We have been staying at Staybridge Suites Orlando at SeaWorld, it’s literally opposite SeaWorld and SeaWorld is one of my top bucket list places I’ve always hoped to visit. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so much excitement for a day out than I did waking up on Sunday morning, knowing that after our breakfast we would be heading to SeaWorld.
The Staybridge Suites breakfast was delicious just like the previous morning. Freya and I indulged in waffles with syrup, Elsa filled her tummy with many slices of toast, Eva munched her way through fruit and Hubby enjoyed the hot meaty options.
The hotel offers a shuttle service for free to hotel guests. It has to be booked the day before. We actually decided not to go by shuttle as it would take a much greater amount of time than either a quick 10 minute walk or a 5 minute Uber drive. So guess what we did? Yup, we hopped in an Uber.
I honestly think the girls thought I was a crazy person. My excitement levels were on a high. In the lead up to our visit to SeaWorld, I had actually checked on their website for their show times. They have a really handy monthly schedule so you can see exactly the times and locations of all the things on during the day of your visit. I planned a rough itinerary so that we would be able to see all the shows we possibly could even when factoring in walk times to each location.
There are different ticket options at SeaWorld including multipark options with Aquatica, Disovery Cove, Busch Gardens and Adventure Island included. We had a two park ticket which costs $104.99 each when bought in advance. This gives you access to all of the shows and rides.
We had about two hours from opening time until our first show that I hoped to see. So we stopped by the Dolphin Nursery first where a dolphin came right up to the glass. My breath was taken away and it felt magical to be able to be that close to a dolphin. For the girls to ignite a passion for them too.
We then took a walk around to the first ride of the day for us, Manta. There are five “extreme” rides at SeaWorld. Hubby was really looking forward to riding these whereas I was petrified. They looked like pretty intense rides. Eva was also up for doing them but sadly was too small.
Hubby and I are the middle carriage and in this photo, bottom two people. Manta was terrifying. You initially sit in the rollercoaster seats like you usually would, then it lifts you so that you are lying face down like a Manta Ray. It’s a great experience, I’m not really a big rollercoaster person but will give it a go once just for the thrill. I was so shocked that I actually had my eyes closed and was silent the entire ride. Hubby reported that it flies down really close to water and is absolutely incredible.
We then took a break to adjust to being back on solid ground whilst we applied sun screen. Then made a made dash towards Infinity Falls. We had been really excited to ride this one as both Freya and Eva were tall enough. The left hand section of SeaWorld opens a little later than the opposite side. We waited for about fifteen minutes along with everybody else who also wanted to ride Infinity Falls. When we eventually got there we was told that the ride wasn’t working right now. It was quite disappointing that no staff had explained this previously.
We decided to head to Sesame Street Land instead. I wanted to just quickly note hear as it seems appropriate, that SeaWorld are now a Certified Autism Center. I wasn’t really sure what this meant at first but did some research. The staff at SeaWorld are all trained to have the knowledge, skills and temperament to be able to cater for those with special needs.
There’s also a really handy Sensory Guide with an incredible amount of information on the different rides and shows so that you can be fully prepared. They have quiet rooms, special toilets, have even suggested areas to visit for a low impact environment. I am fully impressed by their dedication.
After spending a short amount of time in Sesame Street we headed for our first show of the day, Pets Ahoy. It’s an indoor family friendly show involving pets. We definitely welcomed the indoor environment despite it only being 11am. The weather was so hot and we was all definitely still adjusting to the Orlando temperatures of over 30 degrees.
Ony arriving, I made the staff aware that Freya has autism and they directed us to the Disabled seating area. It’s nearer the front so we could escape if need be. I was expecting to be questioned but they were very accommodating.
Pets Ahoy did not disappoint. I am happy to sit here and say that this show was the best pet show I’ve ever seen. The animals were incredibly clever and it was super fun to watch. You can see parts of it in my video below. There’s one point where a cat jumps from a high platform onto the trainers arms. Incredible. The girls laughed the entire time and we also had the chance to stroke one of the dogs at the end.
I know there’s always a lot of talk about the SeaWorld shows involving the whales and dolphins. However, coming to watch the shows has always been my dream since I was a child and watched Free Willy. The Ocean Discovery show in the Shamu Stadium was the first of the shows we saw during our visit. We turned up super early and I’d highly recommend if visiting during a peak time (we stupidly went during Memorial Weekend and everywhere was packed!) arriving early to get the best seating. Again, we was able to sit in the Disabled seating section which is right at the back of the lower section splash zone, but not actually in the splash zone.
One Ocean show is an educational Killer Whale show. There’s a staff member talking about the Killer Whales and teaching us so many new things. The Killer Whales perform incredible tricks that are just breathtaking. I had tears in my eyes and my hair stood on end. They are intelligent creatures. I feel incredibly lucky to have been so close to them and truly see what they are capable of.
