Discovery Cove

Discovery Cove, Orlando: Hours, Address, Discovery Cove Reviews: 5/5

Discovery Cove
Amusement & Theme Parks • Water Parks
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7:15 AM - 5:30 PM
7:15 AM - 5:30 PM
7:15 AM - 5:30 PM
7:15 AM - 5:30 PM
7:15 AM - 5:30 PM
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Discovery Cove is a one-of-a kind experience where you can interact with bottlenose dolphins, feed tropical birds, play inches from a family of otters and even walk on the Grand Reef floor-all in one day. Between adventures, recharge with unlimited island fare and refreshments. With this all-inclusive experience your family can unwind, explore, learn, and create memories that will last a lifetime.
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17,354 reviews
Very good

The Walsh Family🇬🇧
Portsmouth, UK3,365 contributions
Apr 2022 • Family
This is our 3rd visit. I said after the second that we wouldn’t do the Dolphin encounter again (that’s what it is by the way - not really a swim as claimed) but we we ended up doing it again. Mainly because our children were 5 years older than the last time they experienced it.

People think the tickets are expensive and granted they are not cheap, but we think they actually work out as good value considering we also utilised the visits to Seaworld and Busch Gardens. Our ticket also included their water park but we didn’t have the time to visit.

The food wasn’t as good as it used to be but there’s still plenty of it and it’s unlimited. Our day was somewhat disturbed by a massive thunderstorm which understandably stops all activities. And it was a cold day as a result. There then becomes a massive rush to get caught up on all the now overrunning Dolphin encounter bookings which turns a relaxing experience into a stressful one and we felt rushed.

People should manage their expectations. You get hardly any time in the water with the Dolphin and the extent of the experience involves you walking in the water waist deep. You line up, the Dolphin swims past you and you get to touch with one open hand. You all take turns to then have a picture (which they sell after for an over inflated price. Let don’t let you take your own cameras etc because the highly trained Dolphin will take it from you or ‘try and eat it’). You see a few tricks & then you take it in turns to have a dorsal-fin ride. You then wave good bye. You spend most of the time listening to their PR about how much they care for the Dolphins and how what they are doing is not exploiting them at all. I will write this will conviction this time - we will not do this experience again! We have swam with wild manatee in their natural environment and I suppose once you have done that, nothing will ever compare.

We do however enjoy the snorkelling and the surroundings of Discovery Cove and it makes for a relaxing getaway from the other trappings of Orlando.
Written April 13, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

East Bridgewater, MA92 contributions
Feb 2022
We didn't book any add-on experiences and still had a great day. It's very clean and staff was good. We got there at 7:10AM and check in took about 10 minutes. Honestly there was no need to get there that early. We had breakfst and got our wet suits by 8:15. None of the water/activities open until 9am to the public. I can't say if waiting later would have resulted in a longer check in. There was a lot of walking throughout the day. Theres a distance between the reef and the rivers. We found the breakfast to be ...not very good. We had an 11:00AM lunch and while earlier is was probably a good idea because the line later on seemed unreasonably long and slow. The lunch was OK...nothing great. The chicken tenders were better than the steak (which tasted like potroast). I wish the "free" alcohol package included white claws but that was only in the premium package. Since I don't drink beer or wine I was left with soda and slushies. They offered cheap snacks for free which the kids liked. I honestly think they should do away with breakfast and offer better snacks-even soft serve ice cream would have beat the breakfast. We did not see even one bird in the aviary which we thought was odd. We left around 4:00 as we got bored. It was a great day overall...maybe one and done though.
Written February 28, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Elisabeth P
Massillon, OH16 contributions
Oct 2020 • Family
Upon arrival you are greeted with staff who guide you to get your tags and check you in. It’s a beautiful set up in the entrance start of the park. Make sure to stop and purchase a waterproof cellphone case or bring your own before getting into your wet suit, and the $10/plastic cases work just as good as the $32/up charge ones do. You have a choice between a full wet suit or just a vest that goes over your upper body. If you plan to drink Do Not get a wet suit, they are not easy to get in and out of as you make multiple trips to the bathroom! For alcoholic beverages it is a $40/up charge per person for specialty drinks unlimited I saw many couples only buy one and share the perks! While the pandemic is still in place there is no swimming with the Dolphins and they won’t tell you this when you purchase your tickets only small interaction where you can touch them and pose for a picture with them but 1 picture cost $40. It’s a Disney property so plan to spend money. It was a beautiful setting, the snorkeling is great, the birds are beautiful and they do a great job trying to social distance everyone, you need to wear a mask that they provide whenever your not eating or drinking. The whole experience w/dolphin encounter takes about 4hrs. The later you arrive the later your interactions will be, we arrived at 10am and had to wait all day for the last interaction, but it was worth it because we had only 4 of us to visit w/the Dolphins. So figure if you come anytime after 10 your interactions won’t be until end of day. Next time we will come at 12 noon! Because I have a daughter who would love to swim with the sharks!
Written October 9, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

