If you're thinking of going to San Diego SeaWorld this summer, I have three words for you: DO. NOT. GO!
Let me explain.
Last Saturday my husband was out of the country, and we came up with a spontaneous idea to beat the boredom - San Diego SeaWorld. Actually, we had wanted to go there for quite some time, but Saturday's trip was totally out of the blue. Kids wanted to go whale watching but I thought that since my better half wasn't around, SeaWorld would be a better idea. NOT!!!
It was my worst nightmare outing! The park was swarming with thousands of people, the shows were over capacity, the lines to the attractions and dining were horrendous, and my kids weren't much cooperating either!
Of all the great shows we were only able to see Blue Horizons with dolphins and One Ocean with shamu. We didn't get to pet or feed dolphins since the line was cut off 35 minutes before the event due to "overcapacity". And we had to skip the rides since the Crazed Mom didn't want to stand in hour-long lines...
So as we were making our way through the park, I kept saying to myself, "Never again! Not in my life time." Of course, on our hour-and-a-half ride back home we all talked how gorgeous the dolphin show was and how fun it would be to sit in the front and be splashed by the big fish.
We also loved the shamu show and the fireworks (which sort of redeemed the trip for me).
All taken into account, kids (and mother-in-law) had great fun, and that's what matters most, doesn't it?
I did however promise myself to make a written list of DO's and DON'Ts for that particular park. So here I go.
- Plan ahead! Weekdays and off-season times would be the best!!!
- Take sunscreen, sunglasses and sunhats!!! We forgot ALL of the above and felt miserable.
- Take the spare clothes (at least for kids because they WILL get wet!);
- Take warm clothes for the evening (we were very cold, and I ended up buying extremely overpriced "souvenirs" from the gift shop);
- Wear comfy shoes!!! The park is huge, and lightweight sneakers/watershoes are a must.
- Have enough adults to spare one to stand in the lines to attractions/food/pet encounters while the rest of the group gets to enjoy the park.
- Go to the shows at least 30 minutes earlier! Better yet, have a person from your group go there 45 minutes before the show and hold the spots for you. Even when the show is overcapacity, the staff lets in those whose party is inside.
- Do NOT go there on a weekend!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
- Do NOT go there on a holiday or, during school year, on a day that falls on a known no-school period.
- Do not buy a food wristband unless you plan on eating at the park at least twice. The most items on the menu are under $8-$10 (and kids' meals come with a drink), while the wristband would cost you $15 for a child, and $30 for an adult. Calypso Bay Smokehouse is a great place to eat, especially if you do buy a wristband. We ate at Mama Stella's Pizza Kitchen, and later at the Smokehouse, and of those two the last one won hands down. Their smoked ribs and chicken are to die for!
- Get to the park as soon as it opens! This way you get the most of your ticket price AND beat the crowd!
- Go on a weekday!!! I'd also say, go on a weekday during the school year. It's better for your kids to skip the school once than waste a weekend on standing in lines.
Overall, SeaWorld is a wonderful place to spend a day and I actually hope to go there again, despite all the stress and frustration I felt. But next time I will know what I'm doing :)
- We went to Pets Rule show and found it rather uninteresting. If we weren't pressed for time, we'd probably stay longer, but the kids didn't seem too excited so we left.
- We liked the Turtle Reef, but it wasn't very big.
- The best place to look for the current deals and coupons for San Diego SeaWorld would be http://dealspl.us/seaworld-coupons and http://www.retailmenot.com/view4/seaworldsandiego.com.
(By the way, http://www.retailmenot.com/ is my go-to website for all sorts of coupons. It has never failed me.)