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“Amazing experience” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Discovery Cove

Discovery Cove
6000 Discovery Cove Way, Orlando, FL 32821
877-557-7404
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Ranked #2 of 196 attractions in Orlando
Type: Amusement/ Theme Parks, Nature/ Wildlife Areas, Water Parks, Aquariums
Activities: Swimming with dolphins, Viewing wildlife, Swimming, Snorkeling
More attraction details
Attraction Details
Fee: Yes
Owner description: Discovery Cove is an all-inclusive tropical getaway where visitors can swim with a dolphin, snorkel a reef and swim with fish.
Useful Information: Activities for older children
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“Amazing experience”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 20, 2013

If you get the chance to experience a swim with the Dolphins it's a definite must do! I think the only thing that let it down on my visit with my partner (Dec 11) was that we were really unsure where we were supposed to go once inside and what to do so we ended up just walking around aimlessly for a while until we found where to pick up the wetsuits from.. The actual dolphin experience however couldn't have been any better!!

Visited August 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Pennsylvania
Senior Contributor
33 reviews 33 reviews
8 attraction reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
“Disappointing Day”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 20, 2013

Let me begin by saying that I understand no one can control the weather. We checked in at 7:30, ate breakfast, got our vests and snorkel gear, and was promptly escorted to our cabana at 9am. Our girls had their dolphin swim scheduled for noon so we toured the park and enjoyed 1 swim around the lazy river. The problems began to happen shortly after noon when it began raining. Everyone has to get out of the water,which is understandable. our girls dolphin swim was interrupted, but they had to stay with their group until they could get back into the water. My husband and I were told that we had to gather all of our belongings from our cabana because they were closing that section of the park and we weren't allowed to sit in our cabana until the storm passed. so there we were, carrying all of our stuff with nowhere to go...in the pouring rain. We eventually found a bench to sit on outside of a gift shop. Meanwhile, other families with rented cabanas were permitted to stay in their cabanas if they were in a different section of the park. Not fair at all! This happened twice during our day at the park. We were planning on staying until closing, but by 3pm we had enough of sitting on a bench holding all of our belongings, so we left. all we got to do that day was swim the lazy river once and snorkel for about 30 minutes. The park is beautiful and all staff members were very friendly. We just wish we could have enjoyed it. I could have paid a lot less to spend my day sitting on a bench in the rain with nowhere else to go. A huge waste of money for our family. If you rent a cabana make sure to ask for the section of the park that stays open in case of bad weather.

Visited July 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Glasgow, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
6 attraction reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
“This park has some problems. Not as good as described or reviewed.”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed July 20, 2013

Having read the reviews, we booked tickets and went yesterday 19.07.13 The day was a disappointment. Many staff appear untrained and unfamiliar with the park. The website has some misleading info. The park does not open until 9am. The check in and breakfast are open from 0730. We arrived before 8am to be told that there were no Cabana shelters left, to hire and the first dolphin experience available was well into the afternoon. This was apparently due to some tickets being reserved for special guests. Ŵhen I asked reception to explain how their allocation worked they were unable to do so.
As there had been weather warnings issuedearlier in the morning for thunder and lightning from midday, throughout the afternoon, I asked reception what happened if lightning storms arrived (previous experience in other parks are that they stop the rides and close the attractions), they were evasive and would not give a direct answer, asking me to ask other members of staff later in the day! Eventually after some pressing a manager confirmed that the dolphin swims would be cancelled and we would require to rebook our visit. There was however no availability during the remainder of our holiday.
The website notes that the park is limited to 1200 guests a day, this does not quite equate to the carpark with 1000 plus cars in it.
Entry was slow with a long line up for the 'compulsary' entrance photo.
Despite having paid over $300 per person for our direct tickets (there are supposedly many discounted resellers that can supply them for half this cost, but we only found this out from talking to locals in the park), however despite the sums paid, we were told that we were not allowed more than one locker per family, irrespective of the number of people. The staff were unhelpful and did not like anyone questioning the basis of this 'rule' the lockers are large, for one, inadequate for a few rucksacks/bags.
Breakfast was plentiful, if of a very basic type. Somewhere between a poor school canteen. Lots of food, most deep fried. The tables were dirty, the cutlery plastic, the coffee poor. The staff were wandering about oblivious to the dirty tables, spilt food and various birds sitting among the uncleared leftovers on the tables. Not the most hygienic way to start a day.

The sunscreen issue.
The park has many, many 'rules' that require to be obeyed.
No outside sunscreen is one of these rules. The park will according to their website provide their own. With more available to purchase. What they provide is a sample of 10-15g (similar to a free sample in a magazine). They stress that only this SPF 30 cream can be used as all others are harmful to animals. We followed their 'rules' and all in our party ended up sunburnt. We are all fair skinned. The staff had no more than one sample per person available, and there was none available to buy. Later in the day it became apparent that this 'rule' is not followed by the staff, some of the parks hotographers were applying proprietary bottles of sunscreen before entering the water.
There appeared to be a considerable number of people with sunburn, wandering around, prior to the end of the day. If you have fair skin be very aware that the park supplied sunscreen is not very good.
Lunch was a rerun of breakfast with more school cafeteria standards of food, with limited hygiene being applied by the overwhelmed servers. I gave both breakfast and lunch a miss. This was way below the advertised quality of food.
The aviary ,the river, together with the reef were all good to see with pleasant and knowledgeable staff. The life guards throughout looked mainly bored, pained to be here and more interested in talking to their friends than watching the water.
Our dolphin swim eventually came round later in the afternoon. The threatened storms did not appear. The experience was good particularly for the kids. The trainers/ handlers were not that friendly, the couple we had appeared fairly bored and uninterested. The entire meeting appeared centred around taking and retaking the photos from the park photographers. Packages of photos from $89-180.
The swimming with rays in the reef was fairly memorable.
In summary, the day works out at approx $1000 per three people, irrespective of age. The park is not as good as advertised/reviewed by some.
There are some major issues, lack of lockers, sunscreen and food hygiene being the main ones.
The park is oversold and more commercialised (blatantly money grabbing) than any other I have been to.
The swim with dolphins is unique( as far as I know), and this will probably be the lasting memory. Once the sunburn caused by the parks mismanagement calms down.

Visited July 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Northampton, Pennsylvania
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
5 attraction reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“Fantastic”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 19, 2013

It reminded me of a miniature Atlantis.Very friendly staff. Food was excellent. I would recommend to visit Discovery Cove in Orlando.

Visited July 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Liverpool, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
4 attraction reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
40 helpful votes 40 helpful votes
“Possibly the best day of my life”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 19, 2013 via mobile

I went here for my 24th Birthday this June with my family and girlfriend. Each one of us had an absolutely amazing day swimming with the dolphins and snorkelling. There was a wide range of food and drinks to cater everyone's needs, everything was good.

It's well worth the value considering your ticket includes Sea World, Aquatica and Busch Gardens (slightly extra).

Every member of staff that walked by said happy birthday (as I had a different colour ID) which was nice.

Definitely a birthday ill remember and never be able to top and possibly the best day of my life.

I hope to be so lucky to go there again one day!

Visited June 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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