The Discovery Cove Reviews are True! It’s a must visit Orlando Attraction!
Do believe the hype of the Discovery Cove Reviews! They’re all true!
Anyone who knows of Orlando, Florida, (and let’s face it who hasn’t heard of this place?) knows the most famous attraction of all in the area is of course Walt Disney World! But perhaps you’ll be surprised when you check on TripAdvisor and find that it’s not the Magic Kingdom which hits the highest spot, but instead ‘The Wizarding World of Harry Potter’. A close second is the amazing place which is Discovery Cove. You should really take this seriously, just look at the competition this place has! From Universal Studios to every Floridian Disney park, the Discovery Cove reviews beat them all! So is it all it’s cracked up to be? Oh yes! You can rest assured it is!
What is Discovery Cove?
Discovery Cove is an all inclusive day resort offering up close and personal experiences with thousands of tropical fish, stingrays and tropical birds. There’s also a dolphin-swim experience for those wanting to pay a little extra for this. The resort never gets uncomfortably full, as there is an entry limit for each day which has to be pre-booked well in advance. Once the day is full, there’s no getting in. This is not just some other place to feel rushed and squashed in Florida. A visit to Discovery Cove will leave you feeling like a relaxed and pampered VIP, which makes for a great break from the busy theme parks.
Some of the main features of Discovery Cove include;
The Grand Reef
Snorkel in the Grand Reef at Discovery cove and encounter some huge and very friendly stingrays. Some of these are up to 4ft across, but you can rest assured they are perfectly safe to swim along with. All Stingrays at Discovery Cove are de-barbed, which is basically like cutting their toe-nails as far as they’re concerned, so there’s no danger of being ‘stung’ by them. They also happen to be extremely tame, eating from your hand at feeding time and bumping into your legs at other times should you get in their way. Combined with the easy to float in salt water, swimming with these guys makes for a very relaxing and fun experience. I could literally stay with them all day. Granted some people may not appreciate their company as much as I do, such as this unfortunate woman who just so happened to become an unintentional star in my video when I was trying to capture my daughter swimming with them, but I did giggle for a good while afterwards (sorry lady). Rest assured, this is not a common occurrence, this was just one lady who seemed a little sensitive to swimming with rays…
Within the grand reef area there’s also an underwater shark and tiger-fish tank. Again, this is not as dangerous as it sounds! The sharks are kept in a tank below the bay, so you get the feel of swimming besides them, with a huge wedge of glass between you. No risk of being eaten alive by Jaws here.
Also within the coral reef area are thousands of fish of course, which are also fun to swim with. Go to the deeper areas for the best experience with these. The Stingrays tend to stay in the shallows. With complimentary wet suits and life jackets, there’s no need to rush away from this area. So long as your kids can float in a life jacket and use a snorkel, they will love this! We literally spent hours just holding hands looking at the fish! I would go so far as to say it was probably my favourite part of the day (even better than the free wine).
The Free-Flight Aviary
If you or your kids love birds, this is such a lovely experience to have. The free-flight aviary can be swam to via a heated tropical river. It runs right through the entire aviary and continues on afterwards for a good while, circling the entire resort, giving a great swimming adventure for all ages. It has its own slow-rate flow, so there’s very minimal effort required to get around it. Those with life jackets will simply float. Waterfalls and a rainforest canopy surround many parts, but there’s no rubber rings here and it’s a far cry from the usual water park lazy rivers. It’s just a lovely relaxing experience!
When you come to the aviary, you’re free to leave the river for a while and stand on the banks, where you’ll be able to collect a cup of grain/fruit to hand feed some of the 30+ species of exotic birds you’ll find here. They’re all very friendly (sometimes cheeky) and fun to feed. My kids loved it.
Once you’ve done, jump back into the river and float some more around the resort. Eventually you’ll land back where you started at the heated freshwater pool. You could hang around in here to relax a bit more, but if you’re anything like me, I think you’ll want to go back to the Grand Reef!
Other things to see and do at Discovery Cove
There are other attractions at Discovery Cove, whether you just want to relax and sunbathe on the numerous sun loungers (no extra cost) or let the kids have a splash in Serenity Bay, you’ll never be bored here.
Since our visit, Discovery Cove have added a new attraction to the park called ‘Freshwater Oasis’ which apparently features face-to-face encounters with lots of playful otters and marmosets! This sounds ace and well worth checking out!
Discovery Cove Extras
If you want to buy some extra special experiences whilst at Discovery Cove, be sure to check out the following;
The Dolphin Swim Experience
We paid extra for the Dolphin Swim experience this time, because we’ve never done anything like this before, but I don’t think it’s an absolutely essential part to a day at Discovery Cove, and I would still visit again even if I didn’t pay for this add on.
The Dolphin Swim Experience involved meeting a dolphin up close and allowed us to learn more about them. We were able to give her cues to do tricks, stroke her, and she even pulled us across the pool probably about 20 metres, which was brilliant. Photos were taken by professional photographers and we had the option to buy them at the end, but this is of course not in any way compulsory. Some Discovery Cove reviews we read before we booked the Dolphin experience mentioned that it felt a bit like a photo-shoot, and I suppose in a way there were a lot of photos being taken, but we were too engrossed in the experience to really care!
My daughter was not a great swimmer at the time, but there was no issue with her doing this with the help of one of the parks life jackets. She felt very safe and thoroughly enjoyed herself throughout the whole experience.
The Seaventure Experience
My daughter was a little too small to do the Seaventure experience this time (guests need to be at least 10 years of age), so my son went along with his dad and really enjoyed this add on. It involved wearing what I can only describe as a ‘space helmet’ and attaching weights to keep themselves under the water whilst they did a walk around at the bottom of the reef beside the shark tank (again, perfectly safe and behind glass). The tour involved feeding entire schools of fish which cannot be found in the rest of the park and often finding themselves completely surrounded by hundreds of them, which apparently was fun! I will definitely do this if we ever go back now that my daughter is just about old enough.
What’s included in the entry cost of Discovery Cove?
Wet suits and life jackets are available for all, as are clean white towels in the bathrooms. You are given sachets of hypo-allergenic fish/dolphin friendly sun cream for use whilst at the park, which is thick and gloopy but important to use rather than your usual sun cream for the safety of the aquatic life at Discovery Cove. Lockers and snorkelling equipment are also free. They even have prescription snorkel masks which is a really nice touch for those who wear glasses. At the end of the visit you get to keep your snorkel pipe with Discovery Cove printed on it, we still take ours on holiday with us every year! 🙂
Also included in the entry fee is complimentary breakfast and lunch, plus unlimited snacks and drinks (including alcoholic, but do be careful not to go overboard and forget about being responsible for the kids!)
When you book with AttractionTix the entry price also includes a free entry pass for unlimited admission to SeaWorld® and Aquatica, SeaWorld’s Water-park™ in Orlando for 14 consecutive days around the date of your reservation, making the initial cost of visiting Discovery Cove seem a little more reasonable when you consider you’re getting several days out for the price of one.
Overall, Discovery Cove is an absolutely amazing day out and one which I’ll never forget. If I ever travel to Florida again, I will be sure to check the availability for this place before I even book my flights, that’s how big a part of the holiday it was for me! So the positive Discovery Cove reviews are very true! Don’t miss a trip to this place if you visit Orlando this year, cancel something else if you have to! It’s amazing and should be top of your to-do list in Florida!
To check booking availability for your dates of travel, CLICK HERE.
Disclosure: Our family paid the full entry fee to allow us to review this attraction.