Wednesday May 10 SeaWorld DH was catching an early flight out of Nashville and expected to land in Orlando a little after 11 (not a direct flight, unfortunately). I had stopped the night before at the concierge’s desk to ask for an envelope and how to leave something for DH. They said no problem at all – just drop it in the morning. So I placed the room key, park ticket, and a sweet note for DH along with instructions on getting his Express Pass. We dropped this off at the concierge desk on our way out to the car. The plan was to meet back at the room when we were done with SeaWorld. He would have a little time to get settled and we could have dinner together that night. I hadn’t been to SeaWorld since I was a kid so I was curious to see how today would go. We ate breakfast in the room and headed out for SeaWorld at 8:15. We arrived and were parked at 8:35 – once again, our parking pass worked great. We just had to show our printed paper and they let us right through. We had our tickets ready from online (the same we used for Aquatica) and had no trouble at the metal detectors. Here is where things got a little interesting. DS1 was not interested in Manta – he’s never done a superman style coaster and was hesitant to try. DS2 is not tall enough so the plan was to head back to Mako for our first ride. The map looked to me like we should head left and then continue sort of straight through the park. We were through security at 8:48 or so and headed this direction where we were first to the ropes at the flamingos. We had plenty of time to chat with the TM there as we waited. I asked about the direction I wanted to head for Mako to make sure I didn’t waste time wandering. She indicated I should go back the other way and should have headed right when we had a chance. Since we were first at the ropes, I figured we would just walk around Manta and boogie to Mako rather than turn around. She dropped the rope at 9 and we were off. It was hot already and headed to 98 today. We walked at a good pace back toward Mako where we found another rope up. The TM there informed us that Mako didn’t begin running until 10 am. I was surprised since I had NEVER heard this before and the TM at the flamingos could have told us this. She knew we were heading this way and said nothing. Journey to Atlantis was also down. Ugh! We turned round and headed back to Antarctica. We passed a lot of people headed to Make and we made sure to tell them it wouldn’t open until 10 am. They were also caught off guard. We made one wrong turn and ended up walking further than we had to on the way to the penguins. Honestly, I found the park confusing and I really wasn’t navigating well. We were through the ride pretty quickly – we weren’t super impressed with the ride itself (we did the more intense side) but enjoyed the animal exhibits at the end. We headed toward the Shark Encounter next before heading back to the rope at Mako. We waited about 10 minutes for the rope to drop and headed with a good crowd back to Mako. DS2 thought he would try this one but he wasn’t tall enough. He sat outside and waited while we rode twice – once with no wait and once we waited about 10 minutes for front row. We loved this ride! Very fun and just intense enough. It didn’t shake my head up too much so I came off feeling good. We checked out the Sea Lion habitat and then caught the Clyde and Seamore Show at 11 am. These guys don’t joke around – the splash zone is really a splash zone. Be prepared to get drenched! DS1 and I were hot so we sat up higher in the shaded seats. DS2 was also hot but, to him, this meant it was time to get wet. He sat way down front below our seats so we could keep an eye on him. The show was cute – we laughed – and DS2 got his wish to get soaked. He said he felt much better. We were out of the show at 11:35 or so and wanted to catch the 12:15 One Ocean show so we headed out in that direction. The line for Wild Arctic ride was really long so we decided to grab a quick lunch at the place right next to Shamu. The kids had chicken nuggets and the turkey sandwich and I got the special of the day – fish sandwich which I found a bit ironic. The food was okay but they did have a lot of fresh fruit. We grabbed a big cup of strawberries as well. The line to order was very slow. We were cutting it close and rushed over to the stadium at 12:10 with our strawberries in hand to munch later. We didn’t get the best seats but I don’t think there are any truly bad seats. All we cared about was the shade – it was hot! DS2 decided to pass on the splash zone. Good call! If he got fairly wet in the sea lion show, the visitors down low for this show were drenched! I don’t think there was a dry spot on them. My kids loved this show. They took pictures and videos and were in total awe of these beautiful animals. I don’t remember the show from when I was a kid but, based on what I read about the new conservation show, I didn’t anticipate seeing so many tricks and whales. It was a lot of action which the kids loved and I found a little sad. To see such gorgeous, graceful animals in captivity impacted me in a way I didn’t expect. I’m not a tree hugging, save the world kind of person so this was a surprise. Shockingly, the kids said they were ready to go. I don’t know if it was the heat (so much of SW is outside with little relief from the heat) or knowing that DH was on his way but they were just meh on SeaWorld. We jumped into the short line at Wild Arctic and waited just 10 minutes or so to ride. We all thought this ride was not nearly as good as similar simulator rides at Disney or Universal. Again, we enjoyed the animal habitats on the way out. We walked across the bridge over the lake, checked out the manatees and dolphins, then fed the stingrays before heading out a little after 2. DH was waiting for us back in the room when we arrived. We relaxed, cooled down, and visited until closer to 4:15 before heading to Chef Mickey’s for dinner. The boys and I had breakfast here back in 2013 and dinner in 2015 but DH had never been. We arrived in plenty of time for our 5:40 reservation so we did some resort shopping and checked in a little after 5. I don’t know what was off for us today but I saw so many kids behaving badly that I was feeling a great longing to be back at Universal. As we waited in the sitting area with our buzzer (and DH grabbed us adult beverages from the bar outside the restaurant), I saw one girl maybe 5 years old repeatedly removing her shoes, throwing them at the wall, getting up to collect the shoes, and then repeating the process. Her mom sat next to her on her phone and said not a word. Two other boys – roughly 11 and 13 – were completely out of control. They were rearranging all the furniture to make a wrestling area where they could roll around and beat on each other. Mom and dad sat calmly on their phones and said nothing either. I was horrified by this behavior. Maybe I am done with Disney? We got called back at 5:20 – so a 20 minute wait but 20 minutes earlier than our reservation time which was fine with us. We skipped the picture queue and were quickly seated. They asked how old the kids were, to which DH replied “8 and just turned 11”. The hostess said “oh, are we celebrating a birthday?”. Well, actually two – DS1 turned 11 in late April and DS2 had a birthday coming up on a week. Well, both boys received birthday cards signed by all the characters which was a big surprise, along with cupcakes and candles when we were ready for dessert. Disney pixie dust at its best! While the characters were amazing, dinner was just meh for the price. We had made a sign that said “Get Well Pop” for DH’s father whose favorite character is Goofy. We got a lovely photo of the boys, DH, Goofy, and their sign which we texted to the hospital in Knoxville. Pop was so happy to see we were all thinking of him. The food wasn’t bad by any means but spending over $200 for it seemed too much. DS1 is now considered an adult so that made it extra pricy. We enjoyed the desserts tremendously and the mashed potatoes were yummy! The kids liked it but, without a Disney dining plan, I don’t think we’ll fork over the dough on this one any more. When we got back to the hotel, the boys wanted to head down to the pool for Jumanji. We got there right after 8 and stayed until 9:30. We swam together and enjoyed the flick for about 30 minutes until the kids got restless. I was so tired that I was dozing in a chair watching the movie while the kids played tag with some friends they found until we called it a night. A semi-successful day but we were so happy DH was now getting some vacation time – he turned in early since he had been up since 2 am to make the drive from Knoxville to Nashville for his flight. We couldn’t wait for tomorrow!