Today we’ll explore a couple of SeaWorld Orlando’s remarkable behind-the-scenes tours: the Beluga Interaction Program and the Wild Arctic Tour. These are two of the many tours SeaWorld offers which include animal interactions.
SeaWorld beluga whale Aurek and guest during the Beluga Interaction Tour. Photo by Thomas Cook
It’s pretty obvious that meeting beluga whales, seals, and walruses up-close in the wild is nearly impossible, especially since they mostly live the north of the Arctic Circle. Even getting to their habitat is a remarkable journey.
SeaWorld Orlando’s Wild Arctic attraction will be celebrating its twentieth anniversary in 2015, but it remains an interesting and popular venue. It offers an exciting flight-simulator helicopter ride to the Arctic that drops guests off at Station Wild Arctic, designed to appear like a 19th century wooden sailing ship that was stranded and crushed by sea ice. Inside the ruins of the ship are places to view belugas and walruses both above and below the water line.
The two tours take place in Wild Arctic, and both are excellent for children, adults and families. Both are very different in nature, however.
The Beluga Interaction Program is about as immersive as you can get when it comes to a theme park tour. Often mistakenly called dolphins, belugas are from a different family in the sub order of toothed whales. They share their family with narwhals, another remarkable Arctic species.
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You think a Walt Disney World vacation sounds like fabulous fun. Your next door neighbor thinks that a Walt Disney World vacation sounds like fabulous fun too. If you have enough of these conversations, inevitably your neighbor (or your sister and her kids, or your in-laws, or your college roommate and her family) will come up with the brilliant idea that if you’re both going to have amazing Disney vacations, then wouldn’t it be great to have those vacations together.
Whoa, hold it there partner. Traveling with another family could be a wonderful experience for all involved, or it could be a way to beat a perfectly nice relationship to death with a grotesquely over-sized turkey leg. Before you book those connecting rooms, take a minute to consider some thoughts about whether multi-family travel is right for you.
Do you have the same philosphy about souvenirs as your companions?
Now before you start thinking that there is NEVER a situation where you’ll be comfortable traveling with another family, there are also some pros to group vacations that may outweigh any cons:
If you do decide to take the plunge, here are some guidelines you may want to set before you travel:
Over the years, I personally have traveled to Walt Disney World with neighbors, my parents, my sister-in-law and her family, my Moms Panel buddies, and even some unrelated babysitters. There have been great successes (priceless photos of the extended clan) and some frustrating challenges. Meeting at 8:00 does actually mean meeting at 8:00, why don’t some people understand that? What have your experiences been? Have you enjoyed your journeys to the World with others, or are you going nuclear-family-only from now on because of a negative situation? Give us your tips in the comments below.