Dolphins, Shows, and a Shamu Encounter

I had forgotten to say that after the Shark exhibit there were some storm clouds moving in. I wanted to get the moms out to the vehicles before rain started falling but Roxy hung back with the girls to stop at the Dolphin Nursery. While they were there one of the dolphin
handlers told us about the Dolphin feed and that the first one in the morning is the one to go to.

Our parents decided to sleep in and then meet us for breakfast so it was just Roxy, the girls, and me dragging ourselves out of bed. We got dressed, ate a quick breakfast, and were out the door. Sea World was just a mile down the road so we made it there in no time and parked right up front. I stopped a nice couple from either Australia or New Zealand (judging from their accents) and asked if they would snap a shot of us and they did:

Again back through the “special” door next to the customer service door to get our tickets and we were in and making a beeline for Dolphin Cove. Snapped another pic of the flamingos…

…and BUM PA PA BUM! We actually made it to a “rope drop” ….just still not one at Disney

When they let us through we headed down to the cove and were the very first family in line! We had to wait there for about 15 minutes before they opened. The handlers explained how to feed the dolphins and interact with them. You could tell the dolphins were hungry as they kept circling
around in front of us.

Bean was the very first one to the wall with her fish

Then Roxy and others started filtering up

Pumpkin Girl’s turn

And then Roxy

I didn’t bother with feeding them here since I knew we’d get good opportunities at Discovery Cove a few days later. So we moved down the wall to the petting area. The dolphins would pop up to see if we had food or to say “hi” or swim by so you could pet them

They were very active down by the underwater viewing area – thrashing and rolling over each other

We walked around the bend and down into the underwater viewing area. It was very cool the way they seemed to be watching us as intently as we were watching them 😀

More inquisitive dolphins and happy daughters

We circled around to the Ray Pool from there after a quick bathroom break

Everyone took turns petting them

and then Roxy bought some fishies to feed them with. It is the weirdest feeling to have them suck the fish from your hand!

even I got in on it

We ran out of fish and I looked at the time and saw it was time for us to leave and meet up with my parents for a breakfast buffet (Nana decided to stay home and rest/do some telecommuting prepping payroll for the company her and Roxy work for). As I was putting my camera away I had a pretty cool Disney moment …or I should say I gave one.

Set your clocks back to our first day at the Magic Kingdom. After PhilharMagic the fam had gone into the gift shop adjacent to the exit of the show and both girls picked up some trinkets. I was looking at pins and wanted one to put on my camera backpack. I had been looking at one with Mickey popping out the top of a “2008” where each of the numbers is themed like a character’s outfit and a “Walt Disney World” sign dangling below it. There was a big row of them and after looking at others I decided to get it.

We rung up our purchases and I took the pin out of the bag and started putting it on my camera bag. As I started to pin it I did a double-take. The pin I had in my hand was a 2008 pin, but it had Cinderella on top instead of Mickey! Roxy asked if I wanted to take it back in there and exchange it, but I said “no, this one is OK.” I had carried it around for the next 4 days and every once in a while it would catch my eye. It didn’t look right there, but something about it had made me hold on to it.

Roxy and the girls were just starting to leave the Ray Pool as I was putting on my backpack. Just then a Make A Wish family walked up to the pool (they were wearing the MaW T-Shirts). It clicked in my head and I thought about it for a few seconds, hoping I wouldn’t seem like a weirdo doing it, but walked up to the family. I asked the parents who’s Wish had
been granted and they pointed to their daughter (she looked to be around 6 or 7) and said her name. I leaned down and said “well then this is for you” and gave her the pin.

I know it was just a little thing, but it was great to see her face light up and it made me feel pretty good. They said thank you and I told them that I hoped they have a wonderful day and said goodbye. My fam had stopped a little ways off wondering what I was doing. When Roxy asked I
 said ‘oh, nothing’ and she gave me a funny look but let it go (I told her a bit later).

The girls had walked up to a face painting booth and since it was early we figured it would be worth paying the money to do it. Bean was a Swan and Pumpkin Girl was a blue fairy. I took a shot of them next to the Shamu at the exit

We got our hands stamped and hopped in our rig, spun up ye ole GPS and followed it to our breakfast destination at the Sizzler across from Ripley’s. My parents got a bit lost trying to get there from the resort, and at one point I didn’t help and sent them in the wrong direction! They finally got turned around and made it to us. DW had paid for us and had gotten the girls going with some food. So we were able to walk right up to our table and get plates and start piling on the vittles!

It was a very good breakfast buffet and our waitress was fantastic – very attentive and personable :-] After a great meal with them we all headed back to the resort. My parents decided to kick back for the day so we said goodbye to them. But Nana had finished up her work so the five of us headed back out to SeaWorld.

When we got to the gate we realized that we had washed off our hand stamps after eating breakfast! Luckily the guy working the turnstiles had a sharp eye and recognized the handiwork of his park’s face painters – lolol 😀 So we were in and headed straight to Pets Ahoy!

On the way in I snapped a shot of the cool sundial sculpture they have adjacent to the theater.

We got there at a good time and were right up front. Here’s a couple of shots of the girls right before showtime!

The Pets Ahoy! show is pretty self-explanatory. Lots of animals running around performing tasks and stunts with a story of the courtship between two dogs tying it together.

