Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Sea World!

Another awesome day today. This time at Sea World.

But first, we have to talk about the tuck-in with Mayor Clayton's wife, Miss Mary. We had booked the tuck-in for 9pm last night and they arrived right on time. We had been preparing Charlotte so that she wouldn't freak out when this giant rabbit walked through ther door.Miss Mary, wearing her PJs, came in with her assistant and proceeded to kiss, hug, and generally love all over Charlotte. They started on the couch in the livingroom but after a little while, they walked together to her bed. We laid CJ down, pulled up her covers, and Miss Mary tucked her in. There was a little more smoochin' and such, Miss Mary gave CJ a copy of their official holiday photo, and she took her leave.We then changed her dressing which is always fun but Mommy is pretty good at it so it was done in no time. I started reading her the Tinkerbell Hide and Seek book and she was out before I was 3/4 finished.

This morning, we ate at the express breakfast spot conveniently located in the ice cream parlor. (Mommy had a banana split! I’m doing something similar tomorrow morning.)

Back to Sea World: This morning, we met up with Cousin Julie and her darling daughter Chloe, Catherine Daw (Randolph-Macon alumna), and her mother near the front gate. Catherine arranged for a penguin meet and got us discounted food.Our first stop was the dolphin show which was as much "Cirque de Parfait" as dolphin show. It was still very cool. We also checked out the manatees, seals, and the shark tank. Then we went to eat, which is always good.Our timing was really great because just as we were getting ready to walk into the restaurant, out from a side door came Abby Cadabby, Elmo, Bert, and Ernie! We were second in line. Charlotte enjoyed it.After lunch we headed over to the penguin house to meet up with the tour guide. She took us in to the regular viewing area take a look at the various species and I was surprised that a large penguin that looked suspiciously like an emperor penguin was actually a king penguin. (Fun fact for the day: the emperor has the king by about a foot and 20-30lbs!)Next we went back and learned a few tidbits about what they do there including the word, "aviculturalist." That's a person who cares for birds.THEN came the good stuff! We went all the way back around to where the loading docks are and into a door leading behind the exhibit. It was very...aromatic, to put it mildly! There we meet Ludwig, a young male king penguin who I guess is used to greeting people. I put CJ down and along with a couple other boys, we got to pet his back and head and torment him a little. Actually, it was just me. Charlotte brought her little stuffed penguin in with her and I thought it would kind of fun to introduce it to Ludwig. After a little bit of that, the aviculturalist gently said, "I think you're kind of freaking him out." Another case of me doing something which I THOUGHT was cool and funny but was really stupid and thoughtless. I apologized to Ludwig profusely and put "Penguino" away. No real harm done. Ludwig felt very soft on his head and surprisingly solid on his back. Almost like bare skin.Then we got to go into a little back area right inside the actual exhibit which is where I saw the coolest thing. The aviculturalist mentioned the sounds the various penguins make and as another king came over to check us out, she leaned over, whispered something in his ear that sounded kind of like, "Can you please speak for the silly tourists?" and, I kid you not, the king very slowly stretched his neck and head up/back, wound up, and let out that classic penguin call right on cue. I was far more amused than Charlotte, who was actually getting very cold.Next we met a puffin but we didn't get to touch it. We DID get to see it projectile poop across the floor! Needs to give Charlotte some lessons.After that, we went to the polar exhibit where we saw a mini-movie edited from The Polar Express which seriously grabbed CJ's attention. Then we saw beluga whales, walruses, AND, for all you old Denverites...SNOW!!! No really, the polar bear named "Snow;" sister of "Klondike;" both of whom were born and raised in Denver. It was very exciting to see her (although she really didn't do much). Very much a blast from the past. Klondike was there somewhere but not out front.That just about did it for Sea World. Something I really liked about the grounds were the holiday decorations. There were a couple of huge Christmas trees, one of which was all aqua blue.

We said our goodbyes to Julie, Chloe, Catherine, and Catherine’s mom in the parking lot and headed over to Downtown Disney for the second time (we spent some time there yesterday). Rachel met up with several old high school friends and I tended to CJ who fell asleep just as we were getting there.While Rachel caught up with everyone, I started talking to the couple sitting next to us and found out the husband flies an old Korean War era prop plane in air shows. They are nuts about Disney (their 27th visit I think!) and CJ ended up with a trading pin shaped like a heart with Belle in the center. A "Hidden Mickey" pin which I guess is kind of special. CJ woke up after about an hour and a half and we headed out.Last but not least, we picked up the local car we're using the next week (thanks Kim's parents!), dropped off the rental van at the airport and came back to GKTW to pack for tomorrow. We’re checking out early and heading to Animal Kingdom. We know that the animals are very active in the mornings. We hope to check out the Finding Nemo show among other things.Then we’re off to Daytona Beach for the second week of our trip.Charlotte continues to plug along. The extra dose of steroid has seemed to have smoothed out the tremor that had been creeping back in. We’ll see how long that lasts. She’s still eating like a horse when she gets something she likes in front of her. We still get sad every now and then but the worst of it has been held at bay by the amazing experiences we’ve been having and by the happiness we’ve seen in Charlotte’s eyes. It’s really been a tremendous trip. Keep your eyes peeled for more pics! We tried to post some within the blog but the internet connection is not strong here.

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