SeaWorld Seven Seas Food Festival – Orlando, FL

In some past posts I’ve reviewed the different festivals that have gone on over at Epcot, but just recently I tried something new.  My youngest daughter has really enjoyed SeaWorld lately and we have found ourselves over there more often than I had anticipated.

On a recent trip we found ourselves visiting the park in the middle of their Seven Seas Food.  I had heard some advertisements on the radio and TV about the festival but to be honest it has started to seem like every park and town are having their own food festivals now.

However since we had been to SeaWorld quite few times in the last month I was looking for something different to try.  As much as I like the Food and Wine or Flower and Garden at Epcot they can definitely get pricey after while.  At the Seven Seas Food Festival you can buy everything al la carte, or they do offer special lanyard.

These lanyard can be purchased for a set price depending on the total number of samples you would like.  As an annual passholder they also had special bonus samples offered for free when you buy a lanyard.  Then when you visit the different booths you can get any of the food or beverage options and each will only cost you one punch on the lanyard regardless of the item price.

The food options were overall pretty good.  As you enter the main festival area there are passport booklets that review the festival, and the food/beverage options.  There is also a map inside showing you where all the booth locations are throughout the park.

I didn’t want to go too crazy with the food, but figured we would at least sample a few things as we walked around.  First we stopped by the Cocina Criolla booth and tried the Pincho de Cerdo con Tostones which was skewered flame grilled pork with a sweet and spicy BBQ sauce which I have pictured above.

Next we headed over towards the Brazilian Market and sampled a few things.

Above was the Brazilian Churrasco which was grilled skirt steak with chimichurri and garbanzo frito.

There was also an interesting Brazilian chicken salad with chicken, ham, raisins, carrots, apples and olives topped with shoestring potatoes.

My daughter likes the Arctic Encounter so we always make sure and check that out so we can visit the beluga whales and polar bears.  As we exited there was the Polynesian Market where I sampled a Lumpia which was a spring roll filled with pork and served with a Thai pineapple sauce.

There were a few additional items I sampled while we walked around the park but we actually had a surprise encounter.  Over near the Mexican Market we ran into Executive Chef Hector Colon.  He oversees the menu development for not just SeaWorld Orlando, but also Discovery Cove and Aquatica water park.  I had recognized him from a behind the scene documentary on SeaWorld.  It was really fantastic to meet him and we appreciated the time he took out of his day to chat with us and take a picture.  We thanked him for all his work on the festival and the food throughout the parks as they really have raised the bar.  I felt that was a great way to top off our day at the park and decided it was time to head out.

As we headed towards the exit we passed by the Shamu Emporium.  It’s still under construction right now, and a whole bunch of penny machines from around the park are now temporary located here.  I took a quick review of each machine in the area and found one that was either new or somehow missed on my previous trips.

The machine was working nicely but I did have an issue pressing one of the designs.  I tried it a couple of times and each time rolled a little short.

The designs look to be some classic SeaWorld images of Shamu the famous Orca whale.  When I was back home I checked my collection and didn’t see these included so I think they may be new designs or at the very least new to me.

The Seven Seas Food Festival was a lot of fun, the live music was great and the food was really fantastic and different.  Unfortunately the festival concluded at the end of April but I will definitely be back next year.

SeaWorld Part 3 – Orlando, FL

On this third time around to SeaWorld another few weeks after my previous visit I decided to start early in the day and stay late if needed to find the last batch of penny machines.  The entire drive over to the park my youngest daughter kept saying she wanted to see sharks.  So I make sure that our first stop once we got through security was over to the shark exhibit.

This type of exhibit is pretty common now among aquariums where you are surrounded by the tanks.

Once nice feature is that when you do make it to the large main tank with the sharks, there is a moving walkway which prevents people from blocking the pathway.  This keeps everyone moving through, but at a nice leisurely pace so you can take some nice pictures or have the sharks swim along with you.  After we were done with the sharks we headed into the far side of the park that we hadn’t visited before.

A strange sight in the middle of Florida were ice glaciers, and snow.  This was all themed to be like you were in Antarctica and is where we found the Empire of the Penguin exhibit.

Once inside where you can see all the penguins I will admit it’s freezing in there.  This obviously is for the comfort of the penguins, but since we were wearing t-shirts and shorts we didn’t stay inside too long.  As we exited of course we found ourselves in a penguin themed gift shop.

The shop wasn’t too big, but did have a penny machine located inside.  It’s kind of around the corner, and I think that if we didn’t go through the penguin exhibit I may not have noticed it was here.

   

With these pennies pressed and stored away we headed out the far side of “Antarctica” and heard the familiar screams / laughter from a water flume ride.  Here at SeaWorld they have one called Journey to Atlantis..

I’m not a fan of getting soaking wet in a theme park and avoid these water drop rides most of the time.  My sister loves Splash Mountain so when her family is in town visiting I’ll join her on that one just like when we were kids.

