Sea World San Diego 09/04/2014

After deciding to go on West Coast Bash with TPR for the second year in a row I decided I really wanted to go to SeaWorld this time. I had been to the other two SeaWorld parks in Texas and Florida before so this would be the last one to complete the SeaWorld collection. I was particularly excited for Manta after hearing so many great things about it, and also just to go to a SeaWorld park. I hadn’t been to a SeaWorld since 2012, so how was it? Did it live up to all my expectations? Let’s find out!

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Upon pulling in to the parking lot, doesn’t look too busy today.

SeaWorld is celebrating 50 years this year and it all started with this park!

SeaWorld is celebrating 50 years this year and it all started with this park!

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The entrance area looks like one giant wave.

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There’s touch pools right at the entrance so you can experience some of the animals as soon as you walk in.

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There’s all kinds of animals to check out.

Alright well which way to Manta?

Alright well which way to Manta?

I see blue track!

I see blue track!

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And here it is!

When Manta at SeaWorld San Diego was first announced I initially thought that looks like nothing compared to the Orlando version. The Orlando version was also one of my favorite coasters and still is my favorite B&M flyer. (Tatsu is sometimes a little too intense.) After Manta was completed I started hearing really good things about it, which surprised me. Again I wasn’t expecting much, looks like a standard boring family coaster. I had even heard comparisons to Maverick at Cedar Point one of my all time favorites. So how was it? Let’s find out!

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Part of the queue walks past aquariums, so if there’s a line you have something to look at. Luckily today there’s no wait!

Hello fishy!

Hello fishy!

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The queue gives you nice views of the ride.

It even flies by a few times.

It even flies by a few times.

See no wait!

See no wait!

Manta was amazing! So much better than I had hoped it would be and I’d easily make a case for it being the best coaster in Southern California. Yeah it doesn’t look like much but it sure packs a punch. It’s a great coaster for families and enthusiasts alike, and it is a much more re ride-able verison of Maverick. I could ride this coaster all day long! Sorry Manta Orlando, the newer version is much much better!

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Hell yeah!

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Mandatory picture of the train and the sign.

Much more on Manta later, but for now let’s check out more of the park!

Who wants to travel to Atlantis?

Who wants to take a Journey to Atlantis?

Let's board our boat shall we?

Let’s board our boat shall we?

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The first drop is the iconic water one with a….

Splashdown!

Splashdown!

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Time for a nice leisurely stroll around the Atlantis sign.

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After the splashdown you enter the building but not before dodging a few water jets.

After taking a neat elevator lift to the top that sways back and forth with images of the ocean the doors open and....

After taking a neat elevator lift to the top that sways back and forth with images of the ocean the doors open and….

... down the first twisted drop!

… down the first twisted drop!

There's a few more twists and turns.

It’s not too fast or anything just enough to make it enjoyable.

You circle the central building a few times.

You circle the central building a few times.

And endure a few more twisted drops.

And endure a few more twisted drops.

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This is the section of the ride which allows this to be counted as a track. The car is rolling on a track powered by gravity hence it’s a roller coaster or more like a water coaster to be exact.

The ride ends with one final splashdown!

The ride ends with one final splashdown!

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Next you get to sit and wait for a few minutes for the boats to load and unload. Definitely the worst part of the ride.

Journey to Atlantis in Orlando is one of my favorite water rides for it’s unique coaster setting and theming. Since then the subsequent iterations haven’t lived up to the original. This version doesn’t have nearly as much theming and effects as the Orlando one, but there’s a decent amount here and a much longer coaster section that I also thoroughly enjoyed this version. Plus there’s the totally unique elevator lift on this version, super cool! This ride was a pleasant surprise, I thought there was no way it could live up to the Orlando version but it had it’s own unique qualities to make it special in it’s own right. Now I’ll have to give the Texas version a try even though that one looks to be the worst of the three, but who knows it could surprise me as well.

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The Atlantis gift shop also has an aquarium inside of it.

Don't forget the family dryers but you don't get too wait anyway on the ride.

Don’t forget the family dryers but you don’t get too wet anyway on the ride.

After conquering the two coasters in the park I decided to see if I could make it on time to the Pet’s Rule show. I made it just in time with a minute to spare before they closed the doors.

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The stage of the Pet’s Rule show.

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There were of course dogs….

.. and cats.

.. and cats.

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Even some dinner dates.

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And in traditional SeaWorld parks fashion the message about checking adoption shelters first when looking for a pet.

And the finale with cats doing some tight rope walking.

And the finale with cats doing some tight rope walking.

Plus throw in some ducks for good measure.

Plus throw in some ducks for good measure.

Maybe even a kangaroo.

Maybe even a kangaroo.

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And one more cat before it’s all done.

Standard pet show stuff here, nothing too exciting but entertaining enough show. Now onto the next show.

Checking out the sea lions before heading into the show.

Checking out the sea lions before heading into the show.

We're here at Sea Lions Live!

Time for Sea Lions Live!

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Before the show this guy does his best movie impressions.

