We got up at 8 a.m. and had a breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon, and cantaloupe. The cookware available at the condo was good, heavy stuff, but we didn't have a non-stick pan. Making eggs in a regular skillet is challenging. I called our liaison and left a message with her, just in case we were supposed to have one and it was missing for some reason. I had to leave a message, but she did call back later to say, yes, we were supposed to have one and a staff member would bring one to us. We packed up snack foods and bottled water to take in to the park with us.
We left at 10 a.m. and drove to Sea World, which is very close to Horizons. There was a slight wait (I think we waited through a traffic light for about three cycles), then we had to wait in line to pay for parking. It did not take us too long to get through security. I noted that the family in front of us had to remove the small external straws from their kids drink boxes (something about the wrappers and straws being harmful to the animals). We walked in to the park at 10:45. We had read in guide books that you should get to shows 20 - 30 minutes in advance, so we studied the map and quickly walked to the arena for the 11:30 Shamu/Believe show. We were 3/4 of the way up in the seats, but at least we were in the shade. I liked our seats. While we waited for the show to begin, we studied the park map and the other show times and discussed various plans to see things in the park. The show started exactly on time and was wonderful.
We left the Believe stadium at Noon and went directly to the Anheuser-Busch Hospitality Center. I have two words for you: free beer. Well, I guess it's not really free, considering that the entry fee to get in the park was $65, plus $8 for parking. But, it seemed like free beer nonetheless. We also made our reservations for the tasting at 12:45 p.m. We had a few minutes to spare, so we thought about going to the tower in the middle of the park to make reservations to go up inside of it. As we were walking there, we were discussing the fact that the observation deck, which usually goes up and down the tower, didn't seem to be moving. We realized it was probably closed due to the fact that it was a very windy day, so we turned back around and spent time in the hospitality center looking at the museum-like exhibits near the entrance.
When you are called to go in to the tasting room, you are first taken in to a living room area that is a nice respite after being in the crowded park. There were only four of us, plus two well behaved children. Then, we were called to go in the tasting room, which was well decorated and it also had a children's room with an attendant off to the side (there was a video playing on a TV, but they also had coloring books for the kids, and some legos). We went through the tasting with a couple from Canada. I remember trying the lime added beers (such as Landshark) and the Redbridge sorghum beer. The young man describing the beers and the history of Anheuser-Busch also gave us little bites of cheese, olives, and dark chocolate, depending on what we were drinking. We tasted very sweet malt beverages first, then light beers, then medium-body beers, then very dense, dark beers.
After the tasting, we sat out at one of the many tables in front of the hospitality center to eat lunch. We took in pre-packaged tuna fish salad kits, which we had purchased at the grocery store. I think we were kind of lucky to find a table quickly, because the area seemed very popular. After we ate, we walked through the clydesdales barn.
We looked at the clock and tried to get in the sea lion and otter show and arrived a solid 5 minutes before the start time, but we missed getting a seat (you really do have to get to the arenas at least 15 minutes before the shows start). Instead, we went through the nearby shark exhibit, which was great. You walk through a tunnel, so the water is above you and to both sides of you. Then, we rode Kraken, which is the only roller coaster in Sea World, not counting the log flume. There were many 50 cent lockers available right at the entrance for the roller coaster. The roller coaster does go upside-down and sideways, so it is not possible to take hats, backpacks, or purses of any kind on the ride. It's not wise to wear glasses or earrings, either. Then, we went back to the sea lion show. I like that you get to see an extra animal at the end of the show: a gigantic walrus. It had been a long time since I had seen one of those. From there, we headed over to the other corner of the park and saw the manatees and visited the sting ray petting area. We also stopped by the dolphin area for a while. We were lucky there, because we did not go to the show, but we were walking by the arena as the show was ending. We saw the performers (several of whom where carrying large birds, such as huge parrots) walking around to the side of the arena to go back on to the stage. Finally, we walked by the sea turtles on the way out.
We went back to the hotel for about 45 minutes. We tried to go to Kitty O'Shea's Pub for the St. Patrick's Day celebration. I had done a bit of research about St. Patty's Day celebrations in Orlando before we left Maryland. I had convinced myself that everyone was going to be at Pat O'Brien's in the Universal City Walk. I thought Kitty O'Shea's would be busy, but that it would be a little hole-in-the-wall bar for locals. I was not prepared for what we found. It was in a shopping center that had several restaurants, including a Hooters. Kitty O'Shea's pub was in a courtyard and they had roped off the whole courtyard to accomodate the crowd, as well as a couple sky blue porta-potties. The simple fact of the matter is that we couldn't find a place to park. If we had been able to park the car, we might have gone in to the party. But, we circled anxiously for a few minutes and decided it wasn't worth it, so we went went back out to the main road. We drove up the road and noted that we passed Giordano's, which I had read about on the Internet. We kept driving until the commercial area ended and a residential area began, then we turned around and went back to Giordano's to look at the menu. The menu looked very similar Ledo's pizza, which is a place we visit often in Maryland. We ended up eating at Joe's Crab Shack, basically across the street from Giordano's. It's a chain restaurant, but we had never been to one, so it was worth a try. I got the steamed mussels appetizer for dinner and my husband got fish and chips. The atmosphere is casual and noisy, but fun. I think the music was a little too loud, but I liked the songs which were playing, so it wasn't a problem. The food was good.