Tell me about Discovery Cove--have you gone???
We are trying to decide wether to surprise my now 8 yr. old with
a once in a lifetime swim with her all time favorites--
We will be Orlando on her birthday and thought this would be
I am imaging it to be like being in Hawaii??
thanks in advance:)
The absoluete best.
We went in August 2001 and it was the highlight of our tenth anniversary trip.
I'm going to dredge up my trip reports and post those for you...
Here are the trip reports from August 2001, there are two parts to it.
This is part one
Myself, Cindy (30)
DH Jeff (38)
August 26th Discovery Cove
After a 630 am Mickey Mouse phonecall, we were up and at 'em for DC today...
We drove into the lot the night before so we knew where to park and all that. We just couldnt wait for 830.
First stopped off at Guest Services to talk about a king room. They told us to pack up our stuff and it would be moved that day.... to our king room that afternoon while we were gone.
After a quick breakfast in the food court after packing our stuff up... we were on our way... to DC!
We got there about 835, quick drive, with the top down of course... There was a slight line at the checkin hut. There was a DC employee with a two toed sloth outside, and we had fun petting it and talking to the employee. Ok, now checkin time.
First it is similiar to like a hotel with little workstations and all. WE got our badges, and sunscreen. (they do little individualper family bottles now instead of free flowing pumps in the locker rooms). We got the first available swim in the am at 1005 at the Sand Dollar Cabana. So we had a little over an hour to kill.
First we got our little tour, and our free picture taken, then we were encouraged to get our gearlocker. I am glad we got a 1000 swim because this does take some time. We got the shorts wetsuit, but then decided to return it.. It was getting warm.. we opted for the vests...Then locker rooms for getting ready. The nicest bathrooms i have even seen in my entire life... and then the lockers to put everything. We were given on small locker for the two of us.. the attendent said it would be enough room and sure enough it was... Sunscreen on.. and we were ready to explore for about 35 minutes
The first stop was to claim a chair, which we did right in front of the center dolphin lagoon. and then we were trying to get to the aviary.. but we got sidetracked at the juvenille stingray lagoon. They were getting fed by the trainers, and were very funactive. They swam right around us and flapped their sides at us, thinking we were feeding them! Wonderful clear water with beautuful yellowblack fish as well.
Dolphin swim time.. off to the cabana. After a short, and very cool videosafety presentation we were going to our swim. The trainer who did the video also was our swim trainer, Christine I think. We were in a group of 8 with DASH. First we started in shallow water as he swam by, we all did kisses. Dash loved my DH, he did an extra splash for him, and made some extra noises! He did swim by again, and we got to touch him again and become familiar. Then 2 by 2 we went into the deep water. We did all sorts of things. DASH still loved DH! He kept on focusing on him, which was fine. WE got a tow ride back to shore holding onto the right flipper. (which was slower than I had imagined) at the end all 8 of us got into a circle and yelled shark... dash just swam really fast around all of us, everythime stopping and smiling at DH. The time went by slowly, and it was wonderful!
Picture time.. my pictures didnt turn out so well, so we would uo buying only on 5 x7 with both of us in it with DASH. The salespeople were no pressure, and it was a relaxing experience
Now here is Part two...
Myself (cindy) 30
DH (Jeff) 38
Date August 26th, Discovery Cove Part two...
After the purchase of pictures, we were able to pick them up, we got the one with Dash and our free picture then. I also got my free camera. The camera was part of a coupon which was in the Philadelphia Inquirer two months back in conjunction with a article on Discovery Cove. The camera was a small 15 exposure Fuji one time use, and hey it was still nice. Put them back in the locker and set off to explore.
We went back to the juvenille stingrays with the snorkel and masks.. It was more crowded then, before it was just us and the the trainer, now maybe 15 people were in there. From then a few quick steps to the aviary...WOW! It was very lush and tropical. We got two cups of Mealworms... and my DH was a bird magnet as well. They were perching on his shoulder, and all. The birds are wonderful, and there was also a small deer like creature as well. It was very peaceful, and fun to walk around and explore.
Then we went off to the coral reef. I thought it would be a gradual deeper water, nope! It comes up quick, but the vest makes you float really nice. I've never been snorkeling before, so it was a great first experience swimming hand in hand with Jeff. The colors of the coral and the fish were astounding. There were larger rays on the bottom of the pool as well. We swam around the grotto area, and it was wonderful. There werent that many crowds, and actually snorkeling was easier than I thought.
Then we decided to get my underwater camera and do some more pictures in the coral reef and the juvenille stingray lagoon. Back to the avairy again for some pictures, and then from there decided to snorkel off the edge with the small current.
Now that was wonderful, they had a "theme" to it, like a sunken treasure. first some "clay" pots, and some treasure type containers, with some crystal/quartz like items inside., then there was a bas relief type thing with a dinosaur skeleton... it was pretty neat. Then we came along a glass wall on the left which was the coral reef on the other side... we exited after about 3/4 way, and decided to head for lunch.
