Tell me about Discovery Cove--have you gone???

debbs0723

DIS Veteran
Joined
Mar 5, 2008
Myself, my husband, our son and niece are going to do this in December. The husband has desperately wanted to do this. So we will be 7 nights @ Universal Orlando on-site and one of those days we will spend at Discovery Cove. The kids don't know about the trip, just that we are going somewhere; the husband knows we are going to Universal, Kennedy Space Center and a couple other places, but knows nothing about DC. The plan is to wake them up early that morning, tell them to pack shorts and a bathing suit, hop in the car and head over. They are going to be SHOCKED, especially the husband.

Can't wait to finally experience this! It sounds absolutely wonderful.
We are surprising our kids also. First the surprise to go to Disney world for Christmas. While we are there we are going to surprise them with two days at universal and one day at Discovery cove. We won't even tell them about the dolphin swim until we get there. We are going in January. I'm hoping we don't have to cancel due to it being too cold. I think surprising your husband also will be so much fun.
 

louey

<font color=peach>and she paid alot of money to lo
Joined
Jun 20, 2006
We are surprising our kids also. First the surprise to go to Disney world for Christmas. While we are there we are going to surprise them with two days at universal and one day at Discovery cove. We won't even tell them about the dolphin swim until we get there. We are going in January. I'm hoping we don't have to cancel due to it being too cold. I think surprising your husband also will be so much fun.
We went to DC in December of 2006 and did the dolphin experience
When we got up that morning it was cold I think like forty something!!
I was so worried about getting in water with it being so cold : (
But they have heaters throughout the park and the water is very warm
And warm in dolphin pool too not as warm as river etc... But
It didn't make a difference we had a GREAT time at this park
They treat you very well : )
 

tetney12

Mouseketeer
Joined
Feb 25, 2008
My DH will be turning 7 on our trip this summer and LOVES Dolphins. I wanted to surprise her with a day at DC....but we have a 3 and 2 year old as well. Is this park ok for smaller children or is it more for older kids?
 
  • dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    We are a childless couple, but I don't think there is much that appeals to younger kids apart from maybe building sand castles on the beach.

    Corinna
     

    KiKi Mouse

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 5, 2007
    My DH will be turning 7 on our trip this summer and LOVES Dolphins. I wanted to surprise her with a day at DC....but we have a 3 and 2 year old as well. Is this park ok for smaller children or is it more for older kids?
    The last time we were there was 2010. Our youngest was 10 months, the middle one was three and the oldest was twelve.

    If we didn't have the older child we would not have gone.

    Even with a seven year old there isn't much to do there with the dolphins. You can watch other people do their dolphin swim but that is about it. You can request to get your pictures done with a dolphin and that would be the closest the littles ones would get.

    The aviary is nice and the beach is nice but it isn't worth hundreds of dollars just for that.

    We always rent a car when we go to the world and this year we went to Clearwater to visit the aquarium and then we hung out on the beach. It was great and we would do it again.
     

    tetney12

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Feb 25, 2008
    The last time we were there was 2010. Our youngest was 10 months, the middle one was three and the oldest was twelve.

    If we didn't have the older child we would not have gone.

    Even with a seven year old there isn't much to do there with the dolphins. You can watch other people do their dolphin swim but that is about it. You can request to get your pictures done with a dolphin and that would be the closest the littles ones would get.

    The aviary is nice and the beach is nice but it isn't worth hundreds of dollars just for that.

    We always rent a car when we go to the world and this year we went to Clearwater to visit the aquarium and then we hung out on the beach. It was great and we would do it again.
    Thanks for the feedback. We live in Miami, so we will have our car. We are actually going to the Clearwater Aquarium with her class to meet Winter from Dolphin Tale in March....so i wanted to piggy back on that.

    I appreciate the info....i am just going to book the dolphin encounter at Sea World for her and my DH.
     

    stacyp9

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 31, 2008
    Discovery Cove is a must do in Orlando. There are only 1000 people a day, and half of those are just tanning, so the lack of crowds is very relaxing. There's so much to do and it's a small enough park that you can give kids with a good sense of direction a little more freedom than you can at Disney or similar parks. The dolphin swim, I hate to say, isn't all that it's cut out to be. You don't really swim with the dolphins, you stand in freezing water and pet them and feed them fish and at the end the dolphin takes you for a ride with you holding onto his fin. Kids should be strong swimmers for this part because sometimes the dolphin will try to flip you off and you have to swim into deeper water and tread for a little bit while the trainer sends you back to you. The water in the dolphin swim is VERY cold also. Much colder than the water in the rest of the park. It's a good thing to do one time, a unique experience, but my family usually does Discovery without the dolphin swim these days. Your daughter should be fine with it if she's cold tolerant and a strong swimmer though. You might want to remind her that the trainers know what they're doing though, and that the dolphins are perfectly safe, since sometimes their size can be a bit of a shock if you've never been close to one before.
     
