Tuesday, August 13

Florida: Sea World

After flying on from Washington DC, my family and I eventually landed in our final destination. We trundled from the airport and were instantly hit by a wall of solid heat. The humidity was smothering, and oh my, we didn't half know that we were in the Sunshine State!

AKA...Orlando, Florida!

Since we arrived late afternoon, I spent the rest of the evening soaking up some sun in the villa's hot tub- a steaming cup of English breakfast tea and laptop by my side.
The next morning, we decided to venture to a slightly different theme park of an aquatic nature.
With the SUV roaring with air con, we headed off to Sea World with the plan to grab some breakfast along the way.

Queue Denny's.
It's a family tradition for us that every US holiday must, without fail, involve a Denny's trip.
This quick, cheap, and all American style breakfast may not be healthy on the heart, but their lumberjack breakfasts and pancake stacks are without a doubt, a right of passage.

After waking up with some steaming coffee, my breakfast finally arrived.
Just look at those fluffy American pancakes, dripping in melting butter...
Oh, it gives me the shivers!!

Drenched in maple syrup, these puppies are the American classic that never fails to tempt your rumbling stomach.

Whilst I demolished my towering stack, the rest of my family indulged in the 'Lumberjack'. Basically a variant on the full English, but with hash browns, grits, and ham. It is a hugeeee portion for so little a price!

With our stomachs bulging and happily content until supper time, we drove down the rest of the highway to reach the one and only Sea World.

With the sun shining and plenty to pack in before the day was out, we headed off around the park, eager beavers that we were.

First up, was the stingray lagoon!
My personal favourite as a child, until I was savagely attacked. You see, you are able to feed the stingrays, and as I was doing so, a greedy sea gull swooped down, stole my fish, and sliced open my finger.
Understandably, I was distraught and scared for life.
This was the time, at the age of 19, to conquer my fears and feed those stingrays!

These beautiful creatures glided through the water, swishing their sides in an elegant sway to and fro.

I picked up a slimey prawn and floated it seductively between my two fingers so that it swished in the rippling water, like a real prawn might (so I'm told by the staff!)

And the second it got close...

I chickened out!
They might not have teeth, but it was still scary!!
But after I finally manned up and conquered my fears, we headed over to one of my favourite zones.
The dolphin zone.

These playful little creatures danced and flicked the water up at the eagar faced children that clung to the railings.
This was great enough as it was, but then we found a better view.
An underwater sheet of glass in which you could see their world under the sea.

I think that I was loving it more than the little children who had their noses pressed up against the glass!
Plus, I did get called Ariel... ALOT.
Obviously red hair is more common in the UK than in the USA, as the amount of children that looked at me in a "mermaid come alive" sort of awe that was beyond hilarious and touching.

Next up was manatees, sea turtles (which I nicknamed Crush after my Finding Nemo addiction...!), and a 3D film showing the birth and life in the eyes of a turtle itself.
Being picked up by a seagull, mauled by a crab, and then stuck in a fishing net was more than enough to be thankful you didn't have fins!

So after rocking my 3D specs in the most incredible of fashions, we headed over to watch a few of the shows.
First up was the dolphins which flipped left, right, and centre.
In fact, they just flipped where ever, and when ever they could!

But we did not have much time after the show's finale.
The dolphins might have wowed us with their riding skills, incredible spins, and comical behaviour, but the star act was just about to start.

Any one who knows about Sea World will know that they have one star. One big star. Its a killer performance after all...
This act is so famous, that I still have the cuddly toy from my last visit.
Say hello to the big black and white beast that is Shamu the Orca!

With some family to help him along too!
There is even a designated "splash zone" for the first 10 rows or so. If you are seated here, chances are that you will be soaked...Not wet, but soaked!

You wouldn't  be surprised to be drenched after that splash after all!

This was my favourite show that we saw on the day, I mean, I know that they are deadly, but there is still something so lovable about Orcas.
(Maybe it is from the film Free Willy which gives you a false impression!)
There was also the sea lion show which was a comedy about pirates invading an island.
It isn't half impressive what they are able to teach some of these beautiful animals, and the best bit was actually the fact that the cast themselves understood the cheesiness of it, and laughed at themselves too!

