do remember that Davy ate about a million rice crispy treats throughout the day (and a few may have ended up back at the hotel with us...).

    Next up... dolphin swim and FINALLY feeding the birds!
     
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    crabbymom

    Slythermom to 2 'claws and a Princess
    Joined
    Nov 28, 2012
    I am so glad to hear you were able to make it in time from Penguins to Belugas. I am stressing out trying to work out animal encounters because they all seem really tight!

    I love how happy Davy was to make someone else's trip a little bit happier with the Quick Queue pass!
     
  • angryduck71

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 9, 2010
    Glad to see you back on course Alice.......and nice update.

    I tried that link and like the other ones you sent me before, the links just won’t let me open them!!

    I keep checking the Crime channel we have over here as they have a lot of cases similar to Sarah’s on there. Yes, had to be a tough time for you......:hug:
    Thanks Carole!

    Davy jogging the computer today but I am also busy watching the Kansas City Chiefs parade (we won the Super Bowl — not that you would know that). LOL. Not sure a lot will get done today on this.
     

    angryduck71

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 9, 2010
    I am so glad to hear you were able to make it in time from Penguins to Belugas. I am stressing out trying to work out animal encounters because they all seem really tight!

    I love how happy Davy was to make someone else's trip a little bit happier with the Quick Queue pass!
    Don’t be too stressed. We actually had plenty of time with 30 minutes between. An hour might be ideal though. Good luck!

    my kid is so awesome. <3
     

    schumigirl

    It's a bit of a roodie doodie word for lady parts
    Joined
    May 15, 2007
    Thanks Carole!

    Davy jogging the computer today but I am also busy watching the Kansas City Chiefs parade (we won the Super Bowl — not that you would know that). LOL. Not sure a lot will get done today on this.
    lol......I did actually know that......yep, I was surprised too..... :rotfl: I only watched J Lo and Shakira.......

    To quote Will from Will and Grace.....you know me, I don’t follow the volleyball.......🥴

    Enjoy that parade!!!
     
  • J'aime Paris

    Living happily ever after
    Joined
    Mar 7, 2008
    I'm very, very sorry about your friend......we hear about murders daily (sadly), but when it's someone you're close to...it hits differently and stays with you forever. :grouphug:

    My stepdad's brother was murdered...his wife too...and attempted murder of their 3 children...1 child was left permanently disabled due to the extent of her injuries, and died 20 years after the attempted murder....
     

    angryduck71

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 9, 2010
    I'm very, very sorry about your friend......we hear about murders daily (sadly), but when it's someone you're close to...it hits differently and stays with you forever. :grouphug:

    My stepdad's brother was murdered...his wife too...and attempted murder of their 3 children...1 child was left permanently disabled due to the extent of her injuries, and died 20 years after the attempted murder....
    Thank you. Awww, that's so sad. The $%^&% who killed my friend also killed another woman in front of her two children. It's horrible when children are involved.
     

    angryduck71

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 9, 2010
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    For @schumigirl.... first pic is our Chiefs Quarterback (and MVP of the Super Bowl) at Disney dressed as a Jedi (and also with him is that big hairy beast that chased you). Then, hometown boy and huge Chiefs fan, Paul Rudd, at the parade (he was fighting a bad cold but was toughing it out in the freezing cold!). (My friend Sarah and I used to walked by and flirt with him when he worked at the mall in the 1980s.). <3
     
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    schumigirl

    It's a bit of a roodie doodie word for lady parts
    Joined
    May 15, 2007
    View attachment 471378View attachment 471379
    For @schumigirl.... first pic is our Chiefs Quarterback (and MVP of the Super Bowl) at Disney dressed as a Jedi (and also with him is that big hairy beast that chased you). Then, hometown boy and huge Chiefs fan, Paul Rudd, at the parade (he was fighting a bad cold but was toughing it out in the freezing cold!). (My friend Sarah and I used to walked by and flirt with him when he worked at the mall in the 1980s.). <3
    Big hairy beast.....lol...yep, that's what I usual call that thing from Star Wars........

