Discovery Cove, SeaWorld, and Disney…Oh My! A Whirlwind Mommy & Me to Three Generations PTR

crabbymom

Slythermom to 2 'claws and a Princess
Joined
Nov 28, 2012
I wasn’t really sure where exactly to post this trip report since it is some SeaWorld, some Discovery Cove, and some Disney. But this forum seems to get the least amount of action so I thought I would give it some love!
First up? Introductions! Stay alert, this might get complicated! To begin with, there is me:


467494

I’m Rachel. You can find me on IG&FB @soccermomtravels. I am usually the one that plans every trip the family takes no matter where we go. I am completely obsessive about travel, almost any kind of travel but mostly cruises and theme parks. I work for a land surveying small business as the only non-surveyor. Basically, I do all of the accounting, human resources, facilities management, marketing, payroll, government contracting and recordkeeping, office management, basically everything that isn’t directly related to surveying. Fortunately, it keeps my busy and I love the company I work for. I have two grown sons (18 & 22) that will not be joining us this trip (one will be at boot camp, one is salty about missing it, but that’s adulting for you!).

That was the easy part, now it’ll start to get complicated.


467496

Next up: K my 8 year old daughter. She’s totally my “ride or die” always up for any adventure and completely fearless. She was on Tower of Terror at 4 years old and it sparked her love of all things thrilling. I had her as a pseudo-surrogate for my brother and his partner. I say “pseudo” because we are all involved in her parenting. She lives with my brother and BIL, but they live just a few miles away so we spend almost every weekend together. For the Mommy & Me part of this trip, it will just be her and I. We take at least one Mommy & Me trip every year.

Next is my mother, C. She is a VERY young 77 years old!


467499

She is working her way through her bucket list and I am lucky enough to tag along every now and then for some pretty great trips! While Disney is not really on her Bucket list, she does love Epcot’s Food & Wine festival so she is joining us.

Then, there is my brother, M.

467498

He is the REAL Disney fanatic! He loves everything about Disney, the parks, the resorts, everything. He has not been able to go to Disney since 2015 though because all of our family travel has been elsewhere.

And last, but certainly not least, is my BIL – P.


467497

He is the biggest kid I know. He is crazy excited about just about everything, but especially food! He loves trying new foods and so the Food & Wine Festival will be the perfect place for him to have a blast!

So that will be our Who in this for the various parts of this trip.

Next, I will fill you in on the rest of the W's...What, Where, When, Why (some of which I am still trying to work out!).




 

crabbymom

Slythermom to 2 'claws and a Princess
Joined
Nov 28, 2012
So the What, Where, and When of this story is a bit of a long and winding road. I knew that my brother, M, was really missing going to Disney. We had been going to Universal for the past several years since my boys were getting older and were more into Harry Potter, Jurassic Park, and Marvel than the Disney side, and K didn’t really care as long as there were rides and a pool. But then Star Wars happened. And I love me some Star Wars! I also love Pandora and Toy Story and both have opened since my last Disney trip. So I decided that for Christmas, I would book the four of us (me, K, M, & P) a vacation package at Animal Kingdom Lodge in a Savannah View room, a dream resort for M. So WAY back in July, I booked us for September 10-14, 2020. I picked this week because it was after Labor Day, so hopefully less crowded; Food & Wine Festival has traditionally been up and running; and I knew the possibility of Free Dining could occur. So now, all I had to do was keep the secret from them until Christmas.

467592

Well if you know me at all, you know I am TERRIBLE at keeping my own secrets. If you tell me a secret, I will take it to my grave, but presents/surprises? I actually have to chant “Don’t tell, don’t tell” in my head the whole time I am with you.


Well, I lasted until September when my mom and I were in Egypt (one of her bucket list things!) and she immediately said that she wanted to go with us. She loves Food & Wine Festival, its the only time she will ever go to Disney at all. So now, I had to either switch our booking to two rooms at Animal Kingdom Lodge (o_O)or move to different resort. I looked at everything.. two rooms at Beach Club, a villa at Bay Lake Towers, a Treehouse Villa, two rooms at Coronado Springs in the brand new Gran Destino Tower, or finally a two bedroom villa at Old Key West.

I finally settled on two rooms at Gran Destino Tower. I was super stoked! Brand new , and themed in a combination of Walt Disney and Salvadore Dali? That's basically my LinkedIn profile description!!

And now...ITS FINALLY CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!! I CAN TELL, I CAN TELL!!!!


467606

I put together a box of Disney stuff and the three of them opened it all together. K was most excited about the light up ears, P is looking forward to snacks, but M? He cried. Which as the older sister, is probably not the first time I have made him cry, but this time it was for a good reason. He was overwhelmed and immediately logged on to his My Disney Experience to link his reservation and start making plans.

