Tampa Tuesdays: SeaWorld with a Toddler

*As I mentioned before, my Tampa Tuesday blog posts won’t include just Tampa, but others places nearby/in Florida, so please don’t be confused and think SeaWorld is now in Tampa, it’s definitely still in Orlando.

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1.) Bring your own stroller: While SeaWorld Orlando does have stroller rentals, they are of the plastic variety. While this works just find for a little bit older kids, if you have a toddler that will nap in a stroller, plan to bring your own for more comfort. We tied a bright ribbon around the handle of our stroller so it was easy to find when exiting shows.

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2.) Save the Shamu Happy Harbor playground for the afternoon: There is a huge, fun play area just for kids at the back of the park called Shamu Happy Harbour. I knew I wanted Emma Kate to experience this, but I also knew if we did it first thing, I would NEVER get her out of there! This is a large area that was never very crowded when we were there, so I suggest doing some things first that may have long lines early in the day, then head over to the kids area right before or right after nap (we went after). Keep in mind they DO have a splash pad area which is great for hot summer days, but bring extra clothes if you want your child to be able to play in the water.

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3.) There are “sleeping baby” areas at the shows, use them!: I LOVED this idea and we ended up using it ourselves! When you walk to the top of the stadium up the path at most of the shows, you then get to a walkway that goes across the whole top row that overlooks all the seating. If you have a sleeping baby/toddler you don’t want to take out of your stroller, you can wheel them right up to the stadium and park them behind the back row and stand to watch the show while your child sleeps. Emma Kate fell asleep in her stroller at one point and we didn’t want to miss the last sea lion show of the day, so we used the sleeping baby area and it worked beautifully. It also made it easy for us to be the first ones out after the show was over and avoid the crowds of people exiting the theater.

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4.) Make a plan around show times, but space them out: Each show only happens a certain number of times a day, so pick the ones you want to see, and rank them in order of most important to least important. Keeping in mind as the day goes on your toddler will get more cranky and restless, you may end of having to skip one of two shows, and you don’t want it to be your favorite one! Also, try not to go straight from one show to another without giving your toddler a chance to run around and get out the wiggles. We tried to avoid the stroller when we knew she needed to get some energy out and it worked well for us.

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5.) Split up if necessary: Remember that sometimes it’s ok for the whole family to not stick together. Some space can even be good on a hot day. Bobby wanted to ride one of the roller coasters, so Emma Kate and I went for a walk to find some food while Bobby went on the ride. He later went on it again when Emma Kate was napping and I took the opportunity to sit down, check my phone, and do some people watching. Be sure to pick a spot to meet up afterwards though so no one gets lost!

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Disclosure: I was given two free one day tickets to visit SeaWorld, however all opinions are mine.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Back in July when I was in Orlando for work, I spent one night at the Hard Rock Hotel on Universal’s property and visited both parks. I already posted about Universal Studios, and it’s time for me to post about Islands of Adventure, specifically Harry potter (you can read abut the read of Islands of Adventure here).

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The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is in the back of the Islands of Adventure park. I got there super early before it got crowded and took a bunch of photos. my husband is a huge Harry Potter fan so I watched all the movies with him right before I left so I would understand everything. Even for a non-superfan, it was really neat to see all the detail that went into this section of the park. I really enjoyed myself!

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hogwarts castle

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The first thing I did was walk to Hogwart’s and get in line for the Forbidden Journey ride. It was a VERY cool ride, very well done and a lot of fun. I rode single rider and had no wait, so I hopped back in line and midway through the second time…I got very nauseated. I closed my eyes for the rest of the ride hoping I could make it until it was over. Luckily I was ok, but my stomach was upset for the rest of the day. So, if you get motion sickness on rides, keep that in mind for this one. Apparently my stomach could handle once but not twice. Such a shame because now I am scared to ride it.

So, I went back out onto the “street” to go in some shops and take some pictures.

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HP shop

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I decided it was high time to try a frozen butterbeer, and oh my goodness it did NOT disappoint. You MUST try this if you visit!

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I hung around, drank my butterbeer, and took photos just enjoying the scenery. I bought some grapes from a cart on the “street” and then noticed it was getting VERY crowded so I high tailed it out of there.

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The above ride is:

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I came back a little later and some of the crowd had died down. I walked through the restaurant the Three Broomsticks and took some photos.

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Then I noticed a gathering at the stage. The choir was performing!

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Followed by some fun and games.

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Everyone was so in character and did a great job.

If Harry Potter merchandise is what you are after, you will not be disappointed. So. much. to. choose. from. They have everything from clothing to stuffed animals to candy and movie replicas.

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I had a great time exploring and can’t wait to go back and bring my husband! These photos just scratch the surface, there is so much more to see and do.

QOTD: Are you a Harry Potter fan? Favorite book or movie? Have you been to this park?

I would love to book your Universal vacation or tickets for you! Email [email protected] for a free quote. I can book for you at NO extra cost added to your vacation.