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Pre Disney Cruise- SWA flights and Avis Car rental

Planning a Disney Cruise

What to do before Disney

We landed in Orlando on a Wednesday night and our cruise left on Friday. We had a whole day to spend in Orlando and had to decide what to do. We figured we would have quite a bit of the mouse on the cruise so we decided to skip Disney parks and go to Sea World. We were able to find tickets to Sea World for the 6 of us with all fees for $517. ($79 person for purchasing one day in advance compared to $99 gate price) While not a great deal, that is cheaper that what we could find for Magic Kingdom which was $670. There are much better deals if you plan on going 2 or more days at each park. Not much to be had for just one day though.

Sea World Pricing for 6
Disney Pricing for 6

Sea World was only about a 15 minute drive from our Condo. We left at about 9am, payed the $20 parking and was in our spot by 9:20. We put on sunscreen, packed our water bag, and was in the in the security line by 930. We were the second family in line. Sea World allows water and snacks, but not full lunches. Although I did see some families bringing in full lunches.

The Huge Long Line 🙂

At about 945 they let you through the gates to go visit stores and take pictures. You can only go a few hundred feet until the rope. Even by 10 o’clock when the rope dropped, there was probably only a 100 people in that area. Knowing that this wasn’t a full day since the park was only open from 10-6, I wanted to hurry up and get as many rides as we could in. According to SeaWorld, my son was just over 54 inches and could ride everything, and my daughter was just over 48 inches which meant she could do quite a few things. (on the cruise they shrunk to 53 and 46 inches- more on that in an upcoming post)

When its not busy, its not a very exciting rope drop

We first decided to do a ride all 6 of us could do, which was the Empire of the Penguin. This line was about 5 minutes. We also did it in the afternoon when the line a lot longer, i think we waited 6 minutes then. They have a spin version and a non spin version. Its a fun little ride good for all ages that lets you out in a penguin exhibit where you can get up close to them.  It is very cold so this is great on a hot day or if you have a jacket on.


Then my wife and son and I all headed over to ride Kraken. You can put on virtual reality glasses for this, but we decided to do it all natural. Its a fun intense roller coaster with flips. Again, less than a 5 minute wait. We then decided to rush over and do Manta. Manta is a newer ride where you get strapped in and feet and arms dangle like you are flying. you do an inverted flip that is just crazy. Again less than a 5 minute wait. Our grandparents were able to watch and entertain my daughter and she had several snacks while we were gone for 10 minutes.

This is how you start Manta!

We then went over to the Dolphin Theater and watched the Dolphin Show.  Getting there 15 minutes before the show started, there was plenty of seats. Of course my daughter wanted to sit in the front row when its 60 degrees outside…. This show is very entertaining as the dolphins get very high. The trainers are also in the water and the way the dolphins push and flip them is amazing.

It was getting close to noon by now and I couldn’t believe how empty the park was. It was a 6 on undercover tourist’s crown calendar, but so far we have not had more than about a 5 minute wait. We hit up Shamus Happy Harbor where my son and wife did the Shamu ride a few times. My daughter wasn’t feeling it yet and just decided to play on the big playground. I eventually talked her into it and she had a good time. Such a good time that I think her and her brother rode it like 4 times without even getting off. We also ended up doing the Carousal which again had no line.

My daughter “this is so much fun” as we go up the hill.
“I want to get off now” as we go down the hill.
Just look at how many empty seat there are. My kids rode this like 4 times in a row before they had to get off.

It was now time for the Famous One Ocean with Shamu show. We arrived about 15 minutes before the show and could pick our seats. Again my daughter wanted to sit in the front row. She got soaked and I decided to sit about 5 rows behind her and still got plenty wet. Its amazing what 6 whales can do. While the trainers are no longer in the water, its a great show.


About this time we decided to get a late lunch. Often this is the worst part at a theme park. And it was for us as we just hit up a fast food style restaurant and it took about 10 minutes. This is quick, but literally our longest line all day. There was also plenty of seating around the restaurant. The food was OK and about what you would expect from Sea World.

My son and daughter then decided to hit up Manko which is an old school no flips roller coaster. I didn’t really feel like doing this coaster after eating. They had a great time though and my son said it was his favorite.

We then decided to hit up the Sea Lion Show. Its an entertaining show with some bad slapstick comedy.  My kids enjoyed it, i thought it was okay, and grandpa didnt get it.


After the show we went back to Manko where I got on it. No line and I agree with my son that its the best coaster there.

Walking around the park we ended up petting the stingrays, seeing the manatees, and then the turtles. There was a few dolphins in dolphin cove but at about 530pm, they weren’t very active.

IMG_4518 (2)

We did everything we wanted to do in about 7 hours and called it a day as the park was closing in about 30 minutes.

Bottom line is a Wednesday in January is an awesome day for Sea World!



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I love to travel, I love to get a good deal, and I love to negotiate. Of course after God, family, and friends, or even better when its with them.


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