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Unread 24 Feb 19, 07:31 AM  
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ally1966
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... and Then There Were 3, Orlando Feb 2019 - Day 2 - Discovery Cove


Unfortunately the weather was quite over cast when we woke up today and it looked like we might even get rain. I hoped that I hadn't chosen the wrong day for this experience, especially after the glorious sunshine we'd had yesterday.

We wanted to make an early start so that we could take full advantage of our time here and we were out of the room and waiting for the trolley by 7.30. It was only whilst we stood there that I checked the I-Ride website and found out that the service doesn't start till 8 - we're really not getting to grips with this whole bus transport thing! We debated resorting to Uber again but decided that we'd wait.

It arrived shortly after 8 and we took it as far as Seaworld where we could get the free shuttle to Discovery Cove.

There was already another family waiting at the pick up point. They told us that they were going to Aquatica but said they'd already been there for an hour and not yet seen any shuttle buses for any of the Seaworld parks. This had us slightly worried!

There is a free phone to request the Discovery Cove shuttle behind the bus stop so I rang and was told that our bus would be along in 10-15 mins. We joined the other family, who told us that they were from Cornwall, and chatted while we waited.

15 mins came and went and still no buses to anywhere! By now we'd been joined by a handful of Aquatica employees who were trying to get to work for 9 and seemed as confused as we were about what had happened to the buses.

I phoned again, and was informed that there was a problem with the transfer buses (we'd sort of guessed this by now!) but to stay where we were and one would be along shortly. We had little choice but to do as we were told but were beginning to get very apprehensive that this wasn't going to be the lovely relaxing day that we'd hoped for!

It was about 9.20 when an SUV with the Discovery Cove logo on the side pulled up and the driver shouted to the assembled crowd at the bus stop, is anyone going to Discovery Cove today? We were the only ones, so we jumped in.

The driver explained to us that the Aquatica bus had actually broken down and that they were going to be using the Discovery Cove one as DC usually had fewer guests to pick up. I hope that the other people didn't have too much longer to wait but at least we were on our way.

He was very friendly and informative. Telling us that he had worked at the park for 18 years and explaining how much the park and it's conservation work had expanded in this time.

We were soon being dropped off at the Reception area. This is a beautifully themed building which immediately sets the scene for the day ahead. The dolphin sculpture (pictured above) is suspended from the ceiling.

We were quickly checked in and issued with our passes, which also serve as tickets for Seaworld, Aquatica and Busch Gardens. We were given a Dolphin interaction time of 12.20. The lady at reception asked if we'd visited before and when we said, no, she carefully explained the lay out of the park and where we needed to go for meals and equipment.



Our first port of call was the Laguna Grill for some breakfast - we passed these beautiful birds on the way.



The food here is included in the entry price and is all you can eat. However it isn't self service. It's more like a cafeteria system where you take a tray and go up to the counter to be served with your meal.

We didn't feel that there was a particularly good choice of hot items available. I had sausage, breakfast potatoes, scrambled egg and some French toast sticks. It was nice enough but neither DD nor DH fancied this.



DD had Pain au Chocolat and a choc chip muffin.



DH opted for fruit - banana, apple and grapes. I think that their faces at this point say it all!



These little fellows are wandering around the seating area of the restaurant waiting for any crumbs!



After breakfast we set off to collect our equipment and find lockers, sunbeds etc. By now the weather had cleared up and there were blue skies over head. The place is stunningly beautiful and immediately transports you to a tropical paradise.

I had read many reviews and reports before booking this. I was a bit apprehensive about whether it would be worth the money, particularly for DH who is a complete non swimmer. The delays in transport and the limited breakfast offerings had done nothing to allay my concerns but the park itself is just Wow! There really aren't enough superlatives.



We all opted for vests rather than wetsuits and DD and I collected our snorkels. DH had no intention whatsoever of setting foot in any water!

We selected sunbeds over looking the Dolphin pools, as I was hoping that DH would take some photos of our dolphin swim later, and set off to explore the park.









Our first stop was at the aviary where we fed the birds and this little beauty actually landed on my arm. One tried to do the same to DD but it terrified her and she dropped her food pot!












