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“Mixed Emotions”
Review of Discovery Cove

Discovery Cove
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Orlando Attractions Roundtrip Transfer
Ranked #3 of 442 things to do in Orlando
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Fee: Yes
Owner description: 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.
Useful Information: Activities for older children, Bathroom facilities, Activities for young children, Lockers / storage, Wheelchair access
Reviewed February 3, 2013

Real mixed emotions about Discovery Cove. On one hand, the limited number of guests, sandy beach-like setting, unlimited buffet style (and very good) food and variety of activities are highly attractive. You also have to consider the savings of adding in FREE entry into Busch Gardens into the cost – it makes the expense easier to swallow. Plus, the cost, good hosts and overall sense of luxury makes you feel like you’re getting something truly special. And you are. On the other hand, everything is so staged and contrived. Having travelled to hundreds of beaches all over the world, sterilised crystal white sand and plastic rocks (carefully smooth to avoid health and safety risks) imped on my pleasure. The thrill of being in close proximity to magnificent dolphins is somewhat over-shadowed by such intelligent mammals being reduced to puppy dog tricks and staged dialogue by ‘trainers’ – you can pick the ‘laugh’ lines inserted into their talk. Having posed for your unique dolphin ‘kiss,’ (repeated 300,000 times every season) you are herded over to the ‘photo centre’ where the subtle push to upgrade to the next higher priced photo package is so slickly delivered you simply can’t ignore the bargain – particularly if children are present. Then you play this against the aviaries where animal interaction is fantastic. With a kind word to the Discovery Cove person in attendance, they’ll give you ‘special’ treats for which the birds will flock to you. This type of exposure to birds and animals for many visitors is a first, so quite obviously, they, particularly children, simply don’t know how to react. Often their loud antics, out-loud laughing and inadequately supervised children running about can disturb people who know how to observe wild life in natural settings. Frankly, it can become very irritating. So. In the end: I’m very happy to have gone the Discovery Cove. But I probably won’t go again. Which why I gave it an overall score of average.

5  Thank Joe V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed February 3, 2013

could not fault the entire day they had thought of everything to ensure your day was perfect and a dream come try..

1  Thank Debbie M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 3, 2013

We visited Discovery Cove on Christmas Eve having booked it from their own website and not through a travel agent. (This was our second visit) Yes, it is a little pricey but it IS worth every penny. We got there when the park opened and got given our pass cards and an early slot for our dolphin swim. We were then shown where to get breakfast which was lovely, we were worried about being cold as you eat outside, but no worries there as they have heaters! It was then on to getting our wetsuits...not easy to squeeze into!! We didn't have long to wait for our dolphin swim so stayed on our alloted beach area until it was time for our swim. The swim itself is with 8/9 other people, you get talked to about the dolphin and get to stoke it before having your swim. All the while someone is recording it and someone else is taking photos. Afterwards you are shown your photos and are given a choice of packages. We chose the more expensive one as it included the DVD,CD and a large poster plus photos and album. The photos ARE very expensive so be aware.
You get unlimited food and drink all day which is great. Towels and toiletries are also included and also a snorkle and a small sachet of sun lotion.
The lazy river (not lazy as you have to swim) just be aware that its depth changes quite frequently, you can have a break by getting out and going into the aviary where you can feed exotic birds, there's also a pool by the monkeys (which we never saw) and otters behind a glass window this and the lazy river were as warm as bath water, absolute heaven as it was pretty chilly the day we went. We swam with the stingrays in the great reef, bit scarey but worth doing, lots of little coloured fish swimming about too. The water in there was freezing!!
The staff were friendly and helpful, just a perfect relaxing day all round, would be better if a helicopeter wasn't buzzing around ALL day, got very annoying! But that's not the fault of the park.
Around the park in in the pools/lazy river there are photographers taking photos which you can have put onto a photo CD at the end of the day, if you know you've had one taken it it doesn't show up try and tell them the time and where you were and they can find it. Also take a water camera of your own....we brought a cheap digital one and it was fab as you could zoom in on the little fish in the Grand Reef!
The whole park and experience is amazing! Not to be missed!!

3  Thank ippydippy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 2, 2013

We just returned back from there and I've never been treated so well by a resort in my life! The dolphin experience was amazing as well as the great reef. They have a warm pool with a river where you can coast through the aviary and see all the tropical birds. This place is pristinely clean as well including their dining and restroom areas.

The service and friendliness of the staff is unbelievable! They provide you with everything! Wet suites, life vest, snorkeling gear, towels, etc. when they didn't have my son's size for water shoes or sandals at their store, the Manager went to the Aquatica park, got the best pair in my son's size and didn't charge me for them. The staff was incredibly nice, conscientious and helpful!

1  Thank Lisa M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 1, 2013

We spent the day here and could not have been more pleased. The cleanliness of the park and friendliness of all employees was great. The reef swim was spectacular and the aviary so much fun! Of course the highlight was the dolphin swim experience. Be ready to have fun and interact with the trainer. We had some people in our group who refused to listen and made it tough on the trainers. To the trainers credit they were very polite to them....I would not have been so kind. Be ready to spend money on photos as you can not take a camera in the dolphin swim experience. You can have someone from your group take photos but then they don't get to interact with the dolphin. Splurge and let discovery cove do the work. Well worth the money! Loved that food and drinks are included in price. We arrived about 9:30 and were scheduled for dolphin swim at 2:40. Perfect with temperatures in the 70's. Amazing day and highlight of our trip.

1  Thank Cdrabslp
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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