Everything going along fine, we are making lists in preparation for our ADR's and talking about FastPass strategy. Then...

Free Dining is announced


467609

And there is nothing available at Gran Destino, or Beach Club, or Old Key West. So Guess What? We are back at Animal Kingdom, not in a Savannah View room, but with free dining! We also had to shift our days by about 48 hours, but we were back at the resort we started at, M's dream resort, and all was well...and truly finished!

So now we are booked in two standard view rooms at Animal Kingdom Lodge from September 8-14, 2020.


But of course I am not happy unless I am planning something, so I started looking at the dates...September 8 is the Tuesday after Labor Day, my office is closed for Labor Day...why not leave Friday night, September 4 and have the whole weekend in Orlando without missing any more work than I was going to miss anyway? Well there was no way to pass that up! So then I started thinking..."what if K & I made that our Mommy & Me trip?" So I started looking at weekend cruises from Orlando, but nothing fit. We are season pass holders at Universal so I looked at staying there, but we will have done that a couple times by then. Then I thought, SeaWorld! K has never been to SeaWorld, and she is adamant that she is going to be a marine veterinarian when she grows up, she would love it! I booked the Hilton SeaWorld on points, then purchased the Discovery Cove pass that includes 14 days at SeaWorld/Aquatica. I decided to make Labor Day our Discovery Cove day since they cap attendance at a certain number so it won't be any more crowded than any other day. Saturday and Sunday will be SeaWorld. Aquatica is not really of interest since we have two waterparks within a few minutes drive at home and I am positive she would rather do the animal encounters at SeaWorld.

So now, the final plan is:
Friday, September 4, 2020 -K and I fly to Orlando late and check into the Hilton
Saturday, September 5, 2020 - K and I at SeaWorld
Sunday, September 6, 2020 - K and I at SeaWorld
Monday, September 7, 2020 - K and I at Discovery Cove
Tuesday, September 8, 2020 - K and I check out of the Hilton and transfer to AKL where we meet up with M, P, and Mom.
Wednesday, September 9, All of us at Disney
Thursday, September 10, All of us at Disney
Friday, September 11, All of us at Disney
Saturday, September 12, All of us return home :sad2:


There is still a bit of a surprise...I am not telling K that we are leaving early. I will pick her up on Friday after school and we will head to the airport straight from there!

There is also still a bunch of planning to be done, animal encounters to be booked, dining reservations (at the Shark restaurant!), and all of the Disney stuff once our ADR and FP windows open, but for the most part, this is the plan.
467617

Well, I may not be done, done but I have a couple of trips before this one that I can focus on as well, so I feel good about where this one is for now...At least until ADR's open in March!

If you've made it all this way, thanks so much for reading! Feel free to chime in with any insight, suggestions, etc. I don't really know anything about SeaWorld or Discovery Cove so any tips are appreciated!
 
  • mjhtvchick

    Universal Fan-atic
    Joined
    Apr 10, 2012
    Nice PTR!

    I maintain Discovery Cove, Aquatica and SeaWorld posts here on DISBoards, so if you have any questions, I will do my best to help! You will LOVE Discovery Cove - it is one of my favorite places in Orlando. We are actually in the process of planning a trip for late August and Discovery Cove will definitely be in the mix. We have also spent most of our vacation time at Universal these past few years and are looking for a little change but not quite ready to go back to Disney yet.

    Here are my threads:
    https://www.disboards.com/threads/seaworld-orlando-general-information.3714105/ (actually in the process of posting updates later today)
     

    crabbymom

    Slythermom to 2 'claws and a Princess
    Joined
    Nov 28, 2012
    Nice PTR!

    I maintain Discovery Cove, Aquatica and SeaWorld posts here on DISBoards, so if you have any questions, I will do my best to help! You will LOVE Discovery Cove - it is one of my favorite places in Orlando. We are actually in the process of planning a trip for late August and Discovery Cove will definitely be in the mix. We have also spent most of our vacation time at Universal these past few years and are looking for a little change but not quite ready to go back to Disney yet.

    Here are my threads:
    https://www.disboards.com/threads/seaworld-orlando-general-information.3714105/ (actually in the process of posting updates later today)
    Thanks! I will read both of these!
     

    macraven

    Proud Redhead
    Moderator
    Joined
    Apr 21, 2003
    Mjhtvchick does a fabulous job in keeping her threads updated and accurate!

