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Santa's Fireside Feast Archives

December 9, 2014

A touring plan for SeaWorld Orlando's Christmas Celebration

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SeaWorld Orlando offers so many attractions for the holidays that you easily could spend the better part of a day focusing on just the Christmas activities. So, in that spirit, here is touring plan to map out just how to do that.

My plan has an arrival time of 12:30 p.m., and I am assuming you have already eaten lunch. If you want to eat on property, arrive sooner. Also, my plan is for about 9 hours in the park. If your party is up for a longer day, arrive at park opening to experience some of the other attractions.

Here we go!

12:30 p.m.: Enter SeaWorld Orlando and go straight to the Polar Express, which is an overlay at the Wild Arctic attraction. This experience typically has long lines during the holidays, so be prepared. The Singing Conductors (seen below) perform regularly in front of the queue to keep crowds entertained. Polar Express starts with a short film, and then visitors enter a simulator for the train ride to the North Pole.

Upon arrival, they will see the Beluga whales and, around the bend, Santa Claus dressed just as he is in the popular movie. There may be a short line to meet him, so I'm allowing extra time at this attraction. There also is a beautiful Christmas tree in this area that is a great backdrop for family photos.

Moving on, you can purchase the hot chocolate made popular in the movie and see the walruses before exiting the attraction.

2:45-3 p.m.: Head to Seaport Theater to grab a seat for Elmo's Christmas Wish. This is a must-see for families with little ones. Although my own children are well past the age at which they enjoy Elmo, when they were into the red muppet, they could not get enough of him. The first show starts at 3:15 p.m.

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4:30 to 5 p.m.: Time to get in line for the 5:30 p.m. 'O Wondrous Night' performance. This is SeaWorld Orlando's most popular Christmas production, so you may want to check on the queue even sooner if you want to see a particular show. 'O Wondrous Night' is a retelling of Jesus' birth that includes gospel-style singing and dancing, puppeteers and a live Nativity. The finale with three large camels truly is a sight to behold.

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6 or 6:35 p.m.: Walk to any spot with a view of Bay Harbor and enjoy the short Sea of Trees show during which the lights on the Christmas trees in the water "dance" to music. If you view the trees from the shops at The Waterfront at 6:35 p.m., you can experience "snow flurries" afterward at that location.

6 to 7 p.m.: Stroll through the Christmas Market, the pathway that runs from the dolphin nursery to Bayside Stadium. This area is jam-packed with fun holiday offerings. See large-scale trains travel through an elaborate display; warm up by a fire pit; listen to roaming carolers; take holiday-themed photos; try your hand at games of chance; shop at the toy kiosks; and sample holiday food and beverages, including hot toddies for the adults.

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7 to 7:15 p.m.: Start making your way to Shamu Stadium for the night's only performance of Shamu Christmas Miracles at 7:45 p.m. Although the killer whales make an appearance at 7:45 p.m., there is an amazing pre-show by a solo saxophonist that you won't want to miss. The orca show itself is worth seeing, combining the animal's feats with an engaging holiday story.


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8:15 p.m.: Don't delay after the Shamu show - make your way straight to Bayside Stadium for the best show of the night, Winter Wonderland on Ice, which begins at 8:30 p.m. There is a pre-show here, too, but you likely will miss it if you go to Shamu Christmas Miracles. The main production, which features ice skating to traditional Christmas songs, is my family's favorite holiday experience at SeaWorld Orlando. It's such a feast for the senses that you won't want to look away. Stay seated after the finale for Holiday Reflections, a fountains and fireworks show.

Please be sure to check a daily schedule sheet when you arrive at SeaWorld Orlando because show times are subject to change. Remaining dates for SeaWorld's Christmas Celebration are Dec. 12-14 and Dec. 19-31.

DISCLAIMER: I was a guest of SeaWorld Orlando to experience its Christmas Celebration. This did not influence my story, and my opinions are my own.

Related links:
Santa's Fireside Feast: http://land.allears.net/blogs/kristin-ford/2012/11/santas_fireside_feast_begins_w.html



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November 27, 2014

SeaWorld Orlando announces 'Blue Friday' deals and holiday savings

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It's Thanksgiving -- are you ready to hit the stores? If you're still in that turkey coma or just don't want to be pulled away from all the pigskin action, there are some great theme-park deals to be purchased from the comfort of your own home. Of course, not having to fight the crowds is a gift in itself!

