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Old 02-10-2017, 01:51 AM   #76
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I absolutely love Discovery Cove...been twice and cannot wait to visit again. 1st time we did the Dolphin swim & the second time I did trainer for a day. It was interesting but definitely a one & done thing. Truly looking forward to your photos from Discovery Cove to see the changes etc.
Oh wow, how was trainer for a day? I bet that was amazing! I hear what you're saying about a once and done thing, but I guess that's why they keep introducing new things, as in truth, that's the main reason we're going back.
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Old 02-10-2017, 01:52 AM   #77
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Pre-trip report – part six: “how bad can they be? They’re aimed at kids”

So what about SeaWorld – what do we plan on doing there? Well, we absolutely love seeing all the animals here, so those will be a must, especially the Dolphin Cove, as I didn’t get great photos of it on our last visit, and TurtleTrek, as the line for it was too long last time and it was getting close to our lunch. That’s now home to my beloved manatees, and I do love to spend time with them.

We didn’t do Wild Arctic the last time we visited, and that’s definitely on my list for this time. It’s home to arctic animals, such as beluga whales, and walruses, and I hope I get better luck with photos, as every time we go, we always seem to find them hiding from us.

I really enjoyed Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin last time we went, and I’d like to try it again. Hopefully the lines will have gone down as well, as it won’t be so new, which would be good. We literally had to rush over there the last time we were in SeaWorld.

Other animal attractions we love are the Stingray Lagoon, as we always find it so peaceful, and fascinating there, and I think the same can be said of the Manta Aquarium as well, although I find that ironic, given that Manta is also the name of a coaster! You certainly can’t say that Pacific Point Preserve is quiet, as that’s home to sea lions and seals, but it’s always fun standing there and watching them, or even trying to feed them!

As far as the shows go, it will depend on show times on the day we go, and SeaWorld only seem to make those available on their website a few weeks beforehand, which does make planning a little problematic. Of course, they also try to keep you in the park as long as they can, so they tend to plan the shows, so you can’t rush from one to the other. I think the priority will probably go to Clyde and Seamore’s Sea Lion High, as we haven’t seen this yet. They changed it from the previous show a couple of years ago, and the last time we visited, we must’ve missed the new show by literally just a few weeks. We’ve seen both Blue Horizons (dolphins) and Believe (Shamu!) recently, so if we don’t get to see them, then it’s not a huge issue.

We won’t be doing any of the thrill rides or coasters, but I will be interested to see what the new coaster Mako looks like, as I think it’s opened up a new section of the park.

Something that might be fun to do is the Sky Tower, which rotates up to 400-feet high. I do remember we did it, but that was many, many years ago, and I’d be interested to see what the view from up there is like now. I bet it’s probably unrecognisable from a few years ago.

As you can probably tell, we love parks with animals of any kind in, and so we find a lot more to see at those parks, and the same holds true for Busch Gardens. That’s really what we go there for. This time, my prime mission is to visit the orangutans, as we never made it that far. I think we got too wowed by the white tigers’ amazing new enclosure, and stopped there. This time, beautiful as those creatures are, we do need to carry on exploring just a little more…

It’s the first chance we’ll have had to see a relatively new animal here, penguins, although these aren’t your traditional Antarctic penguins, they’re actually African ones, so they like the Floridian heat. It will be interesting to see their habitat, as I’m used to icy ones for them, not warmer climate ones.

We’ll aim to do a reasonably quick circuit of the whole park, as we’ve only got a few hours there. I have a list of photos I need on the way, to make sure I don’t miss anything out, but other highlights we really like there are:
  • Myombe Reserve, which is home to chimpanzees and gorillas. They have a wonderful home there, and it’s still one of my favourite, and funniest memories, from any theme park. We were watching a chimpanzee doing its business, if you get my meaning, and a kid standing near us asked their parents if it was a robot! Quick as a flash, Mark replied, “they’re good at robots, but not that good!”
  • Lory Landing, which is a bird walkthrough. I love taking time to try and get some wonderful shots of the brightly coloured species they have here.
  • Walkabout Way, which is home to animals from Australia, which we found fascinating last time we visited, as these are animals you don’t always see in zoos or safari parks.
  • Edge of Africa, which is their savannah, home to all sorts of species. The best views are from the Serengeti Railway, but that’s a relatively slow way to see it, so I doubt we’ll have time to do it. We’ll just visit the viewing area, and hopefully will luck out with some good animal viewings – you just never know with animals, especially as they’re not robots.
  • Cheetah Run, which is where the cheetahs live. They have a wonderful habitat, nice and big, allowing them to prowl around, and we really enjoyed watching them last time we were back in the park.
Sadly the Skyride isn’t going to be operating on the day we visit, which is a shame, as we really like the views from here, plus it reduces walking, which is a definite bonus.

