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Old 03-07-2012, 05:00 AM   #1
darlaya
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Just Back: DC, SW, BG & KSC

We arrived back from our Orlando trip on Monday and I already want to plan my next trip! Needless to say it was a lot of fun with great weather. We were also amazed that the crowd levels in all the parks we visited were low making our trip even more enjoyable. The park attendants said that this week marked the beginning of Spring Break for colleges so the crowd levels would be heavy.

We took advantage of a pre-holiday offer for Disovery Cove with one park for $199. We chose Seaworld and added a SW parking pass for $22. We thought we would save $ doing this since we didn't want the cost of daily parking ($14) to deter us from visiting as much as we wanted during the week.

In addition, we purchased a play and dine ticket for Busch Gardens which was also offered at a special rate on their website. This was a nice bonus because we basically paid $10 extra per person for the All Day Dining Deal. This was well worth the price we paid given that I have two teenage boys who are always hungry and thirsty. Another bonus: on the day we visited, anyone with the All Day Dining Deal was entitled to 50% off on all snacks, drinks and beer. Hubby and I loved the deal on the beer paying $3 for a beer was much more reasonable than $6. We all enjoyed an ice cream as we exited the park. Although we took full advantage of this deal, without the special pricing, I would not buy the All Day Dining Deal. This park is great for teens that love rides and animals.

We visited Discovery Cove on Friday. I highly recommend arriving at 8am to make sure you check-in and have breakfast to take full advantage of your day. We were fortunate because our Dolphin Swim was not until 11am so we had time to snorkel in the Grand Reef before it got busy. This was so enjoyable and quite deceiving because the water doesn't look deep at all until you put your mask on and go under water. Then you get a much different perspective of how big this area is and how many different species of fish are in this area. When we went back after our Dolphin Swim, it had become more crowded and harder to freely swim around without bumping into people. It was also a bit of an overcast day making you feel hot and cold during the day depending on whether the sun was out.

The food was surprisingly good and the free drinks and snacks was quite nice. Although we really didn't need any snacks while at the park, I did take some back with me to the hotel which came in handy later that night. The lazy river was fun, we only went around it twice. The water was warm and the best part was seeing the birds in the aviary as you went around. We all agreed that we would love to do Discovery Cove again.

Seaworld is liking going home for us. we have spent so much time in this park throughout the years as my boys always loved seaworld more than Disney. They still get a kick out of petting and feeding the stingrays, sea lions and dolphins. The shows are always great and the relaxed nature of the park makes it so enjoyable for us. After seeing the Shamu Show, it made me glad that we got to visit when they were still performing the Believe show. It makes you realize how incredible that show really was. The trainers are no longer allowed to perform in the tank with the whales since the tragic deaths of two trainers. Now it is still amazing to see the whales this close and to see how intelligent and social they are, but if you were fortunate enough to see any of the shows before these changes you may be a bit disappointed in comparison...IMHO.

Another perk for us while at Seaworld, we had Quick Que Unlimited passes that were complimentary because we stayed at a partner hotel for part of our trip. It was really nice to bypass the ride lines.

I hope I can visit again soon....
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Old 03-07-2012, 08:30 AM   #2
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I couldn't have written the above any better myself! As far as Busch G goes, we haven't been and are going next week. In the 5 years of going to Florida we have never went. Do they still have this all day dining deal you mentioned, I know they have all day dining, but do they still have a special for it?
Seaworld is what we call our home park as well. We say every year we have done this park a million times, and we won't do it this year, but every year our girls convince us we haven't visited Orlando until we go there. They have never been Disney girls, but love, love, Seaworld. I also agree with the old Believe, the first year we went we saw this show, and all had tears in our eyes and what a great show it was, and were so amazed at the relationships they had with these animals. I miss it now when we go watch the show. We are looking forward to going to SW next week, and doing Shamu Rocks as well!
We are also doing our third visit to DC and we love it there. Just the relaxation alone compared to other parks. It is great!
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Old 03-07-2012, 09:06 AM   #3
ccgirl
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darlaya View Post
We arrived back from our Orlando trip on Monday and I already want to plan my next trip! Needless to say it was a lot of fun with great weather. We were also amazed that the crowd levels in all the parks we visited were low making our trip even more enjoyable. The park attendants said that this week marked the beginning of Spring Break for colleges so the crowd levels would be heavy.

We took advantage of a pre-holiday offer for Disovery Cove with one park for $199. We chose Seaworld and added a SW parking pass for $22. We thought we would save $ doing this since we didn't want the cost of daily parking ($14) to deter us from visiting as much as we wanted during the week.

In addition, we purchased a play and dine ticket for Busch Gardens which was also offered at a special rate on their website. This was a nice bonus because we basically paid $10 extra per person for the All Day Dining Deal. This was well worth the price we paid given that I have two teenage boys who are always hungry and thirsty. Another bonus: on the day we visited, anyone with the All Day Dining Deal was entitled to 50% off on all snacks, drinks and beer. Hubby and I loved the deal on the beer paying $3 for a beer was much more reasonable than $6. We all enjoyed an ice cream as we exited the park. Although we took full advantage of this deal, without the special pricing, I would not buy the All Day Dining Deal. This park is great for teens that love rides and animals.

