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Old 03-31-2014, 05:31 PM   #1
JM27
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Trip Report 3/18-3/27- SeaWorld, Aquatica and Busch Gardens (+WDW)

Hey allÖ..thought I would give a few details/observations from my recent trip. I have a Platinum pass from SeaWorld San Diego but my parents came along so we booked a vacation package through the SeaWorld website (5 nights). We ordered the free All Day Dining package with SeaWorld and Busch Gardens for the Fairfield Inn SeaWorld.

Side note- The booking of the hotel was somewhat complicated with some uncertainty due to the fact that I already have theme park tickets so I couldnít add myself as a person to the reservation without upping the price for tickets I didnít need. The hotel blocked out the option for the two Queen bed rooms so all that was listed was a king bed with the possibility of a sofa bed. I called the hotel directly to inquire if the room they had reserved would have it and the person on the phone was not helpful and just said no and that if SeaWorld booked it she canít do anything. A few days later after I kept obsessively checking the SeaWorld vacation website, I saw the two queen room was now available. I called the SeaWorld number and the person said the only way to switch was to cancel the existing reservation and rebook it. She told me to call the hotel so I called the main Marriott line instead of the hotel directly. I got transferred once and the 2nd person to help then had to call the front desk of the actual hotel but in the end they said they switched us to the two queens. I had no official confirmation other than the phone call which made me really nervous though because what would happen if I arrived and we didnít have the room. (The hotel seemed to be really full/fully booked.)

The package included 5th night free, a SeaWorld Cup that Cares souvenir, a lanyard with Reserved show seating for everyone on the reservation, and All Day Dining once at SeaWorld and once a Busch Gardens per person. The total came to about $764. The hotel also had free Quick Queue passes for SeaWorld.

Wednesday, 3/18- Popped in at SeaWorld for about two hours in the late afternoon
Sunday, 3/23- Full Day at SeaWorld
Monday, 3/24- Aquatica (Just me)
Tuesday, 3/25- Busch Gardens
Thursday, 3/27- SeaWorld from opening - 12:30pm (Just me)

The morning we left to go to SeaWorld I remember about the priority seating lanyards and started to search my paperwork for a voucher/where we were supposed to get that. I finally found we were supposed to get it at check-in so on the way out I asked and the woman at the front desk said ďthey ran outĒ. To me this was unacceptable as it wasnít an option and it was considered a part of our package. Once we go to SeaWorld we hit Antarctica first and then went to Guest Relations to deal with the priority seating issue. The person wasnít all that helpful and kept going to the back office to ask her supervisor. Eventually we told her weíd like to just speak to them directly and finally he caved and just gave us the vouchers for reserved seating but said it is the hotelís responsibility and next time he wonít help us. On top of the whole irritating situation, it took about 30 minutes for it to resolve wasting a lot of our morning.

The park was pretty dead most of the day. We didnít even need to use any of the Quick Queue passes or the reserved seating. Antarctica was so cool in the penguin exhibit and when we stood watching them, there was a keeper there because three of them kept jumping out of the exhibit! They would then go in the back for a ďtime out.Ē He said it was a few of the juvenile ones who kept doing it.

During the Clyde and Seymour show, the Sea of Surprises patrol came and did three giveaways to the crowd (A Shamu plush, a bubble gun and then an envelope containing a gift certificate for jewelry at one of the stores) On my last day at SeaWorld, the same thing happened only instead of the envelope containing a certificate for jewelry it was for a VIP tour of the park for a family including All Day Dining, front of the line ride access, show seating and I think some animal encounters.

My day at Aquatica was pretty overcast so it wasnít too crowded either. I stayed about two hours and went on about seven slides, the last being the dolphin plunge where I got a gallon of water up my nose so decided to call it a day.

Iíd never been to Busch Gardens before, but I loved it for the most part. The rides, the animals, it was so cool. Unfortunately, they only do the animal procedures in the morning so when we got there in the mid afternoon, nothing was going on. Iím sad to have missed that because I watch Wildlife Docs every week. The main disappointment I had with BG was there didnít appear to be a single rider line anywhere so I wasted A LOT of time waiting on lines with empty seats going by on the coasters. Also I got in line for Gwazi and about ten minutes later they shut it down and sent everyone off the line. Just before we left for the day I got back online in what seemed like an even shorter line than the first time, but they had only one car going! It seats two people next to each other and has 12 rows so only 24 people. So between loading, unloading and the actual ride, it was a good five minutes per 24 people..and again no single rider line so it took 40 minutes for me to get on! I was also really looking forward to the Congo River Rapids and the log flume ride but it was way too cold to get soaked. We wound up doing the tidal wave one and we didnít really get wet.

Iím sure Iíll think of some other things that are relevant but thatís it for now! Any questions let me know.
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Old 03-31-2014, 07:32 PM   #2
chicagoshannon
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Thanks for this report. I've been wondering what the giveaways were at Sea World. How did they choose who got them?
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Old 03-31-2014, 07:50 PM   #3
JM27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chicagoshannon View Post
Thanks for this report. I've been wondering what the giveaways were at Sea World. How did they choose who got them?
On a few they asked people to do their best impression of a sea lion and then ran over to someone. I'd say at least 4 of the 6 people they gave prizes too were in the center sections and pretty high up. The family they gave the VIP tour was all the way on the far right section (if you are seated and looking at the stage) and were a few rows up but were against a wall with no one behind them.
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