Orlando 2001 – Seaworld

May6th, Clarion Hotel Universal, 5:10pm – In our nice, new clean room, with lovely view of Wet N Wild.

Katie’s best thing of the day: The whale jumped up with the lady on it.
Phil: The girl diving off the top of the whale’s jump.
Bev: Beauty of the park – it was gorgeous.

Today is day one – must be Seaworld.

We wake up at 5:15am and potter around the room for a while. We eventually decide to complain again about the room, and repack so that we can be easily moved. I go down to reception at 6:30am and am promised to be moved to a new room while we are out.

We have breakfast at Sizzler’s buffet which is nice – but what an enormous amount of food is on offer, we couldn’t possibly eat so much.
Phil spot;s 100’s of waiters getting on a bus, and we wonder where they are going, he has a theory about them being temporary staff at a theme park, when I realise they are not waiters at all, but a high school band going to a competition!

After breakfast, we head for Seaworld. I-drive, is quite tacky at the top, near us, but as we cross Sand Lake Road it changes and is much classier – the difference is quite apparent. We are very early so we drive past Seaworld looking for a Walmart or the like, but to no avail. We turn around and get to Seaworld just as it opens. We get our 5 park hopper passes, just as they are playing the national anthem. Katie is fast asleep and misses all the excitement.
As we entered the park, we had our picture taken and it is terrible, but we learn from it. We had bum bags & hats on, Katie was in her stroller (and asleep!) and we just looked daft. For the next days’ photos we prepare a little, by removing hats and bum bags, and getting Katie to stand, and we end up with some very nice family photographs.

First we saw some flamingos, and then I bought a visor as the sun was bright – I discovered later there are different styles of visor, and mine was a bit ‘nerdy’ , but it kept the sun out of my eyes. We walked through a very dark aquarium which Katie was not keen on, and then looked at a Rock pool exhibit, where Katie was able to put her hands right in the water. She loved this, and we spent quite a while here.

[IMG]https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-y5HcmdP0MIk/T94V4P-rWsI/AAAAAAAALIk/a7DKYqtNqI8/s512/019_16A-1.JPG[/IMG]
After this we walked over to the turtle exhibit, and had a quick look at them, before popping into a shop to buy Katie some sunglasses (Phil had stepped on her’s at the airport, and they were smashed) Choosing just the right pair takes ages, but we succeed and head into a super dolphin show. Although I found the advertising a little much. It was sponsored by Fuji Film, and at one point, a little girl is helping with the show, and ‘mum’ is taking pictures – only mum is a performer who ‘falls in’ and swims with the dolphins. At the end of these scene, they say ‘and mum was taking photo’s with her Fuji camera – which takes blah blah blah’ I didn’t think it was necessary considering there were plenty of logo’s, and they said ‘sponsered by Fuji Film’ a number of times in the opening announcement. Anyway – the show was good, and afterwards we and 10,000 other people walked down to the dolphin tank to feed the dolphins, Our timing was a little poor, as so many people were feeding the dolphins, that they really weren’t bothered about our tiny bit of fish, but we did manage a little pat and a stroke under the chin.

After the dolphin;s we walked through the Manatee exhibition, and saw a very good film as well as seeing the actual manatees. The film was ‘standing only’ but everyone sat on the floor and it was a nice break to get off our feet.

We decided to get some lunch next, and ate at a deli place right on the lakeside, ($18), the food was nice, and the view lovely, but we later learned to lunch in the a/c to cool off a little, as the days were very warm.

We walked over to the kids play area, which is a massive place full of areas to big and scary for me to let Katie play in them! But she did have a turn in the bouncy castle, which she enjoyed. She would have liked to stay longer, but we had a show to get to.
While we were at the playarea, we spotted a lost child, he was about 2 or 3 (in a nappy) walking around crying, clutching his trousers (Not wearing them, just carrying them). The CM’s seemed very good, and walked around with him for quite a while helping him to look for his mum. I did think they should have had radios, so they could let the other CM’s know they had him in case the mum approached someone else. We saw the boy reunited with his mum later, and to be honest, I wouldn’t be surprised if she lost him again, she was walking miles ahead, shouting generally in his direction ‘Do keep up’ . I felt like giving her Katie’s reins to use.

