A special thanks to our friends at Discovery Cove for inviting us to stay at their amazing getaway in Orlando! As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Nothing says summer like a paradise themed getaway – and you don’t have to visit a tropical island to do it! A few weeks ago, my mother-in-love and I took the boys to Orlando’s Discovery Cove, and it felt like we experienced three full days in one (in a good way, of course). Here’s how to get the most out of your visit:
The upgrades are worth it. Since there were six of us, we splurged on a private cabana. Such a good idea. It was great to set up with comfy seating in a shady, lush spot close to the waterways, and the package includes a fully stocked fridge with snacks and drinks, a locker, and towel service. But best of all was our lovely hostess. Not only did she hang with the little guys while we swam with dolphins and enjoyed our underwater Seaventure (no dive experience needed!), but she even brought them to the dolphin experience when we were done so they could give these amazing creatures a treat and snap a few pics! She went out of her way to make us comfortable, and even walked the park with us to make sure we got the most out of our time and experience.
It’s OK to pack light. Admission includes a freshly prepared breakfast, lunch, unlimited snacks, non-alcoholic beverages, and a selection of beer and wine for guests over 21. The park has changing and shower facilities and provides a swim vest or wet suit, snorkel gear, floaties, lockers and towels. You can even leave your SPF at home – Discovery cares deeply for its animals, and so they’ve got a specially formulated sunscreen to protect their habitats. So your photo ID, credit card, and swim gear are all you need to bring!
Plan to spend the full day. The day starts and ends early at Discovery Cove – breakfast is at 7:15! (Sure, kiddos sometimes complain about the early start, but it’s worth a little grumbling to make sure you get the most out of the day. They’ll be all smiles once a toucan is eating out of their hand in the aviary, or an otter slithers up alongside them for a swim. If you need help planning your day, I definitely recommend giving the park a call beforehand. They’re happy to make sure you experience it all.
It never feels crowded. The park sticks to a strict max capacity (1300 people). It’s never crowded. No wait, no lines, and I couldn’t believe how relaxed and peaceful it felt there. When I asked our hostess what the park was like on a max capacity day, she grinned and confided: “This IS a max capacity day!” Incredible. So many popular destinations are jam-packed during the summer, but Discovery Cove keeps it peaceful for animals and humans alike.
The animals are healthy. This one’s really important to me, and I could see the difference immediately. Our dolphin trainer shared that at Discovery Cove, the dolphins have a much longer and healthier life span than at other parks. It’s obvious in how they run the park, the steps they take to protect the animals’ well being, and in the animals themselves.
None of us were ready to leave that day – can’t wait to come back with Lew so he can experience the fun, too! Whether you just make a day of it or take advantage of some of the longer vacation packages, Discovery Cove is a perfect slice of summer.