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Tad's Rad Discovery Cove Dolphin Swim Experience & FAQ

by Tad on December 7, 2023 38 Orlando   Video

Holiday sale alert! For a limited time, you can save 30% off all Discovery Cove tickets (aka save up to $229 per ticket!) through Undercover Tourist.

Discovery Cove Dolphin Swim - PinterestHoppy summer, frog friends! No matter when you're reading this, it's basically always summer in Orlando, Florida ... especially at Discovery Cove! If you're not familiar, Discovery Cove Orlando is an all-inclusive day resort right across the street from SeaWorld Orlando ... with all of the aquatic adventures to match. Sounds like froggy heaven, right?

Mommy Frog (that’s Flora to you folks), Dad (Leap), Lily and I have had the pleasure of visiting our dolphin friends at Discovery Cove. I’m going to answer some frequently asked questions about the Discovery Cove Dolphin Swim, and tell you all about our experience along the way. This is the most popular add-on experience at Discovery Cove, and best of all, you can book your Discovery Cove dolphin swim with us at a discount — right now, you can save up to $229 per ticket with our holiday sale!

Discovery Cove Dolphin Swim Experience & FAQ

When you're exploring something new (and investing in an add-on experience), you're always going to have questions. Don't worry — we wise frogs have the answers you seek. Have more questions not answered below? Hop to our comments and shoot 'em our way.

How do I make my Discovery Cove Dolphin Swim reservation?

Check out our discounted Discovery Cove ticket options, and select one of the packages that includes the dolphin swim. You'll need to choose a date for your visit, as only a limited number of people are allowed in the resort per day. (For ultimate relaxation, duh.)

Upon arrival at check-in, you will choose your Discovery Cove dolphin swim time with one of the park's ambassadors (a Guest Services employee). The early frog gets the fly ... meaning the earlier you arrive, the more flexibility and availability there will be with your swim time.

Believe it or not, the dolphins actually dictate whether a swim hoppens or not! Before each swim, the trainers ask the dolphins if they're ready to work (and play). If the dolphins respond negatively, your swim can and will be postponed. It actually hoppened to us! The trainers then work with each party in the group individually to schedule a future swim time — whether it's later in the day or another day entirely (completely free of charge since you already paid)! Hence why scheduling a swim early in the day can be very beneficial — especially if you're only in Orlando for a very short time.

Considering those frequent Florida afternoon showers, try hopping on a morning swim to be safe.

I don't do well in deep water. Can I handle the Discovery Cove Dolphin Swim?

Yes! The vast majority of your dolphin experience takes place in shallow water where you can easily stand. This is where your trainer(s) will introduce your dolphin to you and allow you to pet them. It's also where you'll stand for your hugging and kissing photos with the dolphin! The actual "swim" portion itself does take place over deep water, but the whole time, you're safely holding onto your dolphin's dorsal fin. Your dolphin will take you from one shallow point to the next — so you're never actually treading any water! For reference, the shallowest point of Dolphin Lagoon is 0-1 feet and the deepest point is 12 feet.

Are there any age restrictions? 

Unfrogtunately, tadpoles ages 5 and under cannot participate in the dolphin swim, and tadpoles ages 6 to 12 need to be accompanied by a paying adult who is also participating in the experience. This policy was set to ensure that the children can interact in a social setting and follow instructions from the trainer, as well as be physically capable of standing in 3-foot-deep water with large, powerful animals.

What do I wear for the Discovery Cove Dolphin Swim?

Discovery Cove Dolphin Swim - Wetsuits

Great question! You'll need to wear either a wetsuit (short-sleeve or long-sleeve options available) or a vest during your swim. The water can feel quite chilly, so we recommend the hoppy medium of the short-sleeve wetsuit on most days. All of these choices are provided to you at no extra charge! The beauty here is that the Discovery Cove ambassadors will choose a size for you, and they're awesome at estimating your fit. If it's too big or too small, no worries ... just go exchange it! No questions asked.

What else am I allowed to wear for the Discovery Cove Dolphin Swim?

Sunglasses are allowed and toadally recommended for the Discovery Cove Dolphin Swim, because the glare of sunlight on the water can get pretty intense. You can wear regular glasses as well, or prescription goggles are available at guest services at no extra charge. However, you are required to remove jewelry, including bracelets, necklaces, etc. (watches and wedding bands are exceptions and can remain with you). If you have a hair tie on your wrist, you will be asked to remove it or use it to put your hair up!

You should wear your Discovery Cove lanyard to the swim, as this will be your proof of purchase and swim time! You will be asked to tuck the lanyard into your wet suit before diving in. Make sure there's room for your lanyard to be tucked in when putting on your wet suit!

What about my rings? I don't want to leave them in a locker.

