ANNUAL WARNING: photo and detail heavy post...we are on holiday and these posts will be pretty boring
After a day of swimming, shopping and election watching...it was off to SeaWorld for a true Orlando experience.
First stop: pose with Shamu.
Poor Molly started the day with a very sore tummy. Like many other times in her little life, she rallied incredibly. Even though she was feeling awful in the picture above, you wouldn't know it to look at her. She is such a trooper.
She posed in front of flamingos with a big smile. What a girl. Within half an hour or so, she felt great.
We headed straight to the Shamu show. Eric wanted to sit in the sunshine, so we migrated to the lowest seats in the stadium...in the "soak zone". I wasn't too sure about that plan...but who am I to argue? They were good seats and it was warm in the sun.
But the whales are big...
And when they jump and arch like this...
...you get wet.
Luckily, Lukey (who got the wettest) was a good sport. It is pretty cool being splashed by a whale, after all.
The kids were shocked to hear that we used to have orcas in Vancouver. It does seem hard to believe now. I felt sure that these whales, born in captivity, are smaller than those we see in the wild. But they are plenty big.
The kids were entranced. The girls have a stuffed Shamu in their bed that Eric got on his family trip to SeaWorld in California when he was a little boy. They were excited to meet him in real life (and distressed to know that they recycle the name with each new whale...).
Eric is unable to walk past a midway basketball game. He failed. Six times. To be fair however, I maintain that he is TOO GOOD a shooter to sink these funky shots. His body is so attuned to its perfect form that it's tough to shot on messed up hoops.
Still, he was disappointed. And Finny pointed out every person we saw for the rest of the day carrying a huge stuffed octopus or whale. Way to rub it in...
On a side note: I want to be this next year for Halloween...
Next stop was the dolphin show. It was great. Dolphins are amazing.
And so are the guys that swim with them.
Or ride them...
The neat thing about these shows is the proximity we had to the animals. Again, we went to the soak zone. We didn't get wet and we were so close to the action.
On our way out of the dolphin show, we were right next to the Journey to Atlantis ride. The wait was short and we headed in...look at Lukey's faec. He was...apprehensive...to say the least.
Finny was super keen to ride in the front ALONE (look at Lukey).
Molly and I rode in the third row and Lukey rode in the second row with Eric.
Finny after the ride:
And evidence of our sweet son's total and complete terror on the big drop on this ride:
And in case you are wondering, yes I did take a picture of the screen showing the pictures. And that might be why you can't see my face. I assume I looked relaxed. Unlike my seat companion.
If you read our blog from Florida last year, you know that Molly has a love/hate relationship with rides. She agonizes over riding. And I mean, agonizes.
After Atlantis, Finny and Eric wanted to go on a massive steel coaster called the Kraken. Lukey wasn't tall enough, so Molly and I waited with him and I figured we'd go on when Finny and Eric got back.
But then Molly got thinking. And worrying. This picture was taken as she watched the coaster run a couple dozen times while we waited.
She went back and forth about twenty times. "Mumma, I'm in. I'll do it. It will be fun.....um....hmmm...(long pause)...I can't. I can't do it. I want to...but I am out." Poor thing.
It didn't help when she watched these two shoot past us. In the front.
It looked awesome.
And they came off saying it was just as awesome as it looked. Molly was confident. We went and lined up. Then she started to whimper.
The woman who buckled us in told her that if she didn't look a little happier, they would take her off the ride. Molly did not want to be thrown off the ride. But she couldn't make her face happy. So she hid behind her hands until we were out of the station. That's us in the second row.
She was so proud that she'd done it. So was I.
Finny became a wild woman. There was NO ALTERNATIVE...she WOULD TOUCH A DOLPHIN. She was possessed. And then Molly touched the whole side of one swimming by...and Finny lost her mind. Eventually, everyone in the family (except me) touched a dolphin, so everyone was happy.
And the kids scored trading cards for answering some animal trivia.
Lukey, who as you can see from the picture, was stumped. But he got an answer finally and got his own card.
Our last stop was the sting ray pool, where again, you could reach out and stroke the animals. They felt strange. I couldn't stop touching them. They were...actually, kind of indescribable feeling.
And apparently, not dangerous. They trim their stingers and acclimatize the animals to human contact.
I found them really beautiful.
Last stop was the huge lit up Christmas tree on the way out. It was such a great day at SeaWorld that we decided another day was necessary. We weren't expecting to do it, but the place is worth it! We told the animals that we'd see them tomorrow...!