SeaWorld Orlando has dubbed the day "Blue Friday" and is offering quite a few deals to save you some green. Beginning at 12:01 a.m. Friday, you can purchase these Buy One, Get One Free offers for admission to the theme park and its water park, Aquatica:

** BOGO SeaWorld Orlando 1-Year Annual Pass; a savings of $156

** BOGO SeaWorld/Aquatica Orlando 1-Year Annual Pass; a savings of $180

** BOGO Full-Paid, Any-Day SeaWorld Orlando Ticket; a savings of $75

** BOGO Aquatica Orlando Single-Day Ticket; a savings of $19

** BOGO SeaWorld Orlando/Aquatica Orlando Combo Ticket; a savings of $89

Visitors also can receive significant savings on offers for these experiences in the park:

** BOGO SeaWorld Orlando Quick Queue Unlimited; a savings of $19

** Buy one Adult Santa's Fireside Feast, get one Child Santa's Fireside Feast free; a savings of $19

** BOGO Dolphins Up-close Tour; a savings of $59

** BOGO Sea Lion and Otter Tour; a savings of $39

** BOGO Wild Arctic Up-Close Tour; a savings of $59

My family and I have experienced the Dolphins Up-close tour and highly recommend it. If you're a regular reader of my blog, you know that my 10-year-old daughter is in love with dolphins, and this experience was perfect for her with two feeding opportunities and even a training session. I wrote about our tour here. If you have a dolphin-lover in your family, this deal offers significant savings.

One of the other deals is for Santa's Fireside Feast, and we have enjoyed that as well. My son and I attended the seasonal event at the Seafire Inn Restaurant a couple years ago. It's a great way to meet Santa and Mrs. Claus without a long line and to feast on a traditional holiday meal. One child can attend for free with each paid adult.

To take advantage of the Blue Friday deals, guests must register to receive SeaWorld Orlando's e-mail updates or already be subscribed at http://seaworldparks.com/en/seaworld-orlando/ Fans can subscribe any time between now and Dec. 1 to participate. The deals are available through 11:59 p.m. EST on Monday, Dec 1.

In addition, SeaWorld Orlando is offering free admission to the theme park for each child with a paid adult for the holidays. That deal can be purchased and redeemed through Dec. 31.

SeaWorld's 2015 FunCard is on sale now and it's valid for the remainder of 2014 and all of next year -- with no blackout dates. So, adults pay $95 plus tax and kids ages 3 to 9 pay $90 plus tax for the holidays and an entire year of general admission.

Finally, guests who visit SeaWorld on select days through Dec. 31 also can experience SeaWorld's Christmas Celebration for the price of regular admission. This is a wonderful value, especially when you consider that other area theme parks require separate tickets for holiday events.



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November 27, 2012

Polar Express, Shamu and Clyde & Seamore at SeaWorld's Christmas Celebration

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Today, I'm going to pick up where Deb left off in our coverage of SeaWorld's Christmas Celebration. As she mentioned, at the media event, we had to choose among the holiday attractions and shows because of the timing, so we decided to divide and conquer!

The Polar Express Experience

When we arrived at the park, my family and I headed immediately to The Polar Express Experience. (This is a holiday overlay at the Wild Arctic attraction.) I think I may have been more excited than my children, remembering how quickly my family fell in love with the movie when it was released in 2004.

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In front of the attraction, guests will find a replica of the steam engine, where they can pose for photos and a conductors quartet performs Christmas carols periodically. Visitors can choose between two queues -- one to walk straight into the arctic animal exhibit and one to board the Polar Express. While they wait, guests can watch clips from "The Polar Express."

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If you choose to board the train, your experience begins in Billy's bedroom, just like in the movie. You'll watch that scene on a screen before moving to lines for the ride. The inside of the simulator really does feel like a seating compartment on the Polar Express with its re-imagined decor. Despite the images of steep hills and cracking ice, the simulator feels smoother than when it operates as Wild Arctic. (That ride makes me a little queasy.)

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Once you arrive at the North Pole, you'll be able to meet Santa Claus; he's waiting just around the bend from a giant decorated Christmas tree. Don't delay if you want to meet Santa, though, because that line grows quickly when passengers debark the train. Elves will be happy to take photos, and there also is a professional photographer on hand.

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Then it's off to see all the amazing animals of the arctic -- polar bears, beluga whales and walruses. Along the way, you'll find a hot chocolate stand, where the sweet treat is sold for $1.99 a cup, and a place to purchase Santa photos.

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"Clyde and Seamore's Countdown to Christmas"

Clyde and Seamore's Countdown to Christmas is, like all their other themed shows, filled with plenty of laugh-out-loud theatrics as the loveable sea lions, their human friends, otters and even a walrus get ready for Santa's visit. The jokes are corny, and the pratfalls and physical humor are really just a variation of what the characters do in other shows -- yet the audiences love it as always, and for good reason. It's a show that doesn't take itself -- or, in this case, any holiday tradition -- too seriously.

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Of course, the show's mime gets the laughs started even before the show, and he carries it through to the big finale. My 8-year-old daughter was doubled over in laughter for most of the show. And, when she wasn't laughing, she was admiring the cute stage antics of the animals. This show is a great antidote for any holiday stress.

