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Photo TR: Back to West Coast Bash--and More!


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The SeaWorld Day: Getting a Bit Soggy in San Diego

 

We have nearly reached the end of this report--just one more day left. This was the day we hit SeaWorld in San Diego, a park I haven't been to since I was a kid; back then, all they had was fish, fish, and more fish, as I recall. They have a bit more now.

 

As many of you probably know, California is in the midst of a terrible drought. Reservoirs are down to dangerously low levels, grass is parched and brown, and the mountains have virtually no snow pack. So, naturally, the day we drove to San Diego, it rained.

 

And not a wee little sprinkle or two. We're talkin' an all-out deluge, with rain coming down in sheets in-between smaller showers. It was very wet and soggy when we hit the SeaWorld parking lot, and we sat in our cars for an extra half-hour, checking a weather app that promised that the wetness would start to taper off around noon.

 

Finally, the rain subsided to a pretty light shower. We entered the park, bought ponchos, then headed for Manta--SeaWorld's launched Mack coaster. And it's a damn good one! This "little" ride packs plenty of air and laterals in its twisting layout, and the two launches have quite a kick. It's well themed to boot, with a nice aquarium and manta "petting" tank. This ride is a win for SeaWorld. We practically had an ERT session on Manta, thanks to the rain. The crowd was so small that the operators let riders get off, pick a new row, and get right back on.

 

Eric and I had one particularly interesting ride on Manta. The coaster begins with a "pre-show" in a tunnel, just before launching you through the first half of the course. We sat there as digital manta rays swam around us, and the train rocked back and forth. Ah, so relaxing. Then the tunnel door opened, and we launched right into a downpour that would've terrified Noah! I held the hood of my poncho over my eyes during the entire ride, and the rain stung my face like a million angry bees.

 

After that, we decided that lunch would be a good idea. Then the rain pretty much stopped for the day--yay!

 

I also enjoyed Journey to Atlantis, the park's Mack water coaster, even though it's not quite in the same league as its cousin Florida. The ponchos came in handy again.

 

We were hoping to ride the old wooden coaster at Belmont Park that day, but that didn't quite go as planned. More on that later.

 

So, here's a look at SeaWorld San Diego on a very quiet day.

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Welcome to SeaWorld! Sorry, but we had to put the drought on hold today.

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This is the driest spot I could find to get a photo of the park's very nice looking entrance. The rain actually caused my camera viewfinder to turn off due to dampness, but it came back once it dried out.

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My god! It's the ghost of Erik Johnson! The legend was true!

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This is an acceptable amount of wetness if you have a poncho.

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A little (well, a lot of) rain didn't stop Manta.

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"Hello! I'm sort of a back story. I hope you enjoy reading me."

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"Me closed? Hell no! Where do you think you are, Cedar Point?"

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More on Manta later. Time for lunch at Shipwreck Reef. The whole area is themed to being shipwrecked on a tropical isle. Yet they have a radio station where DJs play tropical-type music and make bad shipwreck jokes all day. I guess the Professor made it out of coconuts and bamboo.

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Yes, I had the "sustainable" fish fry at SeaWorld. Please don't judge.

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If you're not careful, you can really get screwed here.

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What is that strange glow in the sky? Have the rain gods deserted us?

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We checked out Dolphin Point for a few minutes.

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"Why, hello there, random Japanese kid."

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Watch out! That dolphin's got a bomb!

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We'll be back later Manta. Meanwhile, carry on.

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This should give you an idea of how much it rained that morning.

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"Aye. a giant tentacle suckered away me sucker! And a crab the size of a cow ate me candy corn!"

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Where there's a SeaWorld park, there will be flamingos. It's a federal law.

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Oh, you silly Floridians!

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Much wetness awaits here.

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I like how ride queues feature these themed aquariums at the SeaWorld parks.

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These poor fools are now officially doomed.

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As were we! Damn you and your extra quarter, Brad Roach!

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We skipped the Wild Arctic simulator ride. Riding it once in Florida was enough.

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Be-l-u-u-u-u-ga is fun to say.

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Well, I guess we better get moved in before winter hits.

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I wonder if all these food-processing companies had to pay for product placement.

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OK, this could make for some long Arctic nights, indeed.

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"Tell me about it! I ate some dude who'd been chowin' down on those refried beans all winter. Now none of the other bears will come near me! Ah, wait . . . oh, that feels better. Sorry about that." More to come.

Edited by cfc
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We're still exploring the frozen Arctic at SeaWorld.

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I don't know. Sounds like an exaggeration.

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What do you think, Eric?

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I like the shipwreck in the walrus tank.

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"Yes, I wrecked that ship! I did it, and I'm glad I did it. Do you hear me? I'm glad! Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha!"

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Damn you, walrus!

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Yes, I'm a terrifying polar bear. Grr. Grr.

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"Thanks for stopping by. Enjoy my eggs--they're delicious!"

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Aw, polar bears are so adorable when they're not ripping open seals and eating their guts.

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Here's the old-school Penguin Encounter.

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At least you don't have to endure some goofy ride to see the damn things.

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Penguins may rock, but they still smell.

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Ahem! Are those "sustainable" fish tacos?

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As I said, the park wasn't too busy that day.

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Yay! Sharks!

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Someone needed a bigger boat.

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A much bigger boat.

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"You! Under the glass! Your leg looks pretty damn tasty."

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How about some drier rides on Manta?

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This little ride will surprise you.

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I'd much rather ride this Manta than the one in Orlando.

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Plenty of air at the top of this hill.

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Thanks, Manta--what a great ride.

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Pull my finger . . . ow! That was not directed at you!

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So, we left SeaWorld . . .

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. . . and drove to Belmont Park to ride the Giant Dipper--or so we'd hoped.

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This did not look promising.

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Because of the heavy rain that morning, and some nearby flooding, the park never opened that day. Oh well.

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When the going gets tough . . .

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. . . the tough get pizza . . .

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. . . and beer! (In this case, a concoction called "King Fu Elvis.") That's it for WCB, Disney, and SeaWorld, Thanks for reading!

Edited by cfc
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manta really is a surprisingly good attraction. While its not in my top 10, I consider it one my notable mentions with the likes of Mummy USF and California Screaming. Not the most extreme thrills but satisfying and a lot of fun

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Great trip report! Having been to Sea World Orlando twice, it's interesting to get a good look at what the other parks in the chain looks like. I really like Manta at SWO, but the west coast Manta looks like a great little ride.

 

We skipped the Wild Arctic simulator ride. Riding it once in Florida was enough.

 

Bloody hell that ride was awful! It was soooooo dizzying, I have never wished more for a simulator ride to end quickly...

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Great trip report! Having been to Sea World Orlando twice, it's interesting to get a good look at what the other parks in the chain looks like. I really like Manta at SWO, but the west coast Manta looks like a great little ride.

 

We skipped the Wild Arctic simulator ride. Riding it once in Florida was enough.

 

Bloody hell that ride was awful! It was soooooo dizzying, I have never wished more for a simulator ride to end quickly...

 

I'm not a big fan of flying coasters, but I do like Florida's Manta and a few others. California's Manta is more my style.

 

At least you can skip the Wild Arctic simulator. The exhibit (on both coasts) is very well done. We all liked SeaWorld San Diego, even though we had to miss out on the shows that day. It's very nice park with beautifully landscaped grounds.

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I drove down to San Diego that Monday before you guys went.

I loved the hell out of Manta!

Giant Dipper... well... honestly it might have been better that you guys missed it.

I enjoyed Pizza Port as well but I wasn't drinking that day so I probably missed out on the best part. Pizza was pretty good though.

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