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All ending with a Flashdance finale.

Let's not forget about the stars of the show Clyde...

Let’s not forget about the stars of the show Clyde…

.. and Seamore!

.. and Seamore!

The show's theme was popular TV shows and the jokes were just as entertaining as the other Clyde and Seamore shows.

The show’s theme was popular TV shows and the jokes were just as entertaining as the other Clyde and Seamore shows.

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Ending with of course a Gangnam Style dance featuring Clyde and Seamore!

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Do It Gangnam Style!

This show was very entertaining and it was nice to see something different than the traditional Clyde and Seamore pirate show version. Glad these are changing throughout the parks. Next year Orlando will be getting a high school theme Clyde and Seamore show.

Now here’s my one issue with these park, kinda minor but could have very possibly ruined the whole day. So there’s ad all throughout the park to download the app for ride wait times and show times.

Very much like this one.

Very much like this one.

That’s exactly what I did before the trip but here’s where I run into a problem.

What the phone app says....

Here’s what the phone app says….

.. and what the park map says. Notice the dates on both are exactly the same.

.. and what the park map says. Notice the dates on both are exactly the same.

Now most of the times are pretty much the same except one BIG difference there. Notice the One Ocean show on the app says 2PM while the park map says 1PM. I didn’t pick up a park map until later in the day since I had the app, luckily while waiting for the Sea Lions Live show I noticed someone reading their map with a different showtime for the Shamu show. It was indeed at 1 PM and not 2 PM like the app said and good thing I noticed or else I would have showed up at 2 PM wondering where everyone was and missing the only Shamu show of the day. So morale here is, still pick up your traditional park maps for accurate show times.

It wouldn't be SeaWorld without flamingos.

It wouldn’t be SeaWorld without flamingos.

Before heading on I grabbed a few more pictures of Manta by it's second launch.

Before heading on I grabbed a few more pictures of Manta by it’s second launch.

Again such a great coaster!

Again such a great coaster!

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Manta in the final brakes.

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Sea turtle!

Don’t worry there’ll be more pictures of Manta in a bit but in the meantime it’s time for some Shamu!

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Shamu is getting ready.

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The whales were just a bit hungry before the show.

One Ocean!

One Ocean!

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Featuring rotating and moving video boards.

Here's a shot of the boards rotating. Pretty unique aspect.

Here’s a shot of the boards rotating. Pretty unique aspect.

When I saw this show back in 2012 at the Orlando park I was a little unimpressed, so I was anxious to see how they improved upon it since. Let’s see how SeaWorld San Diego’s version is.

So let's start the show!

So let’s start the show!

Two whales!

Two whales!

One of the trainers talking about the animals.

One of the trainers talking about the animals.

With the trainers not being allowed back in the water with the animals anymore they provide commands from outside the water.

With the trainers not being allowed back in the water with the animals anymore they provide commands from outside the water.

This wouldn't be a Shamu show without splashing.

This wouldn’t be a Shamu show without splashing.

A few more commands for some more splashes.

A few more commands for some more splashes.

And a wave hello.

And a wave hello.

And a bunch of whales are brought out for the finale.

And a bunch of whales are brought out for the finale.

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For one last jump!

So all in all much better than the Orlando version I saw back in 2012. It’s still not as exciting as when trainers were allowed in the water with the animals but the difference I noticed in this version was there were a lot more whales. So hopefully I’ll see a similar version when I return to Orlando in a few days!

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While walking out spotted the filtration tanks for Shamu Stadium. That’s a lot of water to filter.

Time for some Shipwreck Rapids!

Time for some Shipwreck Rapids!

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The rapids ride has some decent theming and fun moments.

Of course some water cannons too to soak the guests.

Of course some water cannons too to soak the guests.

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Appears no one wanted to get wet in this boat.

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The finale includes double Archimedes screw’s! Exciting! haha

Standard rapids ride here nothing too exciting but a fun attraction regardless with some decent theming.

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Should be renamed World of “Tiny” Fishes.

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More touch pools in this area.

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Apparently I arrived too early to see the Octopus. 😦

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Outside the entrance to the Sky Ride I spotted this sign for Lagoon Stadium apparently original home of the dolphin show. It’s a decent size stadium that now hosts a cirque show which was not running today.

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Relax and Recharge station provided by Southwest. Totally awesome way to get a quick charge on your phone if you needed to inside the park. More parks need these!

There was quite a line for the Bayside Skyride but that's alright because it gave me more opportunities for....

There was quite a line for the Bayside Skyride but that’s alright because it gave me more opportunities for….

...pictures of Manta!

…pictures of Manta!

Can't say enough about how great this ride is!

Can’t say enough about how great this ride is!

Time for the voyage across the bay.

Time for the voyage across the bay.

The huge Lagoon Stadium, original home of the dolphin show.

Lagoon Stadium, original home of the dolphin show.

The sky ride runs across Mission Bay which leads into the Pacific Ocean!

The sky ride runs across Mission Bay which leads into the Pacific Ocean!