10 contributions
Feb 2021
Discovery Cove is a nice concept for multiple animal experiences in a tropical setting. Exploring the reef and snorkeling with the fish and rays is engaging and the lazy river relaxing. The dolphin encounter was the highlight, touching and swimming alongside the dolphin, but also felt a bit scripted and anticlimactic. The otters were hiding and not seen throughout the day. The adorable marmosets sit at the feeding station in their trees on an island which is across a small moat from the lazy river. The aviary has a large variety of birds in three somewhat small habitats.

You need to buy an expensive photo package if you want photos of the dolphin experience because your group goes as one and cameras are not allowed. If you are on a budget, know you will spend at the least $180 for photos (8 photos with a frame and book) in addition to the admission. (all inclusive except mandatory photos. Lol.) A cheaper photo option includes 4 photos for $110 but is not adequate for a group.

The breakfast was below adequate with powdered eggs, bacon, fruit, parfaits, and breads, and the pulled pork with fries and chocolate cake lunch I had was average. I expected more for the price of admission.

Currently masks are mandatory in bathrooms, public areas of the restaurant, aviary (provided by an attendant outside), and locker area. Masks are not permitted in the water for animal safety. Have a plan for where to keep your mask when swimming. With only 2 people, my daughter and I spent too much of our morning visiting the locker to get and put away masks. It's better to save a chair in the middle of the park and leave a towel and mask there for easy access. I felt safe in the park.

The staff is exceedingly friendly especially in the dining and park entry area. The animal trainers were less open, a bit distant, and focused on procedure which surprised me. Then again visitors were asked 20-30 times to clear a path so rays could come in for feeding. Those guests continuously ignored the requests and returned to the area. So the quality of the guests may affect the quality of the experience.

Overall, we had a good time. I recommend this experience to those who can easily afford the admission and want animal experiences without leaving the USA. I prefer experiences in more natural settings and would travel to Belize or a Caribbean Island before visiting Discovery Cove again.
Written February 28, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

John P
3 contributions
Mar 2022
Let me start off by saying I have not gone to the park yet so I cant say anything about that part of the experience.

BUT their policies and customer service is TERRIBLE. I am hoping someone higher up does see this review and takes it to heart and does something to correct the situation.

I had booked a day trip on their black friday sales for a family of 4 and paid over $700 for the day. Now I thought i had booked us for April 8th to go to the park. I did not pay any attention to it(my fault I admit it) until yesterday March 1st when I was starting to look for hotels in the area to book for our stay. I noticed that the day was wrong from what we planned and I called Discovery cove to ask if date can be changed. this i where the bad service is so you can change your booking 1 time complimentary for free BUT it has to be within 14 days prior or after the date you had booked. I begged on the phone to have the date changed and even spoke to a supervisor that could not do anything. I needed an extra 10 days from their supposed 14 day policy and they would not bend.

Now it is not like I am asking for them to change it to weekend or a day that is so much more money like I was just trying to play a game with them and make out on the offer. I was still picking a time of year that kids were in school and still a weekday not even during spring break or anything like that.

NOW if you look at the 2 days price wise there was a $60 difference in price between the 2 days, I offered to pay the difference of $240(4 people) to have the date move but NO they wanted me to pay an additional $800 for the difference in days. I told the supervisor why would I pay an addtional$800 when I payed $735 for the actual day. They would not compromise for anything. said either I pay or cancel or stick to the time frame

like I said customer service and policies of the place are terrible and I am hoping managament does see this and responds because I cant see where any of this makes sense and why i could not pay simple difference and be done with this whole deal.

maybe i will cancel the day all together and get my money back
Written March 2, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

vicki Y
5 contributions
Jun 2022 • Family
We enjoyed discovery cove the food was good and cocktails brilliant. There was some queues and crowding but it wasn't hugely excessive like some of the other parks. Highlights were the lazy river and aviary which was amazing ! Feeding the tropical birds was a fantastic experience. The ticket came with unlimited Busch gardens , SeaWorld and Aquatica entry with free parking so very good value. The suncream doesn't blend and isn't very effective I got very burnt shoulders.