    And Paul Rudd is a cool guy!!!
     

    angryduck71

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 9, 2010
    Day 4 continued...

    Next, we had lunch. Went to the buffet. I don't remember what we had... something bland! Then, Davy ate about a million rice crispy treats. I may have had one or two also......


    Then, off to the dolphin swim! Another brief then, they separated us into groups of about 8 I think. Each group had its own dolphin. We got to feed and pet ours (a girl -- but I can't remember her name, dang it). She flirted quite openly with the male dolphin at the group next to us. Apparently that male dolphin really gets around too! Our dolphin did some tricks -- noises and jumps and all kinds of fun. Then it was time to actually swim. You can choose to stay in the shallow end or go deep. Since Davy and I are strong swimmers, we chose to go to the deep part of the pond. Great fun. The photographer captures all of this. The photos are really cute usually. My hair was insane by this point, but Davy is such a cutie.

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    This is the third time I have swum with a dolphin (2nd time for Davy). I would do it again in a heartbeat.

    Next -- we were READY to be out of the wet suits! We decided to strip and get the life vests instead. Then, we were off for another round of the lazy river. Last time, Davy was a bit afraid to see/feed the birds for some reason. Last summer, we went to a wildlife preservation area and he had a blast with the birds, so I figured he'd do it this time -- and he did. The birds are fed so much, of course, by this time of day, they were a little hard to get interested, but we had some special moments.

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    We had had a blast at the park, but Davy wanted a bit of a rest now. So, we headed back to the room. There was a show on about the 1980s and the Berlin Wall coming down. I told Davy how my friend Sarah I wrote about above and I stayed up all night on the phone (I was at college in Des Moines and she was in college in Kansas City) watching the coverage. We talked about how we needed to visit again (we went together on a trip when there was still and East and West -- we even went into East Berlin). This was the 30th anniversary of her death -- and I still felt it so much. Davy was so interested in the stories and my stories. Really a great way to celebrate her life, honestly. <3

    We finally decided to get around and do something. We decided to head over to Universal. I had my last military tickets I would get to Universal (as I changed jobs -- did work at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, now work for Department of Housing and Urban Development). I was going to upgrade us to Annual Passes. Usually, it does not cost too much of a difference or, one time, we got gift cards back as the Annual Passes were "cheaper." They look at the price of the tickets as they sell them at the gate -- of course I had gotten these 4 or 5 day passes with a huge military discount. We ended up getting Preferred Passes (because there are not blockout dates for IOA or US) and we were of course there at Christmas. I think I paid about $400 total for both of us for this upgrade. I have one more trip planned in May... and then maybe in October as well... Anyway, worth it!

    We waited in what is usually the longest line we ever have to stand in -- customer service. Boy, folks were MIFFED today. I wasn't sure what was going on. I will say, you could see that other employees were in there, but there were only two windows open. Took about 45 minutes I think. Everyone was irate. When I got to the front, I told our guy that we would be the easiest and nicest folks he faced that night. He laughed. It didn't take too long at all. Because I paid with American Express, he told me to save the receipt and we could go into the American Express lounge, which he said was nicer than the AP lounge. We didn't go into either honestly. I meant to keep the receipt for the May trip, but of course I forgot and trashed it.


    In any event, we were ready for some dinner! I had made a reservation at Vivo Italian Kitchen. We were having fun chatting while waiting to be served, but it was quite slow getting someone to wait on us. Finally, someone did. Davy had spaghetti. I had the linguine with clams, but asked that the red pepper flakes be left off.... as I am a WUSS when it comes to hot spices (sorry @schumigirl !!!).

    I have to log off for a bit... but, coming up... RED PEPPER FLAKES! Argh! And, our evening at the parks.
     
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    schumigirl

    It's a bit of a roodie doodie word for lady parts
    Joined
    May 15, 2007
    And she’s back.........:cheer2:

    Glad you enjoyed Vivo.......I‘m laughing at you having the chilli flakes removed........lol......

    They never put enough on for Tom and I......and there’s more red pepper flakes to come????
     

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