Thursday, June 19, 2008

Sea World

You know that phrase, "the best laid plans"? Yeah. Well, we have been wanting to take the kids to Disney for years. It's been a ten-year stretch since our last visit. A while back, we purchased a no-expiration 4-day pass with our credit card points, worth more than $250. And, to borrow from another expression, we left home without it.

The kids at Sea World...three out of four smiles...

Here's my confession of the day...I am an organized "wanna-be". I love containers. I love labels. I love organized files and baskets. I love lists. And that's where the problems begin. I make these lists, in various notebooks...another of my loves, notebooks...and forget where my current notebook is. Another dilemma...I can remember scads of things I need to do or buy while I am drving in the car, taking a shower or lying in bed. And I know, I've read the organization books, too. Keep a notebook and pen handy so that you can jot down those thoughts. That's a great idea, in theory. But if I could remember to keep a notebook and pen in those handy dandy places, I could probably also remember all the things I need to do.

The difference between boys and girls...
Check out the look on Mickey's face...

So back to lists...I learned early on, when traveling with children, that I needed to make a list and include everything. And I mean everything. I have it broken into headings and sub-headings. As it's packed, it's highlighted in yellow. I even have a pink highlighter code for "can't find the darn thing and somebody better get on it". Back in the day, we traveled to the beach every year, and I had that packing thing down to a science. I had the vacation packing list saved on the computer. Each year, I made changes, printed it out and knocked it out. Once we started the adoption process, our vacation budget took a hit and we stayed close to home for a few years, and I lost my edge. Then we traveled to China last year, and I had the opportunity to take up my art, once again. Lots of factors in this latest list-making...first international trip...first plane trip with kids...two weeks in a foreign country...adoption baby. Oh, I was in my glory. I researched packing lists and refined them carefully into what became the mother of all lists. If you've read the story about our luggage, then you know that I didn't forget a thing. I can honestly say I can't remember one thing that we didn't have when needed.

Somehow, on this trip, I got cocky. I scribbled a few half-hearted lists here and there, but the busyness of my life got the best of me, and I ended up winging it. Oh, yes, those of you who know me well know that this is exactly how I ended up in Florida without that Disney ticket. And that wasn't all...I had a post-it note of "wanted" items that I couldn't find before we left. I had purchased a pair of sunglasses for Mickey at Wal-Mart, and I searched this house high and low and never found them...until we got back, of course. So back to the original story...there we were in Florida, without our ticket. We called Jon's Mom, and she overnighted the ticket to us, but we had to wait until Monday to get the Sunday delivery. Our original plan was to start at Disney and take a mid-week break to lounge by the pool. Without our Disney ticket, we had no choice but to go ahead and use our Sea World tickets and take our day off at the beginning of the week. The revised plans had its ups and downs, but that story will come later.

So off we went to Sea World. We were dripping sweat inside of seven minutes, and a dip in the sea lion tank looked mighty inviting. The kids wanted to sit in the splash zone, which also happened to be in the blazing sun, but we obliged...and didn't get a drop splashed on us, by the way. We didn't have much trouble enticing them into the shaded parts of the stadiums the rest of the day, though. The kids were itching to ride their first ride, so I took them on "Journey to Atlantis", a themed log-flume ride. This was really Mickey's first big ride ever, and he was a little nervous. When I was his age, I was scared of everything, so I was fairly impressed that he was so willing to go. Mindy's not afraid of anything, and Abby, fear or no, doesn't want to miss out. Jon does NOT like water flume rides (or most coasters) and was more than happy to wait with Caroline. I wish I would have purchased the photo. It was hilarious. But at $17 a pop, I had a hard time buying the first photo of the week. Turns out, it was one of the best. Oh, well. I have a great memory, for sure. The best part of the ride is after the starts up another incline, and you have no idea what's going on. At the top, it shoots you through the dark onto a coaster track, and that's how you arrive back at the rider station. Very fun!

Journey to Atlantis

The plunge begins a lot higher than is visible...believe me!

As we walked through the park, Jon and I frequently did a head count. Invariably, one of us would say, "Hey, where's Mickey?" A quick glance in the direction of the closest landscaping would usually reveal his location. That boy was LIZARD CRAZY! He spent the better part of his day chasing lizards through the park. It was fairly entertaining, to a point. By the end of the day, we were all done with keeping track of him, though.

Another attraction at the park was my daughter's first temper tantrum of the trip. I mean, we could have sold tickets. We got hungry late in the afternoon, and I think the heat and lack of food got to us. We ended up walking back and forth in one area of the park a few times before deciding on a location and menu. On our route was a little dancing area with party music blaring. Caroline wanted to dance SO bad. She kept asking to stop, but, of course, we were in a hurry. Then we passed a dance CONTEST. In front of mermaid-type divers who were dancing in the water, along with the contestants. And Caroline was entranced. She did NOT want to leave. Well, Jon decided it was time to move on, and it was all I could do to drag her away. I fought her for a few minutes and then let Abby have a go of it, chasing her down, while I recorded the moment for posterity. She fought like a tiger when we put her in the stroller. In fact, she ripped the sun visor off our brand new stroller and pitched it on the ground. Total China syndrome. Oy. Caroline is usually very pleasant...loving and charming. But when she's mad, she's MAD. And in those moments I am usually praying that her behavior will NOT be witnessed by someone considering international adoption.

We loved the Shamu show the best...the sheer size of that animal is incredible. My favorite part is watching the trainer shoot up through the water while standing on the tip of Shamu's nose and then dive into the water below. Can you imagine that being your JOB? We went to both the day and night shows. The night show is set to rock music and very cool. We took another shot at the splash zone, and I was just barely high enough to escape Shamu's wave. Jon, Mickey and Caroline took a good hit, though. As you can see from the photos, when it comes to making a splash, the killer whale takes no prisoners. Why is it so amusing to watch others be completely soaked in fishy water?

This one cracks me up...take a closer look at the people reacting to the oncoming wave...

I really love the guy a few rows up,

having a good laugh at their expense...

Here's a slide show with a few more photos of our day:

Place the cursor on photos to view captions.

Click on the slide show to view photos individually.

Check out the videos in the post below...


Kristi said...

Oh to have seen Jon's face while counting the bags and realizing that the Disney tickets were at home...
I'm glad you guys made the best of it and enjoyed Sea World that day! Hate I missed the China syndrome show.
See ya Sunday!

Glenna said...

I sympathize with your organization strategies, Cindy...I'm organized too....all over the place!I loved the Sea World blog...and the slides..looks like you all had a great time! Looking forward to the next installment! I love you!.Glenna