On this visit I decided to try to stay dry so we just stood by and watched a few boats go down the large drop and get drenched at the bottom.  When you are looking directly at this ride if you turn 180 degrees you will see the above three machines just waiting to be used.

   

The first machine on the left side was labeled around the Journey to Atlantis ride but strangely the penny designs didn’t have anything to do with that ride.

   

The machine in the middle of this trio was themed around the Kraken which is another intense roller coaster nearby.

   

The third machine has designs of some seals.  This is probably due to the Pacific Point Preserve area of the park back near Antarctica.

Before we headed on I wanted to make a quick stop into the gift shop for the Journey to Atlantis ride.  Whenever I’m hunting for penny machines Disney has met pretty trained to look inside souvenir stores.  Unfortunately there weren’t any penny machines there but they did have a small little aquarium.  As we wandered around the store I also found a pressed penny booklet that I just had to get.

I’ve posted in the past that I store all my pressed coins in 2×2 cardboard holders inside three-ring binders.  However that still doesn’t stop me from collecting these booklets.  I have a large plastic container in my house just filled with them.

A little further past the Journey to Atlantis ride was a pit stop area with some restrooms.  We made the stop but only because two more penny machines were located here.

   

One machine is by the women’s restroom and the second by the mens.  I’ve never been a fan of having penny machines hear restrooms as they just end up being used to lean on, or people loitering around them.  Most are nice enough to move aside when asked, and more often than not you also get a group of kids wanting to see how the machine works.

   

While using this second machine I did have a nice family give me a heads up about some other penny machines near by.  We chatted for a bit about pressing coins and also let them know about TEC (The Elongated Collectors)  Club which they were unaware of.  Wishing each other well on our collection we split up and went in search of the last few machines.

Taking the instructions from my new friends we headed over to the TurtleTrek and Manatee rehabilitation area.

Turtles are cool, but there is nothing like a manatee.  I’m still fascinated by these creatures.  There was a staff member near by giving a little presentation about some of their newest additions.

Two orphaned baby manatees.  It was a heartbreaking story that is always sad to hear.  People just not paying attention with their boats and these slows moving animals.  The two just don’t mix.  But these little ones were being well taken care of and they were just really fun to watch.

   

After visiting with the baby manatees I headed back over to the Turtle area and found the next penny machine.  By this time we had explored almost the entire park, but we had one last area to check out.

Dolphins, how could I have forgotten about dolphins.  At the top of the tank they do have feeding times where you can help feed the dolphins.  Or for a better view of these amazing mammals you can go to the underwater viewing area.

If you walk down the pathway towards the viewing area is where we found the last two penny machines.

   

The machines are on either side of the pathway, but because this is both the entrance and exit to the viewing area and of course with the popularity of dolphins this area does get a little congested.

   

It had been another busy day but we enjoyed every moment of it.  After visiting with the dolphins for a little while we headed back towards the front of the park.  We had visited every corner and gift shop of the park and found all the penny machines currently available.

SeaWorld definitely has a lot of offer and we will be back hopefully before too long.  With a total of 24 machines each with 4 penny designs that’s a total of 96 pennies.  Most of the machines do have the ability to make change if needed but I always recommend coming prepared whenever possible.  This would be a massive project to try to collect all of these during one visit, but not completely out of the question.  I’m not sure you would have time for much else.  As I mentioned there is a lot to see and do here so take your time and enjoy it.

SeaWorld Part 2 – Orlando, FL

A couple of weeks after my first visit to SeaWorld I finally got some free time to go back and pick up where I left off.  There were still quite a few penny machines here somewhere and I was determined to find them.

I headed back towards the Mako roller coaster but turned in towards the Shark Underwater Grill & Bar.  This is a restaurant that is similar to the Coral Reef in Epcot if you have ever visit it.  Basically you get to eat a table service meal in front of a large aquarium tank.  This one as the name would imply has quite a few sharks keeping their eyes on you while you eat.

Just outside the Shark restaurant is an area that you can feed sharks at certain designated times during the day.  Now I will admit you won’t be feeding great white sharks, instead they are much smaller and friendlier.

Located in this area are two penny machines.  One at each end of the feeding tank.

   

During feeding times this area can get a little crowded, and it was hard to use these machines as people were completely surrounding them.  But if you go during a non-feeding time they are pretty easily accessible.

   

Just down a short walk away is the other big roller coaster this park is home to called Manta.  This is a coaster that has you flying kind of like superman underneath a Manta Ray ride vehicle.  It looks really cool, but would be way out of my league.

Just outside the entrance / exit to Manta is a small little gift shop, and directly across the walk way is where I found the next penny machine.

   

There is a second penny machine just down the pathway towards the Flamingo exhibit.

   

It was getting a little late in the afternoon and I was supposed to meet my father over at the Orlando Convention Center to check out the Auto Show.  So unfortunately I only had time for a couple more machines.  There was one place I remember having a few machines years ago and thought I would stop by.

The Sting Ray lagoon and Feeding area is one big touch tank, and they do have staff nearby willing to answer questions and give presentations about the rays.

