Gold Coast 2015 – Day 6 – Seaworld & Movie World…

I’m up at 5:45am this morning! Are you serious!? If this trend carries on, I’ll soon be getting up before I go to bed each bloody night. Why is it that my body clock works on a 25 hour day ordinarily but a 23 hour day when on holiday!? Try as I might, I couldn’t force myself to remain asleep. Perhaps it was just as well, as we had a time-critical appointment today at Seaworld for the pre-booked dolphin encounter. We have been instructed to be at the park by no later than 9:30 am, so we would need to be in the car and on the road by 9am at the latest. Fortunately, another early start to the day meant that we still had a few hours in which to get organised.

As per the usual routine, Sandy took the kids off to kids’ club sometime around … morning o’clock’ish. Judging by the cereal bowls and mess dotted around the place, they had at least all eaten something already, so I put operation eat-all-my-own-damned-bacon-for-a-change into effect and set about preparing for what would surely be an uninterrupted, unadulterated, blissful, artery-hardening, bacon-coma-inducing breakfast. And it was soooooo good too. Despite being on my own for this event, I had the forethought to put a contingency into effect and cooked rather more bacon than I was actually planning to eat. This was to accommodate for a potential, unexpected, early return of the rest of the family, which would surely have seen my stack of delicious pork rashers diminish faster than you can say “Who’s the current prime minister now?”

By the time Sandy and the kids returned, I had gouged myself into a near orgasmic state and the resulting high saw me kick into overdrive, with enough energy to not only tidy up the place a bit but to also make all the packed lunches for the day. After Sandy and the kids returned to nibble on what little bacon I had left for them, we subsequently managed to all get out of the cabin and into the car with time to spare and set off for the 15 minute drive to Seaworld. We parked the car and arrived at the front gate at exactly 9:30 as requested, only to find the park closed – or at least, not yet open. As was somewhat predicted, it was overcast and starting to rain, although still warm enough for t-shirts and shorts and yet still be comfortable. We signed in after making it through the main entrance and made our way to the guest services desk to sort out our dolphin experience logistics. This involved signing our lives away on a couple of forms and collecting our wet-suits. The object of the exercise was for Joey and Jennifer to have an encounter in the water with the dolphins. As carers, however, both Sandy and I were required to be with them in the water at all times – much to Sandy’s consternation. She would much preferred to have remained out of the water and in full photographer mode. Since the park had opened a few minutes later than the anticipated 9:30am, our 10:10am time slot with the dolphins was now fast approaching and we had to waste no further time by making our way through the park to the prescribed meeting point. We did contemplate having photos taken with the walrus but there simply wasn’t enough time to squeeze it in.

We all changed into our wet-suits and arrived at the meeting spot at the same time the staff member that was going to be looking after us did. She was very nice and very friendly. When we were at Seaworld 2 years ago, lots of things ‘went wrong’ and we were both ready to blow a head gasket but it was the dolphin trainers (we did a similar dolphin encounter back then too) that really made the difference and saved the day for Seaworld in our eyes. History today repeated itself, as we once again had a truly fantastic experience with the dolphin staff, who took cares of us and the kids to the nth degree. For a brief half hour, my image of the money-grabbing, bastard, Seaworld leeches was cast to the back of my mind, as we were able to concentrate on the kids having a ball with the dolphins and their handlers.

Unlike the dolphin encounter we had a couple of years ago, this time, we would be in the main dolphin stadium performance pool and standing up waist deep in water, as opposed to kneeling on a ledge in one of the training pools. The dolphin handler was just excellent and all four of us got really very up close and personal with Scooter, one of the 30 or more dolphins they have here. Dolphins are clearly very intelligent animals indeed. Within days of captivity, each of them has managed to train Seaworld staff to stand on the side of the pool and feed them fish. Our dolphin trainer had been taught to make numerous hand gesturers before feeding Scooter lots of fish. Before our half-hour session was complete, the dolphin had managed to pursued the trainer, through various tricks, such as splashing, swimming in circles, waving, turning on its back and breaching the water’s surface, to part with as much as half a bucket of fish – truly quite remarkable.

