...is the name of the incredible killer whale show at SeaWorld. It is a beautiful show, complete with a wonderful soundtrack and completely brave (or insane, depending on your view) trainers who get into a 4.5 million gallon pool set at 52 degrees with the top predator of the ocean. When you see it, you can't help but get a tear in your eye from the majesty of it all. When you have seen it 8 times this year alone, well....
Ok, I still will tear up a little but the point is my daughter is completely addicted to SeaWorld and I am her enabler. We go there quite a bit (doesn't hurt that the hubby is in San Antonio a lot, so I guess he gets "enabler" status as well). I should get a stipend or something from Anheiser-Busch, oops, sorry, InBev now, for the number of tourists I have helped out in the park. Even Little Miss A can tell people exactly where the attraction they are looking for is located and the best place to get a Dippin' Dots on the way to it. So, here are a few musings of mine about SeaWorld based on their theme of "Believe".
...that a cup of stinkin' Dippin Dots should not cost $6. Come on folks! This is Texas and it is always hovering on 100 degrees outside and of course the kid wants an ice cream. For $6 I should get to dip her sweaty little body directly into the vat o' Dots and let her lick them off herself, since most of them roll off her spoon onto her and that is how she eats them anyway. It would be a lot more fun to watch, and maybe the video would win me $10K on America's Funniest Home Videos.
...that the dolphins in the feeding/petting area know my daughter on sight. I have talked about this before, but I promise you the second that kid walks up to the pool they all swim over to her like she is a lost little dolphin from their pod that somehow managed to turn her tail into legs ala "Ariel" and has finally returned home. Don't even get me going on what happens when she produces a couple of fish to feed them. Let's just say you get a lot of pictures like this:
...that the right attitude is of paramount importance when visiting a theme park on a rainy day. Or a hurricany day. Like Thursday. We were in San Antonio and I had promised the child that we would go to the most magical place in the world, and being a woman of my promises I packed her up with a couple of towels, an umbrella, and the decision that we were going to get wet anyway, so what is a little rain, right? Besides, Hurricane Dolly made landfall way down south near Brownsville, so what is the worst that could happen?
I got Little Miss a poncho (says "SeaWorld" right on it, surprising, no?) and a stroller and managed to hold the umbrella with one hand while pushing her with the other. Now, the great thing about SW when the crowds are light and it is raining is they try to do extra stuff for the guests. This is why we were able to go onstage at the Clyde and Seymour show and get our picture made with a real live (huge) sea lion. This will be important a bit later in our story. So, we take the picture with my darling baby's hand lovingly on the neck of this beast that I am sure is going to take her into the pool had it not been for the great staff of trainers that were keeping it at bay, and we go on about the rest of our day. I explain to the child that we will get the picture as we leave the park, because it is "sprinkling", i.e. raining cats and dogs, and I don't want the picture to get ruined.
We go to the Viva stadium to see the dolphin and beluga show (man, this is always a good one!) which gets cancelled due to inclement weather. Again, I look up and all I see is rain falling, nothing scary about that, but I figure that maybe the wind is blowing too much for the crazy-insane diver guys to jump off of their 32-foot high platforms. So I tell the darling child that we will go shop for a few minutes and then see Shamu. Nothing like a Shamu Shampoo to wash all the rain off of you!!
We go into the Shamu Emporium (yes, it really is named that. And there is a coupon for it on page 27 of your season pass book. I'm waiting for my commission check, InBev!) We come out about 20 minutes before the Shamu show is to begin and there IS NOT ONE LIVING SOUL IN THE PARK! It was completely deserted and very eerie, to say the least. Little Miss looked up from her octopus lollipop and said, "Where is everyone, mommy?" Not wanting to sound overly concerned but at the same time wondering where is the world did all the humans go I tell her to get into the stroller and we'll just "walk around a bit", which is code for "mommy is going to run like the wind with you to the front entrance and pray we are not locked in here for the night."
Now, point of note here, it is 2:30 in the afternoon, so we aren't talking about closing time. As I am making my way back around to the front I see someone in the trademark light blue polo shirt that all of the teenagers wear at SeaWorld, and she says, "Ma'am? Didn't you hear the announcement?!? The park closed like 20 minutes ago because there is a tornado warning!!!!" Great! Now I have to swallow my fear of being sucked up into a funnel cloud with any number of beasties that could eat me and my daughter before being slammed into the ground at 200 miles per hour. Oh, and thanks for saying it in a way that Little Miss could read your fear like a picture book on whales so now she is upset. I really appreciate that added touch.
Now, remember the part about the picture? The one I promised my darling that we would at least look at, if not buy, that chronicles the fact that she was actually on the stage of one of the shows petting a sea lion? Well, as I sprinted toward the front of the park the last thing I notice is that Adventure Photo is closed up, and there will be no seeing the picture. This just put her over the edge, and all I can say is, thank goodness there is a McDonald's on the way out of the park because at least I was able to quell the crying with a hamburger and some chocolate milk. We got back to the hotel just in time to see the weather radar, "Look at all the pretty red, Mommy!" and let the worst of it blow over so we could go eat supper.
postscript---I took her back the next day to get the picture and see Shamu. What?? It was sunny the next day! You would have done the same thing!
Finally, I believe that I will probably get to see Shamu in person more than all of my friends combined as we raise up this little one, and I am going to be ok with that. Time is already fleeting and if she wants to live in a world that is dolphins and whales and Dippin' Dots, well, I'm going to hold onto that for as long as I can. Because I am her enabler, and she is mine. My true addiction in life is her and I wouldn't have it any other way.