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Old 10-02-2011, 04:41 PM   #16
saintstickets
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Originally Posted by portobello_rd View Post
the bouy is a celebration package that i payed extra for when i booked. youll have to pay extra to book it. we got a nice tote bag, a stuffed dolphin, a photo frame, and a tshirt. oh, also 25% discount on a picture package which was a great deal.
Since DS will be 28 during our visit and will be getting married in December, I will definately have to do this because I know it will embarrass him!
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Old 10-02-2011, 06:05 PM   #17
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Yep We did the birthday package too. My DD was sooooo surprised and her friends were absolutely amazed because the trainer dropped the buoy and the dolphin picked it up and swam over with it perfectly placed in its mouth so the Happy 13th Birthday was the first thing you saw. It was definitely worth the money. We also splurged on a cabana, and if you can work it into the budget, it is completely worth it. The cabana boy brings drinks and snacks all day long and is available to answer questions or offer any kind of assistance. One recommendation -- before your dolphin swim get a full wet suit as that water is cold. Then after your swim you can change to a swim vest as the rest of the water is OK.
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Old 10-02-2011, 06:12 PM   #18
Brownsfan317
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I was just at Discovery Cove last Monday. We got there right at 8 and there were only a few people in line ahead of us. (We happened to be on a Mears bus on the Saturday before that dropped people off at Discovery Cove-the line was halfway down the drive at 8 am.) We received a dolphin swim time of 8:50, so we had a quick breakfast and then got ready for our swim.

The swim with the dolphins was fantastic. Every trainer we interacted with was very personable and informative. We were lucky to have a dolphin named Amaya who was really enjoying herself.





The rest of our time was spent either in the reef, aviary or the wind away river.



A storm was heading through about 4:00 and you could see lightning in the distance. They had every evacuate the water. Within just a few minutes they were under a "code red" as they called it and forced everyone into the gift shop.

This was the beginning of the frustrating end to our afternoon. The employees I believe did not handle the situation well, and in turn, the guests did not. At one point, the employees of Discovery Cove told us that we were not allowed to leave. Even if we ran out of the gift shop and got to the reception area, they would not let us to our cars. Now that part did concern me because I had a Mears shuttle scheduled and it was the last one of the day. Anyways, to be told we were "trapped" did not go over well with guests and there was a lot of ignoring direction and complaining and yelling. This went on for about 45 minutes. At one point one of the employees said that lightning was within 1 mile of the park, but we did not get a lot of rain.

So it turns out that 3 weeks ago, lightning struck a cabana and some guests were injured. That is why they reacted to the lightning so aggressively. I realize that they have to have a plan in place, but I find it hard to believe that this is the first situation in the 11 years they have been open. I do not think they gave their employees the correct tools/instruction on how to handle the situation appropriately either. Hopefully, it will get better.

I will say that I would go back and I do not want to discourage anyone from going. I just wish they would work on their customer service skills a little more. There was more than one employee we encountered that day that seemed to really hate their job. However, the enjoyment that I saw on my DS' face throughout that day was worth every penny.

Also, as a side note, the price was $199 through the whole month of September. I waited until a few days before (I did not notice any days that sold out that month) because I wanted to see the weather. All of the sudden, the prices skyrocketed. They went to $339 the Saturday before and $229-$269 through most of the week we were there. It may be normal for them to spike up the price right before, but I just did not notice it at all earlier in the month of September.
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Old 10-02-2011, 06:20 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by portobello_rd View Post
the bouy is a celebration package that i payed extra for when i booked. youll have to pay extra to book it. we got a nice tote bag, a stuffed dolphin, a photo frame, and a tshirt. oh, also 25% discount on a picture package which was a great deal.
I assume I call DC directly to book the birthday package - do you happen to remember the cost?
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Old 10-02-2011, 06:30 PM   #20
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The birthday package was an additional 129 and for another 100 you can get the cabana as well. I don't remember how many people you are going to have but the cabana provides an easy way to keep track of everyone, a private locker to keep your stuff, a refrigerator, snacks all day (which I know are free but this way you don't have to walk anywhere to get them), and in our case a perfect view of the dolphin cover where we could watch other people swim with the dolphins and watch the dolphins playing between swims. You can book it on line or call and talk to a live person -- for this I preferred a live person.
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Old 10-03-2011, 08:22 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by portobello_rd View Post
we were just at Discovery Cove on 9/23.
it is AN ALL DAY THING
we checked in at 745 and were given a 1030 dolphin time.
we ate breakfast, got our gear, got our locker.
then we swam at the Grand Reef with the fish and sting rays until 1000.
swam with dolphins, then ate lunch.
then did the aviary, lazy river.
then my husband and i got margaritas and layed under a umbrella. ate soft pretzels.
everything (food, drinks) is included!!!!
i shopped, he did the grand reef some more, and we left at 4. we could have stayed later but we went to MNSSHP that night and needed a nap before that!
but its great. dont rush it!
Margaritas were included too? I thought it was just beer and wine??
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Old 10-25-2011, 12:52 PM   #22
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My husband and I will be going on May 22. We are taking our 3 kids (13,12,9) and my mom on a Disney Cruise and then going to Sea World and Discovery Cove. My dream is to swim with dolphins. I absolutely can not wait to spend the day there. We will get there as early as possible and stay as late as possible.
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Old 10-26-2011, 09:58 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brownsfan317 View Post
A storm was heading through about 4:00 and you could see lightning in the distance. They had every evacuate the water. Within just a few minutes they were under a "code red" as they called it and forced everyone into the gift shop.

This was the beginning of the frustrating end to our afternoon. The employees I believe did not handle the situation well, and in turn, the guests did not. At one point, the employees of Discovery Cove told us that we were not allowed to leave. Even if we ran out of the gift shop and got to the reception area, they would not let us to our cars. Now that part did concern me because I had a Mears shuttle scheduled and it was the last one of the day. Anyways, to be told we were "trapped" did not go over well with guests and there was a lot of ignoring direction and complaining and yelling. This went on for about 45 minutes. At one point one of the employees said that lightning was within 1 mile of the park, but we did not get a lot of rain.

So it turns out that 3 weeks ago, lightning struck a cabana and some guests were injured. That is why they reacted to the lightning so aggressively. I realize that they have to have a plan in place, but I find it hard to believe that this is the first situation in the 11 years they have been open. I do not think they gave their employees the correct tools/instruction on how to handle the situation appropriately either. Hopefully, it will get better.
Not only have many employees and guests been zapped or injured from lightning over the years but a water safety employee died after being struck at Busch Gardens' water park a few months ago. The old system of suggesting people stay under cover was clearly not working so now it is treated seriously (aggressively) as annoying as it might seem. The new plan is not only from the parks but from the State of Florida who determined after recent events (and media pressure) it was not safe.

Florida has more lightning strikes than almost any place on the planet, and most people are struck by making the choice to run from one location to the next (mall to the car, or car to the house...) The only suggestion I can make to anyone who does not want to experience this at DC is to head out as soon as the waterways evacuate (code silver or white) because within five minutes they will probably call "red."
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