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Old 09-08-2012, 08:24 PM   #31
Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina
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As I suspected, the boys were eager to tackle Dolphin Plunge right off the bat. The prospect of being able to slide right through the Commerson dolphin pool was a big draw. So off they went.



Not a huge slide girl myself, I was happy to watch these gorgeous and graceful creatures from the wonderful shaded viewing area. They are so tiny and yet so graceful.





My kind of water activitiy looks more like this:





There was a beautiful aquarium located on the lazy river, and it also took you past another dolphin viewing area. I could have stayed on that tube for hours.



But there was so much to do! We couldn't just stay in one place. Check out the huge play area they have for kids. It made me wish I had a preschooler or two in tow so I could spend some more time there without the little kids looking at me funnny :







And I still haven't shown you my ultimate favourite section of the park. The best water attraction ever. You'll need a lifejacket for this one......
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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! PTR in progress: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=51863899

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Old 09-08-2012, 08:33 PM   #32
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WOW!! I can't believe the size of that water play area! Looks like so much fun! Sorry you had a hard time at the airport, making me nervous for us this week! On Tuesday we are crossing at Buffalo and it is Sept 11. I am hoping it will all go ok at the airport too.

BTW in the M&M store picture you look more like your DS's sister than his mom!!
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Old 09-08-2012, 08:40 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by jennyjinx3 View Post
WOW!! I can't believe the size of that water play area! Looks like so much fun! Sorry you had a hard time at the airport, making me nervous for us this week! On Tuesday we are crossing at Buffalo and it is Sept 11. I am hoping it will all go ok at the airport too.

BTW in the M&M store picture you look more like your DS's sister than his mom!!
I wouldn't worry at all about going through security. I think our extra attention really was a fluke. Coming home, we had no problem at all (except for a small glass jar of marmalade that they confiscated from our carry on ... who knew that marmalade was considered a liquid? ). I don't blame the TSA one bit, because they were just doing their job (and I had nothing to hide, so nothing to worry about ). I will keep my fingers crossed for you to have an uneventful and easy border crossing, and a smooth and enjoyable flight experience!!

And let me tell ya, your comment about the photo of us at the M & M store has officially made my day.
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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! PTR in progress: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=51863899

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Old 09-08-2012, 10:06 PM   #34
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Trip Report

Sorry to hear about your ordeal at Security...must have been pretty hair rasing! I was going to make the same comment...you look like you could be your son's sister!!
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Old 09-09-2012, 12:47 AM   #35
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Oh Gina!! Your travel day was a bit of a nightmare!!
It rates right up there with my 7 year old vomiting as he was handing the TSA agent his passport and boarding pass at MCO. Good times I tell you!
I mean really.. bomb chemicals on your shoes?! Your poor boy..he must have been terrified!!
It will become his favourite travel story.. once the trauma wears off. Sheesh!!
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Old 09-09-2012, 07:41 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by KaraLyn View Post
Sorry to hear about your ordeal at Security...must have been pretty hair rasing! I was going to make the same comment...you look like you could be your son's sister!!
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Originally Posted by pigletto View Post
Oh Gina!! Your travel day was a bit of a nightmare!!
It rates right up there with my 7 year old vomiting as he was handing the TSA agent his passport and boarding pass at MCO. Good times I tell you!
I mean really.. bomb chemicals on your shoes?! Your poor boy..he must have been terrified!!
It will become his favourite travel story.. once the trauma wears off. Sheesh!!
You know, we have really had a good laugh at the whole thing......and man, did we feel safe on that airplane . I mean, if that were scrutinizing people that extensively, we had no worries of there being a terrorist onboard Jetblue Flight 661.

By the time we rolled into the resort, me with my nose still over the barf bag, rain falling outside, hubby looked at me and grinned and said "well sweetie, you know what they say...."poor start, good ending"!". And he was right.....the rest of the trip was perfect. We just got all the crap over with at one time!