    She is very knowledgeable
     

    crabbymom

    Slythermom to 2 'claws and a Princess
    Joined
    Nov 28, 2012
    Alright SeaWorld vets/experts, I need some help on Animal Experiences. We will be there for two full days, and there are three experiences that I really would like to book. I am not sure how long each lasts so I am worried about timing and cutting it too close to get from one to another. Here is what I am looking at:

    Day 1:
    Sharks Up Close is at 12:45
    Beluga Wales Up Close is at 1:45

    Day 2:
    (Maybe) Walrus Up Close at 1pm
    Killer Whales Up Close is at 2pm

    I am also planning on Dine With Sharks at the end of one of the days.

    So is this schedule do-able? How long (generally) are the encounters? She is currently fascinated with sharks, but since she is only 8 she cannot do some of the animal encounters. And she has already done a dolphin swim twice in other places.

    Any advice, comments, suggestions? The park is open from 9-8pm and we have Quick Queue Unlimited already as part of the package so I think we will have plenty of time to hit the rides even with these three (maybe four) encounters.
     
  • macraven

    Proud Redhead
    Moderator
    Joined
    Apr 21, 2003
    I don’t have an answer for you but hope someone can help you with your questions

    All I can do for you is bump your post up and hope it catches someone’s eyes that can help you
     

    crabbymom

    Slythermom to 2 'claws and a Princess
    Joined
    Nov 28, 2012
    That is going to cut it close (especially Day 1)
    Thanks Joanna. I thought I might be cutting is a bit close, both of those are ones she really wants to see so I guess I will have to see what we can work out.
     

    crabbymom

    Slythermom to 2 'claws and a Princess
    Joined
    Nov 28, 2012
    So what is this Electric Ocean? It looks like a light/sound/fireworks show!?!? K would LOVE that! So my questions:

    Is it a separately ticketed event?
    How late does it run?

    The dates listed are through September 6, should I go on the 5th (a Saturday night) or the 6th (the last night)?
     
  • Joanna71985

    <marquee><font color=green>Characters are my frien
    Joined
    Feb 28, 2005
    So what is this Electric Ocean? It looks like a light/sound/fireworks show!?!? K would LOVE that! So my questions:

    Is it a separately ticketed event?
    How late does it run?

    The dates listed are through September 6, should I go on the 5th (a Saturday night) or the 6th (the last night)?
    Electric Ocean is the summer night event at SW. It includes night shows with the animals that are different from the day shows (in the past it was a dolphin show, a sea lion show that is *awesome!*, and a killer whale show), a dance party, and a fireworks show (which is among the best in FL). The event is included with admission. If I remember correctly, the park closes at 9pm on EO nights. Lastly- Saturdays are typically busier of the 2 nights (just be aware the last night of EO was cancelled last year due to a hurricane, so take that into consideration)
     

    crabbymom

    Slythermom to 2 'claws and a Princess
    Joined
    Nov 28, 2012
    Electric Ocean is the summer night event at SW. It includes night shows with the animals that are different from the day shows (in the past it was a dolphin show, a sea lion show that is *awesome!*, and a killer whale show), a dance party, and a fireworks show (which is among the best in FL). The event is included with admission. If I remember correctly, the park closes at 9pm on EO nights. Lastly- Saturdays are typically busier of the 2 nights (just be aware the last night of EO was cancelled last year due to a hurricane, so take that into consideration)
    Awesome! Thank you so much for the response. Truthfully we could stay for both nights so I guess we will play it by ear, and keep and eye on the weather!
     

    crabbymom

    Slythermom to 2 'claws and a Princess
    Joined
    Nov 28, 2012
    Update on Tour Plans!!

    I have made our tour reservations and I think I am happy with our timing. It was going to be tight because the tours are timed so close together, so I nixed the Sharks tour and replaced it with the Behind the Scenes. Our schedule now looks like this:

    Saturday - Up-Close Tour: Walrus - 1pm
    Saturday - Up-Close Tour: Killer Whale - 2pm - Tight, but there was no other way to see both.
    Sunday - Up-Close Tour: Behind the Scenes - 10:30am
    Sunday - Priority Reservation - Sharks Grill - 11:45am
    Sunday - Up-Close Tour: Beluga - 1:45pm

    Hopefully SeaWorld will not change tour times on me, but if it happens I am sure we will figure it out!

    Also, our plane reservations are booked. We will fly in Friday night from Charlotte, landing about 9:20pm. K still doesn't know anything about it. I will just pick her up from school on Friday with our suitcases and head to the airport!
     

    Joanna71985

    <marquee><font color=green>Characters are my frien
    Joined
    Feb 28, 2005
    I've done killer whales, walrus, and beluga tours before. You are going to have a lot of fun
     

    Connect

    Disney News and Updates



    SUBSCRIBE TO OUR DAILY EMAIL
    Subscribe and never miss out on Disney News, Deals and Updates.






    UNIVERSAL PODCASTS


    UNIVERSAL ORLANDO VIDEOS


    UNIVERSAL ATTRACTIONS




    Top