Wednesday, September 4, 2013

What I Did on my Summer Vacation Part 4

(Previous Post:  "What I Did on my Summer Vacation Part 3")

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:

First Day/Night (Saturday):  Travel, unpack, get settled, put together a grocery list, order pizza, play by the pool.
Day 2 (Sunday):  Universal
Day 3 (Monday):  Rest/recuperate/pool day...changed to Disney
Day 4 (Tuesday):  Disney...changed to rest/recuperate/pool day
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:

or really sweet, like these:

Eventually Aunt Dawn and I went to pick up her rental car.  After three wrong turns we ended up at the rental counter about an hour before closing where they confessed that her car, though 'available' was not 'clean' yet and without hesitation, Dawn accepted this, because what else are you going to do, wait?  And we went to inspect the car.  I did, no shit, inspect the trunk for bodies, because in my head it was all playing out like an elaborate set up, where Dawn, renting a car filled with dead bodies takes the fall for some mob hit and ruins our vacation.  So I looked.  No dead bodies or heroin or briefcases filled with money were in the trunk, so she hopped in and followed me home.

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...

Except me.

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. 

But the next day came and Lily remained her bubbly happy little energetic self despite the previous night's (morning's) activities.  Dawn was gone, and we were on our own for another day of rest and relaxation.  So of course we said fuck it, and went to Sea World instead.

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
In keeping with our theme of "Do no research", we arrived at the park with no real idea what was there, where to go, or what to do.  We paid extra for preferred parking, because it had worked really well at Universal, and we parked very close to the front gate of the park.

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 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...
Lily started spinning (this is something we say that's really short for "spinning out of control") then, and we attempted to view the enormous dolphin tank from underground, getting some really great pictures, but not actually making Lily any less agitated.

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.
By the time we made our way to the dolphins, Lily and Leslie had already seen the sea lions and had moved off to find Shamu.  She texted me, "You can still make it if you hurry".  The Shamu show started at 5:30 and we were just getting out of the dolphin feeding.  We started running...

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.

Rain interrupted the performance and delayed it.  When they came back to finish out the show there was perhaps another five minutes before it ended and the crowd spilled back into the park at large.  Lily liked the show, and we ate cotton candy and relaxed.

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.


And then Shamu snuck up on me and gave me a wedgie.

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"


  1. Hahaha "what do you mean 42" is the best caption in the history of photos :) I have to say that I hated Sea World. I got soaked by Shamu and I'm pretty sure that water contained a fair amount of whale pee.

    1. and poo! We sat up high. I mean...who doesn't know that 50% of that show is about getting the audience wet?

    2. Try planning a little in advance next time. That's all.

  2. Love the pictures. We went to Disneyland too:) Didn't go on to many rides, but we had fun.

  3. Nice are saying you had a great fun in Disney!