Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Discovery Cove: Theme Park Review

Part 3 of our Orlando vacation review.

Discovery Cove is a magical place that accepts just 1,000 visitors per day.  If swimming with dolphins, snorkeling with thousands of fish and manta rays, drifting along the tropical currents of a lazy river with waterfalls, aviaries and caves is your idea of a great day then read on!

The Discovery Cove & Aquatica experiences, in our 10 days of Orlando park hopping, were by far the overall  favorites of our family.


  • Swimming with dolphins, a powerful experience to connect with a dolphin and witness firsthand how intelligent our mammal friends really are!

  • Explorer's Aviary, a natural environment to feed fresh fruit to our feathered friends and enjoy a snuggle with Captain Sparrow!

  • Wind Away River, a lazy river unlike any other. Explore caves, waterfalls, float through an aviary and see gorgeous tropical birds.  
  • Serenity Bay, an 80 degree beach/poolside experience to enjoy the tropical weather and relax.

  • The Grand Reef, an exciting place to swim and snorkel among sting rays and tropical fish of all kinds. All snorkel gear & sea life safe sunscreen is provided by Discovery Cove.

This all-inclusive experience included a breakfast buffet, lunch buffet, unlimited snacks and beverages & a 14 day pass to one of the following parks:  Busch Gardens, Sea World, or Aquatica.  We chose Aquatica and I will write this week about that experience. 

We opted for the additional "dolphin swim" experience and the total per person was $199.  This is the lowest rate I could find and appeared lower than other months due to our off-season travel dates.  I searched for coupon codes and couldn't find any current offers. We were fortunate to have just over 500 visitors, we really felt the lack of crowds enhanced this experience.

Admission also included a family photo that is taken at the beginning of the day. We also opted to purchase the photo disc of all photos taken which cost over $100. We have many family photos taken on the lazy river at the waterfalls, in the aviary and dolphin swim that aren't in the blog.  The only disappointment was that the family photo taken at the beginning of the day is not provided on the disc and they do not keep soft copies of it to purchase.

The food was hearty and choices were plentiful including whole fresh fruit. I wouldn't classify the dining as "gourmet" but it was a step above other buffets we have experienced.

To summarize, this experience was one of two that our kids asked about going back. After spending the day here we weren't surprised to that learn that Disney is no longer one of our kids favorite places.  

* In the side bar of my blog you'll notice that I state that all photos that are on my site I have take and are mine.  This post is the exception. Due to the nature of swimming with dolphins, we purchased the photo disc from Discovery Cove, I do own the pictures shown here, I just did not take them myself. 

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