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View Full Version : Anyone done a SeaWorld Vacation Christmas Week?


Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina
06-21-2012, 03:48 PM
Yes, I know its nuts. But we are considering a SeaWorld vacation from December 22nd to 29th in lieu of a traditional family Christmas at home. We are a tiny family of 3 and we would rather travel somewhere warm (its frosty up here in Canada during the holiday season) for Christmas than have a whole bunch of gifts wrapped up under the tree. And heck, it gets me out of Christmas dinner with my inlaws :laughing: ... but I digress.

If we decided to book, we would be staying at one of the SeaWorld official hotels, so have Quick Queue unlimited for each park day. And free transportation to and from SeaWorld and Aquatica (assuming its warm enough for a waterpark day or two).

Anyone "been there, done that" and have anything they want to offer as far as suggestions and comments go? We know it would be very, very busy. We would probably do park opening till noon, leave after lunch and enjoy some downtime at the hotel pool, then return for dinner and the evening shows.

We'd also take a day or two for shopping and touring around the I-drive area. Maybe a beach day thrown in if the weather co-operates.

Still undecided but yet mulling it over. My DS keeps asking me if I have booked the trip yet.....and I told him I had to consult the experts first ;) .

I would love to do Santas Fireside Feast and see O Wondrous Night. Christmas is my absolute favourite time of year, so the special events they offer sound incredible.

kathy884
06-23-2012, 04:24 AM
We went to SeaWorld on Christmas Day a few years ago. It's just such a festive park for the holidays and a wonderful place to have an extended famly spend time together. Yes it's crowded, but not as bad a the Disney parks this time of year. We get any Disney park we are doing out of the way before the 24th if we can. At SeaWorld when we went they had special musical entertainment at Shamu stadium (pre show entertainment) -- outstanding musicians playing Christmas music and some sing alongs before the Orca show. The last show of the evening while you are leaving the park (dancing fountains and music) by the speakers they create snow (fun touch at Christmas). And that Artic simulator ride they have is renamed and rethemed as the Polar Express. There was more than one time with all the great music and theming that I just got goosebumps all over. I LOVE SeaWorld for Christmas -- special place and great for special time with family. By the way too -- it was way less crowded Christmas Day than days between Christmas and New Years maybe due to shorter hours. // We don't do Christmas in Orlando anymore as general crowd levels for driving, food, etc. are just too much for DH. If I were in Oralndo at Christmas, though, SeaWorld is a great place and a little more sane than the WDW theme parks at this time.

Weather can be all over the place. For non diehards it's usually chilly for the beach. Waterparks and swimming pools are heated and doable but not as ideal as during warmer seasons. // We've had everywhere from low 80s (unusual for Christmas) to as low as 30 around dinner time (burr). Average highs are in the low 70s and average lows are in the low 50s -- so warmer than at home, but not the glorious weather Florida usually has around spring break. Bring a fleece jacket at least and some jeans as well as that swim suit.

cheerky
06-23-2012, 10:52 AM
We went to Sea World/ Universal the week before Christmas last year and to Disney/ Universal the year before.

IMO, SeaWorld is Orlando's best kept secret during the holidays. The park is decorated beautifully, the shows are fantastic and the crowds do not compare to either Disney or Universal. Shamu's Christmas Miracle is amazing and the Polar Express Experience is great! The whole atmosphere is quaint and festive.

Friends of mine went to Busch Gardens Tampa on Christmas Day last year and felt like they had the park to themselves. If you stay at a SeaWorld hotel, you can get free shuttle service to Busch Tampa! Also, Discovery Cove may also be a good option so you can use wet suits if the weather is cold. If you aren't an annual passholder for SeaWorld, it may be worth it because of the discounts you will get on parking, Busch Tampa, Discovery Cove, etc.


The weather is really crazy in Orlando in December. Last year, the weather was absolutely beautiful, warm days and mild nights. The year before, we FROZE! We wore winter coats, hats, gloves... nights were windy, rainy. :eek:

I say go! I don't think you will regret it!!!

Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina
06-23-2012, 11:09 AM
Thank you sooooo much for your thoughts and comments! I appreciate your input very much!

Did either of you have Quick Queue on the holiday days that you visited? If so, did you find it really helped?

We are not too worried about the weather. We have been once in mid January and then this year during New Years week. Both times we had very warm and really chilly all in the same 7 day period (two days on this year's getaway it was down right cold.....had-to-go-into-the-bathroom-at-Harry-Potter-just-to-warm-up kind of cold :eek: ). No matter how you slice it, its still wayyyy warmer than up here in frosty Ontario!!

