Book your meals with Shamu online at Sea World.com
Mar 26, 2005
I planned on taking my kids to Sea World in San Diego over the Spring Break. I filed my income taxes as quickly as possible so the refund could pay for our trip. In one month the money arrived in my checking account and I set about making reservations online.
Since we live in Los Angeles there are a multitude of ticket options for Southern California residents. By browsing around at SeaWorld.com I was able to get prices for the one day tickets, city pass, value pass and the popular two days of fun for the price of one ticket.
For weeks we had been viewing a commercial that promotes buying a ticket that is good for the rest of the year. This promotion is the San Diego Four Pack for $199.00. On Tuesdays Senior Citizens get ten percent off. The Value Pass is entrance to Sea World in San Diego and a ticket to Universal Studios in Hollywood within fourteen days. The price for an adult is $94.00 with a child between 3-9 priced at $76.00
I learned from other parents in Southern California that Sea World has discounts for the disabled community. Each disabled person gets in at half price, along with an accompanying adult. The website for the Holiday Inn we stayed at also had tickets for Sea World.
The end result was that I went to the Guest Relations booth at the entrance to purchase the tickets. The single day admission for children from ages 3-9 is $40.95. I paid that price for both my children to get in and $25.95 for an adult instead of the $50.95.
I utilized SeaWorld.com to make the reservation for Breakfast with Shamu. Their website has two options for tickets. When buying admission tickets you can make payments with monthly installments using EZpay. You will need to turn in the vouchers at Sea World for tickets.
EZpay accepts MasterCard, Visa, American Express or Discover. The website has pop-up windows that explain in full detail everything about the passport options plus provides a toll-free number to change credit cards, 1-800-661-1554.
The dates for the passes at the site have all changed in recent weeks with effective dates being April 1, 2005 - March 31, 2006. The City pass allows you to visit five attractions during this time period for the price of $185.00 adults with children from 3-9 at $127.00.
SeaWorld.comspecifies ticket options that are only eTickets. To get a ten percent discount you need to print @home the eticket for the single day admission and pay only $45.85 for adult and $36.85 for a child between ages 3-9. The original eTicket needs to be presented at the gate or dining venue. They will ask for a form of Identification and possibly the credit card used to make the purchase online at SeaWorld.com. These eTickets cannot be sold or transferred and are in your name.
I was worried that my printer might not work leaving me without an eTicket. The site explains that you can go to account history and print out a replacement eTicket if it is lost. They recommend using a laser printer and not to get the paper wet. I folded up my eTickets and put them in my luggage bag for safe keeping with the train confirmation document.
I joined a San Diego autism group and received three free adult passes from another family. The printed date on them was in June of 2004 with the expiration date of 7-2-05. However they did not scan properly at the gate and we had to go back to Guest Relations for a special form to be filled out to get in using these passes.
I hired someone familiar with both autism and Sea World to help out and used the free pass for her as well. When I ordered the tickets for Breakfast with Shamu I paid for two adult tickets plus the two child tickets. A key age to note here is that children's tickets are for ages 3-9. This would mean another ten dollars for a child that is ten and older, admission price of an adult. My son was nine when I booked the tickets, yet turned ten the day we were at Sea World.
The first day at the Guest Relations booth I was asked the ages of my children and noted they were 8 and 9. The second day I was not asked. If you are reserving more than one product at the SeaWorld.com site, it is imperative that you get all the information correct because the site gives you a time to get this all done before your reservation slot will be taken by another customer.
I booked a showtime picnic reservation for the following day at 2 pm, leaving my breakfast reservation idle while I was completing this one. The site told me I had five minutes before losing my reservation and I quickly ran for my wallet to get my debit card information. It was a bit nerve wracking to get all the data entered in a fast and accurate manner without losing my connection.
When you arrive at SeaWorld.com you can click on buy tickets, Book a vacation, check out the Shamu cam or choose a park for your destination. Each time I visited the site I clicked on San Diego first.