The shark tunnel was an encounter that was beyond incredible. A long, stretching conveyor belt of glass that allowed these menacing creatures to swim just a few metres from your head.

In fact, we loved this encounter so much, that we decided to stop by for a little bit longer.
I think this is without a doubt, one of the most incredible settings for a restaurant that I have ever seen!

Seated right next the the tank within which the shark tunnel is set, you are able to have dinner along side these sharp finned friends.

With one of the best seats in the house, there was not much  talking amongst the four of us. We quickly ordered with the waitress the fish of the day, joked about how we hoped it was not one from the tank itself, and then we fell silent.
It is impossible not to become fixated by the beautiful but deadly creatures which float right past your awe struck gaze.

After some delicious salads of goats cheese & avocado to start, we were more than delighted for our haddock fillet to arrive.

Theme park food is usually a disappointment, greasy, and cheap, but this was not. It was sublime.
Grilled to perfection, drizzled in a dill crème fraiche, and served with wedges and pan fried asparagus.
It was moist, addictive, and flaked away at a soft touch of your fork.

I'm not going to lie, we just wanted to sit by the glass for a little bit longer!
And so, we ordered their caramelised banana crème brulee, which wasn't as gob smacking as the fish, but was nevertheless delicious.

All in all, a very busy day walking round the sweltering Florida heat, and the perfect start for our 10 day trip to Orlando.
Sea World is well worth a visit, and a favourite of mine as a child. You are never too old to be excited to touch a stingray or dolphin, and the shows fill in plenty of puns to suit all ages (including a lot about Lindsay Lohan!)
But I will not lie.
Sea World was beyond epic, but it by no means the magical star of Orlando... Oh, just you wait!!!


  1. Those pancakes! Your holiday looks glorious!xx

  2. Oh I love your pictures of Sea World! I wish I can go there someday...

  3. Wow that photo with the food and the outline of the shark in the background is incredible! What a shot! I've only been tot he sea world in CA but never FL, looks HUGE and a really amazing time.

    A Golden State of Mind

    1. I can't recommend it enough, California isn't half incredible too though, jealous! xx

  4. I can taste the food from here, they're so delish!! Haha and the restaurant is magical with all those sharks -- lol :)

    REAlity Bites

  5. Absolutely love the photo of your meal with the shark in the background. Awesome!

    Ahhhh Orlando. Reminds me of when I was a nanny in New York thirteen years ago and accompanied the family to Florida for summer vacation. Getting paid to act like a kid in a World of fun! Tough gig but somebody had to do it!

    Happy Days xx

    1. A nanny in New York?! Oh Em I am jealous! I bet that was such an incredible experience that you will never forget! xx

  6. Aw I haven't been to SeaWorld since I was little, your photos bring back such great memories for me! Looks so lovely.

  7. I remember going to Sea World years ago.. it's so much fun! I loved the dolphins and the sharks. Plus, I think I stayed near where you are, cuz I recognise that outside pool area!

    Teffy || Teffys Perks Blog ||


    1. Ahh no way! That's pretty cool. It is such a fun place isn't it?! Agreed, sharks & dolphins are pretty epic! xx

  8. I'm so jealous I want to go to America!! And to Denny's- that place looks amazing!
    Lottie xxx

  9. Emily, this looks amazing! Being able to get so close to such awesome creatures must have been a brilliant experience. I want to go too!

    Lucy x

    1. Aww thanks Lucy, that is really sweet of you! Road trip anyone?? xx

  10. I've never been to America, can't wait to take a sabbatical at some point and do the whole place from top to bottom!

    Katie <3

  11. Welcome to Florida! :) I love Sea World one of my favorite weekend getaways! Enjoy your time in Orlando!


    1. I'm so jealous that you live in such a beautiful part of the world! Sea World on your doorstep too?! Oh no fair! xx

  12. Aw I remember going to Sea World when I was little.... so jealous! Although, the sharks look a lot scarier than I remember! x

  13. This was all time favourite place when we used to visit during summer holidays!
    You wonderful pictures have brought back such great memories!
    Cashmere Times

    1. Aww I know exactly what you mean, i've been before when I was younger and it just brought back every memory for years ago!
      Glad your like it :) xx

  14. SO jealous!! Sounds like an amazing day, and such great pictures :)



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