November 2021 - Florida - Day 8
Yet another morning of clear blue skies greeted us today. Without rushing we were out just after 9am and heading back towards to Sea World to visit during the day this time to make the most of our tickets. It was also a non-Christmas celebration day so we expected it to be quieter as none of the Christmas attractions would be operational.
We had parked up and arrived just as the park was opening at 10am and the national anthem was being played. To say the park wasn’t busy would be an understatement. It was deserted. To Neil’s annoyance the rollercoaster Manta was still closed for renovation and so instead we headed to the Empire of the Penguins ride. There were plenty of staff hanging around at the entrance, but no one had bothered to open the attraction up. We had to get them to do so to let us in.
This $40 million ride was only opened in 2013 and is now defunct. Rather riding our way to see the penguins we just walked straight through. Admittedly the ride was very naff but was based on the latest trackless system and it is amazing to think that it has just been mothballed.
However, the penguins were still waiting to see us. This part of the attraction is done really well, and you can get up really close to them both above and below water. Some of the King Penguins appeared to have Mohican’s as they were moulting. The keepers were glad to have someone to talk to about the penguins and so we asked lots of questions. The temperature in this area is kept at 0c and so after a while I was keen to get back into the warmth of the sunshine.
Then we rode Journey to Atlantis. This is a water ride that turns into a roller coaster. It feels a bit tired but is very well done. Karen & I both wore our ponchos in anticipation of getting but just ended up getting lightly splashed. Neil was even better prepared putting on a rain jacket and changing into his flip flops. As we were now prepared for water rides we decided to walk to Infinity Falls. This is a new ride for us and when it opened a couple of years ago had the largest water drop in the USA.
For some reason this section of the park did not open until 11am and so we had to wait a couple of minutes for it to do so. There was nobody else going towards it and so again we were the first to try a ride on the day. I decided not to follow Neil’s lead by changing into flip flops after all it couldn’t be that bad could it, and besides I had my poncho. Schoolboy error.
It was a typical River Rapids raft ride and we spun round as we went down the rapids. There was one quite small dip that sent a bow wave over us and heavily splashed my feet. I was not happy but at least they were not drenched. I was conscious we still hadn’t done the big drop and it hadn’t occurred to me how we would get to the top of the drop. I certainly was not expecting the raft to get put on what can only be described as a lift. It was all very strange. As soon as we exited the lift, we plunged down the big drop. Actually, it was not too bad. We were just covered in a light spray and after that we were off the ride. Overall, I think we got let off quite lightly in the getting wet department.
Karen then went in search of a coffee whilst I waited with the bags and Neil went off to ride Mako. He was back again before Karen returned with some hot drinks.
Not once during the whole day did, we have to wait for anything other than coffee.
Neil then went off to ride Kraken whilst we found a spot in the sun to eat the rolls Karen had prepared for us for lunch.
Whilst sitting there I was again thinking how much I think these companies are missing out on sales and promotions by not selling masks front and centre of every store and park. In Disney parks masks are compulsory in all indoor places. In other parks it is only recommended. Think how much publicity they would get if they either gave away or sold masks showing their brand and marketing and everyone wore them during their trips and when back home. Am I missing something? I expect that we all to be wearing them for months/years to come. Even in the big stores I expected to see them on the end of every shelf but apart from in Old Navy I haven’t seen them being promoted anywhere.
We then decided to visit some of the marine exhibits. The sealions were very noisy but entertaining. The Shark Tunnel and tank was impressive as were the Manatees that had been rescued. They are like great gentle elephants of the sea but apart from eating copious amounts of cabbage each seem a little pointless
Our next stop was at the Wild Arctic ride, like the penguin’s attraction earlier the ride part was also now defunct. This Park needs some serious investment and management otherwise it could be a slippery slope to the whole park becoming defunct. So again, we just walked straight through to see the Beluga Whales and Walruses, without the simulated helicopter flight and the difficulties it gets into.
The final attraction was aimed at children’s and based on Sesame Street. There were no rides suitable for us, but the theming of the area was worth looking around. We declined the opportunity to meet ‘Big Bird’.
It was now just after 2pm and we had done everything that we wanted and could do in the park and so headed back to the Villa to enjoy the rest of the afternoon by the pool.
Neil and I had a quick game of Air Hockey on the full-size machine in the garage before we headed out to a new Cheesecake Factory restaurant that had opened since we had been here 2 years ago. We were happy that we were seated straight away. We had the best Server of the trip so far. As ever the portions in this restaurant chain were enormous. Karen & Neil both afterwards ordered Cheesecake to go from the very long menu choices. Neil went for his old favourite of Banana whilst Karen went for the Pineapple Upside Down Cheesecake.
We then headed back to the outlets as Neil had something to return. We were in and out within 20 minutes and then managed an even quicker turnround at Walmart where Karen had something to return, and Neil had to get some more breakfast cereal.
Back at our holiday home, Karen and Neil tried their cheesecake whilst watching Shark Tank which now had Richard Branson as one of the sharks. All very entertaining before we retired