For birthday party information, adventure camps and educational data regarding Sea World the site to visit is www.SeaWorld.org. The only time I perused a map of SeaWorld was at the site under Day Planner. This helped my son visualize the area and plan what he wanted to see weeks prior to Spring Break. I checked the weather and learned that over Spring Break the hours for Sea World were from 9 am - 9 pm. While looking at the site under park information, I noted that the closing time was 5pm, so using the calendar for the time period you will be there is worth checking into.
I did try to print out the map, but it did not work well with my printer. The names of the exhibits and areas all show up as you scroll over the map. It is nice and colorful image to memorize before arriving.
Dining options is where I decided on the breakfast with Shamu. You can also purchase gift certificates up to $250 that can be redeemed anywhere at SeaWorld. The dining options offer discounts to passport members. There is a log in for those members at the site as well.
The Breakfast and dinner with Shamu are at the tables on the other side of the Stadium where the Shamu Adventure takes place about four times a day. Both meals are buffet style with trainers on hand to answer questions. The Breakfast is cheaper at $14.95 for adults and $11.95 for children ages 3-9. Tax is added on at the end of your purchase.
You are advised that the whales may splash during your Dine with Shamu experience. I turned in my eTicket to the person at the gate near the tables. He had a clipboard with names, checked my identification and told us to wait a minute for a table.
While we were at the Guest Relations ticket window a father was behind us with two kids. He had noticed my son wearing an autism t-shirt and told us his son has Aspergers syndrome. They were going to Universal Studios the next day and were from Anchorage, Alaska. They walked with us to the Breakfast area since they had a reservation as well. The father did not have his eTicket, but presented his Identification and they found his name listed.
We sat at table #38 very close to the water, but my kids never really sat still and walked about watching the whales and taking photos. The paper I received said Dine with Shamu, listed the table, number of adults and children. I glanced around to see if others were leaving a tip and then found it noted that gratuity was not included. Dine with Shamu is a smoke-free dining area. There was also a form to fill out on the experience offering feedback. Most tables either had a camera or video camera taking photos. The trainer walked around with a microphone answering the questions. My son wants to be a marine biologist and had a few questions for the trainer.
The time for breakfast with Shamu is 8:45 10:00 am. You can arrive at 8:30 and many people do this to get inside Sea World earlier. We stayed at least one hour. Many people did get wet toward the end from the escapades of the whales. The food was inside with beverages outside on a cart. Muffins, french toast, potatoes, bacon and eggs were part of the breakfast buffet.
The dinner prices are $32.00 for adults with children at $18.00. There is a special kids menu for the dinner buffet. Children under the age of three are free, but they need to be included in the reservation. The showtime picnic is at 2 pm, thirty minutes before the Shamu Adventure begins. There are three choices for adults with hot dog and chips for children. You do need to go to the Reservation Center just located after the entrance to Sea World and place your food choice before 11 am. You will be given laminated cards to wear around your neck that are turned in at the Stadium. I presented my eTicket at the Reservation Center. The choice for beverage was limited to a few soft drinks or bottled water. We got three bottles of Aquafina and a can of Sierra Mist.
The picnic lunch is in a plastic take out type container. There was watermelon, pasta salad, mini cheesecake and the beef tenderloin had mayonnaise on it. The other adult meal offering was chicken dijon, which had mayonnaise on too. This gives you a reserved seat the disabled ones were here so we sat there, which were the exact same seats as the previous day. The cost for 2 adults and 2 children came to $38.00. Adults are $12.00 and kids are $7.00. The price for 2 adults and 2 children for the breakfast totaled $53.80. Tax for these two products was $7.11 with the total charged immediately to my debit card being $98.91.