And Karalyn ... . With compliments like yours, I may have to do trip reports more often .
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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! PTR in progress: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=51863899

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Old 09-09-2012, 08:36 AM   #37
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Gina, I just found your TR. I really like your writing style and I am thoroughly enjoying your report. I totally agree with what pps have said, you certainly don't look like Jake's Mom. The portraits are fabulous.....what a great idea. I read your post about airport security to my DH and he just shook his head and said 'wow'. How scary at the time. Happy that you are able to laugh at it now.
thanks for sharing this, and looking forward to the next instalment.

off to click the link to your previous report!!
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Old 09-09-2012, 08:54 AM   #38
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Quite an adventure so far! Glad you got to relax on the lazy river, you earned it

I am showing DS (11) your pics of Aquatica as it is on his to-do-list for our next summer trip! You are getting rave reviews and so is the park
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Old 09-09-2012, 09:48 AM   #39
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Yeah! another trip report!
I loved your photos from the portrait studio, what a great excuse to get family pictures done. I hope my son will be willing to hang out with us at 16 like yours is. Hopefully he will, one of the benefits of having an only child I suppose.

Can't wait to read the rest of your report and to see what other fun things you guys did!
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Old 09-09-2012, 01:26 PM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by retiredkid View Post
Gina, I just found your TR. I really like your writing style and I am thoroughly enjoying your report. I totally agree with what pps have said, you certainly don't look like Jake's Mom. The portraits are fabulous.....what a great idea. I read your post about airport security to my DH and he just shook his head and said 'wow'. How scary at the time. Happy that you are able to laugh at it now.
thanks for sharing this, and looking forward to the next instalment.

off to click the link to your previous report!!
Thanks so much for the kind comments . Glad to have you along for the ride!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by pooksma View Post
Quite an adventure so far! Glad you got to relax on the lazy river, you earned it

I am showing DS (11) your pics of Aquatica as it is on his to-do-list for our next summer trip! You are getting rave reviews and so is the park
He will LOVE IT. Its a beautiful park, and so much fun. Rides and slides and attractions for every age and preference, which is kinda nice. Stuff for thrill lovers, stuff for those looking to relax. I hope he enjoys the next batch of photos! (if there's anything I didn't post a pic of that he wants to see, let me know .... I took way more pics than I am posting in this TR).

Quote:
Originally Posted by hcoker1 View Post
Yeah! another trip report!
I loved your photos from the portrait studio, what a great excuse to get family pictures done. I hope my son will be willing to hang out with us at 16 like yours is. Hopefully he will, one of the benefits of having an only child I suppose.

Can't wait to read the rest of your report and to see what other fun things you guys did!
Aw, thanks! Jake is a good kid, very family-oriented and grounded. I am a lucky mom. Our next trip at Christmas was actually HIS idea!

Lots more to come! Hoping to post another round of updates later today if I can get Photobucket to co-operate .
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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! PTR in progress: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=51863899

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Old 09-09-2012, 01:33 PM   #41
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I forgot to mention a few things about our Aquatica day. We had purchased one annual pass (for DH) and two “weekday passes” (for DS and I) since we wanted to spend more than one day at the waterpark. We expected hot weather and wanted to be sure we had ample opportunity to cool off. The annual pass gave us free parking for both of our planned days, a discount on both our cabana rentals (we also had a cabana rented for Thursday .... more on that in a later post), discounts on food purchases within the park, and a very substantial discount on our Discovery Cove admission for August 29th. So the AP was definitely the right purchase and more than paid for itself (probably twice over or more). The unlimited admission weekday passes for DS and I were cheaper than purchasing two single day admissions, plus they are valid for the remainder of 2012. Considering the awesome quality of the slides and attractions at SeaWorld, we thought that overall the pricing was a great value for our vacation.



As you can see from the sky in my photos, the weather was pretty darn perfect on Tuesday, August 28th. Isaac had turned westward, the rain had moved out and we thought the temps were very moderate. The big digital sign at the wave pool read 27 degrees mid-day. Thank you, Mother Nature!
VERY surprisingly, the park was not busy. I think the longest slide line for the boys all day was Dolphin Plunge in mid-afternoon, and they waited about 15 minutes start to finish. I know the locals were all back-to-school by the time of our visit, but we truly expected it to be far busier than it was.



If you asked us what our overall favourite attraction at the park would be, Roa’s Rapids would get the nod from all three of us.



