Discovery Cove Family Photo Review
Discovery Cove Family Photo Review – by ERIC TIANSAY, dad – “We Welcome You To Paradise” is an atypical greeting from an attraction in the theme park capital of the world.
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With famous attractions such as Disney World, Universal Studios and SeaWorld, Orlando drew more than 50 million visitors annually before the pandemic hit.
The theme park capital moniker also means large crowds, long lines and short fuses for patience. Bur thee is a different kind of theme park adventure that has been called by many visitors as “a hidden gem” in the City Beautiful, Orlando’s other nickname.
Located right across the street from SeaWorld Orlando, SeaWorld’s Discovery Cove https://tinyurl.com/29v5m7n6 is an oasis in the middle of Orlando’s busy theme park corridor.
The sister park of SeaWorld Orlando and Aquatica Orlando, Discovery Cove proudly displays “We Welcome You To Paradise” on its ticket vouchers when guests make their reservations.
However, the 22-acre park, which opened in July 2000, backs up this claim in a variety of ways. First of all, Discovery Cove only lets in up to 1,300 guests daily, so the park always feel peaceful and not too crowded.
We experienced this first hand as my two boys and I as well as another family recently took a different kind of theme park adventure that got us in the water to enjoy a one-of-a-kind day at Discovery Cove.
We swam with Yoko the dolphin, fish and rays, stared down sharks and moray eels, fed exotic birds, and chilled out on an amazing lazy river. Plus the all-inclusive day resort included unlimited food and drinks, featured manicured beaches, free animal-safe sunscreen, cool waterways and informative animal encounters.
Are you jealous yet? You too can escape the busy theme park crowds and have a relaxing day at your own pace at the resort Click here Discovery Cove, which features free parking for guests, is only a 15-minute drive to both Walt Disney World Resort and Universal Orlando Resort.
Check-in and breakfast begins promptly at 7:15 a.m., but waterways don’t open until 9 a.m. Discovery Cove closes at 5 p.m. each day. We arrived right at 7 a.m. to start our day of relaxation and adventure. We made sure to bring our IDs to verify our reservations at check-in. So bring your ID if you decide on indulging in adult beverages. Last call for alcoholic drinks is at 4:45 p.m.
Discovery Cove offers quite a few options to choose for tickets and the park frequently has specials. Click here You can even choose the deal with or without the Dolphin Swim package included.
Additionally, Discovery Cove offers upgrades, including adding animal encounters, feedings, underwater tours, cabanas, day beds, photo packages, premium drinks or trainer for a day experiences.
It’s a good idea to book your reservation and add-on experiences at least 60 days in advance to ensure availability because spots can fill quickly.
The first tip when starting your visit at Discovery Cove—come hungry. The park’s Laguna Grill serves up all-you-can-eat buffets, which are definitely better than the typical theme park food fare.
Served between 7:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. each day, breakfast features all of your favorites, including scrambled eggs, sausage links, French toast sticks, hash brown potatoes, buttermilk biscuits, cereal, fresh fruit, pastries, yogurt and more.
Lunch is even better at Laguna Grill, which is served between 11 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., The menu often rotates but during our visit, we feasted on steak, salmon, jerk chicken, burgers, chicken tenders, turkey wraps, macaroni and cheese, French fries, steamed vegetables. For dessert, we indulged in pina colada cupcakes, chocolate and carrot cake, and even strawberry cheesecake.
Besides breakfast and lunch, Discovery Cove also has all-day snack stations featuring assorted chips, soft pretzels, cookies, fruit and beverages, including bottled water, soda, coffee, hot chocolate and the amazing Icee machine!
Second tip is to visit the Explorer’s Aviary earlier than later because it’s a place where guests can feed tropical birds. Like people, birds can get full, so they may not want to eat as much later in the day.
Visitors to the Explorer’s Aviary can get small bowls of fresh, healthy bird food to entice the tropical creatures to get close to you for a unique encounter. Although we aren’t really bird fans, our group enjoyed mingling with the feathered friends.
One of our favorite places at Discovery Cove is Wind-Away River, which can drop visitors off to the Explorer’s Aviary. It’s a different kind of lazy river as there are no tubes and the depths can vary from shallow to 8-feet deep.
There are noodles and life vests, which I personally used to help navigate the deeper waters. Our group loved this spot and spent a lot of time enjoying the scenery of waterfalls, caves, rainforests and beaches, which offered a combination of relaxation, fun and breathtaking scenery.
Our boys brought their mask and snorkel, which comes with the admission price, to view the scene below the surface of the water. Fun fact: there are lots of rocks to fetch from the bottom of the Wind-Away River.
Even if you’re not the adventuring type, Discovery Cove is the ideal place to unwind, and Serenity Bay hits the spot. Serenity Bay, which has 85-degree water, has beach chairs and hammocks for relaxing.
If Serenity Bay is calm, then the Grand Reef is the opposite in a colorful, exciting and spectacular way. First thing to do is grab a complimentary snorkel and goggle set (blue bags for adults and yellow for kids).
The water is chilly, but you’re ready to swim and snorkel in order to enter the world of thousands of colorful fish through a coral reef. Despite the cold water, we spent a lot of time at the Grand Reef as we encountered reef sharks, colorful angelfish, manta rays, moray eels and so much more. For those skittish of some of the creatures, there is a thick glass that separates the sharks and eels from swimmers, so it only appears as though guests are swimming with the creatures.
The one activity we didn’t do was SeaVenture, which is an additional upgrade. The 20- to 25-minute underwater walking tour, designed for ages 10 and older, involves guests wearing an astronaut-like helmet, which features oxygen. Guests have the opportunity to touch sea life and be surrounded by beautiful fish, rays and sharks, while guided by an animal expert who give fun facts along the way.
Of course last but not the least is the Dolphin Swim, which is the main attraction of Discovery Cove. There are 43 bottlenose dolphins at the park, including Moby, who was born at Discovery Cove in June 2021.
During our visit, we had Yoko, who is a matriarch dolphin at Discovery Cove. In our small group, we were able to touch and hug Yoko before taking a brief swim alongside her. Yoko was quite the ham as she didn’t hesitate to pose for solo and group shots, including one with a kiss on the cheek.
Unvaccinated guests must wear a face covering, but they are allowed to pull the mask down under the chin for photos.
If swimming with dolphins is on your bucket list, then Discovery Cove is the place for you.
Speaking of which, travel restrictions are set to be lifted in November 2021, which means international guests will be able to visit Discovery Cove for the first time since the global pandemic in March 2020.
So if you are tired of animatronics, thrill rides and the hustle and bustle at a regular theme park, Discovery Cove is your place to experience real sea life, birds, plants and so much more https://www.facebook.com/DiscoveryCove.
A big thank you to ERIC TIANSAY for offering to share his review with all of us!
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