  • lmminghe

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Nov 16, 2009
    I just booked the dolphin swim today! It is a surprise for my kids. We are going in June and I am getting so exited reading all of these posts. It is definitely pricey but I feel better now that so many people here have raved about it.
     

    goofym

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Jan 30, 2012
    Anyone know how to get discounts tickets to discovery cove? We are going in February? Has anyone gone in February is the water warm?
     

    petals

    Irish Princess because Cinderella said so!
    Joined
    May 18, 2010
    Discovery Cove is a must do in Orlando. There are only 1000 people a day, and half of those are just tanning, so the lack of crowds is very relaxing. There's so much to do and it's a small enough park that you can give kids with a good sense of direction a little more freedom than you can at Disney or similar parks. The dolphin swim, I hate to say, isn't all that it's cut out to be. You don't really swim with the dolphins, you stand in freezing water and pet them and feed them fish and at the end the dolphin takes you for a ride with you holding onto his fin. Kids should be strong swimmers for this part because sometimes the dolphin will try to flip you off and you have to swim into deeper water and tread for a little bit while the trainer sends you back to you. The water in the dolphin swim is VERY cold also. Much colder than the water in the rest of the park. It's a good thing to do one time, a unique experience, but my family usually does Discovery without the dolphin swim these days. Your daughter should be fine with it if she's cold tolerant and a strong swimmer though. You might want to remind her that the trainers know what they're doing though, and that the dolphins are perfectly safe, since sometimes their size can be a bit of a shock if you've never been close to one before.
    You don't have to swim out to the deeper waters I was there in december and given the option to do shallow swim or deep water swim. They're both the same length but swim is very quick anyway
     

    scigeek

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Apr 4, 2012
    I went to discovery cove in 2003 and as a surprise my parents had paid for me to swim with dolphins for my 16th :goodvibes

    It was amazing

    Can't wait to go back as it has even more to offer now

    sg
     
  • pixeegrl

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 24, 2008
    Anyone know how to get discounts tickets to discovery cove? We are going in February? Has anyone gone in February is the water warm?
    If you are a passholder for any of the Busch Parks (Sea World, Busch Gardens, Sesame Place) you can get a discount online using passmember2011 in the code box. Depending on your dates you can get some pretty good discounts. For our August dates it's $159 for dolphin and $69 for non dolphin.
     

    keishashadow

    Proud Redhead...yes, I have some bananas!
    Joined
    Dec 30, 2004
    We've enjoyed the dolphin swim in hot and cold weather:)but I have always worn the 1/2 wetsuit and peeled it off later once i warmed up.
     

    valee

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Dec 1, 2008
    Just a tip if you're hoping to get some underwater photos of the fish or rays:
    Try to get into the Grand Reef as soon as possible after arriving. The sand on the bottom gets kicked up and will stay suspended., making the water somewhat murky. It's not a huge problem, but I noticed a slight difference in the clarity of the photos I took right after arrival when I compared them to my afternoon shots.
    Of course, that could have been an effect of the free beverages!
     

    Phibbles

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 25, 2007
    My DH will be turning 7 on our trip this summer and LOVES Dolphins. I wanted to surprise her with a day at DC....but we have a 3 and 2 year old as well. Is this park ok for smaller children or is it more for older kids?
    I was just at DC last week and we saw several little kids doing the dolphin experience. They had them wearing PFDs over their wetsuits to keep them afloat. If you want your smaller kids to take part, you should call them and see what they can do. From our single experience, seams like a place that does their best to make accomodations for all interested people.
     

    orca91

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Mar 30, 2012
    When I went with my family. I had a blast. It was amazing, the dolphin encounter was neat. The reef was amazing. Love seeing all the animals. Was a good place for younger kids to play in the sand and to see the animals. The younger kids can't do the dolphin encounter, but they can stand on the rocks next to it and watch the older ones do it.
     

    brinkley07

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 9, 2012
    We were married at DC in 2010. The special occasions staff was amazing and the entire park staff were wonderful. Entry fee includes breakfast, lunch, snacks, and almost all non alcoholic beverages. We also went back in 2011, and loved the new changes they made. I would recommend DC to anyone. They charge extra for a cabana, but it's worth it if you enjoy having some quiet time. We had one at the dolphin area and loved watching them all day. I would also recommend doing the Snuba as it is a great experience. We did have ages 6 and up go with us and everyone loved the dolphin experience, but 6 was the youngest age allowed for the dolphin swims at the time. If you have a special experience I would recommend contacting the special occasion staff and looking into how they can enhance your time at the park.
     

    PrincessBelle39

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 6, 2007
    I did Discovery Cove on 8 August 2012 with DH, DD7 and DD10. This was definitely the absolute highlight of our trip. We arrived about 8am, lined up and it was about 8.20 by the time we checked in. Their computer was down so they had to give us a temporary id. We were given a 9.35 dolphin swim. Had breakfast and by the time we had got our vests and snorkels, it was time for our swim. We had tossed up whether to get a cabana and in the end decided not too. Absolutely the right decision for us. At about 11.30 we went looking for some deck chairs and still had our choice of chairs in the shade. To be honest though, we were probably lucky to spend 20 minutes using them. We were in the water enjoying everything for the entire day. Breakfast left a little to be desired, but lunch was really good. I'm vegetarian so had the lobster salad, citrus salad and some fries. DH and the kids had burgers, fried chicken and hotdogs between them, followed by dessert.
     

    jayster263

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Apr 19, 2012
    The absoluete best.

    We went in August 2001 and it was the highlight of our tenth anniversary trip.

    I'm going to dredge up my trip reports and post those for you...
    We are booked for 8/29....I cannot wait! I saw the videos on youtube, travel channel and the Orlando tourist internet site and I was floored.

    We did the Dolphin thing back in Mexico last year, so we opted for the all inclusive day package without the dolphin swin. They also give you a one day access to Seaworld or Aquatica if you book it, so we got a great deal ($160 ea) for the three of us (wife, son , myself) I will post after our trip (4 days in Unversal RPH and Holiday Inn resort LBV):dance3:
     

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