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"Shamu Christmas -- Miracles"

My 10-year-old son is a big fan of all the variations of the Shamu performances, so he could hardly wait to see the Christmas show. This one begins with a live saxophone player who meanders through the audience, drawing viewers into the show. As with summer's Shamu Rocks!, music is a driving force for Shamu Christmas -- Miracles. The show blends solemn songs with joyful tunes and finishes with a Gospel-style soloist. At the same time, trainers take the killer whales through their paces, amazing the audience with their feats.

The theme of "Shamu Christmas -- Miracles" is family -- within the Shamu family and with human families. The performance strives to show how precious children are to today's parents who desperately want them. It also explores everyday miracles, delivering an upbeat message of hope and appreciation. The show concludes with a rousing number that is designed to get the audience moving in their seats.

This is my first year experiencing SeaWorld's Christmas Celebration, and I have been impressed. My only complaint is that there are too many holiday shows to see in one night!

You can read Deb's blogs about "O Wondrous Night" HERE and "Winter Wonderland on Ice" and "Holiday Reflections: Fireworks and Fountains!" HERE. I described our experience at Santa's Fireside Feast at Seaworld HERE.

DISCLAIMER: I was a guest of SeaWorld Orlando to experience its Christmas Celebration. This did not influence my story, and my opinions are my own.

November 20, 2012

Santa's Fireside Feast begins with Christmas season at SeaWorld Orlando

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SeaWorld Orlando has quite a few Christmas and holiday attractions, but if you want to meet Santa and Mrs. Claus without standing in a long line, Santa's Fireside Feast is the place to go.

This special holiday dinner is held on select nights in November and December -- Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays -- plus each night during Thanksgiving week and the week before Christmas. The last night is Dec. 24.

My 10-year-old son and I attended the first night of the event this season, which was a new experience for us, with some friends. Typically, the price of the dinner show -- $29.99 for adults and $19.99 for children ages 2 to 9 -- includes reserved seating for A Sesame Street Christmas afterward. Guests are advised to pick up their seating passes at the Information and Reservations Counter at least 90 minutes before their meals.

Then, guests can gather outside Seafire Inn Restaurant. To the left of the main doors is a pathway along the waterfront that leads to the check-in podium and a backdrop for a complimentary family photo. Silly or serious smiles welcome!

Upon entering, guests will be seated on one of two levels in a semi-circle around a stage. Tables seat eight, so smaller groups will be placed together. The room is beautifully decorated in traditional Christmas colors, and it makes for a cozy setting with the fireplace on the stage. A server takes drink orders, and then each group is invited to visit the buffet, which has two identical lines.

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The menu includes:

Salads: Caesar Salad, Fresh Field Greens with Dried Cranberries and Pecans tossed in Balsamic Vinaigrette and Fresh Cut Fruit

Main Dish: Roasted Turkey with Gravy and Honey Baked Ham

Sides: Homemade Cornbread and Cranberry Stuffing, Sweet Potato Casserole, Mashed Potatoes, Glazed Honey Carrots, Green Bean Almandine and Macaroni and Cheese

Desserts: Pudding with Whipped Topping, Carrot Cake, Christmas Cake, Cinnamon Apple Cheesecake, Mint Chocolate Cheesecake and Hot Apple Cobbler.

Children's selections (which anyone can choose): Chicken Tenders, Hot Dog and French Fries

Beverages: Iced Tea, Coca Cola products, Coffee and Hot Tea

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Our group found the main meat dishes to be flavorful, and some individuals liked certain side dishes more than others. For example, I ate every bite of the Sweet Potato Casserole, but my friend found it to be too sweet for her taste. The salads were not among our favorites, but even the adults liked the chicken tenders. The desserts were yummy, too. Be sure to try the Mint Chocolate and Cinnamon Apple Cheesecakes and the Caramel Pudding.

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While we were dining, Santa, Mrs. Claus and some peppy elves appear on stage and begin telling stories, including Twas The Night Before Christmas. Their performances were entertaining without being so intrusive that guests stopped eating.

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Next, an elf led guests, table by table, to the stage to see Santa Claus. Each child had ample time with Santa to discuss his or her wish list. Even adults who were on the Nice List were granted time on Santa's lap, if they so desired. You may take photos with your own camera, and a SeaWorld photographer also captures the moment for those who would like to purchase a professional photo.

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Santa's Fireside Feast concludes with guests being served sugar cookies baked by Mrs. Claus herself. Then, it's off to see Elmo and friends!

Coming soon: I'll give you a look at the many other holiday offerings at SeaWorld.

DISCLAIMER: My son and I were guests of SeaWorld Orlando at Santa's Fireside Feast. This did not influence my story, and my opinions are my own.


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About Santa's Fireside Feast

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to A Mom and The Magic in the Santa's Fireside Feast category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Reflections fireworks is the previous category.

Sea Lion & Otter Theater is the next category.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.