Week 13 - SeaWorld Orlando All Day Dining (Apr 1)

No... this isn't an April's fool joke. As locals, we really do go to Orlando theme parks other than Walt Disney World. And, yes, this blog is supposed to be about going to Disney all year long but this one question comes up all the time:

Is it worth it to buy the all day eating pass at SeaWorld in Orlando, Florida?

Well, on this past visit we ordered up a pair of all day eating passes to find out. Below are some notes to help you decide if it would be worth it for you:
  • The eating pass costs about $30 per adult and allows 1 entree, 1 soft drink and 1 side item each time you go through the line. In general, those items cost about $9 for the entree, $3 for the soft drink and $3 for the side item. So... you would have to eat two full meals just to "break even". If you want it to be a "deal", plan on eating a full breakfast, lunch and dinner. Trust me, that is a LOT of food. And, there's no sharing.
  • The restaurant lines can be really long at times - especially immediately after a big show like Shamu lets out. We saw restaurant lines that stretched out the door at times. If you're like most folks and you're following the herd from one attraction to the other and eating in between show times, you may not be able to go through the lines as often as you'd like. You really have to plan ahead.
  • 20 oz Aquafina is included. We loved this. At any time we could walk through one of the lines and grab a bottle of water. Perfect for keeping hydrated. But again, if you're going with the herds, the line may be too long to make it worth it to save the $3.
  • It's like an all-day buffet. When you consider the fact that a typical Disney buffet costs around $30, the SeaWorld pass is a bargain. Instead of eating at one sitting, you eat buffet style all day long. We used it as an opportunity to sample lots of foods we haven't yet tried at SeaWorld.
  • Theme park food is unpredictable. The food quality can vary from really good to really bad and this is one reason we really liked the pass. If the quality is not up to par, swap it out for something else. This was no problem for us because we weren't trying to see everything SeaWorld has to offer and timed our eating around the crowds. Below are the food items we sampled at SeaWorld Orlando:
Breakfast Entree
 - we started with the Country Breakfast (scrambled eggs with biscuits and gravy) and the Big Shamu Breakfast (scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, potatoes and a biscuit) as our entrees:

Breakfast Side Items - as our side item we each selected a muffin. Banana nut for me and blueberry for my husband. These muffins are huge and big enough to share if buying ala carte. These were simply delicious. Super fresh too.

Early Lunch Entree - my husband selected the stir-fry chicken (he liked it, but wouldn't rush out to get it again). He liked that there were some vegetables in his meal. I opted for the chicken parmesan with penne pasta. I've actually had this in the past and really enjoyed it. Today's meal was less than impressive. The chicken breast was a bit smaller than usual (it is hiding under the roll) for this $11 meal. However, since I was just sampling on the meal plan, it was not a big deal for me.

Early Lunch Dessert - as our side item we each selected a dessert. SeaWorld posts signs that they bake on premises. My husband selected the carrot cake. The cream cheese frosting was delicious. I selected the cherry cheesecake. I've had this before and loved it. Today's was a little bland and a bit waxy. I'm not sure why it was "off". But, again, since I was sampling from the dining plan, I didn't worry about too much about not liking it.

Mid Afternoon Sandwiches - we've always wanted to try the sandwiches over at the SeaWorld Terrace, but never get around to it. Today, we decided it was time to try. My husband ordered the Turkey Croissant -  he LOVED it even though it was missing the avocado that was on the menu board. We watched several people walk back up to the counter asking about the missing avocado. I had the club sandwich. It was tasty and fresh. We had a bag of chips as a side item.

Late Lunch Entree - for our second lunch of the day, we went to my favorite SeaWorld smokehouse for chicken and ribs. Unfortunately, our food today was just OK. My ribs were literally cold to the touch, fatty and a bit tough. The chicken was better, but not great. We've eaten here in the past and have had meals that were piping hot and just as good if not better than a sit-down chain restaurant. I love mac and cheese, but today's was a bit watered down and not as creamy as it has been in the past. Like I said earlier, theme park food is unpredictable.

Dinner Entree - for dinner we selected pizza with fries as the side item. After sampling the pizza (a cheese pizza, and a pepperoni) I think I may have been a little harsh in my criticism of the the pizza by the slice at Epcot Italy. The pizza at SeaWorld was OK, but pricier compared to Epcot. The SeaWorld pepperoni pizza was $6.50. While there was a lot of cheese on this pie, overall it wasn't very good. Not bad, just not really good. The fries were awesome, though. Now, I'll really have to give Epcot a second try!

Well, that's everything (except for one piece of delicious chocolate cake that we missed photographing). Would we do it again? Maybe. It was kind of fun to go on an all-day buffet eating spree, not worrying about how much each item cost or whether or not it was good. However, the typical vacationer probably wouldn't be able to get the same value out of it - especially during peak season or shorter operating hours.

UPDATE: We gave the SeaWorld All Day Dining a second try in August. See my review here.