SeaWorld San Diego and I did not leave off on the best of terms last time we met. I even heard Halloween was bad. So when I went back once again to try out a Christmas Celebration the first weekend offered and low and behold what a glorious sight I found!
Parking at SeaWorld San Diego has always been simple for me so I have never had an issue other than the sometimes lack of direction once you are let free to your row but I have used it to my advantage before so I have no quarrels. After arriving and going through the same security experience as the previous visit, I proceeded through what SeaWorld San Diego does for their Christmas Decorations - ALL THE INFLATABLES! I am not complaining here. Some may say you are walking through a Walmart Sales Display - I am fine with any effort being put into the Christmas Season. Plus who does not love an adorable inflated penguin greeting you?
This adventure found a new - happy - surprise: queues! The entrance plaza last visit did have the physical distancing markers but no official queue. This visit that had changed and I was happy to see that was reinforced throughout the park. Once inside the park you will see the queue for the touch pools - now a one way only which was a vast improvement from the last time I was here. Watching the Team Members and Managers assisting with a good flow of guests was nice to see. Now to see if the food was any better.
As you may recall from my previous trip for the Food and Brews Festival - the food here was not spectacular in any way. This time I was surprised to see some new additions as well as the standards they have had for each event since the pandemic. The standard Theme Park food was still here. I am not opposed - in fact the burger is normally a must have each trip. The Winter Fare though was mostly a warm welcome of a treat!
To start off, let's talk about the not so great additions to the menu. Both of the turkey and ham sliders were a mess of a meal. You receive two sliders per order. I am not sure if it is because they were made in batches or not but these were served with the soggiest bread and mushy insides. They were meant to be a Holiday Feast in a bite and yet these made me think of an estranged reunion meal rather than a homemade family meal. These get a 1/10 for tastiness. Of the items I sampled these were truly the only lumps of coal. The rest were true treasures.
My favorite meal offering at the Celebration would definitely be the chili! This hearty bowl is something I hope SeaWorld will have on their menu all the time. The Loaded Mashed Potatoes were everything you expected them to be and more. Lastly the tomato bisque with cheese bread was an entire meal in itself. I took one to go because it was so good and filling. It was essentially a half of a personal cheese bread and a full bowl of warm tomato soup. It was the perfect dinner for the cold evening. That was everything on the food list I was able to try as I was hoping to actually come back for some of the activities and shows.
SeaWorld San Diego was offering their live shows as well during the celebration. Santa and his Animals of the World show is not one to be missed at the old Pet Theater. They have animals from around the world including a camel, donkey, and a reindeer! One of the activities I was interested in was definitely out of my price range as you had to pay for one table and up to 4 people could participate. Yes - I am talking about decorating cookies with Santa and then having a photo opportunity with Santa afterwards. I passed this trip but I could see a family of 4 having a great time with this and you get a great Christmas Card out of it - and cookies! I say that is a win-win. The other activity available was a Stocking Stuffer Trail. Halloween had Trick Or Treat Trails and these have been repurposed as trails for fun gifts and trinkets. All you had to do was purchase a Christmas Bag from any store and you could get the treats! It was a fun experience and the Team Members were usually very friendly. There was only one trail I felt was overlooked often - the Journey To Atlantis queue. This trail is a dead end in the park and sadly was void of any decorations I could see day or nightfall.
Speaking of nightfall, this is when this park really shines. There are so many lights in almost every corner of the park it was almost like walking through a new area of the park in the day versus the night. I am a huge fan of Christmas Lights and SeaWorld San Diego does an amazing job of theming the areas in which you are in. One of the best areas is over by Wild Arctic and the all white lights used in the area. This is also the home to Rudolph and Friends. This is so much fun to see in the day and with the lighting at night especially. The tunnel of lights is also another favorite area. This is a small area towards the front of the park where lights are synchronized with music throughout the night. There is an alternate path for those with light sensitivity. For those of you who are cool with it - check out this quick video!
Well that should wrap this special edition of the DVN Blog. Thank you for reading and remember to Mask Up, Wash Your Hands, and Stay Safe!
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
Your Not So Secret Santa
Told you I love those penguins! ❤