By the time Scooter had eaten enough, it bid us farewell and we completed out time in cold, salty the water. We thanked the trainer and other staff and made our way to the changing rooms to get showered and dried off. It was starting to rain a bit more heavily now but it didn’t really matter, since there was nothing left in the park that we hadn’t already done earlier in the week. Just about the only glitch for the morning was the fact that Joey’s shoes were completely soaked and we didn’t have a spare pair with us. I can’t remember how many times I put them through the hand blower in the changing room to try to blow as much moisture away but I did manage to get most of the water out in the end.

We found a spot undercover to eat my expertly prepared packed lunch, whilst we contemplated the world going by, as the rain started coming down even heavier. It took us several short hops to get to the front of the park, as we ducked inside each time the rain got too heavy. At the main entrance, we collected the souvenir photos of the kids with Scooter, which are actually very nice photos I’m happy to report, along with the souvenir DVD we ordered. The videographer that was in the water with us did a reasonable job at capturing the experience, although the drops on rain on the camera lens was a bit of an annoyance. Still, it wasn’t her fault and you simply cannot control the weather.

We eventually made it back to the car in one piece and set off back to Movie World, where I was determined to capture a ride on the bigger roller coasters I missed out on yesterday. The kids were given the choice of where to go this afternoon and Movie World was the unanimous choice (although some degree of social engineering and manipulation did take place to ensure this – shhhh!). The first thing Jennifer wanted to do as soon as we entered the Movie World theme park was the Batwing ride … again! This is the one that launches you vertically straight up and at very high speed and then drags you down at faster-than-gravity speed. It’s the biggest ride in the park that’s operating and which she is tall enough to ride. Sandy took Joey over to the kids’ rides area in the meantime. I took Jennifer over to them after our Batwing adventure and left the three of them to amuse themselves, as I went back to do the big boy roller coasters. I got as far as the front entrance to the Superman ride before being sent away to get rid of my bumbag – even though I had concealed it beneath my clothes. I very nearly lost it with the man, who didn’t really handle the situation particularly sympathetically and seemed to get just a little too much satisfaction from standing his ground on the subject. Still, I did hold it together and kept my contempt largely obscured, as I went back the length of the park again to drop the bumbag off with Sandy. I could have dropped another $2 coin into one of the single-use lockers but … feck the fecking feckers!

In the event, I did manage to do both the Superman and Arkhem roller coasters, which were both excellent and well worth the effort. Once again, there were hardly any visitors in the park today and I only had to queue for 10-15 minutes on each of the rides. I met up with the rest of the family shortly thereafter, having achieved what I set out to achieve for the day. Now I could relax and just let things unfold as they would. Both kids were having a blast and really enjoying themselves, which was good to see again. And better still, the rain had now stopped and it had brightened up a little. I even managed to convince Joey to go with me into the theatre for the Rio 4D experience, which we both enjoyed a lot.

It was by now nearing the end of the day and Joey was starting to unravel, so Jennifer and me decided we’d have one last go on the water log ride. Having been suitably dowsed there, we did manage to also squeeze one more shot up the Batwing tower too. Just as we were doing that, a parade of superhero characters with floats started coming through and so we all watched this from the side of the road along ‘main street’ inside the park just before calling it a day and setting off back to the car. All in all, we had a very successful day at the theme parks – despite the, at times, terrible weather. On the way home, we stopped off and picked up some take-away food for dinner and polished it all off back at the cabin. That infused the kids with a new round of energy, so I took them both to the pool to burn some of that off. Fortunately, one of the 2 pools here is heated. It isn’t hot by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s at least not freezing cold either – just tolerable. A nice treat was the sight of dozens of huge bats taking to the air above the swimming pool just after dusk. Back at the cabin, we all showered and settled in for a DVD that Sandy borrowed from the reception desk – The Incredibles. That just about wrapped up the day for us and everyone has now scurried off to bed, which is what I’ll be doing also very shortly. The plan is to go back to Dreamworld again tomorrow but we are not time bound and so will just wing it. No doubt I’ll be up at around 4am, if past history is any judge!

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