Peachhead™ Approved Vacations: San Diego - Hyatt Mission Bay August 2008
My kids have been asking me all summer to take them to Legoland and Sea World, so with one week left of summer vacation to go, I loaded them in the car and off we went. A new aquarium called Sea Life Aquarium opened up right next to Legoland. Since they open at 9:00 and Legoland opens at 10:00, we decided to get an early start and visit the Aquarium first. Getting there early gave us the advantage of also getting great parking near the front. The aquarium is great in that it is easy to walk through (you follow the path) there are a number of hands-on things for the kids (buttons to push, questions to answer), and there are two separate areas where the kids can touch sea creatures. Amber had a cleaner shrimp cleaning her hands of dead skin. She loved that. I enjoyed seeing the octopus and the jellyfish the most. It takes less than an hour to go through the aquarium, so it is a great way to start out your morning or break up your day at Legoland.
We were very lucky that the schools in San Diego started this week so Legoland was very empty. We walked right on most of the rides. I saw the 4D movie there for the first time. It was very different and we all really enjoyed it. The kids had fun playing in the water area and also the climbing area. Make sure you bring a change of clothes and a bathing suit for the water play area. I always enjoy eating the ribs at the Knights Table Barbeque. I discovered the outlets were right next to Legoland (a few minutes away) so we did some shopping after Legoland.
Then we drove to San Diego to start our stay at the Hyatt Mission Bay. Getting there is very easy. Once you exit Sea World Drive they have great signs directing you to the Hyatt Mission Bay. The rooms are very nice and our room had a great view overlooking the Marina. The hotel also offers 1- bedroom suites which are very nice if you are traveling with your family. When we checked in they gave us an information sheet with all of the "happenings" for the week. I was surprised by all of the family friendly activities they have going on during the summer months. On various days they offer a variety of special activities...strolling magician, kite flying, dive-in movie, Sea World character visit. Another unique activity is that from the hotel every night, you can see the fireworks that Sea World shoots off. Also, every night at 7:00 they sell s'mores kits and they have a fire pit going all night so you can come down anytime after 7:00 with your kids and roast marshmallows and make s'mores. So every night after we watched the fireworks we would go downstairs and make s'mores...what a perfect way to end the evening.
We were lucky in that Sea World also was not overly crowded. We got there early and were able to go right on the Journey to Atlantis. There was no line so we went on a bunch of times. Both that ride and the Shipwreck Rapids you get soaked, so make sure you bring a change of clothes (including shoes) or buy one of those ponchos at Sea World to protect yourself. We enjoyed all of the shows (Dolphin, Shamu, Sea Lions) but we also enjoyed the unique shows such as the pet show, the cirque show, and the 4D movie. The Arctic ride was a lot of fun, too.
Because the hotel is so close to Sea World and it takes less than 5 minutes to drive there from the Hyatt Mission Bay Hotel, we went there for a couple of hours in the morning and then came back to the hotel to hang out at the pool. If you get a cabana at the pool, there is a refrigerator that they stock with water and they also give you fruit and cheese and crackers. The pool is great with 3 different slides for the kids. After hanging out at the hotel for the day, I went to the Blue Marble spa for a much needed massage. They have a steam room and a rainforest shower. The lounge has fruit, nuts and healthy snacks. The masseuse will personalize the music for your taste...I went with the water influenced music. I had the aromatic moisture massage which uses hot towels. I walked out feeling completely relaxed. We had dinner at the Red Marlin. They have a great menu as well as a separate kids menu. The filet mignon was incredible as well as the Ahi. The restaurant overlooks the marina so it is a great atmosphere to go along with the great food.
After dinner it was only 7:15 and I realized we still had time to go back to Sea World and catch a couple of shows. There is a special evening show with Shamu and also the Dolphins. Both shows were great (totally different vibe at night) and well worth running back there for. (Once you pay for parking you can go in and out all day so it was very easy to hop in the car and drive the few minutes to get back to Sea World.)
The next morning I figured I better work off my dinner. The fitness room, which is open 24 hours, overlooks the marina and the cardio machines have individual tvs. They offer headsets and towels and water. They even have cold towels in the refrigerator which is very refreshing after a great workout. After exercising it was time to eat again. We went to the Red Marlin for breakfast. They have a regular menu as well as a buffet for breakfast. The Hyatt offers a special kids' menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner. My kids wanted the breakfast buffet. The kids were 1/2 price for the buffet so for $10.00 the kids were able to have a variety of items for breakfast and they were very happy. They have scrambled eggs, but since Jasmine loves eggs sunny side up, they said they would make them for her. She still talks about how those were the best sunny side up eggs she has ever had. They were very fluffy. There is also an Einstein Bagels that opened up on the property as well if you are looking for a quick breakfast.
As I mentioned before, Sea World is very close to the Hyatt Mission Bay Hotel. You can drive there in less than 5 minutes but if you don't want to drive there, the Hyatt offers a water taxi that will take you to the back entrance of Sea World and you go in without waiting in the lines (but you must have your tickets ahead of time). The water taxi costs $5.00 for an adult round trip ticket and kids ages 9 and under are free.
The pool is open late and it seems like there were always families enjoying the pool. In fact, after spending all day at Sea World, when we got back to the hotel I suggested that we go downstairs and take a jacuzzi. It was so perfect after a long day of being on our feet. After the jacuzzi, we went back to our room to watch the fireworks and then back down to roast our marshmallows and make s'mores. What a great bonding experience with my kids.