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-   -   Discovery Cove Trip Report!!! (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3021170)

janinca 11-13-2012 09:34 PM

Discovery Cove Trip Report!!!
 
Our big day was creeping closer. The day we had been anticipating for months. What are the chances that I would book it on the coldest day of our two week vacation, well it turns out I did. We were shivering just thinking about it. I called a few days ahead and managed to change our day to the following day, Wednesday October 31. It was definitely warmer that day but still not overly warm. I am used to celcius but I believe it was around 55 degrees when we got there in the morning and only hit somewhere in the low 70's by the early afternoon.

We got there at 7:45 and there were a few people ahead of us. We got signed in quickly and got our complimentary photo taken. We got the first dolphin swim of the day at 9:20. We went to get our wet suits and we asked for full length ones. They were not fun to get into and they were even worse to get out of but at least I didn't have to deal with that at the moment. My husband and I went to pick up prescription masks which was great.

http://i1324.photobucket.com/albums/...2/P1000058.jpg

I probably would have been ok without it but he would have had a lot more trouble. The girls tried to eat breakfast while the boys were still dealing with wet suit issues. I was to nervous and excited to even enjoy my breakfast. We went for our pre swim video and then went to the swim area. Our dolphin was Lester and apparently he is in his early forties.

There were no surprises for me. I had read so many trip reports and reviews over the past few months that I felt like I had actually done this before. :)
My husband had decided not to do the swim and he was very delighted when they called him in to get in the family picture.
http://i1324.photobucket.com/albums/...12_00_3793.jpg

janinca 11-13-2012 09:41 PM

We all got our dolphin tows and hugs and kisses and then were taken to look at the pictures. Of course we couldn't resist. We bought the Adventure package at $159. We didn't feel any pressure at all. They didn't seem to really care whether we bought it or not but then again we did decide very quickly.

http://i1324.photobucket.com/albums/..._00_3771-1.jpg

http://i1324.photobucket.com/albums/...12_00_3775.jpg

We were advised to go straight to the Grand Reef because of being used to the colder water so that is where we headed. I got in and was thinking this is kind of neat and then when I really put my head under and saw all the fish and the sting rays I was blown away. It was such an amazing experience. My only regret is that there was so much to get used to. The wet suits, the cold water, the salt water, the snorkel and mask, my new camera, actually putting a camera in the water!!! that I probably didn't take as many pictures as I wish I had but I am picture greedy and want to have every second documented.
http://i1324.photobucket.com/albums/...2/P1000204.jpg

janinca 11-13-2012 09:48 PM

Only because of being cold and feeling drawn to look for warmer water did we reluctantly leave the Grand Reef.

http://i1324.photobucket.com/albums/...2/P1000115.jpg

We went to the Freshwater Oasis next. For some reason we never saw the marmosets or the otters when we were there. I thought we would go back later and look again so I didn't let it bother me but we never actually did go back there. We had fun in there and really enjoyed the warmer water.

http://i1324.photobucket.com/albums/...2/P1000139.jpg

Next we headed for Windaway River. One of the nice things that happened there is that we ran into a park photographer who offered to take pictures of us posing around an underwater cannon. I knew (from reading here) that any pictures would be added to our cd so we happily got our pictures taken. I had a horrible time staying under water though. I could not get a grip on the cannon no matter how hard I tried so I kept floating to the surface.


http://i1324.photobucket.com/albums/...12_00_1625.jpg

janinca 11-13-2012 09:52 PM

Now it was time for lunch. Lunch was something we were all looking forward to as it was fun not having to worry about paying for it. At this point I with a lot of effort and help got the top half of my wet suit peeled off and pulled a sweatshirt over my bathing suit to try and stay warm. When we were done lunch we went to the aviary which we really enjoyed. We saw a lot of birds and had fun taking pictures and even had a park photographer take another family shot of us.

http://i1324.photobucket.com/albums/...rippededge.jpg

http://i1324.photobucket.com/albums/...2/IMG_9368.jpg

janinca 11-13-2012 09:56 PM

After all that it was really hard for me to get back in the water although I really wanted to. I loved the Grand Reef so much I had to go back. I had also wanted to go in the rest of the park again as well but we ran out of time and cold tolerance. So my daugter and I went in the Grand Reed again while the rest went to the Freshwater Oasis. I was determined to get a picture of my daughter with one of the huge sting rays but found it very difficult to do. Apparently this particular sting ray is named Bianca.

http://i1324.photobucket.com/albums/...2/P1000230.jpg

One last picture of me petting a passing sting ray and we were out.

http://i1324.photobucket.com/albums/...2/P1000201.jpg

janinca 11-13-2012 10:04 PM

All that was left for us to do was to somehow get out of our wet suits, have a shower and collect our pictures. By the time we were done we had 92 pictures on our cd which made the price seem a little more bearable.

