Posts Tagged ‘tours’

SeaWorld Tours: Beluga Interaction and Wild Arctic

by on September 4, 2014

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

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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Spice Up Your Trip with Disney World Challenges

by on May 25, 2014

During your first several visits to Walt Disney World, you’re likely to be fully consumed with logistics and checklists. How do I get from my hotel to the Magic Kingdom? Did little Susie get to meet Mickey? Where did I park the stroller? But once you’ve gotten a few trips under your belt, you may be ready to spice things up by adding some Challenge activities to your vacation.

Try to meet as many characters as possible in a single day.

Try to meet as many characters as possible in a single day.

What’s a Challenge?

A challenge is really anything you construct to make part of your trip into a game, quest, contest, or hunt. Some well-known challenges include:

  • Hunting for Hidden Mickeys. Popularized by Hidden Mickey Guy Steve Barrett, hunting for Hidden Mickeys involves scanning attraction and resort decor for camouflaged illustrations of Mickey Mouse’s head. See how many you can spot in a designated location.
  • Drink (or Eat) Around the World. Consume a particular food or beverage item in each of Epcot’s 11 World Showcase countries. The classic version involves ingesting an alcoholic beverage in each country. But there are snack versions (famously, the WDW Today Sip & Snack trip in which TouringPlans’ fearless leader Len Testa chugged a bottle of Canadian maple syrup) and candy versions as well.
  • Pin or Vinylmation trading. Purchase and trade to collect all of a particular series, or focus your search on finding all depictions of a particular character, film, resort, or attraction.
  • Ultimate Touring Plans. Virtually compete with other guests to see who can do the most theme park attractions in the least amount of time. Requires stamina, speed, and a strong bladder.

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Photo Gallery: Disneyland Cultivating the Magic Tour Part 2 (Frontierland, Fantasyland, Tomorrowland)

by on February 18, 2014

Welcome back to the happiest horticulture on Earth, as we complete our in-depth photo essay on the Disneyland Cultivating the Magic tour. Hopefully you’ve already enjoyed part one of this series, in which we explored the fascinating flora found in Disneyland Park, from Main Street U.S.A. through Adventureland and New Orleans Square. In this second installment, we’ll examine the lovely landscaping in Frontierland, Fantasyland, and finally Tomorrowland.

Frontierland

We’ll start exactly where we left off, at the rosemary planter that separates Frontierland from New Orleans Square.

This metasequoia, or dawn redwood, has quite a history. Originally thought to be extinct, a living example was rediscovered in central China in 1941.

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Photo Gallery: Disneyland Cultivating The Magic Tour Part 1 (Main Street, U.S.A., Adventureland, & New Orleans Square)

by on February 9, 2014

Most guests at Disneyland Park are trying to cram as many attractions into their day as possible (and luckily we have an app for that), but repeat visitors who are looking to slow down and smell the flowers should really consider the Disneyland Cultivating the Magic Tour.

While not as popular as the often sold-out Walk in Walt’s Footsteps Tour, nor as family-oriented as the Discover the Magic Tour, the Disneyland Cultivating the Magic Tour is reasonably priced ($50, Annual Pass and Disney Visa discounts available) and highly recommended to anyone with thumbs the slightest shade of green.

As an added bonus, you’ll get a front-of-the-line access to a trio of attractions, and receive a couple cool souvenirs, which I’ll describe in the second part of this series. I already considered myself well versed in Disneyland’s horticultural history, but I took the tour for the first time late last year and came away with a wealth of new knowledge.

Here’s a photographic recreation of my recent Cultivating the Magic Tour experience, along with a selection of the fascinating facts I picked during our exploration of the Happiest Plants on Earth.

Main Street, U.S.A.

Disneyland Cultivating the Magic Tour (photos by Seth Kubersky)

Our group is about to begin our Disneyland Cultivating the Magic Tour Adventure (photos by Seth Kubersky)

Like all tours in Disneyland Park, we began by checking in on Main Street, U.S.A., at the tour pavilion just inside the left-hand entry tunnel, where we met our guide Karen from Bakersfield, California. She quickly proved to be every bit as friendly, knoweldgeable, and articulate as you’d expect a Disneyland VIP tour guide to be.

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The Magic Behind Our Steam Trains: Tour Report

by on March 20, 2013

Our guide introduces himself.

On a recent Walt Disney World visit, I was out the door of my resort at 7:00 a.m., not for a meal with Mickey or for an especially ambitious run at rope drop, but rather for the bright-and-early Magic Behind Our Steam Trains tour at the Magic Kingdom. I’ve been making admirable progress on my quest to eventually do everything at Walt Disney World, but this particular tour had been repeatedly pushed to the bottom of my to-do list for years. Two factors finally made it rise to the forefront: first, I was traveling solo and thus had no cranky kids or hubby to complain about the potentially “boring” topic, and second, I was staying at the Bay Lake Tower, which made getting to the tour itself particularly convenient.

First some housekeeping basics and then I’ll give my impressions of the tour.

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