Grateful, Thankful, Blessed: our 25th Anniversary SeaWorld Celebration (Spring ’18 TR)

Discussion in 'Sea World / Discovery Cove' started by Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina, May 18, 2018.

  1. Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina

    Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina DIS Veteran

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    :cheer2::banana::woohoo::cool1:

    I'm getting more than a little excited :blush:.
     
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  2. afan

    afan DIS Veteran

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    I'm starting to get excited now that my SF trip has passed. We check-in in 51 days so I leave in 50! I'm watching hurricane Florence due to friends and my house in NC, I think it'll just be a lot of rain. My house isn't in a flood plain and is on a hill so my only concern would be trees from across the street that hopefully the power poles would stop and limbs from my oak trees. I think the trees are big enough they will be ok, but my inept management co never did get them trimmed like I asked multiple times so fingers crossed I don't mess up my neighbors fence.

    I'm also FP stalking trying to change one to Flights of Passage and one to Slinky Dog on days my friend is there, I have both after she's left. But we have plans in place otherwise because all of the planning is done. No clothes to buy, do need to get the hair done and the running in but that's it which is kinda nice. Knock on wood nothing else pops up for me.
     
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  4. Joanna71985

    Joanna71985 <marquee><font color=green>Characters are my frien

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    Looks like a great trip!

    Will do!
     
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  5. Inhislove

    Inhislove Mouseketeer

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    We aren’t pass holders anywhere this year (thanks to a precious baby girl who joined our family this year), so I can’t see the pass holder site for Discovery Cove. How much was the normal DC day pass holder rate (without dolphin swim)?
     
  6. AntimonyER

    AntimonyER Mouseketeer

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    Yay for signing up for another Discovery Cove day! @$99 how could you not?

    Watching Hurricane Flo this morning, living in Coastal Georgia, we are kind of on the edge, not supposed to get anything serious, but not out of the woods yet.
     
  7. Ruthie5671

    Ruthie5671 DIS Veteran

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    Your trip sounds amazing - just like the all do. But I'm thinking that your arm isn't too bruised up by all the twisting it took to convince you to book DC for your trip! Hehehe!
     
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  8. Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina

    Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina DIS Veteran

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    Friday, May 11th: Discovery Cove, continued

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    The Wind Away River at Discovery Cove is probably our favorite attraction in the park. I’m not sure how long the loop is, but it takes a good while to go all the way around…….not stopping, its got to be easily 20 minutes to do the full circle (perhaps even more). The depths change throughout the river – anywhere from waist deep to more than 8 feet – and the river floor is sandy in places and stony in others. We always find water shoes a must in the lazy river to protect against battered toes.

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    The speed of the current changes as you float along, there are multiple waterfalls, and the river passes through the free-flying aviary, under bridges, and beneath at least one fallen “tree”. The lush foliage, mature trees, and thick bushes evoke the feeling of floating through the jungle.

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    There are even a few sunken surprises below the surface of the water, for those that enjoy putting the complimentary snorkels and masks to good use. Great places for some underwater photographs.

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    Another reason we love this water feature: the water temperature is ALWAYS warm. Bathwater warm :worship:. Which is exactly the way I like it :thumbsup2.

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    We would revisit the Wind Away River several times throughout the course of the day.

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    Another spot we enjoy immensely is the Freshwater Oasis.

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    The newest water feature at Discovery Cove (I believe it opened in….2014, I think?), it too boasts a luxurious water temperature and a lush tranquility that just oozes that vacation feel.

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    At the entrance to the Freshwater Oasis, there are an assortment of sunken loungers where you can enjoy a snack and a beverage from the adjacent food pavilion

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    [Side note: the snack huts have the most AMAZING warm chocolate chip cookies in the afternoon, and we justified an extra indulgence (or two) with the fact that we were doing lots of swimming to burn off those calories].

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    While the Wind Away River showcases the beautiful birds of the aviary, the Freshwater Oasis boasts some animal awesomeness of its own: specifically a family of marmosets on the center island (who were camera shy on the day of our visit, though we could see their tiny bodies snoozing in the natural alcoves on the island) and these adorable creatures:

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    The five Asian otters who inhabit their own special section of the Oasis take cuteness to a whole new level :love:. Watching them work and play, they actually remind me of a group of kittens……those faces are simply captivating.

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    A wall of glass separates the otters from DC guests, but the large viewing area allows for visitors to enjoy the otters from both above and below the water. Definitely another place where you can put those snorkels to good use if you are so inclined :thumbsup2.