They do have some shows here, notably IcePloration, made up of puppets, and skating, which sounds fun, although I don’t think Madagascar Live! Operation: Vacation is quite for us. Opening Night Critters features rescued domestic and exotic animals, so that could be fun.

Once again, we won’t be doing any of the thrill rides or coasters, but we might just get a few photos of other people doing them…

We’ve also got one day passes for LEGOLAND Florida. I was half tempted to get a version that also came with the Orlando Eye, Madame Tussauds, and SEA LIFE Orlando, but in fairness, we did the Orlando Eye on our last visit, and fun as it was, it’s not something I’d rush back to. While I’m sure SEA LIFE would be fun, and we’d no doubt enjoy it, it’s not exactly located next door to anything we’re already planning on visiting. As for Madame Tussauds, well we went there many years ago, probably best part of 20 years now, in London, and we weren’t impressed. We took our niece and nephew, and they both qualified for child prices, and even so, I think we ended up paying Ł100 for the four of us – even back then!

It’ll be interesting to see what we make of LEGOLAND Florida, given that it’s not really aimed at us. It’s more aimed at children, and I don’t think there’ll be many rides to interest us. We have been to LEGOLAND Windsor, and I think we did about one ride during our visit there, although we absolutely adored Miniland, where they make amazing recreations of various places from LEGO, so I’m really looking forward to seeing what they’ve done with it here.

I also want to try out Island in the Sky, a rotating platform, as I’m looking forward to getting some good views of the park beneath us, and orienting ourselves, before we explore further. Merlin’s Challenge, a ride on a wooden train powered by wizard’s magic, sounds fun, as does Lost Kingdom adventure, a treasure hunt in the Egyptian landscape, where you get the treasure by firing laser blasters at targets.

We did a similar version of the Safari Trek, where you get to ride through Africa, seeing animated LEGO animals, in Windsor, so I’m familiar with the idea of this, and I suspect we’ll do it.

If we have time, and if the shows fit in with our schedule on the day, we may try and see the Big Test, all about becoming a firefighter, and the Live Water Ski Show. I certainly want to take a walk through the Cypress Gardens area. I wasn’t fortunate to visit this previous incarnation of the park, but there is part of it left, and I’m looking forward to seeing what it would’ve been like all those years ago.

Some of the rides I’m not sure about, as they have the word “coaster” involved somewhere along the line. Part of me thinks “how bad can they be? They’re aimed at kids”, but then the other half thinks “heck, kids can stomach a lot!” Perhaps we’ll be brave and try the Dragon or Coastersaurus, but then again, maybe not… we’ll see when we get there.

In a way, it’s a shame some of the attractions are firmly aimed at youngsters, as I’d love to try an adult version of the FORD Driving School, where children get their own driving licences.

Next: how long is it going to take to get a new passport?
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Old 02-10-2017, 06:48 AM   #78
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Too bad about the Skyride being closed. When we were there in 2011 BG had a safari ride which reminded me of the Jungle cruise because of the corny jokes the driver kept telling, but I didn't see it on the website. Legoland is really geared for younger kids and even Nik who was 8 when we went seemed on the "too old" side. That Lost Kingdom ride was our favorite of the trip along with the Pirate themed water skiing show which was a must-do as it reminded me of the Cypress Garden years of the park.
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Old 02-10-2017, 08:58 AM   #79
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Oooh, that's a tough call on the "coasters" at Legoland. I did ride them in California, but then I do ride coasters anyway. If I remember, I'd say the Dragon one is pretty tame. I think you could handle that one for sure! It's kind of a cross between Seven Dwarfs and Goofy's Barnstormer.