   

This first machine is located right in front of the lagoon as you walk up towards it.  The machine seemed like it needed a new dose of grease in the gears as it was really squeaky.  The hand crank was pretty tough to turn, and as you can see by the coins above they were rolling short.  I actually tried using this machine a few times over a couple other trips and the set pictured was the best of each coin.  Hopefully they will get someone out there to do some service on it.

There are quite a lot of rays available in this tank.  If you reference the times guide for the park you can find out when the feedings take place and for a small fee can help feed them.

At the back of the lagoon are some sinks so you can wash your hands after feeding or touching the sting rays.  This is also the area where you can buy the food during feeding times.  Back here is also where you can find the second penny machine.

   

This machine was working much better than the one out front.  With this second batch of pennies pressed my second visit was about over.  I headed back out of the park and eventually made it over to the convention center for the auto show.  Unfortunately there were not penny machines there (what were they thinking!).

SeaWorld was definitely growing on me and I couldn’t wait to get back.  There was another whole area I hadn’t checked out yet, more sea creatures to visit and of course a few more penny machines to find.

SeaWorld Part 1 – Orlando, FL

My youngest daughter has really gotten bit by the theme park bug.  It has become almost a weekly tradition now where we get up Sunday morning and she immediately says “Animal Park”.  This is her signal that she wants to visit a park and who am I to deprive her of that but this time I thought I would actually try to let her see some animals.  It has been probably over 10 years since the last time I visited SeaWorld so I thought it was about time to go back.

Now the park has been receiving some bad press lately, and it seemed to show in the crowd level.  It was pretty light on the day we visited, and they also had some great deals on tickets.

   

As soon as you enter the park you way by the one of the main gift shops that I believe is call Shamu’s Emporium.  It’s and indoor and outdoor shop which a lot of merchandise.  This store was a nice welcome to the park with six penny machines right off the bat.

   

Usually I go over what designs are on each penny, but to be honest a lot of these designs are of the animals.  Not duplicate designs, but I figured you may get tired of me saying Manatee or Turtle too many times.  Plus to be honest sometimes I’m just not sure exactly what creature is on the coin.  The pictures will give you a good look at the designs available at each machine.

   

This second machine was literally just a few steps to the left of the first one, and also had a nice change machine built in should you not heed my advice and always come prepared for penny pressing.

   

At the corner of the building is the next machine and you can also see the fourth machine right beside it.

   

As you keep walking past the store to the far side you will come across the last two machines found here.

I remember years ago when I was here there were a few electric penny presses, but on this trip I can confirm they are all gone and you will need to bring some elbow grease.  If you are planning on pressing all the coins in one day your arm is going to be soar.  It actually took me a couple visits to get all of these.

   

The second machine here is right beside the other.

   

I had been in the park for probably less than 15 minutes and only walked about 100 feed but already I had 24 pennies pressed and my elbow was starting to throb.  But I wasn’t complaining as my day was just beginning.

Just past Shamu’s emporium the path splits and you can go either left or right.  But as you can see in the picture above straight ahead was the SeaWorld Rescue store and a penny machine right outside.

   

After pressing this next set of pennies I opted to head towards the right path.  This took me past some small snack stands, the dolphin nursery, a quick service tex-mex restaurant and more souvenir stores.

   

Somehow I ended up on a boardwalk style path that extended out over a big area of water.  During the holiday season they had Christmas trees out in the water as part of a  light show and some were still up during our visit.  At the far side we found the famous Shamu Stadium and the inside looked very familiar.  Some of it had been updated but I remember that large tail fin shaped screen.  Sadly no shows were going on while we were there but it was nice to see the stadium again.

We said goodbye for now to Shamu’s stadium and walked over to a place called the Wild Arctic.  This is kind of a ride, but not really.  There is a motion simulator that you can take which makes it seem like you are making the trek up to the Arctic via helicopter I believe.  But since I had my youngest daughter with me we opted to skip the ride and just walk to the Arctic.  It’s all inside a building as you can see from the above picture.  The A/C is blasting inside to make it a little colder but not uncomfortable.  This is where you can see the beluga whales and polar bears.

Once you exit the Wild Arctic and make your way outside you will find the next penny machine just off the path next to a bench so you can take a quick break.

   

We headed back over towards the stadium and walked around to Shamu’s Happy Harbor which is like a kids play area and water park.  They do have some small rides and carnival style games, but to my surprise no penny machines were here.  Eventually we walked up to the parks newest roller coaster (for now) called Mako.

If you zoom in on the picture above you can see the penny machine off in the distance.

   

This first visit to the park I found this machine but the coin slider was jammed and I couldn’t use it.  We made it back a few weeks later and I was able to press the coins, but they did roll a little short.  With the sounds of roller coaster riders screaming over our heads we headed on our way.

I think this is a good place to stop for now.  Trust me there were a lot more penny machines to find.  As I mentioned it did take me a few trips back to get all of these pennies and check out the rest of the park.  Be sure to check back so we can find the rest of the machine.  Happy collecting.