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johnnyr
07-17-2012, 04:22 PM
I see DC opens at 9:00 am but they start check in at 7:30 am. Is it advisable to check in at 7:30 am for a reservation in August?

Treelight
07-17-2012, 07:32 PM
I have a reservation for August also. I was wondering the same thing. From my research, it seems like everyone says the earlier you check in, the earlier dolphin swim time you will get. Personally, I do not want a super early time for dolphin swim because I do not want to feel rushed to get ready. I plan on taking advantage of the included breakfast. But I do not want a late time either. I think I will plan to arrive early and decide when to actually check in based on how many people are already there. I have rented a private cabana and they asked me to check in before 8:30am which I planned to do anyway. I wish you could select your dolphin swim time, but I can understand why they do not offer this, it would be a scheduling nightmare.

johnnyr
07-18-2012, 08:43 AM
Thanks. I would think getting there around 8:00 would be ok. Do they supply towels for the day or do you have to bring your own?

Treelight
07-18-2012, 09:34 AM
Towels are supplied. I copied this from their website:

Discovery Cove provides all guests with swim vests and/or wetsuits, a mask and snorkel, towels and beach chairs. Discovery Cove will also provide guests with a sample of specially formulated sunscreen that is safe for use in the animal habitats.

I hope this helps.

chabs
07-18-2012, 12:17 PM
We just went over 4th of July week and arrived at 8:30. The park was almost sold out (I think they had maybe 10 openings left when we bought ours) and we didn't have to wait in much of a line at all. They had about 10 or 12 people checking families in. We were in and out in under 10 minutes. They just check you in and take pictures of everyone in your party for an ID badge. After that, we just walked over to the breakfast line. I can't imagine that you will need to be there any earlier than that, unless you want to have first picks of the dolphin swim times.

The towels are provided in the restrooms/showers. They are on a shelf and you just take whatever you need.

brinkley07
07-19-2012, 04:37 PM
They schedule all of the dolphin swims prior to day of arrival because they limit the numbers in each group and want to assure that family and friends are kept together. I haven't heard of them scheduling time based on time of arrival. The only benefit of arriving early would be to claim chairs if you wanted to have a beach chair in a certain area. Check in is done as soon as you arrive as they photograph you for your badge for park entry, and staff does check for badges. We did have plenty of time for breakfast and to get wetsuits, suntan lotion, and whatever else we needed, but we did arrive by around 8 or 8:15 each time. I also had a cabana each time which we loved.

Claire-Bear
07-20-2012, 03:56 AM
I'm curious, we are not having the dolphin swim, do we go through the same check-in procedure and join the same queue?

chiamarie
07-20-2012, 07:56 AM
I see DC opens at 9:00 am but they start check in at 7:30 am. Is it advisable to check in at 7:30 am for a reservation in August?

I have a reservation for August also. I was wondering the same thing. From my research, it seems like everyone says the earlier you check in, the earlier dolphin swim time you will get. Personally, I do not want a super early time for dolphin swim because I do not want to feel rushed to get ready. I plan on taking advantage of the included breakfast. But I do not want a late time either. I think I will plan to arrive early and decide when to actually check in based on how many people are already there. I have rented a private cabana and they asked me to check in before 8:30am which I planned to do anyway. I wish you could select your dolphin swim time, but I can understand why they do not offer this, it would be a scheduling nightmare.


I would recommend, the earlier the better if you have a Dolphin swim. It's first come, first serve when it comes to picking your swim times. Some people like the earlier swim times, so that they're not looking at their watch all day and panicking that they will miss their time. Also, you may want an earlier swim time during the summer. Florida is notorious for having afternoon thunderstorms roll in, and if there's lightening in the area, they aren't going to let you in the water for your safety, and there'd be no guarantee that they could fit you in after the storm passes.

Just my two cents.

brinkley07
07-20-2012, 08:25 AM
I'm curious, we are not having the dolphin swim, do we go through the same check-in procedure and join the same queue?

Yes. Everyone goes through check in for photo ID for the park. The badges are also marked for any Sea World or Aquatica entry privledges you may have, so you use them at those locations too.

Claire-Bear
07-20-2012, 11:42 AM
Yes. Everyone goes through check in for photo ID for the park. The badges are also marked for any Sea World or Aquatica entry privledges you may have, so you use them at those locations too.

We are planning on going to Seaworld first, which I understand is permitted. Do we get our tickets at Seaworld from the normal ticket counter or guest services do you know?

brenda1966
07-30-2012, 08:02 PM
They schedule all of the dolphin swims prior to day of arrival because they limit the numbers in each group and want to assure that family and friends are kept together. I haven't heard of them scheduling time based on time of arrival. .

Every other thing I have read says that they assign your time based on when you check in, giving out the earlier times to the people who arrive first.

So, what are we to believe??? Does anyone know for sure?

Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina
07-30-2012, 09:13 PM
Every other thing I have read says that they assign your time based on when you check in, giving out the earlier times to the people who arrive first.

So, what are we to believe??? Does anyone know for sure?

I am 99.9% certain that they assign the swim times based on your arrival time. The "assign the times the day before" theory doesn't make sense, as DC wouldn't know when each guest will make it to the park. There would be no sense in assigning a 9:20 am swim time to a guest who doesn't roll in until 9:45 because they had a hard time getting the kids up and going after a late night at the parks the day prior.

