SeaWorld San Diego05/25/2013
We are reasonably on time but traffic here in LA is actually always bad. Now because of Memorial Day weekend it is twice as busy. We drive towards the Mexican border and it shows on the road. Because it's already getting very late we decide to skip breakfast and directly go for lunch. We are looking for a Denny's to get some lunch. The first attempt fails, it is so very busy that we can not get a table and there's a queue waiting ahead of us. So we drive a little further and at Oceanside we are in better luck. It's also busy but at least a table is available immediately. Sea World is open until 23:00 today so we do have some time.
After lunch the rest of the trip is fine although still the same amount of traffic. Arriving at SeaWorld Hellen shows her military ID and we park for free. The parking is already jam-packed, we find a spot at the very end of the huge lot. We arrive at the checkout with the printed hero vouchers and enter the park for free without any trouble. It only took a supervisor to pass because a Dutch ID from the ministry of Defense is still something new for them.
Once inside we are not that happy because it is extremely crowded. You can actually see nothing but people. In this park there are hardly any attractions and lots of shows so once at a show it's not that bad but getting from A to B is quite hard to do. There are only two roller coasters so that should be possible.
The first coaster is Journey to Atlantis (#807), a water coaster by Mack and very beautifully themed to Atlantis. It is quite a long track with two lifts and two splashes, both thankfully not overly wet. One of the lifts is a beautifully ingenious system by Mack involving two boats on one platform being transported up as an empty platform goes down which pass each other and connect to the same track again. Furthermore, a great ride. Nicely integrated in Atlantis is also the Window to the Sea aquarium with rays and sharks.
At Wild Arctic we try to see the polar bears, but it's just too full. Penguin Encounter is a lot better. What probably helps is that almost all Americans are standing on the conveyor belt while we walk ourselves behind them.
We work our way towards the Shamu Stadium for the Orca show. After a number of recent incidents, the trainers no longer enter the water together with the animals. It's great to see these mighty animals perform though. It's an entertaining show and the pace is good. Here in San Diego they have quite a few killer whales performing at the same time.
At Pets Stadium we see a similar show as the one at Universal Studios with numerous pets, although also some less common animals such as kangaroos and geese occur. Nice to see and a good story all around.
We decide not to stay for the entire day because it seems to be getting increasingly crowded. Of course we still have to stop by SeaWorld's second roller coaster. Manta (#808) is a launched roller coaster which also happens to be manufactured by the Mack firm. This coaster is not even a year old and looks great. Most of the track is located behind the loading station and is therefore not directly visible.
This rids is obviously very busy too and the queue is approximately one hour. We go for front-seat because that might only be waiting an extra two rides longer and should be worth it. When we are about to enter the ride there is a technical failure and shortly afterwards it is announced that one may wait in line but it is unknown how long it will take. This turns out to be quite a while still, to be followed by some 5 test rides but ultimately Manta re-opens again and we can finally board.
Manta is a great smooth and fine roller coaster. Although not very high (the track is 9 meters at the highest point), there is a real nice drop of 16 meters underneath a walkway and around a corner back across the same walkway. At the back of the coaster there is a second launch and even more pleasant cornering. This is a very nice coaster.
We're going back to the hotel and once again hit the road. Hellen had picked a restaurant for tonight but we will not get there on time so we ask Garmin for something on route. And sure enough, we find a seafood buffet restaurant in Carlsbad. A great choice because they have a huge selection of fish and sushi.
Lunch at Denny's in Oceanview.
In the parking lot of SeaWorld we see this Hyundai Coupe. In America this is a standard color Orange Crush. In our country, we don't see this color but my Atomic Orange looks exactly alike.
Journey to Atlantis looks attractive.
Familiar looking boats of the Mack water coasters, as in Poseidon of Europa Park.
Beautiful drop from the tower.
In the back it is quite possible to remain dry.
Orca show at the Shamu Stadium.
It is noticeable that the trainers remain at an appropriate distance from the animals.
The presenters can also be seen on these two huge screens.
We were just outside the splash zone. This is why.
These animals are capable of splashing a lot of water around.
At the pet show: ropejumping dog.
Manta is a very fine roller coaster. Here at the turning point near the walkway.
The top speed is 70 km / h.
Nice system that shows which restraints are not securely closed.
Manta like most visitors well.
Most visitors like Manta very well.
Atlantis one last time.
Sushi time again.