05-16-2001, 08:28 AM
I'm debating............I had thought about letting my 2 boys 8 and 11 do the dolphin experience and my dh and myself not. The total is $652!!! Is it really worth it????
05-16-2001, 02:25 PM
You'll have to make your own cost/value analysis, but here's how I summed it up in "The Other Orlando":
Is It Worth It?
The simple answer is, "Absolutely!" The more considered answer is, "That will depend on your own very personal cost/value analysis."
For many people, just the dolphin interaction would be worth nearly $190. I heard one woman say, after patting a dolphin’s tail fluke, "If that's all I got to do, it would have been worth it." For quite a number of people I met at Discovery Cove, swimming with a dolphin is an almost spiritual experience and questions of cost are beside the point. Others will have a far more jaundiced approach to the subject and I suspect you know who you are.
For those who may be uncertain, let me attempt to persuade you of what a good value Discovery Cove really is. Just understand that I am a bit prejudiced because I love the place.
First, Discovery Cove is far more than swimming with the dolphins (which, I must point out, occupies less than 30 minutes of your stay there). A day at Discovery Cove is like a visit to a very posh resort on a faraway tropical island. The only reminder that you are still in Orlando is the top of the SeaWorld Sky Tower peeking over the top of the palm trees. You get to snorkel with stingrays and along a coral reef populated with more colorful fish than you're likely to see in the Caribbean itself; plus, you’re virtually guaranteed a shark sighting. You will also have a chance to visit a jungle paradise where gaudily plumaged birds perch on your shoulder and eat from your hand. A day here can be a much-needed escape from the hustle and bustle of tourist Orlando and that, surely, is worth something.
And Discovery Cove's admission price is pretty much all-inclusive. Parking is free (other parks typically charge $6 or $7). A very good lunch is included (approximately a $20 value). The food you feed the dolphins, rays, and birds is also on the house (SeaWorld charges $3 for a small tray of fish). Lockers are free, too (other parks charge several bucks for the same in and out locker access). Towels, snorkels, masks, and wet suits are also included; most water parks charge a rental fee for 'extras' like these.
Remember, too, that not every member of your family has to swim with the dolphins; in fact, some may have no interest at all. Sometimes wives will swim while husbands look on or kids will frolic while grandparents videotape the action from the shore. And since the non-swim package is about $95 less than the all-inclusive option, the savings can be considerable.
Best of all, admission to Discovery Cove includes seven consecutive days admission to SeaWorld. If you are not swimming with the dolphins, the price of admission gives you eight days of theme park fun for less than $12 a day! Even with the dolphin swim you are looking at a per day cost of less than $24. Not too shabby.
Here is another comparative exercise: If you take a cruise to the Bahamas, you can purchase a shore excursion that lets you snorkel and swim with dolphins and stingrays. The total cost for this experience through one cruise line (minus the expertise of Discovery Cove's trainers, of course) was recently $173. The cost of the cruise, needless to say, is not included.
Of course, there's no way of escaping the fact that $190 is a lot of money. Otherwise, why would I have to go through this lengthy explanation to justify the cost? Unfortunately, the price will put Discovery Cove out of reach for many families. Still, the fact that Discovery Cove is booked solid many months in advance is proof that, so far at least, there are plenty of takers.
05-17-2001, 05:19 PM
I agree with you, it is alot of money. We justified it by telling ourself, "it's a once in a lifetime opportunity for our DD". And with everything said and done, we were glad we did it.
05-19-2001, 09:21 PM
It was the best day of our trip to Orlando last August and have just booked it for this July again.:D
05-19-2001, 09:41 PM
We just got and loved Sea World. It was my son's favorite park. Since you have to be six to swim with the dolphins we are planning it for next years trip. We fed the dolphins and dolphin cove and felt so happy just doing that. I'm sure dc will be a trip you remember forever
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