Shamu: This show was really the highlight of the day. We sat up near the top out of the splash zone, but we still did get a little wet. The medium size shamu (they are all called shamu) did a super show, while her baby watched on, and then later the Huge Shamu came out, and basically just drenched everyone. They seemed to concentrate a lot on how wet could they get everyone, but it was still hugely enjoyable, and Katie is still talking about it.
At this point, we decided to leave the park, but we passed a water skiing show so we ended up watching that too. I’m not a big fan of water skiing show’s, but is was ok.

We had intended to leave Seaworld early, and go to Universal in the afternoon, but it is 3:30 by the time we leave and we are hot and tired.

We are still looking for that elusive Walmart, but can’t find it, so we pull into Pointe Orlando, which is quite upmarket, and not really what we are looking for, but a friendly sales assistant gives me directions to Kmart, which turns out to be quite near our hotel. We find Kmart, and buy a foam cooler, a bottle of water, some snacks that we never eat, and a water bottle – this was probably our best purchase.

Back to our lovely clean hotel room by 5:15pm.

We all go for a swim, and Katie plays Shamu for quite a while, and I am now starting to wonder what we should have for tea.

Sunday, 6th May 9pm:

We went to Denny;s for tea last nigh, I can’t remember what we ordered but it was fine. At the next table, an English couple were complaining loudly, and as far as I could tell they were unhappy that the tomatoes were too big….

Today – we woke up early again, about 5:45, but we took ages to get ready. We are headed to IOA and want to be there early, so we skip breakfast and head straight for the park.
The carparks are miles away, and it seems the earlier you arrive the farther away you have to park. We were in Jaws 13 and walked forever, but eventually we reached the park.

It looks brilliant, I love all the details in the scenery and could spend ages browsing in Port of Entry, but after having a super photo taken, we head for Seuss Landing.
https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-HMvAK9t1Lxk/VXSN9HkiuBI/AAAAAAAAfMs/mitsUk7S2Dk/s2048/ioa.jpg

It is brilliant to look at, and absolutely deserted. We walk straight onto Caro-suess-el. Katie and I sit in a car, and Phil has a strange creature. We are the only riders on.

After this, we have a quick debate, 1 fish, 2 fish, or the Cat in the Hat. Katie is keen on 1 fish, 2 fish, until I mention that she might get wet. She refuses to go anywhere near it, so we opt for the Cat in the Hat. Big Mistake!

We walk straight on, and it starts out tamely enough, then suddenly in the middle is starts to spin quite quickly, and it’s very dark with a strobe effect, Katie was not amused. We get off and she is looking quite pale ‘Did you like that’ I asked her, already knowing the answer and she just shakes her head and starts to cry. I feel like a very rotten mother.

We are now a bit stuck Cat in the Hat is too scary, and 1 fish, 2 fish too wet. What should we do next?

Spiderman call’s us, so we head over there, and watch the Hulk and Dr Doom on the way – No thanks, these do not appeal to us at all.

We walked straight onto Spiderman, and did a baby swap. This works really well, they have a lovely a/c room to wait in. While I wait, I start to get nervous and wonder what I am letting myself in for. Phil returns and proclaims it excellent, so off I go.

It is excellent. The 3-d effects are brilliant, especially coupled with heat and water. I completely missed the plot line, but thoroughly enjoyed the ride. At the final drop, I kept reminding myself, ‘It’s only 6 feet’ as the effect is amazing. Two thumbs up for Spidey.

We head off to Toon Lagoon, and watch the log flume for awhile. Decide against that, but Phil goes for the Bluto Bildge Barges, while I take Katie to ‘Me Ship, Me Olive’ (where I took some super photo’s on Phil’s camera – more on that later.)
It was a big hit, and we can watch all the wet riders on the rafts too, although I never spotted Phil. He arrived back rather damp (he was soaked), but happy enough, and we headed for Camp Jurrassic.

