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SoCal Guide – Sea World San Diego

Want to hold a sea star? Or get up-close and personal with sea turtles? Watch an orca whale leap from the water, see penguins dive into icy water or observe beluga whales below water? Want to meet a dolphin (and probably get splashed?) Then Sea World San Diego is the place for you!

Sea World San Diego Guide

As a San Diego native, my family and I have been going to Sea World for as long as I can remember. The park has changed quite a bit over the years but some things have remained constant throughout; Sea World San Diego has always been a unique experience, safe, clean and well-kept with offerings of education alongside the fun!

Sea World San Diego Guide

Start your planning with a park map and plot out your day. It is quite possible to see all of the exhibits in one day (if you aren’t lingering too long in any one place) however it might be a challenge to see all of the shows. Show times often overlap so I definitely recommend choosing your must-do and make sure you get to those shows early (at least 20 minutes, but 30 minutes is even better on busy days) for the best seat.

Remember to pay attention to the “soak zone” areas and protect your belongings; This includes your littlest ones…I was once drenched head-to-toe at the Shamu show on a chilly day, along with my very peeved six month old! Make sure to stop off at the Shamu Underwater Viewing area for an intimate look at the orcas swimming. They often come right up to the glass to say “hello”!

Sea World San Diego guide

Shamu’s One Ocean is a must-see. Even though trainers no longer join the orcas in the water, the show is still very exciting. Seeing enormous killer whales leap so effortlessly is a magnificent sight to see! Pet’s Rule animal show is one of our family favorites too. Sea Lions LIVE is fast paced, funny and very popular so make sure you get there early for a good seat!

Cuddly creatures at Sea World San Diego

Sea World has always been the place for unique interactions with marine life and now with the addition of many rides, Sea World San Diego is a place for mild and wild thrills as well! Manta is the newest coaster and afterwards you can visit the interactive manta ray exhibit. The rays flop right up next to the ledge and let you “pet” them!

Touch manta rays at Sea World San Diego

Journey to Atlantis is my kid’s favorite; they love that 60-foot drop! And my husband  likes it too…it’s a very refreshing splash on a hot day!

Journey to Atlantis - Sea World San Diego

Sesame Street Bay of Play is the place to let little ones burn off some energy. There are several rides (aimed at the younger set) along with ropes to climb, fun house mirrors, slides and carnival games (for extra coin). We even won a giant giraffe pillow on the ring toss last time!

There is a baby and toddler soft-play area as well. Elmo and friends make an appearance at scheduled times for photo opportunities with guests.  There is a water-play area here for hot days. The Sesame Street Bay of Play is a popular area that can get quite congested so we usually stop here first thing in the morning.

Sea World San Diego

Sea World San Diego

There are several places around the park where guests can interact with sea life. At Dolphin Point you can literally pet and feed a dolphin…and probably get wet, these guys are very playful and sometimes full of pranks!

Tide pools at Sea World San Diego

We have yet to see Explorer’s Reef but with four touch-pools it sounds like it will be another incredible interactive experience. These photos are my son through the years at the Tide Pools.

Interactive sea life at Sea World San Diego

One of the more amazing attractions is Shark Encounter. After viewing the sharks from above, guests journey through a tunnel that transports you right into the shark tank! As sharks float above and around you, you’ll be thrilled and terrified all at the same time!

Next door to Shark Encounter, be sure to visit Turtle Reef and see these gentle giants floating inside a floor-to-ceiling tank (and they are usually eating lettuce for lunch!)

Turtle Reef - Sea World San Diego

The Wild Arctic Flight Simulator ride takes guests on a fantastical journey that lands them on a glacier. Afterwards get close to real arctic animals like polar bear, walrus and beluga whales. This is one of my favorite areas of the park because you can view the belugas both above and below the water.

Polar bear at Sea World San Diego

Everyone enjoys the ice wall feature inside Wild Arctic! You can run your hands across it (some guests press a penny into the ice to make a hole). Across from the Wild Arctic area you can visit the Penguin Encounter which is my most favorite place. A long moving sidewalk takes you through the exhibit where you can view nearly 300 penguins in action. I love watching the penguins swimming so quickly underwater and then propelling themselves straight out to land on the rocks…I could watch that all day!!

Sea World San Diego

Sea World San Diego offers Premier Experiences that put guests right into the water with beluga whales, penguins or dolphins (for an additional fee). You can also get a more in-depth experience or a behind-the-scenes peek at marine life with one of several tours that Sea World offers.

The park has many great choices for dining including my favorite, Calypso Bay Smokehouse (it’s hard to resist when you smell the barbeque ribs and chicken!) Sea World offers a very reasonably priced All-Day Dining Deal for guests, which includes dining at four of their popular restaurants for the entire day you spend at the park.

There is also the unique dining option of eating alongside the orca tank at either Breakfast with Shamu or Dine with Shamu. Both are buffet-type meals with delicious sounding dishes on the menus.

Tide Pools at Sea World San Diego

Stop over at the Sea World San Diego website to learn more about their park, educational programs and both day and overnight camps for students and families. Sea World is a place to learn, discover and also have a lot of good family fun!

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Disneyland – What Can You Do When You’re Pregnant?

Being pregnant at Disneyland doesn’t have to be a bummer. Even if you can’t slide down Splash Mountain or drive a car on the Autopia you can still have a magical vacation!

What can you do at Disneyland when you're pregnant?

In early pregnancy, when women are sometimes plagued with morning sickness and exhaustion, a whirlwind Disney trip can be a challenge. The greasy smell from the corn dog cart might be enough to send a pregnant woman over the edge! And of course later in pregnancy with swollen feet and an aching back, the last thing you might want to be doing is standing in long queues. Certainly you don’t want to be traveling far from home on a vacation in your late months and risk being too far from your hospital.

