Staff Travels | Discovery Cove Orlando

In this series, you’ll be hearing first hand from the Travel Republic team members who have ventured far and wide. We hope you’ll find these interviews helpful, especially if you are thinking about visiting a certain destination or would like tips for specific attractions.

Meet Michaela, our Accommodation Product Manager. She visited Orlando’s Discovery Cove, and gives us an insight into her experience.

Can you tell us about what Discovery Cove is?

“Discovery Cove isn’t your typical Floridian theme park. The key to DC is relaxation, so it’s different to other Orlando parks that can be quite stressful!

Here you can swim with dolphins, feed tropical birds and see Mamazette monkeys inside the Explorers Aviary, and snorkel in the Grand Reef with tropical fish. It’s like a resort rather than a theme park, with a relaxed ambiance, lush foliage and beaches. I would describe it as a tropical paradise that’s more like being in Maldives.

The unique thing about this park is that it’s all inclusive. There’s one restaurant serving breakfast and lunch with lots of choice. There are also several bars serving drinks and snacks dotted around. With only 1,300 capacity, it can feel like you’re the only one there.”

Why did you decide to go?

“We went on a friend’s recommendation. They had been the previous year and said the whole experience was fantastic.”

When did you go?

“We went in summer 2017 on a two week holiday to Florida, with six adults and three children ranging from three to eight years old. I’d say DC is perfect for families or big groups like ours.”

What was your favourite part of Discovery Cove?

“I loved the saltwater pool. It had everything from sting rays to tropical fish and you didn’t need to queue, you just put your snorkels on and go in. The visibility was fantastic and you could even touch the fish which was a bonus! There was another part of it with a glass wall where there were sharks the other side of tank. Honestly, they were trying to get rid of me – I didn’t want to leave!”

Who is it suitable for?

“This park is suitable for all ages. There’s so much for the kids to do and because it’s so quiet, you’re not afraid that you’ll lose them.”

“There are bars for adults and its capped capacity means that you’re not on top of each other. There are plenty of quiet little coves to chill and sunbathe too.”

Did anything surprise you about the experience?

“I was taken aback by how accommodating the place was, plus its great value. When it says all inclusive, it means all inclusive as there are no hidden costs. Everything is included from lockers, towels and parking, to food, sun cream and snorkels. The staff members on the day were also fantastic.”

“It’s opposite Sea World so if you’re only in Orlando for day, I’d recommend going to DC in morning, then SeaWorld later in the day when it’s cooler as Sea World is open till late.”

Why should people visit this attraction?

“Discovery Cove is great value considering it’s the cheapest of the parks and one of the only places in Orlando that is for relaxation. If you enjoy interactive experiences, then here you will appreciate the up close and personal interaction with the animals.”

Did you visit any of the other attractions or theme parks in Orlando?

“Yes, all of them! Discovery Cove was definitely my favourite. I could have spent the rest of my holiday going back there every day.”

Michaela’s top tips for your visit:

  • Book the park ahead of time as the visitor numbers are capped at 1,300. We did this two weeks prior
  • If you want to swim with dolphins, then pre-book your 30 minute slot online
  • Bring valid ID for the all inclusive alcohol available
  • Go as early as possible (you can have breakfast from 7:15 am) as it closes around 5pm
  • Bring water shoes as some underwater surfaces are rocky
  • Bring a spare change of clothes for lunchtime
  • Bring a camera (Go Pro’s are allowed too) along with music and a book for when you want to relax
  • Bring an empty stomach and an empty wallet!