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Discovery Cove or Seaworld?

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England
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Discovery Cove or Seaworld?

Hi everybody

Myself, hub and grown son are visiting Florida, for the first time, next June. We are doing a 12-day tour, which includes 3 nights in Orlando (+ the Keys + the Gulf Coast). Our first day (can't check into our rental until 3:00pm), we plan to check out things close by - including, perhaps, Downtown Disney. The second day, we plan to drive to Kennedy Space Center. That leaves one free day. We aren't interested in WDW (been to Eurodisney; that was enough for us!) and have been to Universal Studios in LA. We could go to lots of little places (like Gatorland and Wonderworks), but think we would be better off concentrating on one park. So Discovery Cove or Seaworld? We wouldn't be able to afford the swimming with dolphins bit and 2 of us are non-swimmers (though I've read there are flotation devices) - so would it be worth the entry for us? We also realise that 'free' entry to Seaworld or Busch Gardens is included - but, as we wouldn't have time to go to Seaworld AND Discovery Cove, we would opt for Busch Gardens and go there later on our trip. Or would we be wisest simply to just go to Seaworld? Many thanks for your thoughts.

High Wycombe
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1. Re: Discovery Cove or Seaworld?

Euro Disney is completely different to WDW- we have been to both and WDW is in a completely different league. I wouldn't spend long in Downtown Disney- have you not though about Epcot? It is nothing like Disneyland Paris and has World Showcase with lots of amazing 'countries' and also great rides.

As a family we would say Discovery Cove is not worth it without the dolphin swim which is just out of this world. It was very expensive though and my family questioned whether it was worth it. I would not do it without the dolphin swim.

We were really disappointed with seaworld- didn't like it at all. It just seemed a bit run down in comparison to Discovery Cove and WDW. Animals were in tiny enclosures. I know some people like seaworld but we wouldn't reccommend it lol.

I would try Disney instead. DLP has nothing like Epcot or Animal Kingdom and Epcot is pretty jaw dropping anyway :-)

High Wycombe
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2. Re: Discovery Cove or Seaworld?

Oh and you can do the dolphin swim at DC if you are a non swimmer but not the Grand Reef probably (with the stingrays and fish)

Metro Orlando
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3. Re: Discovery Cove or Seaworld?

It kind of depends on what experience you’re interested in. Personally I like both of them.

Discovery Cove is more or less set up as a laid back day on a tropical island. You lay out on the beaches, float around the lazy river, swim around a tropical reef, and assorted other things. They limit the number of folks in each day (at least they say they do) to try and maintain the somewhat secluded atmosphere, and for the most part everything is included in the price.

Sea World is a theme park, built somewhat on the model of Disney World. It’s got rides and attractions, lots of restaurants and lots of people. It’s fun, but way more fast paced.

I dunno. Since it sounds like you may get a chance to do the tropical island thing down in the Keys, maybe you'll have your fill of that and just want to try a large scale theme park for a change of pace.

England
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4. Re: Discovery Cove or Seaworld?

Thank you, guys, for your replies. I've been watching the Seaworld etc DVD and Discovery Cove looks just idyllic - but, possibly too expensive for what we might get out of it. I really, really, really disliked (HATED!) DLP - the noise and the crowds got me down - was glad to escape - so, perhaps, even Seaworld wouldn't fit the bill! My hub and I are in our early 60's and, although fairly active (!), we wouldn't want to do the rollercoasters (we didn't like them even when we were in our 20's) - though our son might (it will take him all day to pluck up the courage!) We've been to lots of places in the USA, including Hawaii (which we loved), NYC, Chicago, the Black Hills, Pacific NW and the SW of Calif, Arizona, Vegas etc - and we enjoy watchign the world go by. I'll give it some more thought - many thanks again.

Metro Orlando
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5. Re: Discovery Cove or Seaworld?

You might consider going to EPCOT. It’s bigger than the other parks and much more laid back. It tries to be an educational park, and most of the rides move slowly from one setting to another. The only exceptions are Test Track, and Mission Space (although MS has a non-moving half), which themselves are not really as bad as a roller-coaster. Some attractions can get a little dated, but I love the place and it’s always my first choice when the wife asks where I’d like to go. It can get a little crowded, but you can still generally get around.

High Wycombe
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6. Re: Discovery Cove or Seaworld?

I would not pay the amount Discovery Cove charges if you are a non swimmer- it just doesn't seem worth it. I would skip Seaworld too because Epcot seems like a far better choice for you.

DLP IS really crowded and WDW can be but personally I think it deals with crowds a lot better. I would try Epcot if I were you- it is 'educational' and very fun. The countries are amazing and very fun to look around, with some activities and shops selling each country's national produce or whatever you call it. For instance, the UK sells football shirts and pottery lol. Soarin' is one ride you do NOT want to miss- absolutely amazing. Not a thrill ride at all but really exciting for me.

Epcot deals with crowds pretty well. The countries were not crowded at all when we went and although some rides had a 30min+ wait, if you use Fastpass you will not have to wait long at all. Epcot was our first WDW park ever and Soarin' was our first ride. Also if you do go to Epcot, there are several restaurants in each 'country' that serve food from that country. It is worth making reservations for a restaurant or two. We ate in Tutto Italia (Italy), Chefs de France (France), Akershus (Norway) all of which were very good, and the Rose and Crown (UK) which was pretty awful. It was marketed as British food but what pub puts bacon in mashed potato? Lol

Illuminations is the fireworks display in the evening which is amazing too. There are lots of good viewing spots and I highly reccommend seeing it.

When are you going in June? I believe the end of June is a lot busier than the beginning. But IMHO, you've gotta do at least one Disney park when you visit Orlando :-)

Kentucky
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7. Re: Discovery Cove or Seaworld?

Neither. Imagine them all swimming wild and free.

England
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8. Re: Discovery Cove or Seaworld?

A good point, TravelingGuy! I'm not keen on aquariums or zoos - but I worry more about overfishing!

Sistero - we'll be in Orlando during the 2nd week of June, so it shouldn't be too busy. Thanks for the Epcot suggestion, though we really don't think that's our thing (didn't like the 'mock up' of Venice in Vegas even!), so we're going to play it by ear and see what we feel like doing - we might spend the money at the Mall instead! :)

Thanks everybody! I'll report back after the trip!

Edited: 31 December 2011, 17:40
Marblehead...
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9. Re: Discovery Cove or Seaworld?

Discovery Cove is far superior to SeaWorld, but if you are not an avid swimmer I think I agree with other posters that Epcot is the best way to spend your day. You don't need to do the rides to have a magical day at Epcot. It is GORGEOUS and every country has amazing offerings.

Be sure to pace yourself to stay for the nightly Illuminations. Park yourself an hour before at an outside table in the Mexico pavilion. Best viewing, eat and drink at your OWN table. It's the perfect spot with England a close second. Be mindful of the wind direction if there is any.... the smoke from the show can be intense and you want to try not to be downwind.. Not a deal breaker, but just some insight from someone who has visited Epcot a lot. You won't be disappointed with Epcot.

I LOVED Discovery Cove. I thought SeaWorld was eh. Go to Epcot... it is amazing.

10. Re: Discovery Cove or Seaworld?

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