As I live just 90 minutes from Orlando and I'm an annual passholder for SeaWorld, we visit a lot. We had really planned to focus on the Disney parks this trip, but as it was the grand opening of Antarctica, we thought we would spend a half day visiting Shamu. Little did we know that just about everyone in Orlando also wanted to see Antarctica the same day, and we decided against the two-three hour wait. I did see on Twitter that SeaWorld handed out bottles of water to those waiting in line, which was a class act. But then, we always have a great experience at SeaWorld. SeaWorld Antarctica

Though we were a little disappointed that we didn't get into Antarctica, my husband and daughters love the rides at SeaWorld, and I love the shows. While the three of them went on the Manta, I strolled through the Manta Aquarium. Though I've seen this small aquarium at least twenty times, I never tire of it. The Weedy Seadragons are my favorite, and I always feel like the Manta Rays are smiling!

SeaWorld Manta Aquarium

Next on the agenda was a show, and A'lure, Call of the Ocean was beginning in 20 minutes. SeaWorld suggests you get to performances 30 minutes before showtime. Trust me, if you walk in late on a really busy day, you will not only have to climb to the highest seats, but you may not get a seat at all. SeaWorld seating is really great, and even in "obstructed" seats, the view is still pretty good, but getting there early will usually get you a great spot. Though you can't use flash photography during the show, the performers are happy to give photo opps right after.

SeaWorld A'lure Collage We ate a quick lunch at what I think is SeaWorld's best kept secret for dining. I almost hate to share it! The Shark Encounter has an upscale restaurant that takes reservations. You can still get in to the Shark Underwater Grill, but usually not as a walk-in. However, the bar has about 6 tables and seating at the very cool aquarium bar. My daughters and I have eaten there many times when we needed a break from the sun, and often it is us and one other family.The food is really great.Try the bruschetta! We can't go to SeaWorld without seeing Clyde & Seamore Takes Pirate Island. If you are late getting a seat, you may be greeted by the resident mime. This is my favorite part of the show! You'll enjoy the silliness of the show, and you never know what might happen with the sea lions! The audience participation can be a riot, too. Seaworld Clyde & Seymore Collage We We will be back soon to see Antarctica, but with so many other exhibits, we still had a blast! Have you been to SeaWorld? I'd love you to share your favorite things about the park in the comments below!