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.
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