If you’ve ever been to SeaWorld Orlando’s Discovery Cove boutique park, then you know what an incredible experience it is. Those who haven’t yet been, may not realize what a great value the all-inclusive retreat provides the Orlando visitor. That experience and value is soon to be expanded as the all-new area called “The Grand Reef” will be opening in June of 2011.
The new reef features multiple levels of exploration, from shallow waters to deeper swimming adventures, from white sandy beaches and hammocks swaying in the breeze, to snorkeling among canyons inspired by reefs from around the world.
“The Grand Reef takes Discovery Cove’s world-class animal encounters to an all new level — several, actually,” said Stewart Clark, the park’s vice president. “It’s what our guests expect from us, unforgettable connections with the sea and making memories that will last forever. This could only be created by Discovery Cove.”
Visitors just need to get their feet wet to enjoy The Grand Reef, or they can choose to go deep. They can step into tranquil, shallow waters to discover a below-the-surface world teeming with sea life, or they can snorkel in deeper waters as thousands of exotic fish and graceful rays swim around them.
Construction zone: The Grand Reef was just days away from its first time being filled with water. In the background you can see the ladders you’ll use to descend into the SeaVenture path. On the right is one of the glass areas where the dangerous fish will be kept. Those cement rectangles on the ground will be the anchor spots for the faux-reefs that will populate the reef.
Those looking for an even more exhilarating adventure can take part in The Grand Reef’s, SeaVenture, an underwater walking tour. Wearing dive helmets, guests find up-close excitement around every corner, each step yielding a new discovery. They’ll come across lionfish and sharks (safely behind panoramic windows), one-on-one touches with unique animals and schools of fish and gentle rays swimming by. SeaVenture is a once-in-a-lifetime, undersea experience available for a nominal fee.
Each session is expected to last about 1 hour. 30-40 minutes will be training and learning and 20-25 minutes will be spent underwater. The giant helmets weigh about 75 pounds when out of water. But thanks to special ballast will only feel like 15 pounds on your shoulders when in the water. Each helmet will receive its own supply of oxygen as you traverse the special pathway created for the SeaVenture experience.
Custom built reefs like this one will create homes and hiding spaces for the fish of the reef.
The Grand Reef is the perfect balance between adventure and relaxation, a fully immersive tropical escape, new to discover in Orlando this June.
Each reef section can be filled with air (see faucet above) and floated up to the surface for cleaning. This will solve one of the guests main complaints with the existing reef.
There was already a lot of great detail in the Grand Reef area. Details like this handrail disguised as a branch show that Discovery Cove is elevating their game to a new level. They even brought in the same company that built the marvelous Wizarding World of Harry Potter down the street to create these details.
Thanks for joining me on this journey today. I should have more from Discovery Cove’s Grand Reef in the coming days.