If you want absolute confirmation, I would email DC. That said, I think you can rest assured the answer will be that they assign times based on your time of arrival.

aprilgail2
07-30-2012, 10:28 PM
Every other thing I have read says that they assign your time based on when you check in, giving out the earlier times to the people who arrive first.

So, what are we to believe??? Does anyone know for sure?

You get your dolphin swim time according to order of check in- they do not do it in advance. The earlier you get there the earlier your dolphin swim time will be. We just got back Saturday from our third visit to Discovery Cove. We love it there! We check in as early as possible (7:30) to get our swim time set and to leave plenty of time to have a nice breakfast prior to the dolphin swim. We never leave until 5:30pm, we love spending the entire day there!
This time around we sat in the "chairs" in the freshwater oasis drinking pina coladas--makes me long to go back!!!

Treelight
07-30-2012, 10:56 PM
Does anyone know what the earliest dolphin swim time is? We have a reservation in August and I believe the day is sold out. I plan to arrive early (around 8am) but I would not want a 9am dolphin swim time as this would not allow enough time for breakfast and preparation for the swim time. We tend to be kinda relaxed and slow on vacation. My ideal time would be mid-morning.

brenda1966
07-31-2012, 01:50 AM
So, if you get there at 7:45 or 8 to check in, do you get to eat breakfast right away? You don't have to wait for park opening, do you? I'd really like time to eat breakfast and feed the birds prior to our dolphin swim. We're going late Oct.

bas71873
07-31-2012, 06:48 AM
You get your dolphin swim time according to order of check in- they do not do it in advance. The earlier you get there the earlier your dolphin swim time will be. We just got back Saturday from our third visit to Discovery Cove. We love it there! We check in as early as possible (7:30) to get our swim time set and to leave plenty of time to have a nice breakfast prior to the dolphin swim. We never leave until 5:30pm, we love spending the entire day there!
This time around we sat in the "chairs" in the freshwater oasis drinking pina coladas--makes me long to go back!!!

So what time was your dolphin swim with a 7:30 check in?

Does anyone know what the earliest dolphin swim time is? We have a reservation in August and I believe the day is sold out. I plan to arrive early (around 8am) but I would not want a 9am dolphin swim time as this would not allow enough time for breakfast and preparation for the swim time. We tend to be kinda relaxed and slow on vacation. My ideal time would be mid-morning.

Same here.

So, if you get there at 7:45 or 8 to check in, do you get to eat breakfast right away? You don't have to wait for park opening, do you? I'd really like time to eat breakfast and feed the birds prior to our dolphin swim. We're going late Oct.

Is breakfast outside of the park gates? I see lots of people saying they eat well before 9 AM, so with the park opening at 9:00 (or at least according to the website), where is breakfast?

Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina
07-31-2012, 07:48 AM
So what time was your dolphin swim with a 7:30 check in?

Is breakfast outside of the park gates? I see lots of people saying they eat well before 9 AM, so with the park opening at 9:00 (or at least according to the website), where is breakfast?

We arrived about 8:15 am on January 1st, and our swim time was just before 10 am. It was actually perfect .... enough time to enjoy a leisurely breakfast before getting into the wetsuits and over the to Starfish cabana for our pre-swim instructions from park staff.

As for breakfast, it is inside the park. There is a cafeteria-style restaurant where you can load up a tray then take it to one of the outdoor tables with umbrellas. They have some great caribbean-style musicians there that provide entertainment to diners throughout the day......it was wonderful to kick back and relax and just chill to the music of the islands. The restaurant was open when we arrived, so I am guessing that they routinely have food ready to be served before the scheduled park opening of 9 am. If you check in prior to 9 am, they don't keep you outside the gates.....you go ahead and get an early start on your day :thumbsup2 .

bas71873
07-31-2012, 07:51 AM
We arrived about 8:15 am on January 1st, and our swim time was just before 10 am. It was actually perfect .... enough time to enjoy a leisurely breakfast before getting into the wetsuits and over the to Starfish cabana for our pre-swim instructions from park staff.

As for breakfast, it is inside the park. There is a cafeteria-style restaurant where you can load up a tray then take it to one of the outdoor tables with umbrellas. They have some great caribbean-style musicians there that provide entertainment to diners throughout the day......it was wonderful to kick back and relax and just chill to the music of the islands. The restaurant was open when we arrived, so I am guessing that they routinely have food ready to be served before the scheduled park opening of 9 am. If you check in prior to 9 am, they don't keep you outside the gates.....you go ahead and get an early start on your day :thumbsup2 .

Thanks!

Claire-Bear
07-31-2012, 10:01 AM
Every other thing I have read says that they assign your time based on when you check in, giving out the earlier times to the people who arrive first.

So, what are we to believe??? Does anyone know for sure?

I was reading through my DC ticket today. Whilst we do not have Dolphin Swim with our package, it still has a Dolphin Swim Times paragraph that states:

"Swim times are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis at time of check-in. If you have any further questions or a special need that requires a special time frame, please inform the reservations center..."

brenda1966
07-31-2012, 10:09 AM
I was reading through my DC ticket today. Whilst we do not have Dolphin Swim with our package, it still has a Dolphin Swim Times paragraph that states:

"Swim times are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis at time of check-in. If you have any further questions or a special need that requires a special time frame, please inform the reservations center..."

Thanks for the "official" info!