During the holidays, it can be tough to pick and choose what family events to take your children to. So far the Mom Buzz crew started off our Christmas Celebrations with SeaWorld. What I was most excited about initially was The Sea of Trees, which features dozens of massive trees, each sparkling, lighted and choreographed to classic holiday tunes around the center. Plus, they brought back a lot of family faves from last year, like Winter Wonderland on Ice, THE POLAR EXPRESS Experience and Shamu Christmas…Miracles.
I brought my Dad (57-ish) and the boys (almost 3 and 4.5) to celebrate the season and make some holiday memories. We started of with Clyde and Seamore’s Countdown to Christmas. Clyde and Seamore are comic seals – usually showing off their tricks and stunts with their little otter friend and giant walrus pal in a Pirate Show. But this time they got especially goofy as they prepared for the arrival of Santa! From braving the Christmas Shopping rush to decorating the set, the seals had everything ready for Santa with the help of their human friends and a few elves! I have to say, my Dad was CRACKING UP so hard at the mime in the beginning. And both he and the kids really enjoyed the show. For the kids – it was something new, since they are really used to the Pirate Show. And for my dad, I think he really enjoyed the tricks these guys had up their flippers!
Next, we did some “normal” park sites that the boys just HAD to see – like the SHARK Encounter. Once again, I always love seeing things through my boys’ eyes, as they look at these toothy sharks with wide-eyed wonder. But my dad was just taking it all in, as he walked through the underwater tunnel where you see a myriad of sharks and rays swimming beside and above you.
Next we saw Shamu Christmas – Miracles. Classic holiday music accompanies the orcas as they soar through the air in a story of the everyday miracles that surround us all year long. There are small clips of children and adults sharing what they think a miracle is, a symphonic soundtrack, live singing and amazing flips, dives and splashes from a huge group of whales! My almost 3-year old was hugging his Shamu doll so tight as he watched silently in amazement. And my 4 year old made sure he had the best seat on our bench, never really sure whether to see the action on the huge screen or the water below.
After that, I wanted the boys to have the Polar Express Experience. They were too short to do the simulated ride (42″ or taller) so we watched the movie-only version. After the movie you are in the “North Pole”, so you get to see an AWESOME Santa and your kids can get their picture taken with them. I heard during the day the line was ginormous, but at night there was really no wait at all. Then we admired the whales, polar bears and walrus – I :LOVE: the walrus – my favorite animal! I think my dad had no clue how big they really are, so once again he just WATCHED it. They are amazingly graceful in the water, considering they are the size of a car!
We stopped by the gift shop right after that and picked up a great SeaWorld Christmas Ornament (Shamu wearing a Santa Hat) and then started out to see if we could catch the penguins before they closed the exhibit. On the way we were distracted by the Winter Wonderland on Ice. Ice skaters amazed and dazzled as they skated in pairs and groups to Christmas music. After the last show you can also enjoy a backdrop of towering fountains of water dancing on the lake and fireworks that light up the night sky.
We never did make it out to the penguins – but I think my 4 year old will forgive me eventually for that bad time-management on my part! The park closes at 11pm on Christmas Celebration Dates, from now until January 2nd. Check to see celebration dates at www.SeaWorld.com.
Now, we didn’t catch everything when we were there. We did miss A Sesame Street Christmas. Abby Cadabby doesn’t understand what all the fuss is about, since she’s never heard of Christmas. Through dance, laughter and interactive sing-a-longs, Elmo, Telly Monster and the rest of her Sesame Street friends teach Abby what Christmas means to them.
You don’t need to pay extra for this nighttime event. If you buy a day pass and/or are already an annual passholder, you can enjoy SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration. That said, Annual Passes are a great gift idea! And right now with the purchase of an Annual Pass, you will receive three months free to enjoy all the park’s benefits, such as amazing animal encounters, thrill rides and world-class shows. For more information about SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration or to purchase an annual pass, visit SeaWorldOrlando.com.