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“Great experience but not as "perfect" as I expected”
Review of Discovery Cove

Discovery Cove
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USD 18.99*
and up
Orlando Attractions Roundtrip Transfer
Ranked #2 of 393 things to do in Orlando
More attraction details
Attraction details
Fee: Yes
Owner description: Discovery Cove is a one-of-a kind experience where you can interact with bottlenose dolphins, feed tropical birds, play inches from a family of otters and even walk on the Grand Reef floor-all in one day. Between adventures, recharge with unlimited island fare and refreshments. With this all-inclusive experience your family can unwind, explore, learn, and create memories that will last a lifetime.
Useful Information: Wheelchair access, Activities for young children, Activities for older children, Bathroom facilities, Lockers / storage
Reviewed 6 April 2018

We had been looking forward to this experience for over a year - my boys (ages 11 and 8) love everything about marine life. I had been told by many people how great the experience was. While we did have a good time, there definitely could have been improvements. First - customer service was lacking. There were some staff that were nice, but others that definitely lacked in customer service training. I expected "Disney" like customer service and was met with sub-par employees. Secondly, as mentioned in many previous posts - the lines were long for food. I got there early, so I didn't wait for breakfast. But the line for lunch was long, regardless of what time you went. They need more employees serving lunch or more places to get it. Third - the sunscreen did not work. I constantly put it on and yet I got badly burned. I was under the impression that you had to use the provided sunscreen; however, next time I will be bringing my own. That being said, the experience was great for my children. The absolutely loved the snorkeling and looking at the animals; it was crowded, but that didn't bother them. They also loved feeding the birds and having them land on their arms and head. They also loved being able to get any snacks they wanted and all the slushies that they could drink for the day! While other reviews talk about how expensive the day was, I thought it was very reasonable if you are planning on going to Seaworld and Aquatica; you have unlimited access for 14 days to those parks. Overall, I'm willing to give the park another try and my boys are already asking when we will go back. I'll just be sure to bring my own sunscreen this time!

Date of experience: April 2018
Thank Colleen M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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in 1,187 reviews
"grand reef"
in 969 reviews
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in 572 reviews
"breakfast and lunch"
in 571 reviews
"tropical fish"
in 541 reviews
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in 331 reviews
"bird aviary"
in 241 reviews
"underwater camera"
in 194 reviews
"great reef"
in 178 reviews
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783 - 787 of 16,226 reviews

Reviewed 6 April 2018 via mobile

Second visit to Orlando in two years and after missing out last time this time around we were determined to visit Discovery Cove.

Booked and confirmed in Feb we were literally counting down the days.

Arrival and check in was straight forward enough then the issues started. We headed straight for breakfast to find a huge line formed waiting to be served. A 30 min wait wasn’t what we expected.

After breakfast we headed to the Grand Reef where not a single sun bed was to be found anywhere, groups of chairs reserved with towels everywhere you looked would remind you of a cheap package holiday to Spain , after searching for a good half hour without success for at least one bed I decided to try guest services to see if they could help. Another 20 mins of waiting and finally they came up with two beds. Almost an hour gone !!

Admittedly the Reef was great fun for the kids were they could swim with the stingrays and other assorted fish.

As our dolphin swim was booked for 3.30 we decided to have lunch early. The restaurant was again full and another with a huge line formed on both sides we had endure another 30 plus min wait to be served.

With the best part of 15 mins remaining until our dolphin swim we headed to the check in. We were them told there was a slight delay and we didn’t begin the dolphin encounter until 4pm

Without question this was the absolute highlight of the day, the trainer was absolutely superb with the two kids, his performance which I’m sure he has done countless times was slick and very professional, he answered all the questions the kids threw at him and gave them as much time as possible. It truly was a dolphin encounter as you get to swim with pet and even feed and kiss the dolphin.

This ended at 4.30 when you were them led into the photo studio as such to choose your photos etc. Extortionate pricing considering how much the day actually cost !!

By know it was 4.50pm and with the grand reed closing at 5pm we headed to the other end of the cove which stayed open until 5.30pm.

All in a pretty disappointing day , including the dolphin encounter I’d say we were actually in the water 2.5 hours. Too much time spent queuing up for breakfast and lunch and waiting for the dolphin swim.

The food was standard and par for the course.

If I could make a suggestion it would be to limit the number of sun beds to groups or indeed number them individually? Also perhaps a allocated time for breakfast and lunch as you would find in the busier resorts etc.

Would we go again ? Not a chance, yes the dolphin encounter was incredible and something the kids won’t forget but the rest just seemed like your regular Orlando themed park.

Date of experience: April 2018
7  Thank crossguns
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Gabe A, Guest Relations Manager at Discovery Cove, responded to this reviewResponded 18 July 2018

I am sorry to hear about your disappointing experience. We do try very hard to ensure that every guests experience is a memorable and I apologize that may have missed the mark during you visit. I will be reaching out to you on TripAdvisor to solicit more feedback on how we might improve the guest experience.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 April 2018 via mobile

Discovery Cove is a great experience for families. We did snubaing and swam with the dolphins. Our 13 year old had a great time! The lazy rivers are the best we have experienced and we spent hours there. It is a great environment for children to experience snorkeling in a controlled environment for the first time. Highly recommend if you have not been.

Date of experience: April 2018
1  Thank Lisa M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 April 2018 via mobile

I took three teenagers and they said this was their favorite place in Florida. I always rank places by their bathrooms and this place was amazing. The employees were constantly mopping the wet floors in the bathroom and it was sparkling. The food was awesome. The kids loved the included icees. The water in the reef was cold but the other areas were very warm. Such a beautiful place felt like we were in a tropical island.

Date of experience: April 2018
Thank Kmmlj
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 5 April 2018

Very pricey, but an amazing experience with the dolphin interaction. Lazy river and feed were great too. Plenty of choices for breakfast and lunch, with snacks and drinks the rest of the time. Only complaint is the sunscreen, better reapply every hour...my wife and daughter both got burned. Also taking advantage of Seaworkd, Aquatica and Busch Gardens to make price worth it.

Date of experience: April 2018
Thank dshow99
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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