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Old 08-26-2012, 12:16 AM   #1
Keyser
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Random thoughts on Sea World

I know there isn't a Sea World site that matches the detail for Disneyland, and I found myself with more questions about it than most places we went. I thought I'd post some of my thoughts from a visit about a week ago. We arrived there semi-late (after lunch - we left Anaheim that morning after sleeping a bit late, and drove in, getting lunch just beforehand). Some of these might apply to the summer (which is almost over) more than the rest of the year, so keep that in mind.

1) You need to plan to get to shows well before they start. They will close off some entrances (always the most convenient ones it seemed...) several minutes before the show, then it takes a couple more minutes to walk around to another spot. Even though we arrived at every show at least a couple of minutes "early", it took us a while to get into them, including being held up for a while at one while they waited to see if there was enough room (there was enough room every time we went, but it seemed some people were being blocked out). If one show ends 15 minutes before another one starts, don't assume you will have time to get from one to the other. It's not a matter of just a good vs. bad seat (like at many other places I've been) - it's a matter of seeing the show at all, or at least saving several extra minutes of walking.

2) The playground area for kids is very extensive there. It's not just a climbing area: there is a bounce house, a room of punching bags, some small rides, etc. My younger daughter spent almost an hour there, and still didn't do much of it - she could have spent another hour easily. It's not organized toward a single-entry point, though - I felt I had to move around to keep an eye on her, as opposed to many other parks where kids areas have a chokepoint that a parent can more or less stand at to catch their kid entering/leaving.

3) The park is decptive. There aren't that many rides, and there aren't that many shows. But, it will take a while to see it all. If it makes any sense, it reminds me of Disney Hollywood Studios in that regard. Our time there was really not enough, and we hardly did any rides (by choice, but still, we couldn't have if we'd wanted to). It's easily a full-day park if you want to see most of it.

4) Dine with Shamu was very cool. Really good if you want to know lots of information (not what you get in a normal show). Good views of the whales (they brought out three of them). The food was good. We were at a really good table, but didn't get wet (not sure anyone did during our dinner, other than some small splashes - certainly nothing like in the wet zone of the show). It's tough to say if it's "worth" the extra money, but we did feel it was a really well-done experience. Early reservations for a good table will pay off. I don't know that I would have enjoyed the second tier as much as we did the waterside table we had.

5) The exiting after fireworks was absolutely horrendous. You basically had the entire Shamu stadium exiting at once. They funneled everyone out one exit (there were others that could have been opened), and it was a huge crowd pressing in on everyone. I can't believe it's not seen as a safety hazard. I know they were trying to move people by the gift shop on the way out, but it really seemed dangerous - if there were ever a panic, I would expect some serious injuries. As it was, we were just trying not to get separated from our kids as we were pushed along to the exit. Left us with a bad taste.

6) SLIGHT SPOILER ALERT: The Sea Lions Tonight show makes references to many of the shows/rides in other parts of the park that they assume you've seen that day. So, if you haven't seen those shows, you might miss some of the references. We knew most of them, but there were a couple we didn't understand as well, since we had skipped one ride and one show. You certainly don't want to see this show first or something.

7) The parking situaiton could use better management. We were just set loose in the lot, with no idea where the entrance was, how far away, etc. We saw where lots of people were parking, then noticed a whole area that seemed (and indeed turned out to be) much closer that we went to. Lots of people were giving themselves minutes of extra walking time from their parking place, mainly due to no good directions. On the other hand, we found it was surprisingly easy to exit once we were in our car at night.

8) We were there right after Disneyland, and earlier had been to Universal, so it was tough for us to not compare between them. Overall, we thought Disney did a significantly better job at crowd management in just about every way possible (I'm not just talking about the exiting, I mean the entire flow of the park, the shows, etc.). SeaWorld had some really nice things, and we did enjoy our visit quite a bit, but we kept finidng ourselves thinking "why did they do X instead of Y" throughout the day. We found the parking setup confusing, park layout kind of haphazard, the "best" path to take from one place to another unclear, the ability to plan out what we wanted to do (how early to get places, how long exhibits/rides would take) tougher, etc.
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Old 08-30-2012, 09:29 PM   #2
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thanks for the feedback, we are heading there for one day in October.
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Old 08-31-2012, 11:44 AM   #3
sonnyjane
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keyser View Post

1) You need to plan to get to shows well before they start. They will close off some entrances (always the most convenient ones it seemed...) several minutes before the show, then it takes a couple more minutes to walk around to another spot. Even though we arrived at every show at least a couple of minutes "early", it took us a while to get into them, including being held up for a while at one while they waited to see if there was enough room (there was enough room every time we went, but it seemed some people were being blocked out). If one show ends 15 minutes before another one starts, don't assume you will have time to get from one to the other. It's not a matter of just a good vs. bad seat (like at many other places I've been) - it's a matter of seeing the show at all, or at least saving several extra minutes of walking.

Great observation. I treat Sea World shows like movies. Yes, you CAN show up right before it starts, but you'll probably be somewhere crappy. I like to get there at least 20 minutes before to make sure I have a good view, and sometimes even that isn't enough time!