A no-tube “lazy river”, it has a strong current with varying water depths, islands and turns that create “speed zones” throughout the course. Upon first glance, you might wonder why everyone is wearing a life jacket.....but it doesn’t take long for you to figure it out. Even at 280 lbs and 6’ 4” tall, the current was strong enough to sweep my hubby down the river as if he was a small child (yet let me stress it did not have any kind of a dangerous feel....with the lifejackets, you could just lift your feet off the bottom and GO!).



I lost track of how much time we spent here on our two days at the park. It was a hoot. Add in the beach tunes rockin’ from the speakers along the Rapids, and it was truly our little corner of paradise. Note regarding some of the pics......most in this area were taken with a disposable Kodak underwater camera, and put on a CD by Walgreens, so the quality in some cases isn’t so great....but hopefully you will get the general idea).











Roa’s Rapids, Loggerhead Lane (the tube lazy river) and the wave pool were pretty much where you could find me at any given time. The boys joined me in each location between riding and sliding the day away. One of Jake’s fave’s was the 8-person racer that calculated each slider’s speed on the giant digital display at the bottom. Just watching them ride made me want to hurl. I am such a shmuck.





For lunch, we went to the Banana Beach Cook-Out. You have two options here....an “eat all day” pass for $17.99 or an all-you-can-eat-at-one-visit price of $14.99. Passmembers save 10% off each. Its buffet-style and included pulled pork, chicken tenders, barbecued chicken, pizza, hot dogs, watermelon, macaroni and cheese, salad, chocolate cake, garlic buns, and a variety of Coke products....it was a good selection there was lots of it. Since we had dinner plans outside of the park, we went for the one-visit option. Should we have decided to go back, with our receipt we could have upgraded for $3 per person at any time later in the day. We did get a little bit of rain during our lunch break, the only rain we saw all day. As the dark clouds blew in, Aquatica announced that they would be closing the water rides temporarily due to inclement weather (we were literally on our way to Banana Beach when the announcement came over the speakers). It rained all during our lunch, and then the sun returned and they re-opened the rides just after we returned to our cabana. We could not have timed it better.



We left the park about 4:30, totally spent after an amazing and enjoyable day. Time to slather some aloe gel on our sunburns (we had underanticipated the affects of the hotter Florida sun....ouch!) and then what shall we do this evening?
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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! PTR in progress: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=51863899

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Old 09-09-2012, 02:03 PM   #42
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After heading back to the resort just long enough to dry off, change clothes, and aloe gel the shoulders and faces, we decided to make our way up International Drive to take in a round of mini golf at Volcano Island. I had a Groupon for 18 holes for 4 people (why on earth does everything come in 2’s or 4’? Ugh!) and we thought it would be fun to do something “dry” for a while.





Unfortunately, Mother Nature had other plans. While we had noticed the clouds rolling in as afternoon turned to early evening, it didn’t look that menacing. But then the rain started, just about the time we hit the 4th hole. Big fat drops. Steve did the Olympic sprint to the rental car for our ponchos and umbrellas but frankly, its impossible to golf when you are holding an umbrella!!! (and let’s just say my golfing skills are lacking at best even on a good day, LOL!). By the time we finished, we were WET (the ponchos helped, but just not enough). Too bad too, because when we initially arrived, the sweet young lady running the course offered for us to golf the second 18 holes for free since our Groupon was for 4 people and we didn’t have 4 in our family (I thought that was very kind). Needless to say, we took a pass and opted to pursue our dinner plans instead.









The resident ducks quacked their appreciation of the wet weather. Jake declared the activity a roaring success, wet or not.



The course itself was “okay” . Not nearly as nice as others along I-Drive. I was glad we snagged a deeply discounted price via the Groupon as full cost is better spent elsewhere, such as Pirates Cove or Congo River.

Dinner that Tuesday evening was Jake’s pick, and we knew exactly where we’d be headed. Buffalo Wild Wing.



He had wanted to dine here on our January trip, and we had so many must-do’s that we simply ran out of days to do them. So we promised him a stop here in August, and we very rarely ever go back on our word.



Wing lovers that they are, the boys were in heaven. We opted for an order of 50 wings (10 each of 5 different flavours) plus a family size order of fries, one of onion rings, and a chicken alfredo pizza/flatbread kinda thing (it was the closest they had to garlic bread). Needless to say, we had a couple of boxes of wings to take back to the villa for late-night snacking later on in the week.





