Discovery Cove 6/5/24 and bonus Disney Springs Drone Show Review

Look I know, there are no roller coasters at this park, yes that’s correct; are we over that? Ok good. Let’s move on. I figured this review would be of interest to some of you.

This was the last non Sesame Place Allied Domestic park I had yet to experience and I did want to swim with a dolphin so I finally booked a visit. Now I managed to get a AP discount and an early booking discount for my admission and dolphin encounter combo at $190. Last week they ran a sale on the Sea Venture add on which I also booked for $55. So in whole my admission and two add on experiences was $245. This is a rather unique park included with your admission is unlimited food (sea world quick service quality so fine but not amazing,) drinks (soft and basic alcohol drinks, but you can purchase an add on for all drinks,) parking, sunscreen (animal friendly,) lockers and swimming gear (wetsuits, vests, snorkel gear.)

There are two water attractions included in admission, “the reef” and the tropical river. The reef is a giant sand filled salt water pool where you can snorkel and get up close and personal with thousands of fish and rays, which was really cool. You can also touch the rays. The tropical river is a lazish river that has a varying height of 2.5 ft and 8.5 ft that is tubeless and you have the option of lifevests, lifeguard “hot dog” floats or just self floating. The large loop goes through an aviary and takes 20-30 min to traverse, the small loop goes past an otter enclosure and a marmoset enclosure and takes 10 min. I say lazish because you will need to swim from time to time when the current dies. Additionally there is a flamingo enclosure, a bunch of other small mammals exhibits (saw a sloth, heard an armadillo is there as well) and in the aviary you can leave the river and feed the birds (for free.). I spent my morning doing my add ons and swimming in the reef and the afternoon in the river and exploring the small enclosures. I feel that if you don’t do at least one add on you are probably going to feel like you are missing out and you will probably run out of things to do over your 8 hours. That said, I do think the add ons are worth the cost and will take 45 min each (15 min prep, 30 min encounter.) Here is my review of the add ons:

Dolphin Encounter: So this is the signature activity of the resort and based on marketing material you would expect it to be included in admission, but it’s not. I don’t think I saw a single ticket that didn’t do this though, because how can you resist? At your appointed time you will go through orientation and then be broken up into groups of 8-10. You will then go into the dolphin pool and meet your cetacean (Clipper with a C not an F for me.) After having the dolphin vocalize and do a few tricks everyone individually will go up and be able to hold his/her snout and get a kiss, followed by the dolphin then swimming beside you and you giving them a hug. After that each family will go together as a group to get pictures with the dolphin. The trainer then will bring the dolphin up close for you to touch their flukes. Finally, one by one you will hold onto the dorsal fin and the flipper and be pulled about 10 yards. I liked it, it was neat to be able to get so close to such an amazing animal (as all Hitchikers know it’s the second most intelligent animal on Earth followed closely by humans after all.)

SeaVenture: This takes place in the reef pool in a walled off area. This is a decent to the bottom of a 14 ft pool for a walk by sharks (separated by glass) and amongst 100s of fish and full size (15 ft span) rays swimming all around you and occasionally bumping into you. This is accomplished by you wearing an old fashion (plastic) diving bell. I looked a nurse shark in their eyes less then 2 ft away and multiple fish and rays swam right next to me. It was amazing and really neat. Honestly I don’t know which add on I liked more, and would probably do both again.

Was it worth it? For the price I paid absolutely, but I have heard some people pay over $500 which is too much. If you can secure a good rate I highly recommend. It’s an extremely relaxing day. One final note, if you sign up for the Dolphin and Seaventure your time will be assigned on a first come first serve basis so it behooves you to arrive a few min before 7 am so you get an early time, breakfast is served starting at 7:30 and the pools open at 9 am but the dolphin encounters start at 8:30. Discovery Cove closes at 5 pm .

So with my day concluded early, I headed to Disney Springs so that I could see the Dreams that Soar drone show, and wow, was that ever impressive. 800 drones going for 9 minutes, highlights include the Up House taking flight, Wall-E and Eve dancing, the Death Star getting destroyed, Flying Baymax, a Guardians dance off that uses negative space really neatly, and a closing montage of practically every Disney character popular and obscure that flys. Highly recommend checking out this free show if in the area. It takes flight nightly at 9 and 10:45, in typical WDW fashion expect to wait an hour for good spots, 30 min for a spot for the first show but half the wait for the late show.

2022 Trips: WDW, Sea World San Diego & Orlando, CP, KI, BGW, Bay Beach, Canobie Lake, Universal Orlando

Wow! My siblings and spouses are doing our first empty nesters trip next February. We chose Orlando. I am definitely going to look into this. Thank you for posting about it.

Jeff's avatar

Are they still including adult beverages?

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog

Some limited choices, but for $40 you can get the whole menu.

2022 Trips: WDW, Sea World San Diego & Orlando, CP, KI, BGW, Bay Beach, Canobie Lake, Universal Orlando

Our last visit it was $40 upgrade for all Alcohol. This is a good non coaster park to do a trip report for. Even the food is decent.

We've done that season pass deal twice now for Discovery Cove. We love the heated lazy river, and can spend all day in there. Our favorite waterpark.

I've read good things about the drone show. Looking forward to seeing that on our next visit.

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