So, today was back to Sea World. We traded Walt for Shamu and had a great day. Ok, so the music for the dolphin show was really bad (and where were the whales at Whale and Dolphin Stadium?) but the tricks were great. The stingray petting was fun as was the dolphin feeding. I recall the SeaWorld Aquarium with nostalgia and was disappointed to learn that it was torn dow years ago and replaced with a few other exhibits. In fact, to be honest, I found the aquariums a bit disappointing compared to others I have seen (particularly that in Sydney at Darling Harbor). Perhaps I am jaded but i have already walked under sharks (even at the way overpriced CInéAqua in Paris) and really missed the 3-story tank with loads of fish and sharks. That being said, my son Wagner to go see it twice. Now, what was annoying was that one had to redo au the entire circuit (almost 10 minutes of other fish, barracudas, and frogs) before getting back to the shark tunnel. And in fact, the sharks are rather typically tame sharks as I saw most recently in the aquarium in Montpellier: tiger sharks, bull sharks and sawfish. [Nota bene: the restaurant on the Shark Experience area where you eat in front of the shark aquarium was pricey but still pretty good with good service. Probably the best place in the park]
As for the rides, and as my foursquare account will attest, I experienced Manta (less than 18 months old) and Kraken and found both exhilarating. Manta is incredibly original because you are upside-down the whole time. Kraken is longer (probably about 100 seconds compared to about 60 seconds for Manta) and scary as well. I think the sensations (particularly the 3+ G fall and loop at about :15 or so after the start) were stronger on Manta but they were both top class as far as roller-coasters go.
Another positive point: Shamu’s Happy Harbor was a total success with my son who climbed and ran around like a banshee for quite a while enjoying himself thoroughly. The Shamu show from outside the Splash Zone was fun (but was the advertising and stand-up salute of the military absolutely necessary?) as was the Extreme bit with polar bears, walruses and belugas – none of which I had ever seen before.
Overall, we all appreciated SeaWorld for being much more calm than Disney. There was also more shade and plenty of aircon and far less wait time for the attractions. Plus, there was the Happy Harbor kids area which was a lifesaver for us!
Afterwards, I checked TripAdvisor in the iPhone and discovered Yellow Dog Eats Café which I reviewed over on their site. Two thumbs up – a definite must for avoiding theme park dinner or Wendys…