6) SLIGHT SPOILER ALERT: The Sea Lions Tonight show makes references to many of the shows/rides in other parts of the park that they assume you've seen that day. So, if you haven't seen those shows, you might miss some of the references. We knew most of them, but there were a couple we didn't understand as well, since we had skipped one ride and one show. You certainly don't want to see this show first or something.

That Sea Lions Tonight show is only at night. They have a different Sea Lion show during the day. They are assuming that you've seen the other shows by that point, but it's quite possible that some have not (as in your case). I guess I just wanted to clarify that you couldn't really see that show "first" since it's only at night during the summer, unless you saw no other shows that day, which would be a waste of SW time


8) We were there right after Disneyland, and earlier had been to Universal, so it was tough for us to not compare between them. Overall, we thought Disney did a significantly better job at crowd management in just about every way possible (I'm not just talking about the exiting, I mean the entire flow of the park, the shows, etc.). SeaWorld had some really nice things, and we did enjoy our visit quite a bit, but we kept finding ourselves thinking "why did they do X instead of Y" throughout the day. We found the parking setup confusing, park layout kind of haphazard, the "best" path to take from one place to another unclear, the ability to plan out what we wanted to do (how early to get places, how long exhibits/rides would take) tougher, etc.
I agree with this 100%. Fun place to explore, some good things to see, some good treats to eat, but could be much better.
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Old 08-31-2012, 04:59 PM   #4
carandem
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Appreciate the thougts on seaworld

In your opinion what should we definetly make sure not to miss for shows

Going october for the day
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Calling it my first time, because I cant say i remember much going at 8 yrs old
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Old 09-02-2012, 11:29 AM   #5
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This is of course my opinion only. My 2 favorite show are the sea lions and Shamu. The dolphin show is now a take it or leave it. I just don't like it anymore. Pets rule is good but is my #3 now.

Oct hours are weird. Closing at 5 weekdays but open to 7-730 weekends. Longer hours mean bigger crowds, more shows and entertainment.
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Old 09-02-2012, 10:56 PM   #6
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Thank you for your review Keyser.

Our favorite shows are the Sea Lions (both day and night versions are hysterical and very well done) and Cirque de la Mer, followed by Shamu and Pets Rule. And arriving about 20 minutes early seems about right to get a good (not great, but good) spot. Also bear in mind there is no shade while seated, so make sure you have sunscreen on. I always wear a hat, too.

Do not miss the Beluga whales and Wild Artic attraction, penguin encounter, turtle reef and shark encounter.

The sky ride is relaxing with beautiful views and now free! Journey to Atlantis is short but cool. Be prepared to get wet on that one. Ridtide Rescue was surprisingly fun and not jerky at all.

We are two adults so you may feel differently if you are going with children.
It's a clean and beautiful park but I agree that it's laid out poorly and requires a lot of walking to get to relatively few places.

Dining with Shamu is a great experience I recommend doing if you can.
The food everywhere is good to us, but we are not picky eaters and pretty easy to please.

We have annual passes and go about 4 times a year. Have a great time.
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Old 09-04-2012, 01:19 PM   #7
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I agree that the exits from Shamu stadium make it difficult to leave the area after a show. Been that way for years. If the park isn't closing right after the fireworks then its best to exit Shamu to the back of the park and see exhibits or rides etc. there rather than head out towards the front of the park.

Not sure I agree that Disney does a better job. Following fireworks Mainstreet is a mess and a huge safety hazard if there were ever an emergency. Same thing often happens through adventureland or fronteirland following fantasmic. We've been stuck in wall to wall people with no way to move away from fantasmic area. We now sit on the side near Mark Twain and exit to big thunder area or fantasyland with little to no crowd.

We just returned from Seaworld yesterday. Had a great time on Saturday. Arrived around 10am and left about 11pm. Had plenty to do to fill the entire day. Rode Manta twice (great ride), Sky Ride, Rapids and Wild Arctic. Was not able to ride Journey as it kept breaking down. We've been on it other trips so nothing missed.
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Old 09-04-2012, 01:39 PM   #8
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Forgot to mention that Cirque de le Mar was not showing over labor day weekend. Its normally summer only but had expected it for the holiday weekend. It was mentioned by others on Disboards they heard its closed for good with a new show opening next summer in the same stadium.

Shamu Rocks nighttime Shamu show is not nearly as good as it was in years prior. Back then they had one or two energetic 'DJ's' doing a fun preshow getting the crowd to dance to current pop hits and other fun activities to get the crowd in an upbeat mood. I find todays Shamu Rocks lacks the energy it had before. Still a good show, very fun and worth seeing.

Sea Lions Tonight and Sea Lions Today are both great shows with tons of laughs. The only disappointment was from our three girls who wanted a skit about One Direction. I guess they're the latest hot teen girl group!! lol
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Old 09-04-2012, 10:19 PM   #9
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Quote:
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Forgot to mention that Cirque de le Mar was not showing over labor day weekend. Its normally summer only but had expected it for the holiday weekend. It was mentioned by others on Disboards they heard its closed for good with a new show opening next summer in the same stadium.
Their passholder newsletter did say that Cirque has closed it's run and the theater will have a new show next summer. Probably time for a new show there.
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