USA California / Nevada / Arizona Road Trip May 2016 – San Diego…..Seaworld, Phil’s BBQ and USS Midway

Day 2 and 3 San Diego…..Seaworld, Phil’s BBQ and USS Midway

After a short wait to collect our hire car (Dodge Caravan) from Alamo LAX, we proceeded to purchase prepaid sims from the nearby AT&T store. Around 7pm we were eventually on our way to San Diego with our journey taking us down the i5.

Our first place of residence would be a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom suite at the Homewood Suites by Hilton at Liberty Station San Diego. One room contained a king size bed and the other a queen bed. There was also a sofa bed that can fit 2 persons (1 adult or 2 small persons), overall the space is big enough to fit 5-6 adults. It’s not a 5 star hotel but it did the trick perfectly for us to get sufficient rest to combat jet lag.

We arrived in San Diego pretty late in the end, so sadly no photos from inside our first hotel. By the following morning the whole suite was ransacked by luggage so it didn’t look as homely by then. I did take a short walk however and was surprised to see how scenic the local surroundings were.

This is Courtyard by Marriott which was next door to Homewood Suites.

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Near the waterfront.

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The staff member that checked us in did give me a slight chuckle, I asked where the best place to start a morning run would be and he mentioned to start over this man made bridge.

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Aren’t all bridges man made? πŸ˜€

The hotel staff including the check-in guy were all great, couldn’t fault them in any way. They were friendly, polite and extremely knowledgeable of the local area. In fact their attitudes was one reason why our vacation got off to the perfect start.

The hotel comes with free breakfast, it’s basic but it does the trick to get your day off to a nice start. Apologies for no photos as I didn’t carry my phone or camera down to breakfast each morning but it consisted of a couple of hot items (sausages, hash browns etc.) and had your usual cereal / waffle start ups.

Our first outing of the trip began with Seaworld. We purchased our tickets online which included entry, front of line / reserved seating and unlimited food for the day. The cost was $109 per ticket IIRC.

Before I proceed further, I want to add that being raised and living in the countries I am from, I know very little or understand the delicate issues that surround the animal issues at Seaworld. Due to this I am not too sure how or what I should feel. My visit however did make me feel relatively sad that the animals are not in their natural habitat (similar to zoos around the world), but at the same time convinced that they were all looked after extremely well.

Seaworld is a very patriotic place which I thought was very nice. It was noticeable at the shows where the announcers always asked for those that have served or are still serving the country to stand so they could be thanked and applauded. I felt honoured to witness this. πŸ™‚

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I also noticed a lot of this man cave stuff which I didn’t quite understand why it would be here.

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Seaworld has lot of these game stands where you pay an amount and have a chance to win a prize, mostly which are soft toys.

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This is Mrs Mlee888 having a go at getting a score of 12+ to win the giant pink Shamu.

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The only way to do this due to the 3 disks is to get 2 into 5 points and then 1 into 3.

I won’t embarrass her but she did get 13 points in the end so we ended up with having to head back to the car to place the huge stuffed toy so we wouldn’t end up carrying it for the whole day.

After the games we had missed the first Shamu show so with the next starting at 2:30pm, we had a bit of time to take a look around at what else was on offer.

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Walking past the seals, we see a show about to begin and think “oh this might be fun” and make our way to the sea lion show.

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Entertaining, yes…..but it’s not something I would watch again.

Before the Shamu show begins, we have time for one more thing.

This was the only ride we went on in the end. We had the front of line passes which helped us skip maybe 20 minutes of queue time. It was child friendly and I certainly never came off with any vertigo.

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We walk past some Flamingoes along the way to the Shamu show.

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So the main event of the attraction…

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It began with a video explaining what Seaworld does for the animals, what the breeding program is about and what care they provide them. I’m not sure if this has always been a part of the show or if it is something added recently due to the sensitivity issues that took place in the last few years.

Some shots from the Shamu show from the reserved seating area.

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I found the show quite entertaining but I don’t think I will return to Seaworld again. There is a part of me that believes that Seaworld ending the breeding program with the Whales is the right thing to do.

The unlimited food was a good deal. On it’s own it costs $35 so to make the most of this, you need to take at least 3 meals as each meal averages $12-$15. with our package this worked out to be $20. There are a number of choices available around the park and for each visit you get a main, side / dessert and drink. You can only use it once an hour to prevent you from getting food for other people.

We had a tasty burger in the morning and for afternoon lunch we went for the Pizza and Pasta option.

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My meatballs and pasta wasn’t the greatest but I have to admit the chocolate fudge cake was very good. Highly recommend this and also the California Flavors restaurant there that does a magnificent burger.

After lunch we have a final visit to a Dolphin show. Another entertaining show.

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We spent the last few hours at the park playing more games trying to see who could win the most soft-toys.

Without considering how they would all fit into our suitcases, lots of the prizes ended up being given to Mrs Mlee88 family members that resided in San Diego. πŸ™‚

After leaving the park, we made our way to the evening family meal at a restaurant called Phil’s BBQ. I cannot say enough how good this restaurant was.

I ordered a boneless chicken and rib dinner and it was so huge it was big enough to feed 3 persons. The taste and quality was perfect. When I return again to San Diego, this will be the first restaurant on my list to go to.

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The whole menu can be found here.

The meal was a great way to end our first full day in US. It wasn’t the greatest fun day out at Seaworld but it was a nice start to get things going. Jet lag arriving from Asia usually takes 2-3 days to get over properly in US so this and our next day at USS Midway would be a nice way to help us out.

Day 3 – San Diego USS Midway

The 3rd day of our US trip was a nice stress free easy day, a day much needed to help get over our initial jet lag with only 4 hours sleep for the first 2 nights. This day would begin with a tour to the USS Midway Aircraft Carrier now museum.

We arrived at the magnificent USS Midway just before midday. Parking at the attraction was around $10, although I know on the roads outside nearby are much cheaper. These however are hourly metered whereas the attraction itself was stay as long as you need.

The entry price…

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Audio tours came in 6 different languages with the US flag representing English.

After collecting our headsets you come to this part of the ship.

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I was in complete awe. The aircraft on show, the stories of the missions before the carrier was decommissioned, the history, and the overall structure of the carrier. It was a complete new world I was entering.

This is just a small insight into the lives of those on the sea fighting for the freedom of their country.

Living quarters on board show that each officer was entitled to one locker and a bed approx 6 foot long.

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Sleeping quarters were also found in corridors.

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Some photos from the crew on board on show.

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Aircraft on show…

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The outside deck where more aircraft and helicopters were on display was my favourite part of the tour. Being able to sit in and experience this was something I never expected to enjoy.

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Final photo from the control deck.

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The whole tour took around 2 hours at a medium speed. I know some have mentioned the tour can take 3 to 4 hours but at the same time others have taken less than 1.

After this our group decided to go to Las Americas Premium Outlet which was close to the Mexico border. Unfortunately no photos here, but definitely a great place to pick up some bargains.


About mlee888uk

I am a frequent traveller who likes to share his experiences from different locations around the world on various websites. No more will I be confused and all will be shared here on 1 place. This blog at times will include reviews on airline experience, hotels, restaurants, and various city and town locations. Note these are all my own words and I am not associated with any of the companies featured unless stated. Hope you enjoy reading my blog.
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