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“Best experience in Orlando (even at a very high price)”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Discovery Cove

Discovery Cove
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US$17.98*
and up
Orlando Attractions Roundtrip Transfer
Ranked #3 of 421 things to do in Orlando
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Fee: Yes
Owner description: Discovery Cove is a one-of-a kind experience where you can interact with bottlenose dolphins, feed tropical birds, play inches from a family of otters and even walk on the Grand Reef floor-all in one day. Between adventures, recharge with unlimited island fare and refreshments. With this all-inclusive experience your family can unwind, explore, learn, and create memories that will last a lifetime.
Useful Information: Lockers / storage, Activities for young children, Wheelchair access, Activities for older children, Bathroom facilities
Boston, MA
Level Contributor
30 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
“Best experience in Orlando (even at a very high price)”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 March 2010

Discovery Cove is the best experience in Orlando. It's quite close in feeling to visiting Central America / Caribbean jungle. With the exception of an offsite construction crane, it didn't feel like we were in Orlando at all. All the landscaping is beautifully maintained, and the entire place is surrounded by the jungle they've planted.

We're a family of 2 adults, an 8-year old and a 10-year old. Over the past few years, we've had single-day visits to Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom and Sea World. Discovery Cove, in combination with Sea World, was our kids' and our favorite.

The price is expensive, but it includes 14 days at Sea World. We used this pass to go to Sea World 3 times for just a few hours each time - would highly recommend the Shark Restaraunt there for dinner.

Back to Discovery Cove,
When we went in mid-March it was about 40% full which means there were about 400 guests in the whole place. At max capacity, it would still feel less crowded than most places in Orlando. We went on a cloudy day that turned into a rainy one. Since you're in the water most of the time, the rain isn't that big a deal. The only thing we missed out on was a couple hours of afternoon sunbathing, but we had some beers and sat under awnings during a tropical rainstorm. They will reschedule for a change fee, but I'd recommend putting off the ticket purchase until last minute if possible so you can check the weather. Also, make sure it's warm. I wouldn't recommend doing this in anything less than 70-degree weather. The wetsuits are warm, but not that warm.

Discover Cove provides clean changing rooms, lockers with locks, clean wetsuits, goggles and snorkle. The included food was quite good and much healthier than standard Orlando fare.

They had lots of staff, and most were friendly. They seemed well-trained, and were genuinely helpful. The staff-to-guest ratio is quite high and includes tons of lifeguards.

The dolphin experience was great for both kids and adults. We hugged our dolphin a lot, had fun giving it a kiss, and went for a short ride. The trainer was friendly and answered all our questions.

We really enjoyed the Ray Pool where the rays gather around and you can rub their backs. It's also a good first step for anyone who could get freaked out by the much larger rays in the reef area.

The reef was excellent - lots of rays and fish were all around. It was a great way to introduce kids to snorkelling without worrying about length of time, waves or boats.

I normally can't stand the photo hustling at theme parks, but at Discovery Cove it makes sense since there's so much water. The photos are expensive like everywhere else. My recommendation is to let them take as many photos as possible since you can buy them all on a CD at the end. We also brought a waterproof bag for our camera, and it worked well.

The only slight negative I felt was browsing the website before we went. It didn't cover my basic questions very well, and even the ordering seemed confusing. Considering how different (and better) this is than anywhere else in Orlando, they should spend more time on "a day in the life at Discovery Cove."

Unless you enjoy burning money, I wouldn't recommend Discovery Bay for kids under 7 or for anyone who doesn't like swimming.

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4 Thank bostonfamily2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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england
Level Contributor
11 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Truely magical, A must do !!! so worth it”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 March 2010

I cant describe how magical this whole day was, everythink was perfect . To give someone the gift of swimming with dolphins is an amassing thing to do , it was a present from my parents to me and it was a dreame of mine and it really lived up to the dreame.

