Weekend Getaway to Disney and Sea World

Laura is a client and friend of mine.  She had the opportunity to go to Sea World on one of her recent trips in April and shared her experience with me.  She also has a few reviews of some new restaurants that they tried.  Her girls have several allergies so they watch for allergy friendly places.  See what she has to say.

We surprised the girls for their birthdays when we picked them up from school (early release day) and drove straight to the airport. They FREAKED! We had a great flight and headed straight downstairs to Magical Express. We thankfully were the first stop of the ride and had an easy time getting to the lodge. Our room was ready when we arrived and headed straight up there really looking forward to surprising the girls with a savanna view. Our room was a TREK to get to.

We were in a rush to Sea World in the morning so we couldn’t mess with the room situation and just decided to see what happened later on.

 

Sea World was amazing. We did the Dolphin’s Up Close tour which was 1 hour and it was absolutely worth every penny. It was pretty affordable at $25 for kids and $45 adults with all that we got to do. We got time with the trainers, learned a ton about the dolphins, got to learn hand signal behaviors which we did for the dolphins and we got to touch them a lot! They even “sang” happy birthday to the girls! The ONLY downsides: it was cold and we pretty chilly throughout most of the event. Water + cold is not too fun. Secondly, we had to put of all loose items to keep the dolphins safe–which included cell phones. They of course had several photographers snapping pics the entire time capturing every amazing thing but we would have spent a small fortune on those photos so we picked our favorite for $20. The girls (and I) LOVED every second of it. We are all big dolphin fans so it was really a special experience. I seriously almost cried it was so cool.

We did that as soon as we arrived so when we were done we headed to eat (just quick service so nothing special to brag on-only that we got allergy safe food in 3 mins vs 30….) but it was a hot dog and fries…. lol.

We did the Orca One Ocean show next and that was amazing as well. We did not pay for special seating which in my opinion would have been a waste. You can see perfect anywhere in that arena and if you wanted to sit in the splash zone (we did NOT) there was plenty of seating open. The premier seating you pay for is front and center away from splash zones and down lower in the upper set of seating. Not worth paying for.

The show was great and everyone was smiling and happy and in awe the whole time. It was pretty cool. Those animals are so beautiful!

We snagged a last min. reservation to Jiko at 7:20 pm.  We had an excellent server and a perfect table right against the window overlooking the water feature outside. Now for the review:

Jiko- The Cooking Place
The thing that will deter us from ever going back was the INSANE amount of time that dinner took! We didn’t get out of there until almost 10pm! It was not that busy in there at all but it was painfully slow. We were all starving and the girls were past done.

 

We had:

Adult Appetizer: Curried Butternut squash bisque. WOW. So good.
Adult Appetizer: Jiko Salad with EPCOT The Land greens. Very good as well. I could have eaten 3 plates of this.
Girls had GF allergy bread which was terrible.
Dinner: Oak-grilled Filet Mignon–amazing flavor and great meal. He was very pleased
Dinner: Durham Ranch Elk Loin. The elk was amazing but this is a very small portion and the veggies on the plate were basically raw. Very pricey for what you get. Good but would not get again.
Kids Macaroni and Cheese–didn’t like it. It was a weird sharp white cheese and it was under-seasoned and bland but kinda sour.
Kids Fish–loved every bite and cleaned her plate.

Dessert:
Malva Pudding which was outstanding
Some sort of cheesecake which had this weird freeze dried blueberry foam on top which was BAD. Not good.
Kids: Really fun white chocolate Mickey puzzle that they could paint with this weird jello. They hated it but had fun playing.

The price tag of that experience was insane for a painfully long dinner that was overpriced for what it was. We love Artist Point–our favorite signature restaurant on property so far and it just didn’t compare. Would we return? Only if we needed a last min dinner option while staying at AKL. We would skip wine (insanely overpriced and all directly from South Africa) and dessert and just hit up the Mara for Zebra Domes! 🙂 The allergy options for both girls (peanut, tree nut, sesame and shellfish) were great and we were very comfortable with eating here.

We also ate at:

Biergarten
We tried this for the first time in January and loved it so much we took the girls. The chef was great and turns out this is basically one of the safest places for them to eat on property. We comfortably fed them off the buffet right away and they LOVED it. The food was great and the entertainment was outstanding and so fun for everyone to watch. I would highly recommend this restaurant!

Cosmic Rays
Our MK go-to quick service for food allergies. To confirm there are no nuts, no sesame and no shellfish in the restaurant. It’s a perfect place to eat. It is INSANELY busy, however, even now that the 3 bays all serve the same food. We waited more than 30 mins each time we went.

The Mara
I was pretty nervous about this quick service at AKL given all of the ethnic foods and food allergies. The chefs were really great here and FAST! My girls ate safe breakfast and we had an amazing dinner there our last night–ribs and chicken and both plates were demolished. They liked it better than Jiko by a landslide and we spent a fraction of what we spent that night….oy. lol (And ZEBRA DOMES)
OH! and a HUGE shout-out to the Mara for carrying Erin McKenna cupcakes! The one safe allergy-friendly treat my girls beg for from Disney Springs! We were very surprised to find containers of 4 mini cupcakes from EM! They loved it!