I have found a decent price for airfare (considering its Christmas week) and I'm so darn close to booking. Oh, I wish I didn't overthink things so much!

cheerky
06-23-2012, 11:59 AM
Last year, we went to Sea World on Dec. 18 and 21. We did not have Quick Queue. We arrived at the park around 4pm on the 21st and walked on to Manta, Kraken and Journey to Atlantis. My dd and I rode Kraken several times that night. We saw the Shamu Christmas Miracle Show and the Holiday Reflections Skating Show (I think that was the name of it). Both days the parks were pretty empty... no quick queue needed. I love the little Christmas Village too. We relaxed at an illuminated pub table, had a beer and watched the Sea of Trees... loved it!

Cannot wait to go back!:santa:

BLTLDZ
06-27-2012, 12:40 PM
We are doing Seaworld at christmas for the first time this year. Cannot WAIT!! We may even forego MVMCP.....

edamethyst
06-27-2012, 12:59 PM
we did Sea World/Disney the week of Christmas 2 years ago and did Sea World Christmas Day. It was fabulous. We did the all day dining and it was just the best day. the decorations, music, snow, even Shamu Claus! it was not crowded, we were shocked because we were expecting alot more wait times. we never waited in super long lines, we got good seats at every show and the food lines were fine. I took some presents for the kids and put a tree up in our room and one of their gifts was a gift card to sea world so they could get whatever they wanted and i surprised them with a Limo for our ride to and from Sea World...we were staying at disney. Just remembering it all makes me want to do it again this year!!

Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina
06-29-2012, 03:09 PM
Thanks for all the great input everyone :goodvibes . It sounds as fabulous as I imagined!

Now to see if Santa can work it all into the holiday budget :santa: . Wish me luck!

2Pirates2Princesses
07-05-2012, 10:08 AM
We went to Sea World/ Universal the week before Christmas last year and to Disney/ Universal the year before.

IMO, SeaWorld is Orlando's best kept secret during the holidays. The park is decorated beautifully, the shows are fantastic and the crowds do not compare to either Disney or Universal. Shamu's Christmas Miracle is amazing and the Polar Express Experience is great! The whole atmosphere is quaint and festive.

Friends of mine went to Busch Gardens Tampa on Christmas Day last year and felt like they had the park to themselves. If you stay at a SeaWorld hotel, you can get free shuttle service to Busch Tampa! Also, Discovery Cove may also be a good option so you can use wet suits if the weather is cold. If you aren't an annual passholder for SeaWorld, it may be worth it because of the discounts you will get on parking, Busch Tampa, Discovery Cove, etc.


The weather is really crazy in Orlando in December. Last year, the weather was absolutely beautiful, warm days and mild nights. The year before, we FROZE! We wore winter coats, hats, gloves... nights were windy, rainy. :eek:

I say go! I don't think you will regret it!!!


This is so nice to hear. We are considering breaking with tradition this year or next year and surprising the kids with a nice trip for Christmas; but I have strong reservations about dealing with the crowds at the Disney parks. I have read so many wonderful things about the holiday atmosphere and holiday shows at Sea World. We are considering doing a trip with two days at Sea World and MVMCP at the MK with a pre-party visit to the Grand Floridian and Wilderness Lodge resorts to see the beautiful holiday decorations.

Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina
07-09-2012, 01:36 PM
Well, we took the plunge! Booked at the Residence Inn Seaworld for December 23rd to December 30th.

Christmas in Florida :beach: . We can hardly wait! :hyper:

Herbie
07-09-2012, 04:07 PM
[QUOTE=cheerky;45266777]We went to Sea World/ Universal the week before Christmas last year and to Disney/ Universal the year before.

IMO, SeaWorld is Orlando's best kept secret during the holidays. The park is decorated beautifully, the shows are fantastic and the crowds do not compare to either Disney or Universal. Shamu's Christmas Miracle is amazing and the Polar Express Experience is great! The whole atmosphere is quaint and festive.



:thumbsup2 WE TOTALLY AGREE

cheerky
07-09-2012, 05:41 PM
Well, we took the plunge! Booked at the Residence Inn Seaworld for December 23rd to December 30th.

Christmas in Florida :beach: . We can hardly wait! :hyper:

:thumbsup2 I hope you have a great time!

Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina
07-09-2012, 09:12 PM
:thumbsup2 I hope you have a great time!