The staff are like nothing youve ever seen or exspereinced befor they make you feel instantly comfortable and like friends within seconds of meeting them,

This place has a way of makeing everyone who enters it feel so incredably special and lucky. The dolphins are truely magnificent and a real once in a life time treat.

I cant say enough about discovery cove its truly amassing and you have to see it for yourselves.... please lol.

Amassing !!!!

Helpful?
1 Thank matthewguk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ronkonkoma
Level Contributor
31 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Wonderful amazing experience”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 March 2010

Discovery Cove did not disappoint. Even though our weather was cool and stormy, I did not care once I was in the water with the dolphins. What an amazing opportunity. I was with a trainer for the day group. It offered us a chance to see animals up close like a sloth, a honeybear and even to pet a shark. We also had a second dolphin swim, although the foot push was interesting, next time I will ask for a different "ride". Not easy to do. My only disappointment, was that we were pulled away to view the pictures that their photographers had taken and that the pricing was so high to purchase. I would have rather done that at the end of the day,e specially given the weather. I was anxious to experience the rest of the park, and computer glitches kept us there far too long. I had also expected to spend more time with the dolphins. Although the back areas were interesting to some degree, our time could have been better spent enjoying the river or snorkeling. Meals were included, and for the price, breakfast could have been better. It was n't until I got home that I learned of what was available throughout the day, and I wish that staff had informed us better regarding beverages, snacks and locations. Our trainer Amy did a great job overall, and the time with the dolphins was what made the trip. I hope to go back with my family, but at $250 per person, it is pricey. The advantage is the low number of guests allowed into the park, so it doesn't feel crowded, although on our visit, there were probably less than 300 people due to the weather conditions. The staff was extremely helpful, especialy with the wetsuits and it is a relaxed atmosphere. I would go again in a heartbeat.. if it wasn't for the cost. They do throw in a pass to one of the other Bush parks (Sea World, Aquatica or Bush Gardens) it would be helpful if that destination was allowed to be changed if weather not appropriate. We had c hosen Aquatica and on a 68 degree day even with heated water, it was chilly and we were not able to use most of the attractions, just too chilly to be climbing towers and waiting in the wind. Go off season to Discovery Cove so that it will be less crowded and know that you can change your date once, so if weather conditions not ideal, change your day, keep your schedule flexible. You can cancel that morning which we did not know.

Helpful?
1 Thank patjoenkids
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Upstate New York
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Sting Rays make phone calls”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 March 2010

Initially hesitant to committ to such an expensive day, I now intend to repeat it on every future trip - this was THE best experience of our two weeks in Florida. Floating down the lazy river was an out-of -this-world African Queen kind of feeling, only with no worries about leeches and other hungry creatures. Warm, warm water, gentle current, waterfalls, flowers and exotic birds overhead. Close to paradise. The whole park is lovely, with amazing natural landscaping, acres of white sand, cabanas, beach chairs. We found the park employees - particularly the retirees - to be extremely friendly and helpful, and the inclusion of all food and drink (yes, beer, too) in the admission price was very practical. Hot and cold lunch/dinner choices were great, parking was easy, nothing too crowded. The dolphin swim was fun, although I would have appreciated a little less structure and more interaction, but the rules are understandable. I totally loved the sting ray lagoon, where, unfortunately I got my cell phone wet (yes, I know I shouldn't have been carrying it!) and lost all my contact information, but that was my own fault. The Cove is more than worth the admission price, particularly if you skip the dolphin swim on repeat visits. Absolutely go there!

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3 Thank olliesmom61
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Canada
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Well worth the money!!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 March 2010

Discovery Cove is a beautiful place to spend the day. The food was fantastic. For $149 you get breakfast, lunch, snacks, beverages, beer, wetsuit, snorkle gear, lockers, great shower/change rooms, and a free 14 day pass to either Seaworld, or Busch Gardens. You can swim in the lazy river, snorkle with in the coral reef with the tropical fish, or swim with the sting rays. For an extra $100 you can also swim with the dolphins. It was by far the best part of my vacation.

Helpful?
3 Thank 40disney
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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