Waking up for a 4am pickup is hard to do when you toss and turn all night with excitement for the next day. I stayed up until 1am, I just couldn’t settle down. Being my first event with other bloggers, I was full of anxious nerves!
Bright (rather, dark) and early, a car arrived to pick me up at my home. I’d never had car service to the airport! I am a flight attendant after all, I am very used to getting myself to and from on my own. This was such a luxury being picked up, having my bags handled and getting dropped off right at the terminal doors. (Thanks @HiltonHHonors!)
Once inside the airport, all things familiar hit me. This was my second home, but today it was different. Today, I was the passenger. I had a ticket, I had a seat. I was not the one greeting and serving drinks. I imagined it being like if you are a nurse and you have to go to the hospital as a patient. Or if you are a waitress when you get served at a restaurant. It is a weird roll reversal = a nice change!
The flight was smooth and (quick?) 3 hours from DEN-MCO. I couldn’t keep from smiling as I looked at the overhead bins that were decorated with Shamu the Killer Whale from SeaWorld Adventure Parks. Why? Well, ironically this was the first activity on my agenda today! Everything felt right, I couldn’t wait to arrive!
Once at the hotel, I was greeted by Anthony, one of the PR reps who was hosting us for the weekend. He, along with Meghan – were two incredibly awesome hosts! I want to add a quick thanks for all of your hard work and dedication! You guys were so pleasant during the entire trip! Also, a special thanks to Jenny for planning everything! She dealt with all the emails, travel concerns and bookings! I couldn’t say enough great things about all of them! Two thumbs up! 🙂
So after a speedy introduction, we literally were off to SeaWorld wasting no time at all! It was just a quick hop away since SeaWorld is conveniently located right next to the Hilton Grand Suites at SeaWorld. If it wasn’t already obvious in its name! The hotel is an official partner of SeaWorld which means guests get exclusive benefits at the park!
When we pulled up, SeaWorld was getting drenched with rain, so we did the tourist thing and wore some awesome blue ponchos for our explorations. From then on, when the rain began we would say, “Poncho Up!” as we pulled them from our bags and slipped them over our heads! We had fun rockin’ the big blue ponchos as we embraced our “Poncho Posse”! One thing was for sure, nobody in our party got lost in the crowds when we were sporting our SeaWorld ponchos!
We walked around SeaWorld memorized by the beautiful sea creatures. The killer whales were stunning, I loved how they twisted and turned. The dolphins were playful and are adorable how they appear to be always smiling. We also spotted sharks, manatees, flamingos, turtles and lots and lots of fish!
The first thing on the agenda was The Behind the Scenes Tour of SeaWorld. This was something that I never had even heard of! I really enjoyed the small-group tour and learned a lot of the backstage stuff that goes on at SeaWorld Orlando.
The tour was informative and there were a lot of interesting things that you’d never know unless you went on it. During the 90-minute tour, we saw how animal experts care for rescued manatees and sea turtles. Plus I got to feel a shark and play with a penguin! I loved learning that penguins at the park have their favorite people and not favorite people! The trainer and the penguin had quite the bond, just like a house pet. It was heartwarming!
After our tour we snuck in a quick ride on one of the coolest rollercoasters I’d ever been on! (So glad Meghann told us about it!) The Manta at SeaWorld is a fast and furious ride that will leave you satisfied once the restraint bars open at the ride’s end! If we had more time, I think we would have all agreed to go on the coaster one more time!
Cocktails and dinner couldn’t have come at a better time, as we headed toward the Sharks restaurant in SeaWorld. This one-of-a-kind location included food with a shark view! The tables are lined up next to a shark tank wall! We enjoyed appetizers, entrees and dessert as the sharks swam around eyeing us!
We had the pleasure of meeting the VP of Communications of the Hilton Grand Vacations at SeaWorld during our dining out! She chatted with us like we were all old friends! The dinner was a special evening, and a fun bonding experience as we shared about our families (grandma’s on Facebook) our aspirations (being a government agent and Disney character) and our past lives (so many jobs and experiences between us all!).
The evening was lovely and the sharks were quite impressive, along with the food and service! As we were leaving the park with full stomachs, we saw the SeaWorld mascots breaking it down! With just slight hesitation, I got out there on the dance floor! I mean, I was on vacation, why not boogie down for a song or two! I loved all the pictures, even though they might be blurry and bright (thanks @mealsandmiles for the Gangnam Style shot). Apparently there is a video out there also… yikes!
Today was the perfect start to a trip, one that I knew I would never forget…
Want a trip you’ll never forget?
There are TWO ways Hilton HHonors is helping you have a trip you will never forget.
1. WIN A VACATION!
Enter to win a Great Getaway Vacation everyday, now through August 4, 2013! There are four awesome trips to win including relaxation, adventure, culture and food/wine. The destinations are amazing places all around the world! Good luck!
2. VACATION DISCOUNTS and DEALS
Along with the Great Getaway Giveaway, Hilton HHonors is featuring impressive discounts on hotel stays around the globe! From the USA and beyond, you can get low rates with the Great Getaway promotion! If travel is calling you, don’t miss these great travel deals!
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Hilton HHonors who provided my Great Getaway. All opinions are my own.