    Still more Discovery Cove yet to explore! Stay tuned!

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  9. chiamarie

    chiamarie DIS Veteran

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    Yes, dinner on Saturday works. However, I am usually early on Sundays, so i will probably will head off after dinner.
     
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  10. Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina

    Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina DIS Veteran

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    Yay!! I can't wait! :jumping1:

    Assuming your schedule doesn't change between now and then, will you be at SW on either of our planned days? (Sunday and Thursday?)
     
  11. Joanna71985

    Joanna71985 <marquee><font color=green>Characters are my frien

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    DC question- is it possible to use an actual camera in the aviary and by the otters? I have a water-camera, but I'd prefer to use my Nikon if it's possible
     
  12. Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina

    Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina DIS Veteran

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    I heard this morning that Florence has lost a bit of her steam (which is awesome) but that she's still poised to dump a crazy amount of rain regardless. Sending good vibes your way that your home weathers the storm without incident, and that your friends remain safe. Did they evacuate?

    It's crazy how close our vacations are creeping up, isn't it?? Fingers crossed that the Disney Gods smile on your Fastpass efforts: it would be super fun for you to experience those new attractions with your friend.

    Normal price for October 31st is listed at $229 for the dolphin swim package. Passmember price is $170. Passmember day resort only is $100. So our dolphin swim day came in a dollar under the price for the day resort only.

    That was our thinking, too!!

    Florence looks like she could be a real shrew, so stay in and stay safe. Hopefully forecasts are correct and your area gets away without any major issues. Do keep us posted so we know you're alright!

    You guys all know me so well, I'm sure you're well aware that I was already so close to the edge of booking that a sneeze would have pushed me the rest of the way :p. Everyone's wonderful reassurance just made me feel far less guilty about the splurge ;). I don't know WHY I always feel guilty when I add on those kinds of fun extras, but I do :confused3.

    You can enter and exit the aviary without having to get wet or be in the water (though you can also enter the aviary through the Wind Away River if you so chose as well). There's a direct path from the walkway to the aviary entrance. For the otters, though, the only path to them is through the water: there's no way to avoid getting wet. So you will likely want to use your waterproof camera when taking pictures of them in the Freshwater Oasis.
     
  13. afan

    afan DIS Veteran

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    None of my friends are on the coast, they are all inland in the Charlotte area or Raleigh area. So they are looking more at all the rain since Flo seems to have slowed to a crawl.

    It is crazy. I still haven't figured out how we're already in September :)
     
  14. pattyw

    pattyw DIS Veteran

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    Loving all the DC pictures! Makes me so excited that we'll be adding on a DC day next month! and at $99!!!:cheer2:

    I think you said adding the enhanced drink package wasn't worth it?
     
  15. Joanna71985

    Joanna71985 <marquee><font color=green>Characters are my frien

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    Thank you! That is good to know
     
  16. Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina

    Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina DIS Veteran

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    Have you heard any updates on how your house, and that of your friends', are faring? I've seen some of the news footage, and OMG....the rain :eek:. Some reports said that some areas could get 2.5 feet before its all over......I can't even wrap my head around that. I am praying that you are spared any flooding.

    We, personally, didn't find the enhanced drink package worth the $30 extra per person. I wasn't fond of the sangria, and that was the real draw for me (sangria is my FAVORITE drink.....but DC's version was sadly not the best :(). The cuba libre was fine, the rum punch was okay.....but nothing stood out. We would have been just as satisfied with wine and beer that was included and saved ourselves $60. It just lacked "value".
     
  17. afan

    afan DIS Veteran

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    It started hitting the Charlotte area this afternoon. They could get 6-12 inches of rain which is nuts. There were some winds 60+ that were closer than I would like and am hoping as the storm moves west it loses some of that. For my house it's the wind I'm concerned about, though that much rain can cause issues. I'm not worried about flooding. I haven't seen much from friends on fb but I think they're all smart enough for the most part to stay safe and hopefully they are all away from anything that floods. A friend that owns a condo on the beach got lucky, her side is all fine but the other half that's attached wasn't. Not sure what that'll mean over all but at least her side is all intact with the 4-8 units it has.
     
  18. petals

    petals Irish Princess because Cinderella said so!

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    Joining in alot late.
    I love your photokey shot of you holding the shamu so cute.