After being totally blown away at The One Ocean, we made our way round to Wild Arctic. This is another ride and is a simulator style ride where you explore the landscapes of the frozen North on a jet-helicopter. We managed to persuade Freya to come on with us. Waiting in the queue she was really scared but we reassured her it would be ok. We didn’t expect the ride to be quite as moving as it was and Freya screamed “help me” the entire time. Once she was off she was absolutely fine.
There is an option to just do a walk through because after the flight simulator, you arrive in a beautiful area where you can come face-to-face with beluga whales, walruses and harbor seals. Freya and Eva even found a real ice wall. The atmosphere was amazing in there and it was lots of fun watching the animals.
We came out to find Elsa with my Mum playing arcade games to win soft toys. I can’t remember how much the games were to have a go but remember thinking it wasn’t too bad. We ended up coming away with quite a few soft toys and the girls were very happy.
We had a little bit of time to spare so thought it would be a great opportunity to ride Mako. Mako is another extreme rollercoaster. I genuinely think I was more terrified hopping onto this one than Manta. You hold on to handles in front of you which felt very odd to me. The ride was an incredible thrill though, it made you feel like you were leaving your tummy in the air many times. I have to admit it made me feel rather uneasy but great fun!
The next show on our agenda was the Sea Lion High: The New Class. This has a stunning theatre that is full of colour and joy. This was one of the most enjoyable animal shows I’ve seen as it was so funny. The sea lions regularly did whatever they wanted which made the show so much more authentic. It shows that they are just animals with their own minds, and if they’re not up for doing something, they won’t do it. I loved that. You can see some of the funny blooper bits in my video.
There was a very short amount of time between the Sea Lion show and the first Dolphin show we wanted to see. So we rushed pretty quickly round to the Dolphin Theatre. The stadium was packed with literally no seats available so we stood right at the very top and watched from above. Dolphin Days is a great show with a lively team. The dolphins genuinely looked like they were having the best time, they are cheeky characters. The staff explained lots of different things about the Dolphins and it was lovely to learn.
After the amazing show, Hubby and I took Eva round to ride Journey to Atlantis. We actually didn’t really know what to expect from this ride except that it was a water flume ride. Eva is a little bit scared of having water splash her face but we reassured her that it would be ok. We was quite wrong. There’s more than one drop during this ride and it felt like it just kept going with a short rollercoaster section too. It was great and I’d definitely recommend doing it when you are at SeaWorld.
I felt really overwhelmed wandering around the different enclosures and seeing animals that I would never usually get the chance to see. Especially the amazing and beautiful Manatees. They were so much bigger than I ever imagined them to be. SeaWorld have rehabilitation programmes for different animals which I love.
The next show on our list was the Touch The Sky in the dolphin theatre. We arrived with plenty of time for this one and got really good seats. Freya and my Mum had decided to go in the splash zone and sat on the front row. I sat with Eva in the splash zone but further back then Hubby took Elsa further back and away from any chance of being splashed.
I loved being closer to the action for this show and seeing the talents of the dolphins and staff. They also had parrots flying overhead. I kept finding myself with tears in my eyes at how spectacular it was. Oh and it’s safe to say, my Mum and Freya got absolutely soaked. Eva and I got a few drops land on us.
By this point it was evening time, about 6:30pm, and everyone was pretty hungry. We had packed snacks for throughout the day but honestly the food prices were quite expensive at SeaWorld. They have dining package options but again it was about $40 per person. So we decided to get our hands stamped and head out of SeaWorld to get some food. We ended up having an Uber Eats McDonald’s tucked away in the carpark in the shade.
The very last animal show for our visit was part of the Electric Ocean event at SeaWorld. It was called Shamu’s Celebration: Light Up The Night At kicked off at 8:30pm. We headed there early to make sure we had some great seats for the show. Thankfully we was able to use the disabled seating area again but this time a little more central than the first Killer Whale Show we saw.
They kick started the evening with music and dancing before the show began. They even projected random people from the audience, we happened to feature at one point. Everyone was dancing to the music and generally having a great time. Then the show began.
I thought the previous shows we had seen were amazing but this one was something else. The atmosphere, the lights, the music and the beautiful whales just made it such a magical and special experience. I feel so incredibly lucky to have been there and so grateful to have stayed until late.
We then made our way to watch Ignite. An amazing way to end the night. Ignite is a fireworks and fountains spectacular. I don’t know if you can make out the above photo of Eva, I think that blurry photo really sums up the evening. So much joy!
We had a long day and a very late night at SeaWorld. It was brutally busy with people due to it being memorial weekend and the weather was hot! But I created so many memories from that day that I’ll cherish forever.
I’d highly recommend a visit and would suggest going for two days because there’s so much to see and do there. We definitely didn’t get to see everything and I wish we could go back to do more of Sesame Street and see more of the animals and work that SeaWorld are doing to protect them.
I hope you enjoyed reading and seeing our photos. Please don’t forget to take a watch of our video to see the shows in action.