I Left My Heart in Orlando: Highlights of the Trip, Part 2

If you missed part one, find it here. Now we get to the cream of the crop, the events that absolutely made the whole trip the unforgettable vacation that it was. I would go back tomorrow, I loved everything so much.

3. Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals: The Cavaliers vs. The Magic. I know, you’re probably thinking, “One of Erin’s trip highlights involves a sporting event? Who is this blogger and what have you done with the real Erin?” But honestly, we had so much fun at this game! Our seats were in the very top row, but really, it didn’t seem like we were up that high! Check it out:

Everyone at the game got a free shirt, thunder sticks, and a “GO Magic” poster. Stephen and I screamed and cheered so much I’m amazed we didn’t lose our voices. To make it even better, the Magic won, 99-89! I’m so glad Stephen got to see them play in a conference finals game; he’s followed the team for a long time, and it made a great birthday experience for him. And I am now a true Magic fun, able to recite the major players AND their numbers. Craziness!

2. The dolphin show, “Blue Horizons,” at SeaWorld. We saw the show 4 times. In 3 days. To say that we loved it would be an understatement. The dolphins were absolutely breathtakingly graceful, beautiful, and awe-inspiring. For example, check out these pictures:

How can you not love that?? I have to confess that the first time we saw the show, I actually got teary-eyed. The show itself supposedly has some sort of storyline, but even after watching it 4 times, we couldn’t tell you what it is. It’s definitely a bit on the cheesy side, but I could have seen it a dozen more times and been happy.

Here’s a video clip of part of the show. It’s a little erratic because it was hard to keep up with everything going on, but it gives you an idea of some of the greatness of the show.

1. The Dolphin Spotlight Tour. We took this behind-the-scenes tour at SeaWorld on Monday of our trip, and it was by far the best experience. Our tour guide showed us several behind-the-scenes areas in the park, where they keep different kinds of marine life that have been rescued from the wild and are being rehabilitated. We got to see backstage at the dolphin show where the dolphins rest, and we saw got to hear from one of the trainers about how she got her job and what it requires (superior swimming and diving skills, love of animals, performance abilities, and several other things that I do not possess, unfortunately). The best of all, however, was seeing the dolphins up close. Our tour guide separated our group of about 16 into groups of 4 or so, and we were assigned to a trainer and a group of dolphins. Meet our dolphins, Ajax and Jag:

I think one of the things that makes dolphins so lovable is their ability to connect with humans. When I look at one, I feel like I can see a personality, a glint of mischief or a twinkle of kindness. And even though I got to swim with a dolphin about 5 years ago, I loved seeing these dolphins up close, and being able to touch them and interact with them was thrilling for me. Dolphins are just fantastic, fascinating animals!

And there you have it! In no way does this capture everything we did (and for that you are probably grateful), but it’s a good overall snapshot. I was so sad to leave, and on the last day I said a tearful goodbye to SeaWorld:

And even though it was sad to leave, I was comforted by this one fact: I am SO going back. šŸ™‚

A few honorable mentions that didn’t make the list but are worth noting:
1. Kraken, a roller coaster at SeaWorld. I rode this twice and loved it both times. It seemed both fast and also a long ride all at the same time. It is not the newest coaster at SeaWorld, but I enjoyed it the most.
2. The mime at the Sea Lion and Otter Theater. This guy came out before the sea lion and otter shows and entertained the crowd, and he was really funny. Part of the reason we saw the shows twice was so we could see him again.
3. Riding Journey to Atlantis with no wait! Journey to Atlantis is a water ride, so naturally the line was quite long since it was hot and humid. We were on our way to try and squeeze the ride in before a show when a woman stopped us and asked if we liked water rides. We told her we were about to go ride Journey to Atlantis, and she gave us a pass that she had gotten earlier that would let us go to the front of the line. It had rained earlier in the day and so SeaWorld had given those in line for that ride a pass to come back later but she wasn’t going to use it, so we got to bypass the line and rode it right away! I was glad we didn’t have to wait, too, because it really wasn’t a terribly exciting ride.

*To see many more pictures of the trip, visit these facebook photo albums:

The Stuff that Dreams Are Made of, Part 1
The Stuff that Dreams Are Made of, Part 2
All About the Dolphins

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