The jump rope stunt was cool

The obligatory feisty Jack Russel

The lovebirds

A stylin’ finale

Then the girls got to pet some of the “actors” 😀

It was a cute show with a good bit of humor in it. When we exited we luckily came out into a covered area. It was POURING rain …a complete torrential downpour. We had brought good rain gear so we got it out and decided to make a break for it instead of just huddling with the rest
of the crowd.

The girls wanted to take in the pearl diving, but the heavy rain had delayed the show. It was coming down so quick the gutters and drains were backing up, creating pools here and there. We rolled over to Voyagers restaurant until it abated. When it slacked off I went out and heard the oyster divers were about to go in so I went and got the rest of the fam.

So the the girls, Roxy, and I go down next to the oyster diving tank and here they came! Two GUYS!  Now I’m thinking to myself where are the cute girls in bikinis swimming around with the long flowing hair and all that??? Sigh. Well here’s a couple of shots for the ladies in the audience 😀

Roxy and the girls had them get pearls for them and had them mounted with their birthstones. While they were doing that I took Nana up to the Clyde and Seymour show, which was going to start in about 20 minutes. It had started drizzling again so it was good to find a place out of the weather.

After a bit the ladies showed up and Bean and Pumpkin Girl convinced Roxy to sit down in the ‘splash zone’ …also meaning that they sat out in the drizzle.

Luckily the rain slacked off just before show time. Now Clyde and Seymour and Shamu are the only two things that I have memories of from our big trip to SeaWorld San Diego when I was seven, so I was looking forward to this. And away we go!

The set was pretty cool

An otter drops anchor!

Our poor marooned souls

Where’d he go???

It was about right here that things started to go wrong. Apparently the sea lions weren’t much in the mood to hit their queues, which lead to some hilarious interactions with the cast members

The salute was cute 😀

The pirate captain wants help finding the treasure map!

Clyde (I think) skids to a halt to show the shipwrecked guy where the map might be

Now I don’t know if this is part of the show or not, but the hand reaching out is supposed to be his

….except the owner of the hand forgot to pull up his BLUE sleeve – lolol

Map ahoy!

The captain tries to “retrieve” the map

The map is dangled before the captain


Go get her Seymour

Who’s gonna do mouth to mouth? This entire scene was hilarious with little planned mis-cues

Treasure found!

Huzzah! The good guys have the treasure!

And the big finale!

After the show we talked to Roxy and she wanted to take the girls over to the Sea Lion habitat. It was starting to get close to our reservation time at The Cove Restaurant to dine with Shamu so Nana and I decided to head straight there. here are some pics that PumpkinGirl took at the habitat:

They caught back up with us just as they were opening the gates. They gave us special ID tags and took our picture with the pool in the background.

This was our table – right at the mid-point of the pool 😀

The trainers hung back and just sent the whales around (there were 2 of them) while we got our food. The dinner spread was buffet style and was very good. And the desserts were FANTASTIC! My fave was a cherry-chocolate cake – yum! Shamu kept us entertained while we ate

They made some big splashes

And got very up close and personal with us

Then the trainers started their presentation, talking about how they get trained and how they train
the whales.

She sent Shamu around to wave at us

It turns out that one of their favorite things is to have their tails sprayed with a high pressure hose.

Then Shamu came around to really say “hi”

While that was happening several of the trainers came around and singed autographs and took pictures – here is a shot of the girls with one of them

Now with dinner and that cool interaction under our belts it was time to go watch Believe! The girls again wanted the splash zone, so Roxy went down there while Nana, my camera and I parked up in the wheelchair-accessible tier.

Hey, doesn’t she look familiar?

The show of course opened with several big splashes!

The screen system they have is pretty impressive

More random splashes

It amazes me how close the trainers get to them when they jump!

Up, Up, and away!

Once around the park 😀

Big Hugs!!!


They sure can hold their breath well

Very cute :-]

High Five to Bean!

And to PumpkinGirl!

More pretty jumps

Shamu says “hi” to the crowd

He’s got good balance!

Very good balance!

They go under and come up for the last big jump!

This is one my Kyra took – isn’t it a great shot?!?

It was a really good show and a perfect way to end our evening there (or so I thought). We made our way out of the arena and followed the crowd back towards the entrance. Bean made a quick pit stop along the way to say ‘hi’ to some ducks.

We just missed the fountain display out in the lagoon, but it was still very pretty.

The tower looked pretty cool too

We almost made it out, but ended up spending about 45 minutes going through a couple of gift shops. We picked up some cool stuff for ourselves and for friends. Bean was picking up snow globes for her friends and Pumpkin was getting jewelry for hers. It was scary how much
we spent there – lol Of course we still couldn’t afford gems like this one …price tag of $10,000+

We again pretty much closed the park, keeping with our theme. I took a couple of shots of the little “harbor” on the way out

We drove back to the resort and did the standard collapse into chairs/couches and talked with my parents for a while about our day. We sent the girls off to showers and Roxy and I rolled back out to make a “quick trip” to switch out the printer we had picked up the day before (forgot to put that in Day 5). I had procrastinated setting up the printer and it turned out it was a dud, on top of being more expensive than we had intended to pay for one 😛

We got to Wal-Mart and were given the run-around and were eventually told that customer service was closed for the night and we’d have to come back tomorrow. That wasn’t an option as some reports had to be printed that night so we kept going from person to person until we got a supervisor and pleaded our case to her. She finally relented and let us exchange it.

By the time we got back it was very late and once I got everything set up Roxy had to stay up even later to print the reports. It was an exhausting and frustrating end to the day.

Tomorrow brings us back to “The World” ….but where will we go??? And what calamities are in store for us?????