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For my niece’s birthday, we decided to try out the Dine with Shamu package at SeaWorld Orlando. As I have a love/hate relationship with SeaWorld, I was pleasantly surprised and ended up having a great experience. Here’s my Dine with Shamu Review!
What is Dine with Shamu?
Dine with Shamu is a special dining experience where you can enjoy your lunch while learning about SeaWorld’s pilot and killer whales.
How much does it cost?
Adults are $29, children ages 3-9 are $15, and infants under 3 years of age are free. Add in the time learning about pilot whales and an exclusive viewing of the orcas, and this price is absolutely worth it.
Reserve your spot ahead of time via the SeaWorld website online, or you can try to snag a reservation while at the park if there are still tables available. When making reservations online, note that you still need to include your infant in the reservation, though you won’t be charged. If you need to cancel, make sure to do so 24 hours ahead of time for a full refund.
The Check-In Process
Dine with Shamu is located at Shamu Stadium. From SeaWorld’s main entrance, make your way across the bridge leading to Shamu Stadium and make a left. Follow the curve and you will see the entrance.
Lunch happens at 12:30 p.m., but we arrived early, about a half hour before. It might have been too early as the entrance ramp to the restaurant was still chained off. We were the first family there. However, another family arrived and “jumped” the barrier so they would be first in line, waiting on the entrance ramp. A second family saw this and did the same.
Lesson number one at theme parks: Beware of inconsiderate and rude people because there’s plenty of them. So frustrating, but don’t let it ruin your day. I wasn’t about to let this ruin my niece’s birthday.
Plus, lesson number two for Dine with Shamu: Turns out there is no need to cut in line! Why? Because whether you are the front of the line or the back of the line, your table (and hence where you are seated) has already been predetermined based on when you booked.
At least that’s what happened for us. When we checked in, they asked for my last name, and I could see on the hostess’s list that there was already a table number assigned for each party. So, again, no need to cut in line and be rude.
When we got to our table, I could see that two high chairs were already set up for my son and niece, which was very nice!
Do I really get to “dine” with Shamu?
Well, sort of.
Older reviews on TripAdvisor talked about being disappointed and misled about getting to “dine” with Shamu, stating that all they got to see were pilot whales. I was concerned about this so was not expecting much, but it turned out not to be the case!
The dining area is located next to a large tank housing four pilot whales, just behind the huge backdrop of the One Ocean show. The One Ocean show happens concurrently at Shamu Stadium while you are eating.
They announced that we would have about 45 minutes to eat, and after lunch would move to Shamu Stadium for an exclusive showing of the killer whales. (More on that below.)
While dining, the trainers talked about how these four pilot whales were rescued. We learned about how they are cared for and how they are fed, plus some feeding demonstrations. It made for nice side entertainment while enjoying our lunch buffet.
The buffet features only foods prepared with the environment in mind, using only sustainable, organic, or locally grown ingredients. There’s meat dishes, seafood, breads and pastas, and salads. There’s also a “kid section” with macaroni and cheese, chicken nuggets, and hot dogs. For dessert, there’s cheesecake, cupcakes, chocolate cake, and assorted fruits.
Beverages included in the price are Coca-Cola products, coffee, and tea.
I thought the food was excellent, with plenty of choices. Here’s my photos from the Dine with Shamu buffet:
The dessert selection was yummy, with plenty of different desserts to choose from. We also had an excellent waitress, Rachel, who even made sure to come up with a special birthday dessert for my niece!
Exclusive Shamu Experience
After lunch, we packed up and headed into Shamu Stadium. The private Shamu experience was the icing on the cake!
There was no one else at the stadium except for those Dining with Shamu, so we had the entire place to ourselves! Every time I watch One Ocean, I always end up in the nosebleeds in a crowded Shamu Stadium, so it was very exciting to sit front and center and have a close-up view of the killer whales.
The show took around 20 minutes or so. The killer whales did some tricks. We learned about the orcas, and the trainers gave a demonstration on how they collect lab samples. They showed us how to signal the orcas to do tricks. My son loved it!
This attraction is absolutely worth it! The food was surprisingly good, and I loved the exclusive killer whale show after lunch. I must say this truly is the best experience I have ever had at SeaWorld.
I hope you enjoyed my Dine with Shamu Review! If you are at SeaWorld, I highly recommend it for a unique lunch experience!