Review: SeaWorld San Diego + SeaWorld Coupons
SeaWorld San Diego invited my family to experience a day at their awesome theme park. If you haven’t been to SeaWorld lately, you might be surprised what you’re missing! I have always loved SeaWorld. I’ve visited SeaWorld Orlando and San Diego. And, from coast to coast, their fabulous shows and wonderful exhibits will not disappoint.
Planning ahead: To plan the excursion, I searched for nearby hotels. My research uncovered that many hotels near SeaWorld actually charge for parking – upwards from $25 or more! That’s a shock when normally hotel parking is included with your stay. Not something I’d want to find out after arriving!! Surprisingly, the hotels that charged for parking weren’t necessarily the cheap ones! One very nice resort that charges several hundred dollars per night also had the hidden $25 per day parking fee. I searched for hotels near SeaWorld with free parking and resumed my search. Then I remembered that we’d need to pay for parking at SeaWorld, and wondered if nearby hotels offered shuttle service to avoid that fee. Of course, finding a hotel near SeaWorld that offered free parking AND free SeaWorld shuttle service was no small feat. I finally found a very reasonably priced hotel, within miles of SeaWorld with free parking and free SeaWorld shuttle service – the Days Inn SeaWorld in San Diego. With rooms starting at under $80 per night, and a savings of up to $50 in parking, this was a solid decision to save money on our outing. And, they even offer free breakfast!
The Trip. We arrived at our hotel the night before our planned SeaWorld San Diego visit. The check-in process was fast, the staff was courteous and helpful, and put us on the list for free shuttle service to and from SeaWorld the next day. Our room was basic but clean and served our purposes just fine. We walked down the street to Panda Express and had dinner, then retired early and to rest up for a fun day.
The next morning we woke up and got ready to go. We enjoyed a hot breakfast, cooked to order – free with our hotel stay. We checked out of our room and the Days Inn was happy to store our bags and even refrigerate our leftover Panda food for the day! We headed to SeaWorld on the shuttle, which was right on time.
We arrived at SeaWorld in no time. It was nice not to have to worry about parking or paying for parking, because the shuttle dropped us off up front. We were greeted by SeaWorld staff who hooked us up with admission tickets, suggested a few favorite shows and attractions, and sent us on our merry way.
Our first order was to study the map and plan our day. We decided to see Pets Rule, a show staring rescue dogs, cats, bunnies and even a few potbelly pigs! All of the animals have been rescued from local shelters, and trained to work together to put on a highly entertaining show for the whole family. I loved the concept, and the show was actually very entertaining. The stadium was full, and the whole audience cheered, laughed and sang along. My daughter’s favorite part was when the big furry cat jumped into a container labeled “hair remover” and out jumped a hairless cat! My favorite part had to be the potbelly pigs, but having had a pig of my own for 17.5 years, I may be slightly biased.
Next up was the Sesame Street Bay of Play in the center of the park, where kids can climb on netted towers, through a maze of sky tunnels that resemble a huge hamster habit trail. There’s a giant bouncer and a bumper room. This was super fun, and actually had areas for kids of all ages to enjoy. We spent more than an hour there playing, and then it was time to head to the next show, Sea Lions Live, starting Clyde and Seamore.
The sea lion show started with a very funny guy who was posing as a janitor, but ended up being just as much part of the show as the animals. As a matter of fact, the one thing that struck me about SeaWorld that’s different than the last time I was there about 8 years ago, was how much more PEOPLE are involved in the show. It’s hard to explain, so I’m including a small video from the show to give you an idea. In short, it was about 30 minutes of side-splitting fun! Seriously fun for the whole family!
From there we headed over to Dolphin Point to pet the dolphins! I couldn’t wait to show my little girl this part of SeaWorld. I have a picture of me at SeaWorld Orlando petting a dolphin from years ago. It’s one of the neatest pictures I have! Such a unique and amazing experience to interact personally with sea life like this. And dolphins are among my favorites!! They’re so fun and playful. I love The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy trilogy, which deems dolphins to be much smarter than people. When the world was ending they left us the message: “So long, and thanks for all the fish.” After petting the dolphins, we went to see them in the show Blue Horizons. We sat in the “splash zone” but were in the top two rows and luckily didn’t get wet! The show was incredible. In a small way it reminded me of “O” at the Bellagio. Not nearly to that scale of course, but the production, dancing, aquatics… it was just wonderful and so entertaining! I looked around at the audience and observed peoples’ faces. All were in a very broad smile… just like I was. For me, it brought me back to when I was a little girl and saw the dolphin show for the first time. Sharing that with my little girl now was beyond powerful and such a wonderful experience.
The Shamu show was temporarily postponed because they had a baby! We didn’t actually get to see the baby, but we did visit Shamu’s Underwater Viewing and got to “meet” them. What a rush!
Rides, Rides, Rides! And did you know, there are lots of exciting rides at SeaWorld! (I remember when they didn’t have any!) There are roller coaster type rides and water rides. Journey to Atlantis® is a combination of both! They also have a fast pass type deal you can get called Quick Queue, to avoid waiting in line. I almost forgot the Skytower Ride!! From far above SeaWorld, we were able to snap some pictures of breathtaking views of the park, the nearby bay and the ocean. My daughter loved that ride so much she wanted to go on it again!
Plan your day with this cool interactive map of SeaWorld San Diego!
And stay tuned! Aquatica at SeaWorld, a water park formerly known as Soak City, is opening this summer in San Diego! SeaWorld also operates Aquatica parks in Orlando and San Antionio.
Favorites: the shows! The Bay of Play and the Dolphin Experience.
Savings & Coupons:
- Buy one day and get the whole year free!
- Use SeaWorld coupon code PLAYANDDINE to get a FREE all-day dining deal at SeaWorld pass (a $32.99 value per person!)
- Use SeaWorld coupon code SAVE12 to get $12 off admission to SeaWorld San Antonio (expires 5/19/13)
- Free admission to SeaWorld, Busch Gardens & Sesame Place for Military and their family
- Free admission to SeaWorld Orlando & San Diego for preschool & teachers
Tips: Plan ahead! Find a hotel nearby that offers free parking and free shuttle service to SeaWorld to save up to $50!
Summary: If you haven’t been to SeaWorld lately, you’ll be surprised! The shows are better, more human-involved and more entertaining. The exhibits are as amazing as ever, and they have rides! Plus, this summer they’re opening a waterpark! You owe it to yourself and your kids to go!