We then wandered round to the Grand Reef where DD and I had a go at snorkelling. Neither of us had attempted this before and we had to ask one of the staff what to do. DD was far more successful than me as I just couldn't get the hang of not breathing through my nose so kept inhaling water! It was still fascinating to see the fish up close and under water and I was glad that I'd given it a go.



After this we returned to the beach where we relaxed over a cold drink and enjoyed playing in one of the hammocks.









DD and I then left DH to enjoy some peace and quiet whilst we went off for a float around the lazy river.
DD loved the experience and we would eventually do 3 complete circuits!



It was soon time for our dolphin swim. You have to meet your group in one of three cabanas which is allocated at check in. We were in Sand Dollar. You are then given a short talk by one of the trainers before being led into the pool to meet your dolphin.

We had Thelma. Who, at 27, was described as the matriarch of the group and is one of their largest dolphins. She was amazing and really seemed to pose for the camera!

This was without doubt the highlight of the day and an experience of a lifetime. If, as I was, you are unsure about spending so much money on one day out, all I can say is, do it! You won't regret it.



DH stood and watched from the beach but reckons that he didn't have a clear enough view to take pictures.

This led to us having to buy one of the professional photo packages. We had the cheapest option which is just 4 prints and cost a staggering $99. DD also got a phone case with one of her pictures printed on it for a further $15.






Once the dolphin interaction was over we went for dinner which, like breakfast, is served canteen style in the Laguna Grill. The offerings this time were much better.

I chose a pulled pork sandwich with fries and a couple of chicken tenders. DH had 2 cheese burgers with fries and DD had pasta Marinara with meatballs.

For dessert DH and I had cheesecake and DD had choc chip cookies.

It doesn't look very beautiful but all tasted good!



After dinner we returned to the beach where we spent much of the afternoon chilling with ice creams and a few drinks.

We also went to see the marmosets (who didn't want to make an appearance!) and the otters.

DD and I had another float round the lazy river. She tried everything to persuade DH to join us but he wouldn't budge.

By 5pm we reluctantly decided that it was time to shower up and leave paradise behind (the park closes at 5.30). Once dressed we collected our photos and returned to reception where they arranged a transfer to take us back to Seaworld.

For once the I-Ride turned up quickly and we were soon back at the hotel where DD decided she was still hungry so we bought her a pizza from the Light Bite for $5.33.

After our relaxing day we were strangely too tired to go out tonight so stayed in the room and watched TV. DD was asleep by 7pm.

So, the million dollar question - Was Discovery Cove worth the cost? For DD and me, resoundingly, Yes! For DH less so - whilst he had a lovely relaxing day which he thoroughly enjoyed he felt that it was expensive for what he got out of it ... and the photos are a complete rip off!



Day 3 is here:- https://www.thedibb.co.uk/forums/sho... php?t=1117826

Edited at 02:35 AM.
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Unread 24 Feb 19, 08:44 AM  
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Unread 24 Feb 19, 11:40 AM  
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mick
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Glad you and your daughter enjoyed the day as you say your hubby enjoyed the relaxing day so all good apart from the cost of the photos

Joan
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Unread 24 Feb 19, 12:40 PM  
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Originally Posted by mick View Post
Glad you and your daughter enjoyed the day as you say your hubby enjoyed the relaxing day so all good apart from the cost of the photos

Joan
Thanks xx
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Unread 24 Feb 19, 07:28 PM  
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Jakey Neverland
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Great photos, sounds like you had a lovely day. Looking forward to tomorrow.
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Unread 24 Feb 19, 09:29 PM  
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Originally Posted by Jakey Neverland View Post
Great photos, sounds like you had a lovely day. Looking forward to tomorrow.
Thanks x
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Unread 3 Mar 19, 11:17 PM  
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TRACEYA89
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what was the food prices in DC?
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Unread 6 Mar 19, 11:42 AM  
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Originally Posted by TRACEYA89 View Post
what was the food prices in DC?
The food at DC is included in your ticket price - breakfast, lunch and unlimited snacks & drinks for the entire day.
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