I will say there was too many people in the reef it made it impossible to snorkel without bashing into other people. I worry the fish and rays might get distressed as literally there were 100s of people crammed in. A queue and timed system would work better. I think they are letting more people into the park to make money to the detriment of the animals and customers wellbeing.

The dolphins are overworked these creatures are held in a tiny pen with a toy to play with for hours until they are ready to perform. I saw this as my sun lounger was next to the dolphin area. They have to perform for 1000 people per day there's no reason in 2022 for intelligent sociable creatures to be exploited like this. Even SeaWorld treat the dolphins better and just let them play without expecting them to constantly entertain people.
I did enjoy the day but I think discovery cove should start to move away from the outdated model of exploiting dolphins. The resort is nice if dolphins have to be in captivity they shouldn't be worked for our entertainment just watching them should be enough.
Written June 7, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Livingston, UK19 contributions
Jun 2022 • Family
Not worth the money. Sold as all inclusive but seems tinge only one bar that can serve me a beer, got told by every other bar that they couldn’t serve me, if I wanted one of their beers I had to add it to my package. Restaurant for both breakfast and lunch, whilst nice enough, wasn’t premium by any stretch of the imagination and the queue for both was 15 mins plus. Couldn’t get a beer with my lunch either. If you have a bottomless pit of cash then sure but if you are a family of 4 looking for value for money there are far better places to go. My kids ended up playing their switches they were that bored
Written June 22, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Steven Beveridge
2 contributions
May 2022 • Family
So there's a saying, everybody burns at Discovery cove that's because the sun cream is beyond useless, a week into the holiday, using my own suncream (trusty p20) no sunburn until the day at Discovery cove, despite spending a fraction of the time in the sun. The cream is thick and hard to apply and simply doesn't do the job. This combined with them making a mess of our booking and the overbooking of the dolphin experiences made this the worst day of the holiday.

Spent a small fortune to get sunburnt and experience nothing. A day by the pool at the villa would've been cheaper, better and a whole lot Safer.

Written May 26, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

James C
Orlando, FL19 contributions
May 2022 • Family
I took my adult children and my 2 granddaughters, ages 6 and 9 to Discovery Cove. We were a party of 7. Overall we had a wonderful time. Some advice….. pros and cons

The activities included with the general admission ticket are fantastic. These are the aviary, lazy river, and the Great Reef.
The snorkeling in the Great Reef was beyond my expectations and even better than when I snorkeled on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.
I highly recommend purchasing a cabana for the day. It was well worth the extra money. It was our oasis within the park and truly made our day comfortable and special.
Definitely also spend the extra money for the dolphin experience as well. A very unique experience and lots of fun.

1) The food was acceptable at best. Don’t expect fine cuisine
2) Our upgrade experience the Flamingo Mingle was cancelled due to bird flu. Not the parks fault but we were disappointed. However, they did refund me the money.
3) The upgrade experience of the Animal Trek is not worth the time and extra money. Lasts 30 minutes, you see 4 animals, and way overpriced at $89 per person.
Written May 8, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

LITTLE ROCK7 contributions
Aug 2021
This was our second visit. First time was about 7 years ago. We opted to take my mother with us. I'm rating it a 4 as We LOVE Discovery Cove and what it offers however we were disappointed that staff didn't insist that visitors social distance in the cafeteria or in the bird sanctuary. They also didn't insist that masks be worn in the sanctuary as is a bit small. Many of the sanitizing dispensers were empty by around 2 pm.
My husband also pointed out that a visitor was inebriated and was asked to take his beer out of sanctuary at which time he opted to simply place the bottle onto a ledge and dance back in. We were accustomed to this being a family environment and were hopeful that management would insist that the elderly and children be protected at all times. It began raining for over one hour at which time we had no choice but to wait it out in crowded spaces. My mother enjoyed herself although the cove was very crowded and water was mirky this time. Unfortunately this experience has prompted us not to visit other theme parks again until Covid might no longer be a major concern.
Written August 15, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Discovery Cove is open:
  • Fri - Mon 7:15 AM - 5:30 PM

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