Back in 2019 we visited SeaWorld Orlando with Zach’s family and it was our first time as a family as well (you can read the post here!)
We were surprised by how much we loved it! I have great memories of SeaWorld as a young child but always knew Zach wasn’t super into animal kinda stuff so I’ve never even made a case as to why we should visit. Going with his fam was the perfect opportunity to check it out and, shockingly, KYE loved it the most! Turns out SeaWorld has some pretty epic rollercoasters and thrill rides! Who knew!
During the day of that visit we had really bad weather and apparently SeaWorld offers a rain day ticket where because we purchased a single day ticket we were able to reuse that ticket for another full day at the park. It originally was set to expire one year from the first ticket being used which would have been June 2020 but with everything shutting down they extended our ticket through Sept 2021!
In planning out our trips for 2021 I thought revisiting SeaWorld during Kye’s birthday week over Spring Break would be the perfect timing. It wasn’t too hot yet like it would be if we waited for summer and he enjoyed it so much that it’d make a great birthday surprise day for him 😉
Thankfully Zach was back to feeling 100% better and was ready for a full day at the theme park! Since we only had ONE day we wanted to make the most of it so we planned to stay ALL day and skip naps and just do all the things!
With our tickets essentially being free (we paid for the original day obviously but truly this make up day was a completely free bonus day!) Zach and I looked into ways to make the day extra-special. It was a great opportunity to do a bonus item we wouldn’t normally do!
The first add-on we decided to purchase was the Quick Queue Unlimited. We purchased this pass for both Zach and Kye to allow them to ride the big rollercoasters as many times as they wanted without a wait. The pass is only eligible on certain attractions and varies in price depending on the day you plan to purchase.
I did later learn that we could have probably gotten Zach and Mrs Charlotte some sort of disability pass similar to what we use at Disney but we honestly just don’t think about their disabilities often! It took someone reaching out to me a few years ago for me to even learn about the pass at Disney and we’ve been pass holders at Universal for a year now and have JUST used the pass there for the first time.
We’re very blessed that Zach is doing so well that his health concerns aren’t at the forefront of our minds. 🙂 (Zach has Multiple Sclerosis, you can read more about our journey here).
The second add-on we purchased for the day was the All Day Dining Deal. We had seven people in our party and purchased 2 adults and 2 kids passes and it was PLENTY of food for the full day!
It was a VERY chill set up with the meal passes. They handed us the passes and they are a bracelet you can wear but they encouraged us NOT to wear them and that way we could hand them off to each other and divide up who went to get the food etc. We never had a single issue about that and there was no rule about sharing etc.
The only real stipulation was that you’re not allowed to use the passes within an hour of last use. So when you scan the band to get the food your clock resets for an hour. Which is also not an issue because you spend that long waiting in line for the food anyway ha!
Kye LOVES food and really wanted to do a buffet for his birthday so I knew the all day food would be a great gift for him and I was right. PLUS the food at SeaWorld is legit good. More on the pass to come! But you can learn about all the extras and add ons here.
We always arrive at a theme park about an hour before park opening. That did NOT serve to be any sort of advantage at SeaWorld. If anything, it was a frustration. The reality is that other theme parks just aren’t Disney. The team members at SeaWorld were pretty clueless and not helpful and even once we got into the park NOTHING was open.
We spent a lot of time walking around and feeling frustrated because we didn’t even know a time for WHEN to get in line for attractions! I also was on a personal mission to get Zach some flip flops. He’d left his slides at home and I knew if he wore tennis shoes on the water rides that he’d be miserable all day! Luckily I was able to eventually find him a pair 🙂
We found the only restaurant that was serving breakfast and divided up to allow some of the crew to ride rides with Zach while the rest of us got the food.
You do NOT have to eat the food in the dining area, everything can be taken to go so that’s what we did for the breakfast.
We ended up getting in line for the first show of the day, the dolphin show, and enjoying the breakfast while we waited.
It IS smart to bring refillable cups as there are NO lids or straws at SeaWorld so being able to pour drinks into something else is helpful!
Right away Spear LOVED the show which made my heart happy! The Key West crew agreed that the dolphin show we saw at Theater of the Sea was actually better than SeaWorld’s which is surprising!
Spear was SUPER cute all day long with his siblings. He was especially all about Kye which Kye just ate up!
It was a HUGE advantage to have three adults for this day! The food situation was a LOT and being able to divide up was HUGE. If we’d all had to stay together or all really cared about riding rides or seeing shows we would have been in trouble with the food pass.
The lines for food were ALWAYS LONG. Like CRAZY long. Like took a legit hour to get food long.
It’s a case where it really works out that Zach and I like different things at theme parks. I don’t mind missing rides and waiting for food, he doesn’t mind missing shows and waiting for food. And G-Mama is always our down for whatever trooper 😉
There are a great variety of experiences at SeaWorld but it IS similar to Universal in that there aren’t a TON of thrills for Tessie to experience. She loved Infinity Falls and Journey to Atlantis! Both you get WET so it’s wise to pack a change of shoes and rain gear especially if you have kids or husbands who don’t like getting soaked (Britt lovessss to get drenched, I think she’s my only one though).
