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Paradise. The single best word that I can think of to describe Discovery Cove in Orlando, FL. If you are looking for a unique, all-inclusive day that includes swimming with dolphins, sting rays and tropical fish then you must consider Discovery Cove in Orlando, FL. We visited Discovery Cove during fall break with our boys and had the single best day of our lives with them. It was really an amazing day where we created memories that will last us a lifetime. The boys are still talking about it! It is a memory and experience we will forever treasure. We officially checked an item off of our bucket lists!
A Day of Paradise at Discovery Cove Swimming with the Dolphins
Discovery Cove is a full day adventure with operating hours of 8:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. The check-in time begins at 7:15 a.m. This is a unique reservations-only, all-inclusive park. The park restricts attendance to about 1,300 guests per day, so they are able to provide a more intimate, resort-like experience unlike any park in the world today. We really couldn’t believe that there were 1,300 guests on the day we were there because it was not crowded at all. It was like being on a tropical island for the day. You seriously wouldn’t believe you were in Orlando, FL and the only word that comes to mind is Paradise.
Your reservation at Discovery Cove includes complimentary self parking. When you enter Discovery Cove adults show a photo ID and check in and they take photo ID of each member in your party that you wear throughout your day. You can attach a credit card number to your ID if you choose but really there is no need because this is an all inclusive day! Your day includes a freshly prepared hot breakfast, lunch and unlimited snacks, drinks and alcoholic beverages during your visit. Yes, all you can eat and drink! They provide lockers, changing facilities, swim vest or wet suit, and snorkel gear and a sample of specially formulated Panama Jack sunscreen that is safe for all of the animals too. They also provide towels too! And if that isn’t enough you also get one complimentary photo upon arrival of your group.
The price of admission varies based on the time of year. You pay a general admission and for an additional fee guests are able to participate in the park’s signature 30-minute Dolphin Interaction or Sea-Venture. If swimming with dolphins on your bucket list then Discovery Cove is going to be perfect for you. Included in your entrance you will be able to snorkel with tropical fish and rays in The Grand Reef®, wade beside marmosets and otters in the Freshwater Oasis®, hand-feed parrots, toucans, and other exotic birds in the free flight Explorer’s Aviary, relax in the large resort pool and swim along a tropical river. Children must be at least 10 years old to complete the sea-venture so we were unable to do that adventure however they need to be 6 years old to swim with the dolphins so we were able to do that instead!
The in-water dolphin swim experience is 30 minutes long. Beforehand, there is a short orientation session (10 minutes) led by Discovery Cove’s expert dolphin trainers to discuss safety and offer an opportunity for participants to ask questions. We found it to be a nice educational experience for our boys. Next, you are divided into small groups and you wade into the shallow water of the Dolphin Lagoon for the in-water experience with the dolphins. Our group consisted of 10 people. At the end of your experience, one at a time, guests and a trainer will swim into deeper water for a personal “dorsal tow” back to shore. This was the highlight of our swim experience!
Our dolphin swim was far more than what I imagined it would be! I swam with dolphins in the Bahamas and we got a 10 minute interaction that cost far more than our entire day at Discovery Cove. We were not able to do the dorsal tow either! For the safety of the dolphins you can not take a camera or wear jewelry into the water however they do a have professional photographer available to take photos that you can view later and purchase if you desire.
We had the opportunity to have a private cabana which is available for an additional charge. It was amazing! We had a private beach, snacks and beverages in our cabana and our very own cabana boy! The view from our cabana was of the dolphin bay so you can imagine how amazing our view was all day. It also had a private beach area with a hammock too! We had an amazing behind the scene tour where we had the opportunity to feed and pet sharks. The boys LOVED that! We also got a visit to our cabana from a Kinkajou! It was an amazing experience and day filled with so many firsts for us all .
When it comes to the price of admission you may think that it is overpriced at first. However in addition to the all inclusive day relaxing in Paradise the Discovery Cove Day Resort Package also includes unlimited admission to SeaWorld® and Aquatica, SeaWorld’s Waterpark™ in Orlando for 14 days from the day of your admission to Discovery Cove visit. You can also add Busch Gardens® Tampa admission for an additional charge of $25 if you desire.
Our best advice would be to plan your Orlando vacation with a visit to Discovery Cove and then maximize your visit by going to SeaWorld® and Aquatica, SeaWorld’s Waterpark™ several times during your stay. You could also add the Busch Gardens® Tampa ticket if you wanted!
Top 10 Reasons To Visit Discovery Cove
10. Freshly prepared hot breakfast, lunch and unlimited snacks, drinks and alcoholic beverages during your visit.
9. Complimentary photo of your group.
8. They provide snorkel equipment and wet suits or vest during your day.
7. Hand-feed parrots, toucans, and other exotic birds in the free flight Explorer’s Aviary,
5. Wade beside marmosets and otters in the Freshwater Oasis®
4. Relax in the large resort pool and swim along a tropical river
3. Snorkel with Sting Rays and Tropical Fish
2. Swim with Dolphins
1. It is Paradise. You can check it off your bucket list!
Disclosure: Discovery Cove provided our admission for this review however all opinions are 100% our won. It was an amazing day in Paradise and one that we will never forget. We highly recommend this for every persons bucket list!