Discovery Cove & Sea World or more days at WDW?

Discussion in 'Sea World / Discovery Cove' started by Cirlonde, Jul 10, 2017.

  1. Cirlonde

    Cirlonde Mouseketeer

    Apr 3, 2014
    So...first world problem here but I've got a dilemma and while I know this is a totally subjective decision, I'd love to have some opinions! My husband and I are planning a trip in May 2018 and we're trying to decide whether we want to do a day each at Discovery Cove and Sea World (neither of which we've never visited) or if we should instead increase our WDW days from 4 to 6.

    I think my primary hesitation about DC/SW is the "unknown" factor. I know just exactly how much we love going to WDW and I have no doubt that we'd love an extra 2 days and would find a lot of value in that expense. With DC/SW, I only know as much as I've read/watched. I did go to Sea World in San Antonio, TX as a child but that's been 20 years ago and that park is much more of a water theme park than the SW in Orlando.

    My main concern is would we get roughly an equal amount of enjoyment/value out of DC/SW for ~$550 that we would out of adding two days to WDW for ~$130. Looking at the prices, it makes it feel like a no-brainer, but that $550 includes the dolphin experience at DC as well as food for the day. Plus, it's hard to assign value to experiencing something new versus just repeating parks you've visited several times before.

    Thanks in advance!!

    p.s. One other minor factor I'm also juggling is transportation. We're doing a short cruise at the end of this trip and the need for a way to get to DC/SW pushed us to decide to rent a car for the whole week. Since we were going to need transportation to DC/SW and we'd like more independence on when we get to Port Canaveral plus the ability to stop somewhere and buy a few groceries...all weighed together, it made a rental car seem like an okay splurge. However, if we didn't do DC/SW, I think we would also not rent a car and would use Disney transportation the whole time. I think probably the costs here will come out a bit of a wash, but it generally just throws another kink in my plans that I had thought were rock solid. :)
  2. kathy884

    kathy884 DIS Veteran

    Sep 26, 2009
    I can't go to Orlando without going to SeaWorld, my favorite park. This park is just sooo beautiful, shows are wonderful, animal exhibits are great, and they have some great coasters, etc. if you like thrill rides. It's the favorite park of my whole family and my parents. It was my son's favorite park when he was three, and he's 21 and it is still his favorite park. And Discovery Cove is like your Caribbean beach day in the middle of Central Florida. I vote for these. But if you have budgetary constraints or don't want to spend the extra money (it's a lot), certainly more days at Disney is way more economical and still a blast. // I like to mix the two as variety makes for a more fulfilling trip for me. I love Disney, but a day or two is perfect for me. // This is not the per day economical option, but I actually prefer a shorter trip mixing things up vs. a longer trip at just one place that would cost the same. That's just me and my family (what we enjoy most).

    Everyone starts giving discounts for more days than I want to do. lol

    These days too with Uber and Lyft if you don't rent a car, it's still pretty easy to get around. I always rent a car, but I have relatives in the area to visit too, so it's so much more convenient for me to meet them for dinner, pick them up, etc. My son who is 21 is going down with a 22 year old friend in September. They are going to do uber and lyft for everything as major rental car companies won't rent to you when you are under 25.

    I was surprised too (pricey, but not as high as I thought to use uber for longer trips). For the smaller economical uber car to take my cousin back home to Tampa (a one hour and 10 minute drive so similar in distance to Port Canaveral) it was $80 plus tip (I picked him up from there and paid to have him get a ride back.

    If you do rent a car and it's a one way rental be sure to look into drop off fees. Sometimes these can be really high. Sometimes these are low or nonexistent

    Realize that you are going to have a fun whimsical time in Orlando and there really is no right or wrong answer. Enjoy and if you don't get everything in you'd like to do, it's a great excuse to come back.
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2017
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  4. PrincessP

    PrincessP DIS Veteran

    Nov 6, 2008
    I haven't priced it so I can't tell if your 550 takes into account that you receive 14 days access to Sea World and Aquatica with the price of admission to DC? And as you said, breakfast and dinner... It helps to level the playing field as far as theme park ticket prices.

    Like you said, it is subjective, but I will give my 2 cents. :-)

    We tried DC in 2014, and I was hoping to go back (which we did this summer)! I LOVE WDW....all things Disney, but DC is my favorite day of the trip when we add it to vacation. We did the dolphin swim the first trip, but did not do it this summer. To offset the cost, we stayed offsite both vacations when we did DC. We love staying at the Polynesian, but we have not regretted either offsite stay (one was hotel, most recent was townhouse).

    We drive so we always have our own car. We use it when going to Disney parks even when staying on property. PP makes a good suggestion with uber and lyft now being options.

    In 2014, we went to SW briefly to catch a few shows (which we thoroughly enjoyed) and see a few animal exhibits since it was "free" with our DC day. It was rainy so rides were pretty much all shut down. We enjoyed it but were only there a couple of hours so didn't really experience it fully.

    This trip we skipped SW shows (mainly b/c we have a teen and preteen who want to maximize ride time) and enjoyed exhibits and the coasters. My kids, who still list MK as their favorite park, now found their favorite ride is Mako at SW.....riding it 14 times with no wait. And this time I took time to enjoy the atmosphere of the park. I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed it. It was not as crowded as WDW....It is a very pretty park, with opportunities for learning, strolling, and thrill rides. I was not excited to go....felt like I needed a down day to do laundry and all the other mom stuff....but ended up thoroughly enjoying the park. It is now a new "must do" on our Orlando vacations.

    So having been to all the parks and loving Disney the most overall, I would still prefer 4 days at WDW and 1 at DC/ 1 at SW v. 6 days a WDW.
    kathy884 and Cirlonde like this.
  5. Cirlonde

    Cirlonde Mouseketeer

    Apr 3, 2014
    Thank you both for your answers! This is exactly what I was looking for. :) I think we are going to do Saturday/Sunday at SW/DC and Mon-Thurs at the WDW parks. I'm pretty sure I'm just over-saturated with "WDW is awesome" posts and pictures and articles, etc. Because that's what I follow. So I need to start adding in some DC/SW marketing to get hyped for those parks.

    Also, my $550 estimate includes the dolphin swim for two people. I should have mentioned that. As the price would definitely go down without that. And I also accounted for the free SW days, although we will only spend one day there. While money is always in the back of my mind, it's not really the driving force behind our two options this time around. We started budgeting/saving for this trip back in October, so the money is already set aside. Pretty sure I'm just reluctant to try something new and risk not enjoying it as much as the "known" parks. But WDW was unknown at one point too! Hearing your good reviews helps push me out of my "comfort zone". ;)
    kathy884 likes this.
  6. squirrel

    squirrel DIS Veteran<font color=deeppink>

    Aug 19, 1999
    I love SW. Great park with something for everyone. More relaxed pace than Disney or even Universal.
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  7. Penguinempress

    Penguinempress Mouseketeer

    May 11, 2015
    On my 2016 trip, my husband and I did a day at Discovery Cove and 1 at Sea World (plus 2 Disney days). We had never been to DC or SW but loved them both. Discovery Cove was amazing and such a nice change of pace from the other parks - it felt like you were at an all-inclusive resort down south instead of in the middle of Orlando. The price initially scared me a bit but after going, I feel like it was totally worth it. We also really enjoyed Sea World, especially because it wasn't as crowded as Disney. There are a lot of shows and the lines for all the rides were really short so it felt like a much more relaxed day. I also find that different can be good - it's exciting to explore a new park and see/do things you haven't done before.
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