By the time we left the restaurant, we were full, tired, and ready to kick back and relax. We changed into our jammies, caught some weather updates on the TV (watching the progression of Isaac as it whipped the west coast of Florida and beyond), then headed to bed. We had another big day planned for tomorrow, possibly our most-anticipated day of the week......we were heading back to our Orlando favourite, Discovery Cove!
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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! PTR in progress: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=51863899

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Old 09-09-2012, 04:43 PM   #43
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Great update and pics.

Yay!! Discovery Cove coming up!!
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Old 09-09-2012, 04:52 PM   #44
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Great update and pics.

Yay!! Discovery Cove coming up!!
Thank you Cathy! Are you a DC lover too?

Let me take this opportunity to say that if anyone has any specific questions, don't hesitate to toss 'em out. I will do my best to answer them for you!
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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! PTR in progress: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=51863899

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Old 09-09-2012, 05:02 PM   #45
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Wednesday, August 29th: our long-awaited and much-anticipated return to one of our most beloved Orlando attractions, Discovery Cove.







We visited for the first time on January 1st and fell in love with the relaxed pace, lush surroundings and all-inclusiveness of this park. While our New Years Day visit had spectacular weather, we were very eager to see how a summer visit compared. We had booked for the crazy-low Passmember price of $69 pp which was the rate without the dolphin swim (as we did the dolphin experience in January) so we splurged for a private cabana. We were soooo excited!!



Arriving shortly after 8 am (after checking in at the main building and having our complimentary family photo taken by DC photographers), we were directed to enjoy breakfast before being escorted to our cabana. We find the food here really quite good, and my faves at breakfast are the French toast sticks and the friend potatoes. If I don’t gain 10 pounds before this vacation is over, it will be a small miracle. We grabbed a table and enjoyed our early morning meal in the soft summer breeze under beautifully sunny skies. There were alot of people here by that time......I am guessing many families wanted to ensure an early dolphin swim in the event that the infamous Florida thunderstorms rolled through in the afternoon.



After breakfast, we were taken to our cabana and got settled in. The Team Member from the registration desk who took us to our cabana also stopped to outfit us in our choice of a wetsuit or vest, and picked up our snorkels and masks. Our personal cabana attendant, “June from Georgia”, came by soon afterwards to say hello and determine how she could best assist us during the upcoming day. We’re really pretty low-maintenance people so we assured her that a stocked fridge would be just about all we would need. She promised to check on us often and God love her, she was true to her word. We have never been better cared for in our lives.





On the table in the cabana, our Premium Package inclusions were artfully displayed and waiting for our arrival. As part of the cabana package, we received a DC sling pack, a DC t-shirt (was a child’s medium but they changed it to an adult size for us with no hesitation), a personalized buoy, a beautiful glass DC frame for a 6 x 8 photo, a Kodak disposable underwater camera, and a card entitling us to a free 6 x 8 adventure photo of our choice. What a nice way to kick off our day! It felt like Christmas!



Our cabana bordered the Grand Reef, so we didn’t have to go far to snorkel with the sting rays and the multitude of different tropical fish that are found in this great area of the park. In the locker located inside our cabana, there was actually a checklist of the different fish (complete with names and photos) on a wristband that you could take into the reef so you look for the various fish types while snorkeling. Very cool idea.







We were very excited to test out the brand-new Freshwater Oasis, a new part of the park that was in the process of being built during our visit in January. This beautiful, lush freshwater attraction boasts a sunken lounge area (strategically located next to a snack bar offering food and beverages.......and keep in mind all meals, snacks, drinks, and alcoholic beverages are all included, and unlimited, as part of your day resort admission), waterfalls, wonderfully warm water, marmoset monkeys playing quietly on the centre island, and the stars of the attraction, five little Asian otters. These siblings (3 boys, 2 girls) are an absolute hoot to watch and capture your heart within seconds. They are SO busy.....frolicking here and there, jumping on each other, chasing each other mercilessly, and providing some pretty nifty entertainment for the daily visitors.













But the Freshwater Oasis and the Grand Reef were only part of the awesome features of Discovery Cove. Our day was just getting started. There was so much more to do!
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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! PTR in progress: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=51863899

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