The line for lunch was so long that I didn’t even make it to the door by the time they finished riding so we swapped out and I met the kids at the whale show to watch with them while Zach and Mrs Charlotte continued waiting for the food.
I love me a good show and so do my little ones. I think Kye would have been fine waiting for food haha! But the rest of us loved seeing the whales and I loved talking to them about Shamu and that history from my childhood.
Another good tip is to sit up HIGH for the shows – not only do you avoid getting splashed but you can also have a much better view of the stage and everything going on!
When the show ended we headed over to meet Zach and Mrs Charlotte for lunch! I know it may sound like the food situation was miserable but truly we ALL AGREED it was WORTH IT.
The food was SO GOOD and the passes really made financial sense and we had ZERO regrets about purchasing them. The food was plenty for us all to share and we all ended the day super stuffed so no one went hungry.
Voyagers Smokehouse is THE most popular restaurant at the park so it was our worst line and we also hopped in it BEFORE the restaurant opened as we heard it only got crazier. Kye loved the ribs and we were glad we opted for it for lunch over dinner!
We spent the majority of the day splitting up between the meal lines and Kye and Zach riding the coasters! It is SUCH a great park for families with kids of all ages though.
When we visit Universal, or even Disney in certain parks, it can be tricky with little ones while older kids are riding. Tess has had tears of boredom and disappointment and I often feel guilt over Spear being stuck in the stroller.
But at Sea World (it’s one word which I JUST LEARNED so I may still use two words sometimes ha!) there is SO MUCH to do and see and explore that little ones are never bored and, in fact, Britt didn’t even want to do the thrills and instead wanted to hang with us to see all the things.
I was impressed with Spear especially on this day because everything held his attention REALLY well. I had to coax him to leave areas rather than my typical chasing him when he runs off!
We all met back up to go to the Sea Lion show which we were not able to see on our visit back in 2019 and is one of my FAVORITE memories from visiting SeaWorld as a kid! It’s still just as adorable and cheesy and funny as ever. Even the pre-show entertainment was great!
We all enjoyed it so much and I was glad we all got to watch it together and no one had to be in line for food during it 😉
There is an entire kids area devoted to Sesame Street with rides and such for the younger crowd but honestly? It wasn’t impressive. The lines were long and the rides were short and with the mask rules at the time and all the social distancing and everything it just wasn’t worthwhile.
We did wait and do ONE ride and Spear LOVED it. Look at that smile! He was so thrilled to get to ride parent-free with his siblings. 🙂 I would say that if you’re visiting SeaWorld with multiple ages of kids to spend more time at the animal viewing areas with little ones rather than waiting in lines for the smaller kid rides. At least if your little one is like mine and would MUCH prefer to have freedom and run to see all the animals rather than stand in a long line!
While I had the kids Zach and Mrs Charlotte waited in another food line and this time for snacks! The pretzel bites were AMAZING and hit the spot just right! Plus the unlimited food included icees!
We split up again and the girls loved doing a bit of shopping and spent some of their money on some fun pens to remember the trip by! We also let the kids pick out a pin for their pin board at home as well as an ornament for our Christmas tree.
I’m proud of the girls for taking their budgeting seriously…they shopped around for the best price on a pen 😉
I think my favorite memory from the day was taking Spear to see the sea lions. They are located in an area we didn’t visit last trip, behind the sea lion show, and they are SO fun to go watch! You can buy food to feed them and the sea lions do all sorts of tricks to try to get you to give them the food. It was loud and fun!
Zach and Kye got their FILL of coasters too and agreed that the ride pass was well worth it! They rode Manta three times, Mako three times and Kracken once and THEN we were able to gift their passes to another family when we left (we gave the food vouchers away too!). IF the girls HAD wanted or were tall enough for the coasters we also could have easily swapped passes to allow them to ride too. Def worth getting!
Spear is very funny with his siblings and will change out who his “favorite” is depending on the moment. His favorite is very rarely Tess because she just loves him HARD and it annoys him. He’s def going to be that guy that likes when a girl plays hard to get 😉 He did SO great walking around the entire sea lion area holding Britt’s hand!
We ended the day over by the penguin area but it wasn’t open which was fine. We had a FULL day and got to watch all the shows and see the majority of the animal exhibits. Kye and Zach were able to do all the coasters, including one that hadn’t been opened when we came last time, and everyone had FUN which is the most important part!
We ended the day with dinner. We debated going home and eating at the house but figured by the time we drove home we might as well just waited in line for free food! We ended the day with some epic fries and lots of giggles and smiles.
We added it all up and we ended up eating breakfast, lunch, large snack AND dinner so it came out WAY worth the cost for the unlimited food. The ONLY downside was the long wait at each location BUT it truly works out fine as long as you have someone who can handle the food situation while someone else can handle the kids 😉
It was probably the BEST theme park day I’ve experienced with Spear yet. He was PURE JOY all day long and truly had FUN! Kye was so thankful and appreciative to get to have such a fun birthday celebration day and Zach felt 100% better and was able to fully enjoy all the epic eats too 😉
I don’t know that we’ll be back to SeaWorld anytime again soon so I’m super thankful we had such a great experience to always remember!
If you’re visiting the Orlando area be sure to check out our Vacation Rental Home! Close to alllll the theme parks 🙂