Discovery Cove, Orlando’s Best Value?

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If you’ve been waiting to visit Discovery Cove until it became more affordable, you may be surprised to know that it’s already quite a good value, perhaps the best value in Orlando when you consider all that a day trip involves.

For my wife’s birthday this year, I booked us an all-day inclusive Dolphin Swim Day Resort package at Discovery Cove. We’ve been to Discovery Cove a couple times before, but she never had the full experience including the Dolphin interaction. She’s not that fond of swimming in water with fish in it, but I told her dolphins are actually mammals, not fish, so she agreed to try it.

A day at Discovery Cove is as relaxing or as exciting as you want it to be. Our tickets included not only the 30-minute dolphin interaction, but also access to The Grand Reef, Explorer’s Aviary, Freshwater Oasis & the Tropical River. Food and drinks are served for Breakfast, Lunch, and snacks, and the price includes beer, wine, and some alcoholic mixers as well.

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My suggestion is to arrive 30-40 minutes prior to opening to get your dolphin swim assignment and then head off to breakfast. You can then have an early lunch and avoid the larger crowds that come to the end of the lunch period.

If you have children, you’ll probably want to claim some chairs near the Tropical River as that has a shallow beach area where kids play. If you’re just there as adults, anywhere near one of the snack shops is my suggestion. Shade is limited, so arriving early also lets you pick if you want shade or not.

Even if you don’t want the dolphin swim, there is still plenty to enjoy. Heck, I could hang out with the Marmosets and Otters in the Freshwater Oasis all morning. If you’re feeling flush, you can also try the add-on SeaVenture experience (here’s my video from a previous SeaVenture experience).

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Discovery Cove not only offers a unique experience that can’t be found anywhere else in Orlando, but it offers a uniquely good value too. Currently the cost for a one day visit with Dolphin Swim experience is as low as $319 (or $219 for Florida residents). I’ve seen it lower in the off season.

This price also includes 14 days at SeaWorld or Aquatica. Via the SeaWorld website you can purchase 14 days of unlimited admission to SeaWorld and Aquatica for $119. If we subtract that from that total, you’re paying $200 ($100 if you’re a local). Now if you were also planning on a trip to SeaWorld and Aquatica the price appears a lot more attractive (especially if you’re a Florida resident). Remember admission includes unlimited food and drink too.

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At the end of the day, we tried everything, spent many relaxing hours in the lazy river, soaked up plenty of sun, and had a dolphin interaction as a family that we all will remember. Definitely take advantage of your first opportunity to visit Discovery Cove. It’s a memory that will last a lifetime and a day you wish would last forever.

*We received discounted tickets from SeaWorld for our visit, but the opinions here are totally our own.

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3 Responses to Discovery Cove, Orlando’s Best Value?

  1. Tristen says:

    My husband and I chose Disney and Discovery Cove for our honeymoon a few years back because he really wanted to swim with a dolphin, and I really wanted to visit Epcot again, after not being there since it first opened. We had the most amazing time at Discovery Cove. He did the dolphin swim, I did not, we got rained out for a good hour before his swim, and yet it was just such a fabulous day. We visited the aviary, swam, visited the stingray pool and lounged on the beach, while being tended to the entire day with breakfast and lunch, great snacks and drinks. I HIGHLY recommend a visit, even without the swim. The setting is beautiful and with all of the activity or relaxation options, you can’t lose. We can’t wait to go back someday!

  2. Angela Rising says:

    Hi – I read your reviews. I’m really considering this for my family which is myself, my husband and our 7-year-old daughter who is a self-professed dolphin expert. A lot of the reviews I have read are from adults/couples, but I’m wondering if this is a good option for a family. What are your thoughts?

    • John Frost says:

      your daughter won’t need to be a strong swimmer, but she will need to be comfortable in water that’s past her waist. When not in with the Dolphins there are various floatation devices she can use. We’ve been twice, once with an 7 year old and two years later with a 9 year old, and had a great time as a family.

      -JF

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