Laguna grill...wow! there were many entrees to choose from ranging from kid fare hot dog (nice Polish sausage type things) to Pineapple salmon, chicken stir fry, chicken pesto, and wonderful salads. My DH decided on the fajitas, he requested all beef, and it was given to him gladly. I got the chicken pesto, which was fabulous. I was leaning towards the salmon, but I dont like fries that much.. they had some kind of hushpuppy/fries type things with the pineapple salmon. We also got (included) a small garden salad, the entree, and drink, desert... We both chose carrot, mango cake for desert... amazing! And the drink sizes were huge!
WE rested for a bit watching other swims on on chairs on the beach. The bar had some live music playing...so we rested a bit listening to someone singing Don McLean, Kenny Rogers, Dave Matthews, Otis Redding songs.....
Then back to finish up the lazy river, there is a neat beginning where you go through a cave, you see stalagtite/stalamite formations which was neat, and then on through the circuit... its hard snorkeling on full stomach!
We decided to walk around some and back to the juvenille ray lagoon (Can you tell DH really liked it?), and then back to the avairy again... (this was a hit on DH's scale as well). We wound up chatting with the trainers for a while. I tried doing the coral reef by myself but the water was getting colder, so I stopped.
By then the crowd was thinning out, its about 4 pm or so. WE do one more look around, take more pictures, get changed. There were some crowds in the locker room, but showers were still available. The had shampoo, body wash, and conditioner, but my conditioner was empty... put all stuff in bags, and started to return vests, and snorkel gear, no real lines.
WE take even more pictures, a cast member takes a wonderful shot of both of us, and we exit through the wonderful lobby again. Now its about 5 pm, and we are beat.... we say goodbye to Discovery Cove with the convertible top down!
Thank you so much for the in-depth report. We're going in April and I am so excited. I just hope we get a nice warm day to do it.
It's worth every penny of the cost. That's the highest praise I can give.
We were there in mid-september and it was chilly and raining but we still had an incredible time. Never even noticed the inclement weather. Most of the day your head is underwater in the snorkling lagoon anyway.
The best part of the day was seeing the smile on my girlfriend's face the first time the dolphin swam up to her. In my opinion, it was well worth the price.
What day in April are you doing DC??
thanks for all your input, the trip report was terrific
we booked tonight for june 3rd!!
hey is the water cold??
Thanks so much for the report! This sounds incredible. I have never been that close to a dolphin. We are definitely going to try to do this on our next trip!:)
Can't wait to go now . My husband saw something about it on the travel channel and decided to treat us when we go in August. We have 3 boys,13,11,and 7. I'm sure they will love it! Thanks for the info!
Thanks for the great report.:D Going on July 1st. Sounds wonderful!
Just got home from Orlando tonight ... did our Discovery Cove day on Tuesday 04/16 ... DD and I swam with the Dolphins, DH went for the non-dolphin package. Must say, it was the #1 highlight of the trip!! I would DEFINITELY recommend it as an activity to do at least once (for the $200 price tag it's hard to recommend making it an annual activity).
As cheap as I am, I didn't even mind shelling out the money for the pictures they were selling (but I wouldn't pay the $59.95 for the video, I'm still cheap in that regard).
Glad you had a great time:)We are taking one of those disposable water cameras.Question: Did you or anyone else use video cameras,digital cameras.I know they are not allowed in the Dolphin Lagoon but on the beach. Just wondering if we should leave them in the room or(going to sound really dumb now) are the lockers locked?Thanks Mike
The lockers are locked.
Yes, the lockers are locked and free. You pick the locker you want to use (and they were generously sized), and you keep the key with you all day (you have unlimited in & out privileges). We didn't take the digital camera or camcorder, because we didn't think the zoom on either was going to do us any good. In hindsight, the camcorder may have been useful since we opted to not buy the DC video for $60.
We did take a Canon EOS SLR camera with a 200M zoom lens. It stayed in the locker until just before our dolphin swim was scheduled to start.
My DH had opted out of the dolphin swim package, so he was the designated camera man. He found a good location near the dolphin pool. Only problem is when we finally go into the water, our group (out of 4 groups) was furthest from where he'd positioned and had our backs to him most of the time. We don't have the pix back yet, but he doesn't think he got anything really good.
As for waterproof one time use cameras. You can take those & use them in the sting ray pool, river, and tropical fish pool. You can NOT take ANYTHING (including a camera) into the dolphin pool. They claim if you accidentally dropped a disposable camera a dolphin could swallow it. They even make you take off water moccasins, ALL jewelry, etc. before getting into the water.
So don't get your hopes up that you can snap some close ups of the dolphins while you're out there ... you can't. Best you might be able to do is have someone on the beach taking pix with a zoom, and then pray they come out.
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