By the time our trip was done we all had definite opinions on Discovery Cove. It was the best day of our whole vacation and we want to go back!!

Before I went my thoughts were that I was happy to do the dolphin swim but wouldn't be heart broken to miss it to help make the trip a little more affordable. I did sign up for it as my youngest son is under 12 so needed an adult with him. I am glad I did it. It was a great experience but I would have loved the day without it. I asked my kids afterwards, their thoughts on it and they all say the same thing. They are glad they did it but the dolphin swim and it was exciting but was not necessarily the number one highlight of Discovery Cove. We all want to come back and will be perfectly happy to leave out the dolphin swim the second time. Now I want to do Seaventure!!!! We all did really enjoy the swim but did not feel it is something we would need to do a second time to enjoy Discovery Cove. All I can say now is, Is it time to go back yet?

brenda1966 11-13-2012 11:45 PM

Great pictures! Sorry it was so cold for you. So Bianca must be that giant ray that I swore was a statue. I asked and they told me there were no statues, just live creatures. She's HUGE!

Interesting that you'd like to go back and skip the dolphins. I don't think my daughter would go for that at all.

Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina 11-14-2012 06:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by janinca (Post 46703136)
All that was left for us to do was to somehow get out of our wet suits, have a shower and collect our pictures. By the time we were done we had 92 pictures on our cd which made the price seem a little more bearable.

By the time our trip was done we all had definite opinions on Discovery Cove. It was the best day of our whole vacation and we want to go back!!

Before I went my thoughts were that I was happy to do the dolphin swim but wouldn't be heart broken to miss it to help make the trip a little more affordable. I did sign up for it as my youngest son is under 12 so needed an adult with him. I am glad I did it. It was a great experience but I would have loved the day without it. I asked my kids afterwards, their thoughts on it and they all say the same thing. They are glad they did it but the dolphin swim and it was exciting but was not necessarily the number one highlight of Discovery Cove. We all want to come back and will be perfectly happy to leave out the dolphin swim the second time. Now I want to do Seaventure!!!! We all did really enjoy the swim but did not feel it is something we would need to do a second time to enjoy Discovery Cove. All I can say now is, Is it time to go back yet?

Great review and photos! You have a beautiful family :goodvibes .

You got excellent value from your CD purchase with almost 100 photos. One of the advantages of having a larger family!! (I think we only had about 40 pictures on our CD with our little group of 3).

I have to agree with you about the dolphin swim. It was awesome to have that experience on the first trip. Our second visit, we didn't do the dolphin swim (we used the savings to reserve a premium package cabana instead.....a God-send in the searing August sun) and had equally as fabulous of a time. Our favourite attractions were the lazy river and Freshwater Oasis, and was so nice to eat and relax and float away the entire day. I always tell people.......do the dolphin swim at least once, but after that? Not a must-do for us. Our day resort visit in August was only $69 pp with our passmember discount. You cannot beat that value!

Are you planning a return trip to Orlando yet?

janinca 11-14-2012 12:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina (Post 46704424)
Great review and photos! You have a beautiful family :goodvibes .

You got excellent value from your CD purchase with almost 100 photos. One of the advantages of having a larger family!! (I think we only had about 40 pictures on our CD with our little group of 3).

I have to agree with you about the dolphin swim. It was awesome to have that experience on the first trip. Our second visit, we didn't do the dolphin swim (we used the savings to reserve a premium package cabana instead.....a God-send in the searing August sun) and had equally as fabulous of a time. Our favourite attractions were the lazy river and Freshwater Oasis, and was so nice to eat and relax and float away the entire day. I always tell people.......do the dolphin swim at least once, but after that? Not a must-do for us. Our day resort visit in August was only $69 pp with our passmember discount. You cannot beat that value!

