If you’ve been around for a while, you’ve heard me talk about our 4 gifts we give each Christmas. The big one is, inevitably, the “do” gift. Waaaaaaay back in 2019, we gave Whit a day trip to Discovery Cove for his big gift of the season. Well, little did we know then that it would take us three years to make good on it!
Discovery Cove is an all-inclusive day resort where you will enjoy a one-of-a-kind opportunity to swim with dolphins, snorkel among thousands of tropical fish and rays in The Grand Reef, hand-feed hundreds of exotic birds in Explorer’s Aviary, and encounter playful otters and curious marmosets as you explore the turquoise waters of Freshwater Oasis. You can relax in tropical lagoons at Serenity Bay surrounded by lush landscaping, then float through a beautiful cave as Wind-Away River takes you through rainforest-like environments, into the free-flight aviary and past stunning waterfalls.
Your all-inclusive day includes breakfast and lunch, plus endless snacks and beverages (including beer and wine for guests 21 and older). Additional all-inclusive amenities include lockers, animal-safe sunscreen, towels, wetsuits, snorkel gear and free parking. Shower facilities stocked with soap, shampoo, conditioner and blow dryers are also complimentary.
Located in Orlando, Discovery Cove is a perfect add-on to your Disney World, Disney Cruise or Universal Vacation! And, it is something I’d LOVE to book for you!
Reservations are required and daily attendance is limited to ensure every guest feels like a VIP. On arrival, you are greeted at the reception center to check-in and set up return times for any special experiences you added to your day.
Discovery Cove is absolutely beautiful and we became more excited than ever when we got our first peek!
We added on a private cabana for the day and we all agreed it was the best! We loved the privacy it afforded us and both Honey and Whit enjoyed long afternoon naps in the peaceful quiet. The cabana is stocked with drinks and snacks, had a safe to lock up our belongings, and included a personal attendant to help with absolutely anything.
There is also the option to add on a reserved Day Bed. These fit two guests.
As mentioned, Discovery Cove food and beverages are all included. You’ll begin the morning at Laguna Grill with a buffet-style breakfast. Following suit is lunch, offering a wide range of options. They are happy to accommodate dietary needs, serving up fresh seafood and vegetarian dishes while providing Allergy Friendly Recommendations. I didn’t find any of the food to be outstanding or memorable, but it was included and convenient so I have no complaints.
In addition to meals, grab and go snacks are available all day long.
You are also free to enjoy a selection of gourmet coffee, ice-cold beverages, and beer and wine for guests who are 21+. We loved the in-water lounge area just off of Blue Bamboo Bar, located right by our cabana. After lunch you found many adults enjoying a cocktail from their pool lounger!
There are SO many locations and amenities to explore and enjoy. First was Serenity Bay, a refreshing 85-degree family swim area
Wind Away River was where we spent most of our morning! Here, you ride the soothing currents of a tropical river as it winds past sandy beaches, through a dense rain forest, beneath the rocky terrain of cascading waterfalls, and through an underwater cave. It even takes you straight through the Aviary! A small detour leads you to Freshwater Oasis. Here, you enjoy face-to-face encounters with playful otters and curious marmosets!
Our cabana was located next to Explorer’s Aviary. We made two trips inside – in addition to gliding through on Wind Away River – to enter this “hidden” treasure.
In the Grand Reef, guests can swim and snorkel with thousands of tropical fish and see sharks in the next lagoon over! I didn’t snag any pictures here as I only made one pass around with my camera. It was another wonderful area.
Throughout the day, you will also find Animal Encounters around Discovery Cove. Animal experts are on hand to answer questions.
That said, we decided to add on the Animal Trek and it was another absolutely amazing experience. With just one other family of four, we were able to go behind the scenes for up close encounters with some amazing creatures! We learned all about them and were able to touch and hold some of them.
Our most favorite of all was meeting the sloth!!!! Oh my goodness, she was SO CUTE!
And, finally, we wrapped up our day swimming with Latoya! Discovery Cove’s signature dolphin swim experience begins with a brief orientation. Then, you head over to the lagoon to meet your dolphin friend! Two animal care specialists will teach you all about dolphin habits, behaviors, their incredible communication abilities, and the relationships they build on a daily basis with these animals. After that, each group member gets a chance to individually interact with the dolphin and learn about that dolphin’s personality through behaviors. It was so well done!
There are many other special experiences you can choose to add on to your day, including an underwater walking tour, shark swim, up close with flamingos, ray feeding and even being a trainer for a day.
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As a Premier Level Advisor with Glass Slipper Concierge, I am recognized for providing the highest level of customer service, experience, and knowledge in the industry. I use my personal connections and firsthand expertise to craft bespoke theme park vacations for the most discerning clients.
Most aspects of planning a theme park vacation look different and now, more than ever, it is crucial to have the most current, up to date information based on personal experience to plan your vacation! I know these parks inside and out, I’ve stayed in all of the resorts, and am a small, one woman show. Let’s go there!
As Premier Level Advisor with Glass Slipper Concierge, an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner, I offer concierge travel planning for Walt Disney World® Resort, Disney Cruise Line, Disneyland® Resort, Disney Aulani Hawaii, Universal, Sea World and to over 40 countries on 7 continents through Adventures by Disney® and National Geographic Expeditions.