We were invited to SeaWorld to experience the "Light Up" on the first night of SeaWorld's Christmas Celebration. The kids had both been at birthday parties Saturday afternoon and Bryce decided he was too tired for any more festivities, so he stayed with Mama while Brian, Rylie and I headed out to SeaWorld for a night of Christmas cheer.
From the moment we walked into the park, it felt like Christmas already. There were carolers singing throughout the park, beautiful lights everywhere, and even snowfall! Our first stop of the evening was to dine with Santa at Santa's Fireside Feast. We were seated right next to the stage, and we all headed to the buffet while we awaited Santa's arrival.
As you all know, Rylie has a life-threatening tree nut allergy, and SeaWorld was awesome about making accommodations for her! The chef brought her a special plate with "safe" foods, and even brought desserts that she could eat! She was so happy while she scarfed down the two cups of pudding she was given. SeaWorld recently introduced a new line of allergy-friendly dining initiatives, and as a parent of a child with food allergies, I am very grateful!
The buffet at Santa's Fireside Feast was delicious! There was so much food available, and I wanted to try it all! We had turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, stuffing, macaroni and cheese, and several other vegetables. There were also salads, fruit and several desserts available. I tried the mint chocolate cheesecake, and it was awesome!
Santa arrived while I was getting my food, but Rylie was at the table and was so excited to see him. He told a story while everyone ate, and then the kids got to go up and visit with him for a minute. He asked Rylie what she wanted for Christmas, and she gave her usual answer of "makeup" and also told him she wanted ponies. Then she smiled from ear to ear while she had her picture taken with him.
Unfortunately, we missed the light up of the Sea of Trees because we were still eating. I heard it was awesome, though. The Sea of Trees includes more than 100 massive trees, each sparkling, lighted and choreographed to classic holiday tunes, making a dramatic display around SeaWorld's center lake.
|Photo courtesy of SeaWorld|
The SeaWorld photographers were there taking pictures, which were available for only $5 each. They came out so cute! In fact, they took so many of Rylie and Brian that I had a hard time figuring out which ones to buy. Rylie had a blast throwing the snow up in the air and was covered with the little pieces of white tissue when she got out.
As we were headed over to Shamu Stadium, we saw another fun photo opportunity at a Nativity Set. Rylie had her picture taken while she got to pet a donkey, and she loved it.
We finally made it over to Shamu Stadium for the Shamu Christmas Miracles show. I had never watched a Shamu show in the dark, and it was pretty awesome. The water was illuminated with different lights, and everything was beautiful. It was pretty cool because most of the time you couldn't see the whales until they came flying up out of the water!
The show was full of Christmas music while the whales soared through the air and showed off their tricks. There were also little videos shown on the screens of kids explaining what a "miracle" is. They elicited laughter from the audience, and I'm sure a few tears too. If you visit SeaWorld's Christmas Celebration, you definitely don't want to miss this show!
After the Shamu show, I really wanted to check out the Winter Wonderland on Ice - an ice skating extravaganza where Christmas comes to life through towering water fountains, magnificent fireworks and some of the most talented ice skaters in the world.
|Photo courtesy of SeaWorld|
When we arrived, there was no line at all, but Rylie wanted to wait for the back car, so we waited for the next ride since someone was already sitting in that one. She loves the very back! We talked to the attendant about the Christmas festivities, and even he seemed excited about everything going on in the park.
Brian and I took turns riding with Rylie, and then it got to the point that she was allowed to just stay on the ride, as long as no one wanted her seat. Brian happened to be with her then, so he was the lucky one who got to keep riding.
At one point I saw the ride come around and saw Brian first, and then I saw Rylie riding by herself in the back car. She was beyond excited that she was finally tall enough to ride by herself, and once she figured that out, she wanted to ride solo from then on.
Rylie finally took her last ride on the roller coaster just as the park was closing, and then we headed out. As we walked back towards the front of the park, we were able to see the fireworks from the Holiday Reflections: Fireworks and Fountains Finale. The lights and fireworks were choreographed to holiday music, and it was a great ending to the evening!
The park closed at 9:00, so we just didn't have enough time to experience all of the Christmas shows and activities. We will definitely be going back! I want to see the ice skating show, the Sesame Street Christmas show, and climb aboard THE POLAR EXPRESS Experience. We will definitely be heading back before the end of the year to experience everything we missed...but next time we will make a whole day out of it!
If you live in the Orlando area, or will be visiting through December 31st, you have got to check out SeaWorld's Christmas Celebration, where the season meets the sea! The best way to experience SeaWorld's Christmas Celebration this season is with a SeaWorld Fun Card, which includes unlimited visits to SeaWorld through 2013, all for the price of a single day's admission. For more information, visit SeaWorldOrlando.com.
Disclosure: All opinions are my own. My family received complimentary admission to SeaWorld to experience this event. No other compensation was received.