This week, Discovery Cove announced the return of one of its best Florida resident deals. My family and I took advantage of this offer several years ago, and we definitely recommend it.
Through the end of the year, Florida residents can book the Dolphin Swim for $219 per person. That’s a great deal, considering that during peak times, such as the summer, visitors from out of state pay as much as $339 per person. What also makes this Florida-resident deal so sweet is that it includes unlimited admission to SeaWorld Orlando and Aquatica water park through Jan. 31, 2017, after your day at Discovery Cove.
We spent our day at Discovery Cove in late September for our children’s birthdays and then had four months to enjoy Aquatica and SeaWorld. This deal is a great way for locals to sample all the SeaWorld Orlando parks. Plus, the crowds are light, for the most part, which makes each experience all the more enjoyable. We were a little chilly swimming in January, but that didn’t stop my then-8-year-old and 10-year-old from diving right in and having a blast, that’s for sure!
Discovery Cove is an all-inclusive park, which means your ticket provides breakfast and lunch plus unlimited snacks, drinks and alcoholic beverages; wetsuit and equipment for snorkeling; and lockers, towels and sunscreen. Discovery Cove only admits 1,300 guests per day, so the park is never overcrowded.
Guests wade with stingrays (that have been debarbed), snorkel among exotic fish in a saltwater lagoon, feed tropical birds in a free-flight aviary, float down a lazy river and relax on white-sand beaches. The highlight of the day for many is, of course, a 30-minute interaction with dolphins that includes holding onto the dolphin’s dorsal fin for a short swim. (Florida residents who do not want to participate in the dolphin interaction can purchase a Resort Day pass for $149 and get the current deal with SeaWorld and Aquatica.)
SeaWorld’s Aquatica water park is themed to feature sea animals, of course, and its centerpiece attractions are Dolphin Plunge, which takes riders through a tank of black-and-white Commerson’s dolphins, and Ihu’s Breakaway Falls, which drops riders into a water slide after the bottom falls away. There are a variety of tubes and slides, two family raft rides, a lazy river, body-surfing rapids, and two separate kids’ play areas. As with SeaWorld, there is an all-day dining option in one of the three restaurants. (You can read more in my review of Aquatica.)
At SeaWorld, visitors can see a signature Shamu show, feed a dolphin, pet a stingray, brave some monster roller coasters or play in the kids’ area all in a day at the Orlando theme park. The newest attraction, Mako, opened in June and is the tallest, longest and faster coaster in Orlando.
Florida residents who opt for the Discovery Cove deal also can experience Halloween parties that include trick-or-treating and Christmas celebrations with amazing decorations and special shows at SeaWorld at no additional charge. This definitely is another selling point because Disney World and Universal Orlando both require separate tickets for holiday events.
Perhaps the only downside to the Discovery Cove deal is that parking is not included for SeaWorld or Aquatica. But the $20 or $15 charge, respectively, is a small price to pay for all you’re getting.