Everybody knows that Shamu loves buckets of fish. And kids? Well, they love bags of candy.
This month, both will enjoy their fill.
SeaWorld Orlando kicked off its Halloween Spooktacular with a splash this past weekend, taking guests into the "FantaSea" of the fall holiday. The celebration, which features trick-or-treating, takes place from noon to 8 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays in October.
My family and I think it's fun to stroll down the Underwater Fantasea Path, which runs along Bayside Pathway, past the stadium and Wild Arctic, and through Shamu's Happy Harbor. The walkway offers a street-festival atmosphere with 12 trick-or-treat stations, games of skill, characters, face painting, snacks, cookie decorating and Penelope's Party Zone. (Penelope Pumpkin is SeaWorld's signature Halloween character.)
Certainly the young and the young-at-heart are welcome at SeaWorld's Halloween Spooktacular, but know that many of the activities are planned for the preschool set. In Penelope's Party Zone, for example, children can participate in story time with the Princess Penelope, make easy crafts and play simple games.
On the eight party dates, a special show is presented in the Seaport Theater: Sesame Street's Countdown to Halloween. Favorite characters from the popular television show -- including Elmo! -- take the stage and invite young guests to dance and sing along with them four times a day.
In addition, Count von Count from "Sesame Street" hosts a Spooktacular Breakfast at 9:30 a.m. each day of the Halloween celebration. The price is $24 for adults and $14 for children ages 2 to 9. Pass members are eligible for a 20 percent discount by reserving ahead of time online.
Perhaps one of the best things about the Halloween Spooktacular is that it is included in regular park admission, unlike Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at Walt Disney World and Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando, which require separate tickets. Both locals and visitors can experience the fun of the season without the scary bill.
Also, Halloween Spooktacular is an opportunity to see many, many characters at SeaWorld in elaborate and beautiful costumes. Unlike at Disney World, face characters and furry characters are not a common occurrence at SeaWorld, but they come out in full force for the Halloween celebration. Look for princesses, mermaids, stilt walkers, fish along the walkway, and Dolly the Dolphin, Shamu, and Pete and Penny Penguin in the party zone.
Who can resist trick-or-tricking in a theme park? Candy sponsors for 2013 include AirHeads, Tootsie Roll, Jelly Belly jelly beans, M&Ms and more. We learned last year that trick-or-treating is only open to families. When I asked, a SeaWorld customer service representative said that adults typically will not be given candy, unless they are accompanied by children.
Throughout October, children with creative costumes may be chosen as "Super Starfish of the Day." They and their families will be given VIP treatment, including limited wait times for rides, reserved seats at shows, lunch vouchers and souvenir photos with Shamu.
SeaWorld has added a Spooktacular Dance Party this year, similar to its dance party during Summer Nights. Children are invited to gather at the front of the park every night an hour before closing time to join in with line-dancing favorites as bubbles fill the evening air.
So, if you’re ready for Halloween weeks before it appears on the calendar, check out SeaWorld Orlando’s Halloween Spooktacular. And while you’re there, watch Shamu perform a few tricks and treats, too.
The previous post in this blog was Ordering a custom cake at Walt Disney World.
The next post in this blog is Chase VIP Lounge takes guests inside American Adventure Parlor during Epcot Food & Wine Festival.