Sunday, September 8, 2019

Orlando 2019 - Sea World and heading home

Sigh, It's our last day!
This trip has been a good length. We are not quite missing home yet, but we have done everything we want. So it's a good time to go.

Today we packed everything up for travel and checked out. Our flight wasn't until this evening so, we get the day to play. Our Discovery Cove tickets came with admission to Sea World, so we hit that park today.

It has been a few years since we were at Sea World and a few things have changed. Once inside we got some breakfast snacky food, something to get us through til lunch. We took this opportunity to look at the map and time schedule for shows today. We had looked online the night before and saw roughly what shows we wanted to see, so this confirmed our plan.
After eating, our first stop was the new coaster Mako. Unbeknownst to most of us... this is the tallest, fastest coaster in Orlando. Let's just say it was better that we all didn't see that sign until after we got off the ride.
All items went into a locker and then we got in line, it was fairly short so the anticipation didn't get the best of us. Before long we were heading up the first lift hill... Ok. long story short we all survived. Some of us even loved it. Some of us...not so much. But we all did it together and that was fun.

After Mako, we walked through the Shark Encounter, which was downright mellow after the excitement of Mako. Then we hoped to ride the Penguin ride - Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin... but it didn't go as planned. The ride went down shortly after we got in line. This was a struggle for our young man, so he and I stepped away to compose ourselves in the store. Hubby and our daughter waited and were able to do the walk through option a few minutes later. This is when we had a small communication hiccup.
When our young man and I came back the ride was open. So we got back in line... not fully realizing where the rest of the family was. In the end, we rode it, they walked through and we all met up again at the Orca show after.

The show was pretty much what we have seen in the past. Having seen Orcas hunt in the wild since the last time we were at Sea World, I think I look at them a bit differently. All in all beautiful, amazing animals. And an upbeat fun show.

Afterward it was time for lunch and really close by was a quick service we had done before, so that fit the bill. After lunch, we rode Wild Arctic and enjoyed the exhibit at the end of that ride. From here we split up for a short bit. The adventurous ones ran ahead to ride Infinity Falls, the new huge raft ride. And the young man and I went in search of the "quiet room" that was on the map.

Quiet Room. Nice to have as an option. 

Sea World is a Certified Autism Center, so they have quiet rooms and sensory maps around the park.
They have two in the park, one in the kid's area and one towards the front of the park.
We hit the one in the kid's area first. It is located in the building with first aid and child care. We found it easy enough and found it was already occupied by a nursing mama.
I didn't realize this was likely to happen and pretty much barged in. She hadn't locked the door and we were fully in the room before I realized. I asked if she would like the room to herself and offered to leave, but she said she was fine with us staying. So we positioned ourselves to give her and baby some privacy and enjoyed the quiet cool room.
Mama and baby didn't stay long... maybe because of us. I didn't realize it at the time but the next room over was a nursing room. So she had other options.
The room was simply decorated with what I would call sensory art - touchable with lots of texture. Seating was big pillows and bean bags. The shades were closed and in general, it was very pleasant. Our young man took the time to look over the map in detail and plan out the other things that were important to him that day. We hung out for maybe 20 minutes before heading out to meet up with the adventurous ones.

They rode Infinity Falls twice and got accordingly wet.
I had recovered enough from Mako to be willing to hit another coaster, so we walked to Kraken. Kraken used to be my favorite coaster of all time... but that was 16 or 17 years ago, so we shall see. The kids decided they were done with coasters and found a shady spot to relax and have some Dippin  Dots.
Oddly Kraken is more my speed than Mako. I still like it after all this time. We met up with the kids. Hubby now really wanted to do Mako again, so he buzzed back to it, while the kids and went to see the manatee.
Our timing was great! They had recently recused an orphan manatee due to the storm. So they were trying to feed her and we got to watch a bit.
Then we hoped to meet hubby at the Dolphin show. It didn't work quite as planned - he wasn't able to get into the arena once the show started. So after, we met up and did Sea Turtles and walked through the Manatees again with him.
Now finally its time for the Penguin ride, all together!

Penguins! So fun. 

Infinity Falls packs a punch.... they got wet! 

It was getting to be about the time we wanted to head out to the airport - time for the last rides of the day! The adventurous ones went for Journey to Atlantis and the young man and I walked to the dolphin nursery and checked out the other quiet room in the park.
This quiet room was also occupied, but by a single adult. Again I asked if she wanted the privacy... and she welcomed us to stay. This room had chairs instead of the bean bags.
We stayed for a bit less time this time. In general, it is nice to have this as an option for our young man. I think he appreciated the sensory break. I am not sure that the rooms would be used appropriately on a very busy day, but luckily for us, it was not a busy day.

We took surface streets to the airport and found a gas station on the way to fill up the rental car.
I almost can't believe it has been two weeks. We have done a ton of stuff on this trip.
Not sure when we will be back, not for a few years at least.

Our flight was a little delayed but in the end, it wasn't a full flight. We ended up with each kid in a window seat, and empty middle seat, and we parents on the aisle across from each other. It was nice to have extra room.

Waiting at the airport. 

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