Are you planning a return trip to Orlando yet?

Thank you! :)

That is a really great deal you got. Are you going back to Discovery Cove in December?

I am not officially planning a return trip but I am in my mind for sure. We have friends who bought a house in Orlando which is where we stayed and I am sure they will let us come back. I am actually hoping for next September. My husband will be driving down with the friend in April for a conference but the rest of us will not be going at that time.

Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina 11-14-2012 03:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by janinca (Post 46706905)
Are you going back to Discovery Cove in December?

It's not in the plans so far, but I am not above adding it in at the last minute :rotfl:.

We currently have the following on the agenda: SeaWorld (two full days), Aquatica (with a cabana rental), an airboat ride at Wild Willy's, Gatorland, the Toronto Raptors/Orlando Magic game on December 29th, ICE! at Gaylord Palms (and gingerbread cookie decorating ), Downtown Disney, and lots of shopping (we LOVE the outlet malls). We also have some special dining experiences booked including Santa's Fireside Feast and Dine with Shamu (both at SeaWorld), T-Rex in DTD (a first for us!), breakfast at O'hanas (a family favourite), and the Shrek Feast at Gaylorld Palms. And then there's mini golf......we usually manage to mini golf at at least 4 different courses on each trip (more if my DS can talk us into it :lmao:).

I wish we could have booked 10 full days in Orlando as opposed to 7, because then we'd have enough time for another DC day for sure.

I hope your plans for a return trip in 2013 come together! Nice to have access to a house while you are there.....sure keeps the accommodation costs down!

fireworks fan 11-14-2012 05:19 PM

What a great report! Thanks for sharing, especially all the pictures. I am hoping that we will visit DC next June-I'm sure it will be plenty warm then:rotfl2:

trouttigger 11-15-2012 09:26 AM

Thanks for sharing!
 
How did you get prescription mask?

What camera did you personally use there? Your pics are great! (I know some are from the CD.)

I'm about to pull the trigger and purchase tomorrow! (After my credit card statement cuts off for today.)

Thanks, Janet

Belle & Ariel 11-15-2012 10:26 AM

I loved your trip report and the other one on here this week.
We are hoping to go next weekend if the weather is warm enough.
Do you remember if breakfast and lunch had certain hours? We will not do the dolphin swim and would like to arrive about 10. Would there be a problem w/that if we made reservation day or 2 before?
I would be interested in your camera too. I just ordered one online yesterday for that day and December cruise.
So to sum it up, your TR cost me big bucks;)!

janinca 11-15-2012 08:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by trouttigger (Post 46713404)
How did you get prescription mask?

What camera did you personally use there? Your pics are great! (I know some are from the CD.)

I'm about to pull the trigger and purchase tomorrow! (After my credit card statement cuts off for today.)

Thanks, Janet

Thanks. :) My pics I posted are a pretty even split of different cameras. Obviously the dolphin ones are from the cd as well the one of my family with the cannon underwater. The pictures in the Aviary are all taken with my every day camera which is a canon G12 and pretty much the rest are taken with my brand new, delivered to me while on my vacation Panasonic Lumix
Ts4. I was very pleased with it. I spent a lot of time reviewing underwater cameras and ultimately decided that was the best one for my money. I was quite pleased with even the out of water shots. I has so much fun with that cameral although was constantly nervous it was going to leak. :)

janinca 11-15-2012 08:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Belle & Ariel (Post 46713913)
I loved your trip report and the other one on here this week.
We are hoping to go next weekend if the weather is warm enough.
Do you remember if breakfast and lunch had certain hours? We will not do the dolphin swim and would like to arrive about 10. Would there be a problem w/that if we made reservation day or 2 before?
I would be interested in your camera too. I just ordered one online yesterday for that day and December cruise.
So to sum it up, your TR cost me big bucks;)!

Thank you! There was definitely specific hours for breakfast and lunch. I am pretty sure breakfast closed at 10:30 and lunch was from 11:30 to 1 or something like that. I am not sure about the reservations. We booked a month in advance but were able to change our date just a few days before so it could be ok. LOL about costing you big bucks. I ended up buying the camera and the cd which I was not originally planning to do. The essential extras. :)


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