Thank you! :goodvibes

Hoping for the low crowds you experienced last year!!! And since we're adding stuff to the wish list, I'll toss in a request for some warm and sunny weather too :thumbsup2 . But truth be told, the weather is almost guaranteed to be better than home!!!!

cheerky
07-10-2012, 08:36 AM
Well, we took the plunge! Booked at the Residence Inn Seaworld for December 23rd to December 30th.

Christmas in Florida :beach: . We can hardly wait! :hyper:

Have you stayed at the Residence Inn Seaworld before? We are looking at staying two nights at a Seaworld hotel (for the quick queue perk) before checking in to Star Island for our upcoming August trip. I was thinking Residence Inn or Springhill Suites...

Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina
07-10-2012, 09:02 AM
Have you stayed at the Residence Inn Seaworld before? We are looking at staying two nights at a Seaworld hotel (for the quick queue perk) before checking in to Star Island for our upcoming August trip. I was thinking Residence Inn or Springhill Suites...

We haven't stayed at the Seaworld RI before, but we have stayed at other RI properties and really liked them. In particular, we like the much larger suites and the hot breakfast buffet.....both definite perks vs. their competitors.

We chose the RI over Springhill Suites for this trip because we could get a fully separate bedroom in the RI suite, while Springhill only has a partial wall between the sleeping and living areas (DH snores.....loudly :crazy2: .... so we try to keep him separate from DS to ensure both the boys get the rest they need). We also liked the idea of having a full kitchen (particularly for the full sized fridge) when we are staying a whole week.

sportel
07-12-2012, 08:42 AM
We are considering going to Seaworld January 2/3. Will the Christmas theming and special events still be on, or does it end Dec 30?

Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina
07-12-2012, 09:50 AM
We are considering going to Seaworld January 2/3. Will the Christmas theming and special events still be on, or does it end Dec 30?

We visited Seaworld on January 2 and January 5th this year.

On January 2, all the holiday decorations were still up but the shows were back to the regular offerings (no special Christmas events). Hours were no longer extended (park closed at 6 pm) and the Polar Express had closed. That meant no Wild Artic ride either. Journey to Atlantis was closed for a refurb.

On January 5, all holiday decorations were gone EXCEPT for the sea of trees, and they were in the process of removing those in little boats throughout the day.

HeidiGW
07-12-2012, 03:18 PM
I agree with the other posters! We love it.
(Now, if you hear anything negative, it may be old news. We went like seven years ago, and we not impressed with our holiday experience...)
But we returned three years ago and has been our Christmas holiday since. They really do it right! We have a business and miss all the pre-holiday fun. But, we now get our fill driving down Dec. 26 or 17th-New Years. It is very festive and folks really are in a holiday mood...even caroling at the big venues! New Year's Eve is only really crowded time, but in a good, celebratory way. We watch the last ice skating show (our second viewing) and have a seat for the fireworks. They gave out noisemakers. You can purchase champagne afterwards and they have dancing, etc.
Jan. 1, the park has been practically empty!
You can still get your Disney fix by going to DD or hitting one of the deluxe resorts for a meal. It's fun to ride the monorail and see all the decorations!

Treelight
07-14-2012, 10:31 AM
We visited Sea World Orlando the week between Christmas and New Year's last year and were pleasantly surprised at the crowd level. Quite honestly I was expecting extreme crowding and long lines and I was prepared to deal with it. I dedicated 3 full days at Sea World with the hopes of seeing each show only once and possibly missing some attractions. We were able to experience everything and some shows we even saw more than once. We were able to go through the Shark Encounter multiple times back to back with no waiting. We did take advantage of the extended hours which allowed us to see more. My only concerns were the lines for restaurants which were long at peak times. The shows were fantastic and themed appropriately for Christmas.

As an added bonus, during the month of December, Sea World was offering a "Pay for one day and get all of 2012 for free". We did take advantage of that and are returning to Orlando in August to visit the park again. Not sure if they offer this type of bonus each year, but it may be worth waiting until December to purchase tickets..just in case.

Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina
07-14-2012, 12:04 PM
You can still get your Disney fix by going to DD or hitting one of the deluxe resorts for a meal. It's fun to ride the monorail and see all the decorations!

An awesome idea!! I think we may try to secure a breakfast at Ohana's then hop the monorail to the GF. Sounds like a fun way to spend a morning! And an evening at DTD with a Ghirardelli's sundae would be just what Santa ordered! :cool1:

Not sure if they offer this type of bonus each year, but it may be worth waiting until December to purchase tickets..just in case.