That's a long list of animals! I hope they're all cooperative and you are able to see them. After all, no, they are not robots. hehehe...
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Old 02-10-2017, 09:34 AM   #80
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Wow, those are some plans!! That I should going to be a full trip. Glad you have cruise time to recover/relax. I had nearly forgotten about Cypress Gardens! We went there on my first trip to WDW - which was during the construction phase of Epcot! I didn't know Legoland had taken over that space.
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Old 02-10-2017, 09:44 AM   #81
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Great plans for SW and Legoland! You'll love the Cypress Gardens area. It was beautiful!
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Old 02-10-2017, 09:46 AM   #82
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Your plans are making me tired already. We've been to Seaworld and never ridden the rides. We like to walk around and look at all the animals. We did Wild Antarctic but my pictures didn't come out that well. I was using my pld camera at the time and it wasn't working too well.
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Old 02-10-2017, 11:28 AM   #83
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Oh wow, how was trainer for a day? I bet that was amazing! I hear what you're saying about a once and done thing, but I guess that's why they keep introducing new things, as in truth, that's the main reason we're going back.
I really enjoyed the extras associated with the trainer for a day - add to that we swam with the dolphins twice (normal interaction and then a special ride with 2 dolphins at once). It is definitely geared to a late teen or adult audience bc of what we all saw etc. The downside was I missed out on a lot of stuff my parents did with my 94 yr old grandmother. So if everyone in the group could do the same thing it would have been better. Feeding the sharks and the additional back stage stuff was very cool.

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Old 02-10-2017, 12:34 PM   #84
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Glad you were finally able to work out airfare, accommodations, and tickets!

I remember when I visited Aquatica back in 2011. I spent the majority of the time at Walkabout Waters, which is the kid's spot. I did try Roa Rapids, but let me tell you this is a lazy river on steroids. The kids were younger and on one instance we got separated from them. When we finally caught up to the youngest, I tried to get out of there only to miss the exit because of the current. After going around again, a man saw me struggling at the exit and pulled me out. If he hadn't helped me I think I'd still be there.
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Old 02-10-2017, 01:26 PM   #85
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Too bad about the Skyride being closed. When we were there in 2011 BG had a safari ride which reminded me of the Jungle cruise because of the corny jokes the driver kept telling, but I didn't see it on the website.
I think you may be thinking of Rhino Rally? Oh we loved that thing, it was so much fun, but it seemed to die a quiet death... it was only when we remembered it and went looking, we discovered it went to seasonal opening, then they axed it. I have no idea why. I still remember the hour long waits not long after it opened. People did seem to love it.

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Legoland is really geared for younger kids and even Nik who was 8 when we went seemed on the "too old" side. That Lost Kingdom ride was our favorite of the trip along with the Pirate themed water skiing show which was a must-do as it reminded me of the Cypress Garden years of the park.
Thanks for the feedback - I know so few people who've been there, so that's good to hear.
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Old 02-10-2017, 01:27 PM   #86
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Oooh, that's a tough call on the "coasters" at Legoland. I did ride them in California, but then I do ride coasters anyway. If I remember, I'd say the Dragon one is pretty tame. I think you could handle that one for sure! It's kind of a cross between Seven Dwarfs and Goofy's Barnstormer.
Oh in that case, I could manage that!

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That's a long list of animals! I hope they're all cooperative and you are able to see them. After all, no, they are not robots. hehehe...
Indeed!
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Old 02-10-2017, 01:28 PM   #87
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Originally Posted by cubfancolleen View Post
Wow, those are some plans!! That I should going to be a full trip. Glad you have cruise time to recover/relax. I had nearly forgotten about Cypress Gardens! We went there on my first trip to WDW - which was during the construction phase of Epcot! I didn't know Legoland had taken over that space.
I never got to visit it, but I've heard good things from everyone who had the opportunity to do it before it closed down.
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Old 02-10-2017, 01:29 PM   #88
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I really enjoyed the extras associated with the trainer for a day - add to that we swam with the dolphins twice (normal interaction and then a special ride with 2 dolphins at once). It is definitely geared to a late teen or adult audience bc of what we all saw etc. The downside was I missed out on a lot of stuff my parents did with my 94 yr old grandmother. So if everyone in the group could do the same thing it would have been better. Feeding the sharks and the additional back stage stuff was very cool.
Yep, I can imagine that if your group is doing different things, that could be frustrating.
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Old 02-10-2017, 01:30 PM   #89
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Glad you were finally able to work out airfare, accommodations, and tickets!

I remember when I visited Aquatica back in 2011. I spent the majority of the time at Walkabout Waters, which is the kid's spot. I did try Roa Rapids, but let me tell you this is a lazy river on steroids. The kids were younger and on one instance we got separated from them. When we finally caught up to the youngest, I tried to get out of there only to miss the exit because of the current. After going around again, a man saw me struggling at the exit and pulled me out. If he hadn't helped me I think I'd still be there.
That is good to know. I'm thinking that's not the sort of lazy river for me.
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Old 02-10-2017, 01:56 PM   #90
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From no trip to celebrating 20 years together… planning it all in less than 100 days! PRE-TRIP REPORT UPDATED 2/10

I'll be interested to see the Cypress Gardens section of Legoland. My grandparents went there several times when I was a kid, but I never got to see it.


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