So you could say this park is a bit land locked.

So you could say this park is a bit land locked.

There's a few boats out there enjoying the wonderful weather today.

There’s a few boats out there enjoying the wonderful weather today.

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Some workers caring for a rehabilitated animal in SeaWorld’s animal care area.

Before returning, more pictures of Manta!

Before returning, more pictures of Manta!

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This is the back half of the ride including the second launch, which is just as powerful and surprising as the first launch. This is also the section of the ride which really shines, amazing lateral air time around those tight turns.

The Bayside Skyride doesn’t give you too many views of the park but does indeed give you some great views of Mission Bay and the Pacific Ocean. I wonder what a sunset ride on this would be like.

Who wants to see some sharks?

Who wants to see some sharks?

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Some pretty neat decor outside of the Shark Encounter.

Upon walking in my first thought was "This is so cool!"

Upon walking in my first thought was “This is so cool!”

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I love how the top of the tank has a more natural look to it.

But let's not forget the sharks.

But let’s not forget the sharks.

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After leaving the top section you enter the shark tunnel.

Featuring my favorite the Blacktip Shark!

Featuring my favorite the Blacktip Shark!

My what big teeth you have!

My what big teeth you have!

Not as big as this guys.

Not as big as this guys.

Let's check out some turtles!

Let’s check out some turtles!

A big collection of sea turtles.

A big collection of sea turtles.

Surfs up dood.

Surfs up dood.

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A collection of outdoor penguins.

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Now time to head inside the stinky building also presented by Southwest.

It was apparently feeding time and there was quite a commotion in there.

It was apparently feeding time and there was quite a commotion in there.

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These penguins apparently weren’t interested in the food.

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Whew those building are always stinky. Really hope the new exhibit in Orlando smells better.

Time for some arctic exploration.

Time for some arctic exploration.

Featuring polar bears...

Featuring polar bears…

... and beluga whales!

… and beluga whales!

Beluga whales sure are the most interesting look whale out there.

Beluga whales sure are the most interesting look whale out there.

While walking through the park these flamingos got in my way. How rude!

While walking through the park these flamingos got in my way. How rude!

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Apparently they were heading to flag central.

50th anniversary floral style.

50th anniversary floral style.

Another look at Journey to Atlantis.

Another look at Journey to Atlantis.

Splash!

Splash!

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Walked by the Seaseme Street Bay of Play.

Which features of course SeaWorld nets, my favorite as a kid.

Which features of course SeaWorld nets, my favorite as a kid.

Now who's ready for some Blue Horizons!

Now who’s ready for some Blue Horizons?!?

Featuring some singing...

The whole show is themed to a little girls dream.

Which of course features some water jets.

Which of course features some water jets.

...some dolphins...

…some dolphins…

...some acrobats...

…some acrobats…

...some birds...

…some birds…

.... a pilot whale even! ....

…. a pilot whale even! ….

... and of course trainers in the water!

… and of course trainers in the water!

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The show really has everything.

Including the awesome pilot whale!

Including the awesome pilot whale!

Look at that fin!

Look at that fin!

But the star of the show is still the dolphins.

But the star of the show is still the dolphins.

And what a finale they put on!

And what a finale they put on!

Lots and lots of dolphins!

Lots and lots of dolphins!

And that's Blue Horizons!

And that’s Blue Horizons!

Back in 2012 I thought Blue Horizon’s was SeaWorld’s best show and it still doesn’t disappoint. There’s just so much here for everyone and it’s definitely incredible. Don’t miss Blue Horizons!

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Some info on the incredible pilot whale.

Before heading out for the day I just had to get a few more rides in on Manta. So let me tell you a little more about this incredible coaster!

The Manta queue and the show/launch building.

The Manta queue and the show/launch building.

The ride starts out with you entering the show/launch building. In it you are shown a video of Manta rays and the train begins to rock back and forth and then launch time!

The ride starts out with you entering the show/launch building. In it you are shown a video of Manta rays and the train begins to rock back and forth and then launch time!

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You rocket out of the building and the ride begins!

There's a few dips and dives around the queue before entering the second half of the ride.

There’s a few dips and dives around the queue before entering the second half of the ride.

I also love the little details, notice anything on the ground?

I also love the little details, notice anything on the ground?

One of the best surprises of the year and truly a unique coaster.

One of the best surprises of the year and truly a unique coaster.

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SeaWorld cares.

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Until next time, stay classy San Diego.

Sea World San Diego is one of my favorite parks on the year, I don’t care what anyone says about SeaWorld I still enjoy it. Yeah yeah there’s been all this bad publicity around the parks since Blackfish and the company is definitely hurting, but I’d hate to see these parks close up shop. They do so much good in helping animals and educating that it’d be a shame to lose them. Every company has its faults and no matter where you come out on Blackfish I hope you still give SeaWorld another chance. I really hope to see theses parks still in operation 20 years from now, but until then I’ll keep visiting and having a great time. The rest of you are missing out. 😛

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