Alright...Disney completed we were free to pursue the rest and relaxation that we'd previously bumped in favor of a Dawn-assisted trip. Let's review the plan:
Day 4 (Tuesday):
Day 5 (Wednesday): Rest/recuperate/pool day
Day 6 (Thursday): Sea World
Day 7 (Friday): Pool day/pack up/clean up/travel home.
After we'd all breakfasted (bacon every morning, yo) we focused on not doing stuff all day. This meant a lot of TV and pool time, and I got tons of pics at the pool, some of which were kinda cool, like this one:
We ordered food again that night. I can't honestly remember what it was. I know that at no point was any take-out place aware of the street our house was on and nobody delivered anything in under 45 minutes, so I assumed it must be pretty new. We said good night and goodbye to Dawn (since she had to leave so early nobody would be awake), and then everyone went to bed...
And Lily. She had a super weird night. I think in the end we chalked it up to overstimulation at Disney, but she was showing some signs of getting sick too. Lots of drippy noses were cleaned poolside and Lily would sleep for about an hour or so before waking and crying. I sent Emma (who was sharing a room with Lily) to sleep in our bedroom and spent the night sleeping in Lily's room. I eventually (after getting her on the potty one last time around 1:30 in the morning) got her to stay asleep by springing up from Emma's bed whenever I heard Lily start to wimper...and patting her lower back until her cries would diminish in volume and fade entirely into a rasping whisper then silence and sleep. This happened a couple more times, and I think I finally slept at about 3:00, afraid of what the next day would bring.
Leslie checked the website and saw that they were open until 10, so we took our time getting ready, at a late breakfast, played in the pool, and then headed for Sea World via McDonald's (for Lily's late lunch).
Obligatory park entrance photo...
|actual Killer Whales impaled on harpoons|
The first stupid thing that happened was this: for whatever reason the park was not closing at 10. It was closing at 7, and whether Leslie read it wrong, or it was just listed wrong on the website, we had arrived at 3:00 and only had 4 hours in Sea World. We did it anyway thinking regardless of what happened, we could tire the kids out enough by 7 that they'd have made us wish the park closed then even if it closed later.
The second stupid thing that happened was this: If you buy tickets for Sea World at the gate it costs like (I'm off by a dollar or two here, but I'm too lazy to look it up) $95 per adult and $85 per kid. Both Emma and Lily qualified as kids, so it was going to be $350 to get in the gate. But the night before I'd look at ticket prices and they were posted as $50/person. The girl at the counter said, "Yeah, but only if you buy online".
We got out of line...got ONline, and bought four tickets for $50/person and they downloaded to my phone. I just showed them my phone screen...they swiped it under the scanner, and in we went.
$150 saved because I downloaded the tickets right then and there from my phone...why didn't all the other morons do that? There was a line at the ticket counter...stupid.
Anyway, once in the park, I procured a stroller and Leslie, Emma, and Lily went to get an access card/pass/paper thingy. It took a little longer at Sea World; Lily was getting antsy. We did finally get the pass and the sticker for her stroller, and made our way out into the park.
The weather was gloomy...threat of rain...but there was always a threat of rain. Some thunder made Lily a little skittish, but she and Emma reached into a giant tank to "pet" the stingrays and then Emma and I fed them...and it was freaky as shit.
|She looks like she's a lot more into it than she really was...|
We made our way off into the park, again plan-less, again meandering frustratingly from one bad overstimulating thing to the next until finally I think Leslie got tired of all my negative stressful energy and took Lily to see the Sea Lions so that Emma and I could stand in line to feed the dolphins.
The dolphin thing was another "centerpiece" for the vacation, and I'm glad we could mark it off the "bucket list" but we stood in line a long time as the queue worked its way slowly dolphinward, snaking around barriers and buildings until we stood at last on the side of the dolphin tank, which was enormous and filled with frolicsome peckish dolphins. Emma was instructed (as were the rest of the people participating) to cup their "chins" (because I haven't put enough words in quotes in this particular paragraph) and then feed them a fish to reward them.
It was pretty cool. We got a great picture that the Sea World photographers took, and I bought it and we took it home with us. But I also took a few:
|What do you mean, "42"? That doesn't even make sense.|
And then we started walking. Then I picked up Emma and carried her and then we started running again...but then almost immediately started walking more. And shortly after that I put her down and we walked. And then we ran a little more.
And Jesus, how far is it to Shamu Stadium? The answer is: A long way from the dolphins. But we made it. We missed a little splashing and cavorting, but we made it.
When we left the stadium we were right at the "kiddie" portion of the park. Again...looking at this section, it screamed "Perfect for Lily!" and I again scolded myself for not immediately seeking it out.
We were running out of time. They announced 30 minutes until the park closed. The girls road a jellyfish ride together. Lily loved it. Then...then they went to the roller coaster. It was a kiddie rollercoaster...but still too adventurous for my tastes. Lily was in a good frame of mind and Leslie said..."why not". She, Emma and Lily walked the ramp and stood in line. Emma and I exchanged "Are you nuts?" glances at each other the entire time. And then Lily rode it. And loved it.
Now the announcements were coming more frequently, "10 minutes until the park closes".
She got off the ride, we made our way over to buy the picture of her first roller coaster ride, and Lily said, "I want to ride roller coaster again!", so they did!
"5 minutes until the park closes."
We made our way to the exit. I posed the kids in front of a Sea World sign and then an employee walked by and offered to take all of our pictures.
We made our way out of the park. Again, it wasn't a homerun, but again I feel like it had more to do with us than it did with the park. We did have fun after another rocky start, but probably could have benefited from another hour or two to explore. I was glad we did it. Everyone enjoyed it, but just the same we didn't stop by the gift shop for Shamu figurines or anything.
We drove home again. Through the pouring rain again. But this time everyone slept.
The exciting conclusion in, "What I Did on my Summer Vacation: Concluded"