Our vacation package was purchased directly through SeaWorld, so it includes unlimited admission to both SeaWorld and Aquatica for the duration of our stay. But thanks for the great suggestion!

claire_ont
07-15-2012, 08:56 AM
We did Sea World and Discovery Cove for Christmas two years ago and loved it so much, we are doing it again this year. We are staying at the Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld. We stayed there last time and loved being able to walk back and forth to the park.

We have Discovery Cove booked for Christmas Day and then will do SeaWorld for a few days on either side. Then it is off to Universal for two days followed by a week at AKV. A lot of moving around but we really wanted to see the WWHP this time.

I cannot wait!:banana::banana:

Claire

jeffn5631
07-16-2012, 08:53 PM
FYI...this year Busch Gardens is offering a separate admission ticket for their "Christmas Town" presentation with special decorations, shows and Christmas experiences which will be held on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights between Nov. 30th and Dec 23rd. I bought my ticket this past weekend at the preview center in Timbuktu at Busch Gardens and their was a lot of people getting their tickets from the mailer that went out to passholders. I don't think SeaWorld is doing anything like this for their upcoming Christmas season but between the 2 parks I think they offer the best live entertainment of any parks in Florida. The price on the ticket is about half what Disney charges for their Christmas party and you can save money if you buy advance tickets online. Passholders got a great deal for tickets costing only 10.00.

Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina
07-17-2012, 06:41 AM
We did Sea World and Discovery Cove for Christmas two years ago and loved it so much, we are doing it again this year. We are staying at the Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld. We stayed there last time and loved being able to walk back and forth to the park.


Hello, fellow Ontarian! We are not far from Ottawa (about 3 hours west). Fingers crossed we get some warm and sunny weather for our Christmas holidays, and no snow to cause flight delays. I love leaving the cold Canadian winter behind!

Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina
07-17-2012, 06:44 AM
FYI...this year Busch Gardens is offering a separate admission ticket for their "Christmas Town" presentation with special decorations, shows and Christmas experiences which will be held on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights between Nov. 30th and Dec 23rd. I bought my ticket this past weekend at the preview center in Timbuktu at Busch Gardens and their was a lot of people getting their tickets from the mailer that went out to passholders. I don't think SeaWorld is doing anything like this for their upcoming Christmas season but between the 2 parks I think they offer the best live entertainment of any parks in Florida. The price on the ticket is about half what Disney charges for their Christmas party and you can save money if you buy advance tickets online. Passholders got a great deal for tickets costing only 10.00.

Drat! :headache:

We don't arrive until the 23rd, so we will miss Christmas Town at Busch Gardens. We are flying out of Buffalo, NY (known for snow :scared1:) so I wouldn't want to book tickets for something that evening in the event that our flight is delayed. Plus, we have a 7:55 a.m. flight......so we might be asleep by the time all the fun gets started!!

Wish the special events ran one night longer.

andrews_dad
07-23-2012, 04:05 PM
We do Diz and SeaWorld every Xmas week, as we travel to FLA to attend college bowl games on Jan 1, etc. SeaWorld absorbs the HUGE crowds this time of the year the best of all parks. All shows will fill to capacity in teh peak mid AM and mid afternoon hours, but you can get a seat if you dont wait too late to get into theater. If you are a thrill rider, you must be there before opening to rush to the coaster you want, pay for Quick Que, or wait until very late in teh day to ride. I've seen wait times listed for 180 min for Manta, literally lines up out of the que and down the walkpaths, but that same day at 9:45 PM the wait time is listed as 30 min.

They have cool shows and decorations just for Xmas. My kids adore the elmo Xmas show.... adore it. It "snows" with soap bubbles. Just a great time. Disboarders will hate me for posting this but SeaWorld at Xmas comes in a close 2nd to Magic King as my fav park in FLA.... beats out Animal, HS, and Epcot in my book.

Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina
07-24-2012, 06:43 AM
Disboarders will hate me for posting this but SeaWorld at Xmas comes in a close 2nd to Magic King as my fav park in FLA.... beats out Animal, HS, and Epcot in my book.

No hate from this Disboarder :goodvibes .

SeaWorld and Discovery Cove are my favourite parks in Orlando, even over all the Disney and both Universal parks (and not just during the holidays......at all times of the year). All the parks awesome (and we have thoroughly enjoyed each one), but SW and DC just take top honours in my book.