We stop by a fountain in the park, which Katie is scared to play in, and take some more cute photos….

We find the play area in Jurassic Park and head in there. This is a very scary play area. If you step on the wrong thing, the whole park ‘Roars’ with dinosaur noises, and yup – you guessed it, Katie was terrified. I am starting to really worry that this was the wrong holiday for Katie.

We cooled off in the ‘Research Center’ and name a newly hatched Dinosaur – Barney (seemed like the obvious name to me).

We leave here and walk quickly through the next area (it was middle easterny) which is a shame as it looked brilliant, but we wanted to be at Circus McGurcus for11:45. We get there, and buy a nice lunch. I had chicken cesear salad, Phil had spaghetti and meatballs, Katie had a bit of our food. We saw a superb show. Cat in the Hat, Thing 1 and Thing 2, and Sam I am, all appear along with the grinch, Katie enjoys the show from behind the safety of the table, but is not interested in having her photo taken, or a cuddle.

After lunch we check out the book store, they have some books out to read, and cosy chairs, I think this is Katie’s favorite part of the park.

We head into the playarea here, which is also excellent. I had brought Katie’s swimsuit, so we changed her and she spent about an hour playing in the little stream and avoiding anything that might splash her. Phil took more photo;s, then starts to wonder why he had taken, 27, 28, 29 and it hasn’t rewound. There is no film in the camera! Since we left the UK he has had no film in. All around Seaworld, IOA, Circus McGurcus. I have had my crummy camera with me, so we have a few photo’s, but not many. We put a film in, and take a few pictures, then rush back to the 2nd showing at Circus McGurcus and take some pictures of the characters.
Katie quite bravely talks to Cat in the Hat, from the safety of her buggy, but Phil misses the shot due to a ladys’ rather large bum being in the way. (Not mine I hasten to add)>

We decide to call it a day and head out of the park – stopping by to buy our super photo. It takes us an hour to get to the car from Suess Landing, which is a bit ridiculous. Katie is asleep in her buggy, and as I lift her into the car, she mumbles – ‘Not the Cat in the Hat’ in her sleep – I think I’ve traumatised her!

We head for Celebration, although I have a little trouble with East/West when we want South on I4, and we head the wrong way on I4 for quite a while before we realise our mistake.
Eventually we get to Celebration. This is a really nice town, just like what you ‘expect’ America to look like. It’s not really reality, but I like it. We had a look around a few $400,000 showhomes, and while they were very nice, for the money they were pretty small by American standards. And they had no gardens at all, but they did have lots of enormous closets. Apparantly there are cheaper houses, that we could perhaps afford, but we didn’t find them.

We went to Front street, and had some lovely ice-cream in the café, and I popped into Goodings to buy a newspaper (it was supposed to have a 40% off scrapbooking voucher, but I never found it).

We return to the hotel, and I collapse on the bed while Phil & Katie swim.

For tea, we decide to try Johnny Rockets, which SallyBrealy recommended. It took me a while to work out where it was, but we found it, and the food was super. The service was amazingly fast, and a great juke-box, they even gave us some free nickels to put in it.
https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-FNYxdY11lUo/VXSYJF0UC7I/AAAAAAAAfOM/1EjV3A47FdA/s640/2001-may-orlando-013.JPGhttps://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-TX3yjG4rP1k/VXSYKDru0OI/AAAAAAAAfOU/i95o0VmeDg4/s640/2001-may-orlando-014.JPG
We did a spot of window shopping, and Katie was running around Victoria’s secret with g-string knickers going ‘look at these funny pants, mummy’ time to go home. On the way out, we passed some bars playing music, and Katie had a great time boogying away as we walked out. [IMG]https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-0Xort2rYw1I/VXSYFfcVaYI/AAAAAAAAfOE/d4hdbF5mSzQ/s640/2001-may-orlando-012.JPG[/IMG]We get back to the room at 9pm, and are ready for bed,

Goodnight!

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