On Friday we had planned to go to Sea World. It was my husband’s first free day, and his only free days were really Sunday, Friday and Saturday. But the first Sunday he had to rest due to having a concussion. But, I had learned about the Star Wars Weekends at Disney Hollywood Studios and the Jedi training. A friend said that her kids really enjoyed it, and Star Wars is Brian and Dan’s “thing” together. They watch all the movies together and so on. Originally Dan didn’t want us to split up on Friday (me, Kevin and MIL would still go to Sea World) and I should have listened to him. But I wanted them to have a special daddy day, so I talked them into the Star Wars thing. (and I’m still beating myself up over this!)
Sea World also owns Sesame Place and I am now in my 3rd year as ambassador for them. It’s my “home” so to speak…these are my people! I should have never strayed from them. But I did. I was very impressed with Sea World overall–the landscaping and overall atmosphere is beautiful. It’s fun without being too crazy or too hectic. The longest wait sign for a ride that we saw was 60 minutes and I know that Disney had 3-4 hour waits for things, and that is not even a popular park for them. I was surprised that it is much nicer than I expected it to be. I am even more proud to be a part of the Sesame Place/Sea World family now.
First, the Disney tickets were expensive, the most expensive of the parks we visited. And, I was told that you had to get there early (an hour before opening) to get in line to then get your Jedi training tickets. This turned out to be true as most of the Jedi trainings are full by 10 am. So their morning looked like this: I dropped them off at 8. They picked up their park tickets at will call then waited in line for an hour to enter the park. Upon entering, they rushed to the Jedi signups, only to wait in line again for another 30-45 minutes. Brian got a noon slot for the Jedi training and so they went over to the Toy Story Ride. They waited in line for over 2 hours….and then had to leave the line or they would have missed the Jedi training. So now, since about 8 am all they’ve done is wait in line. They were hot, tired, frustrated…and Dan sent me a text at Sea World that just said, “this sucks.”
Now, we got to Sea World around 9 and had a fabulous experience from the beginning. No lines to mention, we parked close and the great people at Sea World were able to print my Sesame Place season pass so that I could use it for discounts. We had disability access to the 10:00 dolphin show and had prime seating. And then I started receiving Dan’s texts about how unhappy Brian was “Dad, what are we even doing here?” and Dan’s “this sucks.” I’m looking around at how fantastic Sea World was, and now I’m in tears. I was crying behind my sunglasses at the show, because I so regretted my decision to coerce them into the Star Wars thing. I googled it and timed it out, and I could have picked them up, drove them over to Sea World and we all could have been together again by 1 or 1:30. Dan texted that wasn’t necessary, that they would get lunch and they’d be fine. It wasn’t much consolation.
When we made these trip plans, we said “No Disney” and I should have stuck to that. The lines there are terrible and what they promote on the website as far as their “Star Wars Weekends” is a huge disappointment. There is one Star Wars ride and the Jedi training and that’s about it. Don’t waste your time. I will regret this one for a long time. Brian would have loved Sea World. Oh, and even better….when they went to get lunch, they were told that they were “out of cold drinks.” How does a place in Orlando in May run out of cold drinks? I will not go back there no matter how much Star Wars stuff they put in.
Sea World was fantastic. We mostly saw shows and exhibits. We skipped the rides because Kevin gets to ride rides often at Sesame Place, but seeing the other stuff is new to us so we made that a priority. We had a lovely lunch overlooking their pond/lake. The food was good. It was crowded with school field trips, but not much you can do about that. I wish I lived close enough to Sea World that it was a field trip option for my kids!
Sea World Orlando-Special Needs visiting tips
- They have plenty of family restrooms although overall it did not feel like there were as many restrooms as other parks.
- Lines can be long, see about getting a pass if you think you will need one.
- It is well shaded throughout the park and plenty of quiet spots to retreat and regroup.
- Plenty of food options, but always check if you have specific concerns.
- They do not have straws or lids for cups, I was told it is for the animals’ safety. However, my son cannot drink from a cup so this was a challenge for us.
- Plenty of accessible parking and accessibility to exhibits, shows and rides.
A couple of years ago, we visited the traveling exhibit from Sea World when it was at the King of Prussia mall. I was excited to finally see the real exhibit but we had to miss it. Dan and Brian texted that they were ready for me to come get them, so I did. Their day was such a bust, I had to go pick them up when they asked and not make them wait for a shuttle. So unfortunately Disney ruined everyone’s day.
The roller coaster there looked amazingly thrilling, but no way would I go on it. We wanted to go on the Atlantis ride too, but passed on it so that I could go pick up Dan and Brian. We had saved Atlantis and Antarctica for the end of the day and then it just didn’t happen. The folks at Sea World were great and it was the best experience it could have been. The parts of the day that stank were not due to Sea World. I highly recommend a visit to Sea World as part of your Orlando vacation. I’m very anxious to go back!
Here is what was on our itinerary, read all the posts in the series:
- Staying at the Nick Hotel and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles dinner-a great decision for accommodations
- Special Needs Travel Review of Legoland, Florida-so much to do in so little time
- Special Needs Travel Review of Universal Orlando Resort-not to be missed!
- Special Needs Travel Review: Sea World Surprises but Disney Disappoints
- Special Needs Travel Review of Kennedy Space Center-another must see!
- Our trip gets off to a rough start, but Southwest comes through!