The showtime lunch is only available online with a maximum of 60 lunches available per day. The dates and times are listed on the site. The current offerings are for the 1 pm, 2 pm and 2:30 show for March, April and May dates. The childs lunch is in a Shamu pail that you keep. This is bulky to carry around and pack so we ended up not taking the three we had accumulated.
When you click on to make reservations while at the SeaWorld.com site, the address changes to commerce4adventure.com. The dining experience reservations can be made for any Sea World or Busch Gardens location. The links are all there to be clicked on. Also, at the bottom of this site they have links to Busch Gardens, Sesame Place, Water Country USA, Discovery Cove and Adventure Island. These sites are viewed in English, Spanish, German, Portugese, French and UK English.
When making the reservation online you have choices to make via drop down boxes. The dates go through October for the breakfast with Shamu. You need to enter the number of adults and children. The time, date and price is listed in a box. You will need to enter a name for the reservation to be held in. There is also a box for special requests. I did mention here that my son has autism and only likes bacon and asked for less price. I never did hear anything back in my email confirmation or while dining.
The reservation will be placed on hold once you confirm and before completing the check out process. This is a temporary hold with the minutes clicking until the reservation is finalized. At the point where you have clicked confirm your payment data has not been entered. If your party has more than fifteen people you should call the number for details on how to place a reservation.
At this step you are at the shopping cart with the option of emptying the cart, updating the cart or continue with checkout. The fifteen minute clock has already started, so if you are doing more than one reservation for a meal, have those dates ready. You can click on the cart icon at the top of the page after the first reservation to get the total of your order.
The entrance and parking fees are separate from these dining prices. This next step has a button for international or United States. Your name, address, day and evening phone numbers along with email address are required at this page. The evening phone number is a required field, so you will be prompted to fill it out if left blank. The address you enter has to match the credit card you are paying with, which is done on another page.
The following page contains the shipping options. For the dining experiences only eTickets are allowed, which are free and printed at your computer. The options for tickets to be shipped are Federal Express at $9.95, which will take 3-4 business days. The other option is US Ground Mail at $4.95, which will take 6-8 days to arrive.
This page will tell you the remaining time on your reservation before your temporary hold expires. So far I have 7 minutes remaining. To submit your order you will enter the credit card number for a Visa, MasterCard, Discover or American Express. There is an option to create a password if you plan on using the site again.
Finally, the order confirmation appears with the number and a pop up window to print out the eTicket. There is no time limit to printing out the eTicket.
What confused me is that the site listed a phone number to call one week prior to get the actual dining time. The number is 1-800-275-4742. This is the Reservation Center, yet when I called I was told breakfast is from 8:45 - 10 am and get there at 8:30 for seating.
I received an email confirmation in mere seconds from Anheuser-Busch Adventure Parks with the total tally, order tracking number and billing address. There were two email addresses listed in the body of the email. One of these was for issues relating to the eTickets with the other address for merchandise. A toll-free number provided for assistance, 1-888-800-5447. The email address used for sending the confirmation is a notification-only address.
The site lists Dolphin Encounter. This is a ten-minute opportunity with a trainer to feed and pet the Dolphins and is limited to six people per trainer. You cannot make a reservation for this interaction online. The site states to go to the Rocky Point Reserve booth to sign up as spaces are limited.
While there on Tuesday we saw a family doing just this. Our helper asked another trainer if we could do that and mentioned the kids have autism. I also told the trainer it was my sons birthday. After they left a few minutes later before the 3 pm feeding time for visitors to pay $4.00 for fish to feed the Dolphins, we were led to the section with the fish in their numbered buckets to feed the Dolphins. Someone is always around taking photos, you get a yellow paper telling you where to go to get these. The cost is $14.95 for a 5 x 7, and $5.00 for a key chain. SeaWorld.com lists this at $35.00 per person, with children under three for free. We were not required to pay for this. The following day both my sons wanted to do this again, yet it was not possible. If your kids like Dolphins I would suggest checking the Dolphin Encounter photo out at the site and look into this when you are at Sea World.