We visited Discovery Cove on Friday. I highly recommend arriving at 8am to make sure you check-in and have breakfast to take full advantage of your day. We were fortunate because our Dolphin Swim was not until 11am so we had time to snorkel in the Grand Reef before it got busy. This was so enjoyable and quite deceiving because the water doesn't look deep at all until you put your mask on and go under water. Then you get a much different perspective of how big this area is and how many different species of fish are in this area. When we went back after our Dolphin Swim, it had become more crowded and harder to freely swim around without bumping into people. It was also a bit of an overcast day making you feel hot and cold during the day depending on whether the sun was out.

The food was surprisingly good and the free drinks and snacks was quite nice. Although we really didn't need any snacks while at the park, I did take some back with me to the hotel which came in handy later that night. The lazy river was fun, we only went around it twice. The water was warm and the best part was seeing the birds in the aviary as you went around. We all agreed that we would love to do Discovery Cove again.

Seaworld is liking going home for us. we have spent so much time in this park throughout the years as my boys always loved seaworld more than Disney. They still get a kick out of petting and feeding the stingrays, sea lions and dolphins. The shows are always great and the relaxed nature of the park makes it so enjoyable for us. After seeing the Shamu Show, it made me glad that we got to visit when they were still performing the Believe show. It makes you realize how incredible that show really was. The trainers are no longer allowed to perform in the tank with the whales since the tragic deaths of two trainers. Now it is still amazing to see the whales this close and to see how intelligent and social they are, but if you were fortunate enough to see any of the shows before these changes you may be a bit disappointed in comparison...IMHO.

Another perk for us while at Seaworld, we had Quick Que Unlimited passes that were complimentary because we stayed at a partner hotel for part of our trip. It was really nice to bypass the ride lines.

I hope I can visit again soon....
Thank you SO MUCH for this. We are going May 10 - 20 and doing our first "Non-WDW" vacation. It's weird. I feel like I am cheating on WDW or something.

Anyway, I got the Super Grover pass when they were $157 so we have unlimited visits to Busch Gardens (never been), SW (have been a few times), and Aquatica (never been). We may add DC. We went last year and it was amazing.


I have a couple of questions if you don't mind.

Aquatica - what were the waits like for the slides?

Busch Gardens - what would you compare this park to?

Quick Queue - we get that as well. Do they give you a bracelet and you just show it to the park attendant?

Thanks so much for your help. I appreciate it.
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Old 03-07-2012, 09:23 AM   #4
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Thanks for posting this. We are heading to Orlando next month and I was a little disappointed that the girls opted to do SW/BG gardens instead of WDW. Seems like they made a good choice. We are doing DC but not the dolphin swim.
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Old 03-07-2012, 09:34 AM   #5
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Thanks for posting this. We are heading to Orlando next month and I was a little disappointed that the girls opted to do SW/BG gardens instead of WDW. Seems like they made a good choice. We are doing DC but not the dolphin swim.
There's still a ton to do there. When we went, myself and my DS did not do the swim and we still had so much fun. I really couldn't believe all there was to do there.
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Old 03-08-2012, 05:10 AM   #6
darlaya
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ccgirl View Post
Thank you SO MUCH for this. We are going May 10 - 20 and doing our first "Non-WDW" vacation. It's weird. I feel like I am cheating on WDW or something.

Anyway, I got the Super Grover pass when they were $157 so we have unlimited visits to Busch Gardens (never been), SW (have been a few times), and Aquatica (never been). We may add DC. We went last year and it was amazing.


I have a couple of questions if you don't mind.

Aquatica - what were the waits like for the slides?

Busch Gardens - what would you compare this park to?

Quick Queue - we get that as well. Do they give you a bracelet and you just show it to the park attendant?

Thanks so much for your help. I appreciate it.


How exciting! We did not go to Aquatica during our visit, but the time you are travelling shouldn't be busy. We went the year it first opened and found it to be kind of small compared to Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard beach. It is enjoyable nonetheless, but I don't think we spent the entire day.

I don't know if I can compare BG to any park I have been to. Maybe a cross between Animal Kingdon and Hollywood Studios. The shows are great, lots of animal viewing throughout the park and lots of great coasters.

As for the Quick Que, we got a voucher from our hotel which we had to bring to Guest Relations once we entered the park. They give you a bracelet and a little card that have you to show each time you ride the ride. This was really great to have. You save so much time by not having to wait long on line. We all loved Manta at SW best and Cheetah Hunt at BG. These coasters are so smooth you never get knocked around...but very thrilling at the same time.

I know what you mean about cheating on Disney. I missed being so close to Epcot and not visiting. We did make it to Downtown Disney a couple of times. I had some old passes and the kids visited Disneyquest for a couple of hours.

I'd love to hear what you think of your Super Grover Pass. I almost bought them, but wasn't sure if you could get a discount to DC which was the big attraction for our trip. I think when you are at SW, thye may be opening their new attraction called turtle trek.