    With the dance party I wouldn't care if it was for kids I'd totally join in but probably at the side :rotfl2:

    Good to note not to wear Green to seaworld for the green screens!

    Is Empire of the Penguin a fast ride? That was not there when we were in Orlando last?
     
  19. chiamarie

    chiamarie DIS Veteran

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    I should be at SeaWorld both days. As for my actual scheduled shifts, that's up for debate.
     
  20. Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina

    Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina DIS Veteran

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    Let's see if we can get our DC day wrapped up....

    Discovery Cove is a very easy day by planning standards....you don't need any kind of a plan at all, since there are no crowds and no schedules and everything you could want or need is included. By nature, then, our days there become very free-flowing: we just kind of move from place to place, from water feature to water feature to the aviary to the food stations as we feel so inclined. It's hard to do a report as to what we did first, second, third, etc., so for our DC days, its easier to give a summary of what there was to do in each area.

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    The final water area that I haven't yet talked about is the Grand Reef: a favorite for many visitors to Discovery Cove.

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    Featuring the coldest water in the park (aside from the dolphin pools, which are a tad cooler yet.....but access to those areas is limited to short periods and only those guests participating in a dolphin swim), it is home to an assortment of colorful exotic fish, beautiful rays, and numerous sharks.

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    Snorkels are provided by the park, with the mouthpiece being yours to keep at the end of the day (only the googles need to be returned for re-use). The area has a soft, sandy bottom dotted by beautiful coral formations. For this reason, I strongly recommend you wear water shoes in this area as well: your toes will thank you ::yes::.

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    While the Grand Reef is lovely, its not our favorite spot to spend the day, so we generally spend less time here than in the Wind Away River and Freshwater Oasis. We're warm-water people, so the cooler temps always take a bit to get used to. I also find the feel of the fish and rays touching your legs as they swim by......some of them are MASSIVE!!!.....a teeny bit on the unnerving side :crazy2:. Super cool, but oddly bizarre at the same time. So we generally take the Grand Reef in smaller doses throughout the day, rather than as a main destination.

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    While its oddly unnerving, let me say how incredible it is to have the unique opportunity to literally reach out and touch this stunning creatures. It's one of those moments where I just feel so grateful for the chance to have these kinds of experiences. To give you an idea of how large some of the rays are, check out the size of the animals next to the size of the hand in this picture:

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    Steve was napping on one of my visits to the Grand Reef that afternoon, and I was so sorry he missed coming along because a DC staffer was feeding the rays and they were all up close and super interested in interacting. He was a tiny bit jealous of my pictures when I showed him.

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    The large fish were equally as interested in the afternoon snacks, so several of them swam by where I was standing as well.

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    The area for the sharks is sectioned off toward the back of the Grand Reef, keeping them away from the free-swimming area where the rays and fish are.

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    If you are swimming in the Grand Reef, you can get up close along a glass wall and have the feeling of swimming alongside the sharks, very similar to the way the otters are featured in the Freshwater Oasis. These photos were taken from the elevated bridge and walkway that also borders the shark enclosure, giving guests another vantage point to observe these beautiful creatures.

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    As I mentioned, Steve was enjoying a siesta during on of my visits to the Grand Reef, and I found him like this when I finally returned to seek him out:

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    We stayed right through until park close. The day there always goes SO fast.

    We returned our swim vests to one of the wet suit stations:

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    .....changed back into our street clothes, and headed back toward the exit to the park. We gave our sandy feet one final rinse at the foot rinse station (hoping to keep any from tracking into the Uber driver's car):

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    ....and beckoned the Uber as we strolled along the pathway toward the check-in building.

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    Our driver was literally pulling up as we walked out the doors of the check-in building. Perfect timing :thumbsup2::yes::.

    Arriving back at the resort, our weary, sun-soaked, waterlogged bodies craved no additional time in the pool or hot tub. We set to work doing final loads of laundry, and pre-packing the suitcases to facilitate a seamless morning. We had an early check-out on the itinerary, as the rental vehicle needed to be back at MCO by 8:30 in preparation for our 10:30 am flight home. It was hard to believe the trip was pretty much over.

    Our departure day, and the final tally of the cost all the fun :scared1: is next.
     
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  21. pattyw

    pattyw DIS Veteran

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    Yeah- I think the regular drinks will be fine, too. I decided to book one of the new daybeds for our day! They look nice! It says they hold 2 adults so we'll see if it's worth it. It was $79. I felt a little guilty on the price, but I figured with the steal of a deal we got, why not?
     

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