Priorityonecb
07-25-2012, 08:28 PM
We are having a Sea World Christmas too!! We are all booked December 22-29. We have the Super Grover passes, so we get fantastic reserved seating for all shows! That is the BEST perk! We have gotten our monies worth from those passes several times over! Parks and parking free, reserved seating for shows, % off food and shopping. So nice! I made an ADR for Kona at the Poly for Christmas night, and we are looking forward to watching Holiday Wishes on the beach afterwards! We will also go to DTD several times for a Disney fix. We can't wait!! :santa:

Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina
07-25-2012, 10:04 PM
We are having a Sea World Christmas too!! We are all booked December 22-29. We have the Super Grover passes, so we get fantastic reserved seating for all shows! That is the BEST perk! We have gotten our monies worth from those passes several times over! Parks and parking free, reserved seating for shows, % off food and shopping. So nice! I made an ADR for Kona at the Poly for Christmas night, and we are looking forward to watching Holiday Wishes on the beach afterwards! We will also go to DTD several times for a Disney fix. We can't wait!! :santa:

Very cool! :cool1: Where are you staying?

We have an ADR for Ohana's for breakfast on Boxing Day, then we are going to ride the monorail and tour the Deluxe resorts to see the holiday decorations.

Priorityonecb
07-26-2012, 02:17 PM
We are staying at Homewood Suites by Hilton on International Drive. I too have a snoring husband, so we need a suite when we travel so we can all sleep! :lmao: I got a great rate, less than $100 a night!

Mariellen102
08-03-2012, 02:38 PM
Does anyone know if u need a seperate ticket for sea worlds christmas events?? Or it is just all part of regular admission price?

Also, if you are military are you allowed to use ur free admission on christmas eve or christmas day??

Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina
08-04-2012, 07:01 AM
Does anyone know if u need a seperate ticket for sea worlds christmas events?? Or it is just all part of regular admission price?

Also, if you are military are you allowed to use ur free admission on christmas eve or christmas day??

The Christmas events are all included in the regular ticket. :thumbsup2

Unfortunately, though, I have no idea about the military free admission. I would call and ask.

Mariellen102
08-04-2012, 07:59 PM
Thank you very much!

Princess Sleepy
03-25-2013, 05:58 PM
We are considering doing Discovery Cove on December 27 this year before we go on our Disney cruise. The dolphin swim would be a Christmas present for our DDs (10 and 7 at the time). I am worried about 1) temperature and 2) crowds. Is it worth the risk, or should we save this for another warmer weather trip?

KBF
03-25-2013, 06:01 PM
We are considering doing Discovery Cove on December 27 this year before we go on our Disney cruise. The dolphin swim would be a Christmas present for our DDs (10 and 7 at the time). I am worried about 1) temperature and 2) crowds. Is it worth the risk, or should we save this for another warmer weather trip?

Yes there is always a chance that it will be cold, but there is a chance that it will be beautiful outside. Extreme cold in Florida is rare and even if it is cold, it usually warms up by the afternoon. Crowd size shouldn't be an issue either. Discovery Cove only allows a certain number of people in per day. (I think 1,000 people. I may be wrong but its a pretty low number compared to an actual theme park)

If you save this for a warmer weather trip, then you run the risk of having rain and storms.

Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina
03-25-2013, 06:03 PM
We are considering doing Discovery Cove on December 27 this year before we go on our Disney cruise. The dolphin swim would be a Christmas present for our DDs (10 and 7 at the time). I am worried about 1) temperature and 2) crowds. Is it worth the risk, or should we save this for another warmer weather trip?

No worries on the crowds. DC caps admission at a very low number of people (something like 1000 max), so there are never crowds even when its a sold-out day.

As for the temps, we went on January 1st, 2012 and had gorgeous weather. Of course, that's not guaranteed......but you are also not guaranteed to have it be "cold", either. The lazy river and Freshwater Oasis are super warm great places to hang out on a chillier day, and they also set up heaters near the restaurant where you can dry off quickly and warm up. The wet suits also help keep you warm on cooler days.

I would not hesitate to book again on Christmas week.

Lynne G
03-25-2013, 06:29 PM
We are considering doing Discovery Cove on December 27 this year before we go on our Disney cruise. The dolphin swim would be a Christmas present for our DDs (10 and 7 at the time). I am worried about 1) temperature and 2) crowds. Is it worth the risk, or should we save this for another warmer weather trip?

I am taking a risk, as I booked Christmas for this year. Cannot wait to go back. We enjoyed it 2 Augusts ago. They have full wetsuits to help with the cold. The river was warm and I too hope it will be a nice day.

Princess Sleepy
03-25-2013, 11:40 PM
Thank you. I was having a moment of panic, but now I think we will stick with our plan.