I got an email wondering if I’d like to take the family to Sea World to see their Christmas Light-Up Extravaganza. (Not the official name…but I like the sound of it.) Needless to say, I packed up the familial unit and headed to Orlando post-haste!

We were greeted with fresh fruits and cheeses which were a huge hit with the youngest boy. Then they brought out some fantastic shrimp cakes which were PHENOMENAL. (You should totally check out my Instagram account to see the pics. Drool-worthy to say the least.) Oh, what am I saying? Here take a look at them!

The Best Shrimp Cakes EVER.

I just got hungry looking at this picture.

But this isn’t about the food they served us when we got there. This post is about the experience once we got out into the park. The sun was going down, the lights were blazing, and the boys were entranced.

They demanded we take a photo with the penguin before we did anything else.


After that, we took a quick hop around the pond to go see the Shamu show. I’ve been to the Sea World in Texas and was prepared for a pretty good show. The show we got, however, was nothing short of amazing. The speakers were turned up a little too loud, my oldest son plugged his ears for part of the show. But when the whales came out, it was nothing but oohs and ahhs and hollering. I had to keep reminding myself to document the show while I was watching it. What the pictures won’t show, is the music. The vocal performances were better than you’d expect. I won’t say the last song brought a tear to my eye, but I did get a little lump in my throat. She was that good.

Now, let me just say, my camera was having a hard time with these shots. For some reason, even on low light settings, it was just being difficult. The one shot I’m really bummed didn’t turn out was when FIVE orcas jumped out of the water simultaneously. (Yes, five. It was amazing.)






He can’t whistle yet, but it didn’t stop him from trying!

(Update: I figured out what was wrong with my camera…turns out, I needed to turn it off then turn it back on again. Go figure.)

Then, we went for a jaunt around the park. There were a couple of other shows we could have seen, but the boys (and the grown ups) were just too darn busy looking at all of the lights! They had different sections of the park lit up with color themes. The one theme that ran throughout was THERE ARE A WHOLE LOTTA BULBS! Everywhere we looked, the boys were amazed by something new.




Then, we walked up on some sharks and rays. My son, who cares naught for schedules and plans made it abundantly clear that we were going to go see the sharks. And see them, we did! The entry into the exhibit was super cool, but they saved the best for further in. THEY HAVE SHARK EGGS! Seriously, I thought all sharks were born live. Turns out, I was wrong. Yes, you heard it here first, I was wrong about something. Just this once, though.




Finally, we headed back for the ice skating show and closing fireworks. Heading across the lake was amazing as they have a ton of trees on the water. The reflections doubled the glow and made for a more magical walk. We were almost late for the show, because the boys kept wanting to stop and point at the trees.


Finally, we made it to the show. Sea World was gracious enough to give us some pretty awesome seats. They had an opening act for the show that was an a capella group and they were amazing. I would have liked it if the group had sang over some of the skating!


Raise your hand if you hate Boston…wait, what??

I kid because the gentleman who doesn’t have his hand raised is actually from Boston. Also, he’s doing a pretty good Stevie Wonder in this shot.


And the girl on the far left? Not a bad human beatbox. She’s no Biz Markie, but still.

I was amazed at how many skaters they can pack into such a small space. Not to mention, the flips, and double axels, and spins etc they were performing. My boys are native Floridians and have never experienced snow or ice, so when they came out and started skating, my youngest (2) started pointing and yelling, “Look at that, Daddy! Look at that!”










This dude busted out with a full-on backflip. He landed and turned with less than a foot to spare. Wow.

Then, the fireworks. It was a pretty cool display. It is designed to be viewed perfectly from the seats at the ice skating show. There were big reports, and lots of flashes and sparkles in an intimate show that just topped off a wonderful night of Christmas music and lights.







In short, if you go here and walk out NOT in the Christmas spirit, you just didn’t try. I wanted to get more pictures, but my camera, my phone, and my wife’s phone were all drained from the frenzy of shots we took. What I didn’t get to show, was the fire pit where you can sit and drink cocoa while warming yourself and the bevy of shops all decorated with delightful ‘Santa’s Workshop’ and ‘North Pole’ themes.

And I haven’t even got into the animal rescue side of Sea World yet! (I think this is a much more important function of the park and it deserves its own post.) I’ll post something about that later. And a preview of some of the things they have coming out in 2014.

Bonus! This is one of my favorite memories from the night. Watching my son play pattycake with an awesome elf!

I believe her name was Elly D!

(FTC Disclaimer: I was given entry into the park (not a full park pass) and given dinner for my review. While the shrimp cakes were phenomenal, they did not sway my opinions in any way. Those belong to me, and my family and are represented here.)

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