Enjoy your trip!
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Old 03-08-2012, 10:15 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by darlaya View Post
How exciting! We did not go to Aquatica during our visit, but the time you are travelling shouldn't be busy. We went the year it first opened and found it to be kind of small compared to Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard beach. It is enjoyable nonetheless, but I don't think we spent the entire day.

I don't know if I can compare BG to any park I have been to. Maybe a cross between Animal Kingdon and Hollywood Studios. The shows are great, lots of animal viewing throughout the park and lots of great coasters.

As for the Quick Que, we got a voucher from our hotel which we had to bring to Guest Relations once we entered the park. They give you a bracelet and a little card that have you to show each time you ride the ride. This was really great to have. You save so much time by not having to wait long on line. We all loved Manta at SW best and Cheetah Hunt at BG. These coasters are so smooth you never get knocked around...but very thrilling at the same time.

I know what you mean about cheating on Disney. I missed being so close to Epcot and not visiting. We did make it to Downtown Disney a couple of times. I had some old passes and the kids visited Disneyquest for a couple of hours.

I'd love to hear what you think of your Super Grover Pass. I almost bought them, but wasn't sure if you could get a discount to DC which was the big attraction for our trip. I think when you are at SW, thye may be opening their new attraction called turtle trek.Enjoy your trip!
Thanks so much!

I signed on to the passmember website and, sure enough, I can get a discount to DC. It if I remember correctly, it is $69 for a nonswim and $129 for a swim. On the back of the pass, Platinum is written on it, so it is treated just like a Platinum pass at a fraction of the cost. I will definitely report back though.

Thanks again for all your help. I really appreciate it.
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Old 03-09-2012, 04:27 AM   #8
darlaya
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Thanks so much!

I signed on to the passmember website and, sure enough, I can get a discount to DC. It if I remember correctly, it is $69 for a nonswim and $129 for a swim. On the back of the pass, Platinum is written on it, so it is treated just like a Platinum pass at a fraction of the cost. I will definitely report back though.

Thanks again for all your help. I really appreciate it.
That's good to know. Maybe next year I can take advantage of that deal because I know we will want to do DC again.

Your going to have so much fun
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Old 05-23-2012, 12:25 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by darlaya View Post
As for the Quick Que, we got a voucher from our hotel which we had to bring to Guest Relations once we entered the park. They give you a bracelet and a little card that have you to show each time you ride the ride. This was really great to have. You save so much time by not having to wait long on line. We all loved Manta at SW best and Cheetah Hunt at BG. These coasters are so smooth you never get knocked around...but very thrilling at the same time.
Did you get your Quick Que from the hotel each morning or did you do it the evening before? I think we are going to go to SW on two different days so I'm wondering if I can get them both at the same time?
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Old 05-23-2012, 03:04 PM   #10
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Did you get your Quick Que from the hotel each morning or did you do it the evening before? I think we are going to go to SW on two different days so I'm wondering if I can get them both at the same time?
I just got back. We had a WONDERFUL time. We had to get the quick queue each day. The first day we didn't even use it. There weren't any lines at Sea World. The second time we definitely used it. It was a Saturday and there was a 45 minute posted wait time for Atlantis. My DD rode that 6 times in a row within the 45 minutes. We got free preferred parking at Busch Gardens, Aquatica, and Sea World because we had the Super Grover Pass.

Another thing to note is that if you buy the refillable cup at any of those parks they will fill it at the other two parks as well because they are owned by the same company.
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Old 05-23-2012, 05:40 PM   #11
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I just got back. We had a WONDERFUL time. We had to get the quick queue each day. The first day we didn't even use it. There weren't any lines at Sea World. The second time we definitely used it. It was a Saturday and there was a 45 minute posted wait time for Atlantis. My DD rode that 6 times in a row within the 45 minutes. We got free preferred parking at Busch Gardens, Aquatica, and Sea World because we had the Super Grover Pass.

Another thing to note is that if you buy the refillable cup at any of those parks they will fill it at the other two parks as well because they are owned by the same company.
Thx
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Old 05-23-2012, 07:05 PM   #12
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Is the HRH a partner hotel for Sea World? Thanks
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Old 05-24-2012, 04:33 AM   #13
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Is the HRH a partner hotel for Sea World? Thanks
No, HRH is not. Look on SW or DC's website and you can find a list of the official partner hotels.
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Old 05-24-2012, 07:57 AM   #14
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Thx
You are welcome. Also, as a sidenote, the hotel gives you a piece of paper (voucher) that you have to exchange at SW for the quick queue bands. You can either do that as Guest Services before you go through the turnstiles (but that was always crowded) or to the Dining Reservation area once you go through the turnstiles. We went to the dining reservation area and never had a wait there.

Have fun!
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Old 05-24-2012, 11:59 AM   #15
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You are welcome. Also, as a sidenote, the hotel gives you a piece of paper (voucher) that you have to exchange at SW for the quick queue bands. You can either do that as Guest Services before you go through the turnstiles (but that was always crowded) or to the Dining Reservation area once you go through the turnstiles. We went to the dining reservation area and never had a wait there.

Have fun!
Super. Thank u!
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