Discovery Cove Orlando
Discovery Cove Orlando is not a shoestring budget kind of outing, but if you like animals, being in the water or If you want a day trip to remember then you really should try to add Discovery Cove to your vacation itinerary.
There you’ll be able to swim with dolphins, stingrays, sharks, tropical fish, feed tropical birds and go on the best lazy river that we have ever experienced.
We decided to take advantage of the early check-in at 7:30 a.m., so we can eat breakfast and start our day early.
The purchase of your ticket includes all-day parking. We drove into the parking lot, parked the car, and then made our way to the lobby. The park’s friendly staff was ready to welcome us. They immediately scheduled our dolphin encounter, since it is done on a first-come, first-served basis. Then, they pointed us in the direction of the dining area. It was so easy breezy.
Breakfast & Lunch
We walked over to the buffet area; picked the food we wanted and then sat at a table.
There were nice choices available, eggs, bacon, home fries, fruit yogurt, cereals, pastries, juice, etc.
Basically, anything that would you’d expect to have at a restaurant for breakfast.
Lockers, Towels & Shower Amenities and Wetsuit
After breakfast, we placed our belongings in one of the lockers and placed the key around our neck for safekeeping. We all made sure to memorize our locker number.
We also noticed some of the guests had cell phone waterproof protectors to keep their phone safe. Not a bad idea, if your phone is not waterproof and if you want to keep it safe.
In that area, you also had access to towels and shower amenities. While you’re in the locker area, it’s a good time to put on the marine friendly sunscreen, which is available to every guest in the park.
At this point, we now have about 30 more minutes before the dolphin swim, so we were getting pretty excited. It’s time now to choose either a bodysuit or a vest.
We picked the vests since the bodysuits can be a pain to take on or off, particularly when you have to run to the bathroom. The vests were very thin & comfortable, and they kept us perfectly buoyant in the water. It was nice because they weren’t the bulky type. The standard life jackets are also available for guests who feel a little shy in the water.
It was one of the most relaxing lazy rivers we’ve experienced. The beautiful waterfalls in the entrance and exit are there to prevent the birds from the aviary from flying out and felt refreshing on the way in. While we’re being gently pulled, we watched the colorful birds fly over us and interact all around us. This is like getting transported to an exotic island. There are all kinds of exotic birds freely flying around you as you make your way around the lazy river.
There were plenty of lifeguards around with water available if you felt a little dehydrated.
Discovery Cove Orlando – Dolphin Swim
Al…most… there… Everyone has gathered for the educational orientation that included a video about dolphins and lots of interesting facts. It was fun. The dolphin trainers emphasized how important it was to recycle and not to use plastic straws and bags since they hurt the ocean animals.
In the park, they were also eco-friendly for that reason. There were no plastic straws.
So, now we’re ready! We were guided to the beach, and we could see several bottlenose dolphins swimming. Once we were in the water, there was lots of interaction between the dolphins and us.
Everyone felt perfectly safe, and the kids in the group had a blast. Of course, the professional photographer was at hand to take those once in a lifetime pictures.
After the dolphin experience, we waved good-bye to Natalie, our friendly dolphin and made our way to Wind-Away River.
Fun fact: Dolphins can recognize themselves in the mirror.
The Grand Reef
For us, the most impressive part of the trip was swimming with the tropical fish and stingrays. We’ve had this experience in the ocean but never in such a pristine & safe environment. The Grand Reef temperature is a wee bit chilly. The water temperature is between 76-77°F. Schools of colorful fish surrounded us. The stingrays of every size were all around us.
The water was crystal clear, and it was surreal to have all of that ocean life at your fingertips. We turned into little kids. We forgot to put on sunscreen, so we looked like tomatoes at the end of the day. We were way too mesmerized by the tropical fish and stingrays to even think about it.
Discovery Cove Orlando – Serenity Bay
We enjoyed relaxing by the beach and swimming in beautiful calm water. The water temperature is between 85-88°F, so it’s very comfortable.
Throughout the park, there are snack cabanas where you can get snacks and drinks. We all settled down and picked the snacks and beverages of our choice.
The adults opted for wine and beer. Although snacks and beverages were all-inclusive, we were having too much fun to think about eating or drinking.
Late in the afternoon, we decided to head to the aviary. It started to rain, and the aviary ended up temporarily closed due to potential lighting. 🙁
The aviary is a large metal cage that can attract lightning. So, the park takes precautionary measures during a rainstorm and closes the aviary.
We were sad that we missed out on visiting the aviary and feeding all of the beautiful birds. In hindsight, we should have visited the aviary first. In the mornings, the birds a little more hungry and more likely to perch on your hand while you feed them.
Overall, Discovery Cove Orlando was a fantastic experience. We look forward to our next visit. It’s a great place to unwind, and have fun in the water.
All we needed was to bring ourselves and our bathing suits. The rest was all taken care, and the park staff was friendly and helpful.
We look forward to our next visit so we can explore the rest of the activities we didn’t get a chance to visit.