First of all, let me prefix this blog entry with this... Not long ago, we got onto the "EZ Pay" plan at the Orlando Sea World for the whole family. However, since Kim and I knew we were going to be visiting the San Antonio area soon, we got ourselves the Platinum passes. These passes get you into all of the Busch parks across the nation. For $16.95 per month, that isn't bad. As long as you go at least a couple of times out of the year, it can pay for itself. Especially when you tack on the perks like preferred parking, and food and merchandise discounts.
We were just as excited as you probably are right now. However, upon arriving at the San Antonio Sea World, we were quickly disappointed at the gate, and it only got worse from there.
DISCLAIMER - I do not have any pictures of this yet. We ran out of room on my SD card, so we bought a new one. Then, we forgot it in the hotel room. So I need to pull the pictures off of the video camera. While the camera uses a digital hard drive, the process is still not that straight-forward to get them off.
We would have tried to use our Preferred Parking perk in San Antonio, but the parking lot was confusing, so we just parked and walked. We were told that our discounts would be good for all of the parks. This appears to only be partially true. Our pass to get someone into the park for half price is only good at the Orlando Sea World. The discount that we get ALL OVER the Orlando park is only good in certain stores at the San Antonio park. In addition, I think that the training in San Antonio is not as good. When we asked people about what discount we might get, most people just stared at us.
So, customer service was obviously a HUGE flaw in the San Antonio Sea World. Let's get past that. We next began navigating the park. While we found that the park was larger, had lots more water rides, and roller coasters, everything was spaced so far apart, that standing in a line was the last thing that we wanted to do.
We rode the Great White roller coaster. It was fast, which is good. But it seems like the creators of the ride just threw in a bunch of curves and loops just for the heck of it. While I am sure that they tried in some way to mimic the movements of the Great White Shark (I hope), I have not ever seen a Great White at any theme park or program on television move like that. In the end, I just felt like I was thrown into a dryer for an hour. It wasn't at all fun.
My favorite exhibit at the Orlando Sea World is the Penguins. I love to watch them. However, the San Antonio Sea World's equivalent was not anywhere near as good. It seemed to end just as quickly as it started, and there weren't as many penguins. Also, they all seemed to tired to move around. In Orlando, they are very active, and there is much more to see while in the exhibit.
Because of the customer service, and the fact that we kept getting disappointed at various things, we ended up only staying a couple of hours. We will have more fun back in Orlando.