The Frog Family was lucky enough to snag reservations to Dine with Shamu on our last visit to SeaWorld Orlando, and we wanted to share with you our top five reasons why you should make reservations too for your next Orlando vacation. If you've been to Dine with Shamu, share your experience with readers below.
1. Fun for the whole family.
Dine With Shamu is sure to entertain, no matter the ages in your particular party. There is little likelihood that you or I would ever see killer whales in the wild, and so it is truly amazing to see them in the water. Tad and Lily loved being able to get so close to them, and I found it fascinating to watch the trainers as they worked their way around the pool giving commands.
2. A spectacular view.
Tables of four are arranged two deep and curve around the pool. The whales swim freely before the show begins, so have your camera ready -- there is no shortage of photo opportunities! Tad and Lily loved that we were in one of the front tables right next to the water when we went, but the smaller dining area means that guests have a good view of the show no matter where they are sitting, and the show is relaxed enough that guests can get up and stand to get that perfect shot. The barrier separating the dining area from the pool area is clear plastic rather than netting, so guests have great views of the whales.
3. The food.
Not only is the food fresh and delicious, but it is also seasonal, locally sourced and organic when possible, reflecting SeaWorld's commitment to minimizing environmental impacts to animals and their habitats. All of the seafood -- including the seafood that served to the killer whales -- is certified sustainable. On our visit, we were treated to a buffet featuring organic rosemary chicken, grain-fed beef sirloin and an assortment of vegetables, fresh-baked breads and salads. Lily loved that there was a buffet area just for children that featured hot dogs, mac and cheese, and sea shell pasta and marinara sauce. Desert was a feast for the eyes -- and the stomach -- with an assortment of cakes -- red velvet, chocolate and carrot during our visit -- gummi bears and cheesecake. Servers introduce themselves upon arrival to the dining area, providing drinks -- including beer and wine -- and unobtrusively making themselves available to guests throughout the meal.
SeaWorld has worked in recent months to make all of its parks more friendly to those with food allergens, starting with training by The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network. Those with food allergies can note specific allergies at the time of booking, and they can also speak directly with staff about appropriate food options and cross-contact potential at the time of arrival. In some cases, chefs will prepare dishes specifically for guests.
4. A learning opportunity.
Trainers move around the pool, giving a variety of commands to the whales -- eliciting plenty of flips, waves and "smiles." Because the pool is much smaller than Shamu Stadium, guests can clearly see the trainers as they work. This behind-the-scenes experience is less structured than a typical show, allowing guests a more intimate view of the relationship between trainer and whale. We were able to watch, for example, as a trainer instructed one of the whales to jump on a gigantic scale for weighing. It also gives the show's narrator the ability to break from the presentation about killer whales and their habits to easily explain what is happening between trainer and whale at any particular moment, making it perfect for both first-time visitors and those who have seen the show before.
5. The perfect way to end your day at SeaWorld!
After spending your day in the parks, you can relax under the shaded dining area while enjoying the show. Guests are able to leisurely enjoy their drinks and make unlimited visits to the buffet area before, during and after the show. The dinner ends as the park is closing, so guests can leisurely make their way back to the park entrance and take in the park's sights and sounds without distraction.
Have you been to Dine with Shamu? Let us know what you thought of it!