I’ve been to Disneyland twice while pregnant. The first time I was 34 weeks along with Ian (around 7 1/2 months). The second time I was pregnant with Dillon at 12 weeks (around 3 months). Both visits offered their own unique challenges.


Special considerations to keep in mind while visiting Disneyland while pregnant –

Expectant mothers should not ride.

All Ears.net has a list of all rides that have restrictions and warnings for expectant moms or those that suffer from motion sickness. There are very few rides that offer the restriction for expectant moms; these include mostly vigorous thrill rides or rides that may be jerky or jarring to the body. Do not ignore those warnings, even if you are still in your first trimester. The sharp stops and g-force pressure of certain rides can injure your delicate cargo so it’s not worth the risk.

What can you do at Disneyland when you're pregnant?

Goofy’s Sky School is too jerky and rough for expectant moms.


This might be awkward.

Even if a ride or attraction is okay for expectant moms, you might find that navigating your 8-month pregnant belly into some of these might be a challenge.

  • The Finding Nemo Submarines are a smooth ride that is safe for expectant moms. However you’ll have to climb down and up a steep spiral staircase and sit in a narrow flip-down chair in a tight space.
  • Over in Fantasyland there are many dark rides that are just fine for expectant moms but several have small vehicles or rides that may prove challenging to get into. If riding Casey Jr. Circus Train, opt for an open car instead of a caged vehicle. With the Storybook Land Canal Boats you might have difficultly balancing to get in and out of the boat.
  • Davy Crockett’s Explorer Canoes may also offer challenges getting in and out of the canoe. Be careful exerting yourself rowing the oar. Plus you’ll be un-shaded and it gets hot out there on the water.

    What can you do at Disneyland when you're pregnant?

    “Mom, it’s a really tight fit in this submarine…you might want to sit this one out”


Don’t let your pregnancy diet go on vacation!

Keep up with your healthy eating habits by eating plenty of fruits and veggies (don’t forget to pack your prenatal vitamins!). Limit your sodium intake and stay well hydrated to reduce swelling in your feet and legs. You can bring in your own water bottles and snacks to make sure you are getting the healthy and nutritious food you need.


Kick up your feet.

When I visited Disneyland in the later months of my pregnancy, I did a bit more resting in the shade with my feet on a bench instead of standing in queues.  There are plenty of places you can rest your swollen feet and still enjoy the Parks.

  • Find a shady spot and a bench to yourself. Consider bringing a small pillow to set at your back or to sit on to make yourself more comfortable.
  • Stake out a great seat on the parade route ahead of time and save places for your family to join you later.
  • A grand circle tour on the Disneyland Railroad offers almost 20 minutes of rest and fresh air along with a relaxing trip around Disneyland Park.
  • Pull up a chair and enjoy the cool air that blows across the waters of the Rivers of America on the Mark Twain Riverboat.
  • Sit in the shade of Tomorrowland Terrace to eat lunch, watch a show and possibly have your young ones participate at the Jedi Training Academy show.
  • Mickey and the Magical Map offers bench seating in the shade and a live musical stage show.

Dress appropriately.

  • Wear comfortable shoes and consider taking a second pair to switch into if you are prone to swelling. I like to start off with tennis shoes and switch over to well-cushioned sandals in the evening.
  • Dress in layers so if you get hot or chilled you can add or remove layers as needed.
  • Ditch the heavy purse and pack light with a small backpack or tote that you can put on and take off easily. Or consider renting a locker to store your items until you need them.

    What can you do at Disneyland when you're pregnant?

    Dress in light layers in case you get warm.


Take advantage of the air conditioning.

Keep rested inside by finding attractions that combine sitting along with cool air.

  • While everyone else is bouncing in a jeep on Indiana Jones Adventure, take time to yourself and soak in a little history (and air conditioning) inside The Disneyland Story presenting Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln.
  • Enchanted Tiki Room is a whimsical place with cushioned benches…and you can bring in a snack!
  • Oh yes, the looping music is worth 15-minutes inside It’s a Small World! You might want to ride it twice!
  • Get the giggles inside Muppet Vision 3D.
  • If you have little ones, get there early for the Disney Junior – Live on Stage! show. There are benches across the back of the theater (otherwise you’ll have to sit on the carpet).
  • 40-minutes of pure amazement in cushy theater chairs – Disney’s Aladdin show is a can’t miss.
  • Plenty of sit-down restaurants have both outdoor and indoor dining that will give you both a break and a healthy meal.

    What can you do at Disneyland when you're pregnant?

    Skip the Autopia, you don’t want to get rear-ended.


Bathroom breaks

If little miss or mister is frequently doing the hot-diggety-dog dance on your bladder, consider checking out The Happiest Potties on Earth before your trip. There are very honest reviews about the bathrooms across Disneyland along with locations. Always take a potty break before getting on a ride (you don’t want to get stuck when the urge strikes!)


Listen to your body

Now is not the time to push your vacation to the limits. Pregnancy can be very hard on your body and with exhaustion and discomfort already at the max, there is no need to exacerbate any issues.

  • Take a break inside the First Aid station if you feel uncomfortable or in pain. First Aid can help you out and offer a place to lay down for a while.
  • If you’re exhausted, go back to your hotel room for a refreshing swim or to take a nap.
  • Get plenty of sleep even if that means going to bed while everyone else in your group is still up late watching the fireworks.
  • If you are truly miserable and can’t walk, consider renting a wheelchair or motorized scooter in the Park to minimize the amount of time you are on your feet.
  • Look forward to your next trip when your little one will be with you to enjoy it!

On the Disneyland website you can also peruse the descriptions of each attraction for more information.

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