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Old 04-29-2013, 07:09 PM   #1
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Is Discovery Cove Worth "It"?

I know this is certainly a repeat of other threads, but with the amount of turnover on these boards, I thought I'd make a thread more unique to my situation - apologies.

Basically, my question is stated in the thread title. I've read several reviews and answers to this same question, but I am coming from a slightly different perspective. I'm on an 'extended' vacation with my partner: we're both living in Orlando and working at Disney/Universal for the spring. I can enjoy Disney, Universal, and SeaWorld for free; she can enjoy Disney for free and Universal with an annual pass. We've thought about getting her an annual pass for SeaWorld, but since we leave August it may not be justified (and the 14 day after access to SeaWorld/Aquatica may be a good substitute). Now, we've both heard about Discovery Cove, and she's a big dolphin lover, especially of interaction with them. We've both always wanted to go, but now I'm really looking into it. She originally wanted to be a dolphin trainer; I am a budding marine scientist who's had experience snorkeling, SCUBA, etc. - with plenty of interaction with the marine world (though expertise in a very different realm from dolphin interaction).

Now that you know a bit of our situation, is Discover Cove still worth it? We're not on 'vacation' in the strict sense, so I don't know if the calm, laziness that DC offers as a break from the chaos of 4 days at Disney, etc. applies to us. But perhaps a good break from every day life? And as someone who's explored real reefs and spent 100+ hours observing bottlenose dolphins, are the dolphin interaction and reef snorkeling unique enough to offer something to me? Is the size of the reef large enough to make you feel that you're actually in the tropics, or is it just like swimming in a pool with fish?

I know that these questions can really only be answered by going to the parks, but I was wondering if anyone had any applicable input. Thanks!
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Old 04-29-2013, 09:50 PM   #2
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Thumbs down

Well, at the end of the day, only you can decide if you want to spend that amount of money. I would say, better than a pool, but somewhat like it. I thought the reef and stingray pool was pretty clear until later in the day. Since the fish are captive, you see a lot more than if diving in the open ocean. The dolphin interaction is nice in that you get to touch and feed and take a ride hanging onto the dolphin. I am sure you can do that outside the US, but otherwise, most of the US will not let you ride or touch wild dolphins.

It is a nice day. The park is beautiful and all the food and beer and wine are included in the price. With the 2 extra parks included, it lets you explore more. For an extra 20 dollars you could also add Busch Gardens Tampa. If you have a car and are interested in that park, adding it to your DC ticket is a cheap way to enjoy that park too.

Sounds like you are going to have a great time working and temporarily living in Orlando. I wish you and your partner the best of luck this summer.

And I cannot figure out why that thumb down is at the top of my post. I don't know how to remove it.
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Old 04-29-2013, 10:29 PM   #3
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I'm a big advocate of making the most of opportunities. So with that said, I would schedule in a day at DC for yourself and your partner (as well as a day at SW and Aquatica) so you can say you've been there and experienced them all. When you're in Orlando anyway and are able to absorb all the Disney and Universal parks have to offer during your stay, it would be a shame to miss out on enjoying the SW family of parks while you are here.

Will DC live up to all the hype for you? Its hard to say. We loved it, and hundreds and hundreds on TripAdvisor rave about it too. You certainly have more marine experience than I do, so maybe you won't be quite as jaw-droppingly amazed as I was, but even so, I think someone would be hard pressed not to have a great day nonetheless. Its relaxing, its all-inclusive, and its beautiful.
Gina and her two guys ...conquering awesome Orlando, one offsite attraction at a time!

Jan. 2009....onsite at POR: all 4 Disney Parks
Jan. 2012....offsite on I-Drive: Universal Studios, IOA, SeaWorld, & Discovery Cove
Aug. 2012...Westgate Lakes Resort & Spa: Aquatica, Discovery Cove, and more
Dec. 2012...onsite at SW! Christmas week at SeaWorld, Aquatica, Gatorland, airboats, & holiday fun
**Christmas 2012 Trip Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3041415
Aug. 2013....Sheraton Vistana Resort: Blizzard Beach, Typhoon Lagoon, Cocoa Beach & more! **August 2013 Trip Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3167818

Aug. 2014.....SVR, SW, DC, AQ, TL, Daytona & MORE! **August 2014 Trip Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=51863899

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Old 04-30-2013, 05:04 PM   #4
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If she's a big dolphin lover, and you're already in Orlando, I would consider it worth it. And when you add in the Sea World and Aquatica passes, there is another opportunity. You say you're considering getting annual passes to Sea World. I don't know how much they cost, but honestly, 2 days at SW and you can see and do just about everything there.

My family loves Discovery Cove, but we're in Orlando on vacation.
Me, DH, and DS (9)
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