I Left My Heart in Orlando: Trip Highlights, Part 1

So here’s the deal. I have been trying for several days to write a blog entry about our trip to SeaWorld, but no matter what I do, it ends up being ridiculously long. I decided that instead of boring you all with my rapturous, minute-by-minute account, I would just hit the highlights and provide you with some accompanying video and pictures. (And be nice: this is the first time I’ve made any videos for the blog!) But even that ended up being ridiculously long, so I give you the first of two installments detailing the best parts of our trip, building up to the number one event.

Here’s a video taken right before we ventured out to SeaWorld for the first time. We even walked there on the first day! (It was only 1.5 miles from our hotel. However, Saturday was the only day we walked there. We did enough walking in the park itself!).

The forgotten tickets that resulted in our lack of sleep on Friday night were the tickets to see the Orlando Magic play in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals. I realized around 10:00 p.m. on Friday night that I had left them in Jackson, so Stephen and I left Memphis (where we were staying with my parents for the night) and drove back to Jackson to get them. We got in bed that night around 1:30 and got up around 5:45. Nice.

Now that you’re finished laughing at my silliness, without further ado, the highlights of our trip to Orlando:

7. The Shark and Penguin Encounters at SeaWorld. SeaWorld had several different exhibits that allowed you to view marine animals, and these were two of my favorites. The Shark Encounter involved walking in a glass tube, where sharks and other fish swam all around you, and it was really cool. We liked the Penguin Encounter surprisingly not because of the penguins but because of a little, until then unknown to us animal called the puffin. The penguins and puffins were in separate habitats, and perhaps we just caught the penguins at an “off time,” but the puffins were far more entertaining. They are small little fellows that fluff their feathers and are fairly active, and their actions were just oddly charming. It was hard to get a picture of them because of the glass, but here’s a few attempts at capturing the sharks and puffins:

6. The sea lion and otter shows, “Clyde and Seamore Take Pirate Island” and “Sea Lions Tonight!” Both of these shows were hilarious and entertaining, and we loved watching the sea lions and their antics.

5. Animal Kingdom safari and shows. We went to Animal Kingdom on Stephen’s birthday (Hooray for free birthday admission!). I had been to Disney before, but Animal Kingdom didn’t even exist the last time I had gone, and both of us were curious about the park. Obviously, it was very crowded, and the lines were long, but we were able to see two shows, The Lion King show and Finding Nemo: The Musical. The Lion King show was a showcase of several songs from the film and featured lots of colorful costumes and some audience interaction. The Finding Nemo musical was basically an abridged version of the movie with songs added in, and it was thoroughly entertaining and my favorite. Here are some pictures from that day:

4. Shamu. Shamu is obviously the face of SeaWorld, so of course we went to see the shows in which he’s featured: Shamu: Believe and Shamu Rocks (a . I have to say that I was a bit underwhelmed with the Believe show after seeing everything in the dolphin show, as there just wasn’t as much that seemed special about it, and it was even cheesier than the dolphin show (which you will read more about later), which says a lot. However, seeing a massive killer whale leap effortlessly into the air is definitely an awesome sight, and the night show ended up being superior to the day show, in my opinion. Both shows were so much better than watching Free Willy. Which I did when I was in middle school. A LOT.

Stay tuned for the top 3!

7 thoughts on “I Left My Heart in Orlando: Trip Highlights, Part 1

  1. loving the countdown so far, and you look GREAT!!!! i'm so glad you had so much fun!

    (maybe i passed some of my broken brain on to you that made you forget your tickets! that is so something that i would do!)


  2. Stephanie, thanks for calling me “slim.” That made my day. 🙂

    Sarah, it's totally something my broken brain would do, too (obviously!). I am hopelessly scatterbrained, it seems.

    Macy, yes backtracking was awful, but I am just thankful our place in Jackson is only a little over an hour from my parents' house in Memphis!


  3. I love Disney's Animal Kingdom…that's so cool that you got free birthday tickets! I didn't realize they did that? Can anybody get free birthday admission as long as they show their driver's license or does Stephen have a special connection? 😉 I've never been to SeaWorld but you made it look and sound so fun! Ah…vacations are great! I'm glad you guys had fun!


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