If you're wearing an engagement ring or wedding set with a large stone ... first of all, congrats! But more importantly, one of the Discovery Cove employees will ask to wrap it up for you with a gauzy material to make sure you don't accidentally scratch the dolphin, or have a stone fall out and become dolphin dinner. That would be disastrous for everyone involved!

Will I receive any training or education beforehand?

Yes! You’ll meet at a covered station where one of the trainers will give you a nice safety spiel and play-by-play of your anticipated adventures. We even got to watch a cool video telling us all about dolphins!

How many people will I be grouped with?

Discovery Cove Dolphin Swim - Tricks

Dolphin Lagoon is divided into three main sections, and each of those sections has room for four groups. (Everyone begins at the same time.) Including you and your party, your immediate group will be approximately 10 people. It was fun seeing other families, couples and even people hoppin’ solo while interacting with the dolphins! We shared our dolphin, Roxy, with three different parties of two to three frogs.

How many dolphins do you get to meet during the Discovery Cove Dolphin Swim?

You’ll meet one super special dolphin during your swim, but see many others playing and swimming in the lagoon. We love that this makes the experience a bit more intimate, as you really get to learn all about your dolphin. Our friend Roxy is 25 years old and has two adorable calves who also live at Discovery Cove. Your designated trainers (there are two with you — one of which is the primary “narrator” so to speak) will answer any and all questions you and your tadpoles have about the dolphins and other Discovery Cove wildlife. The trainers will share fun facts and ask YOU questions, too, making the experience interesting and informative. Did you know that dolphins only have one set of teeth for their entire lifespan (about 50 to 60 years)?

How much dolphin interaction will we receive?

Discovery Cove Dolphin Swim - Ride

When you think “Dolphin Swim,” you inevitably imagine doing the classic dolphin ride-along, and probably not much else. Don’t be fooled or scared away by this misconception! The Discovery Cove Dolphin Swim will wow you with the interaction you receive. I’ll walk you through our experience to help paint a picture for you!

To start, our group lined up and the trainer had Roxy swim right by all of us, allowing us to “pet” her just past the dorsal fin. Like most humans and frogs, dolphins don’t feel too comfortable with you touching their faces. We got to do this about four times during our interaction! As a group, the trainer walked us through a few hand signals that encouraged Roxy to perform her behaviors, such as waving, flipping and even making adorable sounds. After this came the dolphin swim itself. We each met one of the trainers in the shallow water and hitched a gentle ride with Roxy. Photographers were there to capture all of the magic!

How long does the dolphin interaction take? 

The in-water experience takes approximately 30 minutes (though there's such a thing as running on dolphin time!). The orientation takes about 10 minutes before you walk down to the lagoon. We suggest arriving about 10 minutes before your scheduled time so you don't run late. Overall, budget about an hour for the entire experience.

What about the most important part … the photo opportunities?

Discovery Cove Dolphin Swim - Hug

You can let out a sigh of relief because I assure you, your Instagram will be hoppin’ after your Discovery Cove Dolphin Swim. The trainers, a photographer and Roxy herself were all awesome about all of the photos! Of course, photos of our ride-along were captured. Afterward, Roxy was sweet enough to pose for both solo and group shots, both standard and KISSING! That’s right — Roxy kissed us each on the cheek, which resulted in the most adorable pictures. While photographers are available to take pictures, photo packages come at an additional cost. We recommend springing for the largest photo package (especially for a big group!) so you can get all of your photo downloads.

Can I bring a waterproof camera?

Nope! As the Frog Family's resident videographer, it breaks my heart to say that you are not allowed to bring cameras of any kind into the Discovery Cove Dolphin Swim — but it's for a very good reason. Cameras have tons of tiny, small parts that could easily fall into the water and become a danger to the animals. As frogs, we must put the safety of our fellow aquatic friends first!

Like we mentioned, Discovery Cove has photographers in the water with you to capture your experience. You'll definitely want to purchase a photo package to take all the fun home with you (and it makes great social media content, duh). If there's anyone in your party not participating in the dolphin swim, they're more than welcome to take photos and video from the shoreline.

Discovery Cove Dolphin Swim - Lagoon

What if it rains?

Ah, the beauty of SeaWorld parks! Discovery Cove has a generous inclement weather guarantee. If rain spoils your Discovery Cove dolphin swim plans, the staff will do their best to reschedule your experience to another day during your Orlando visit. If you’re not available, you have up to a year to come back and splash with your dolphin pals!

Are you ready to dive right in and swim with the fish... or in this case, dolphins? Hop on our discount tickets today and get cruisin' to your Discovery Cove dolphin swim. If you have more questions (whether frequently asked or not!) comment below so we can help you out. That's what frogs are for!

Related: The Frog Family's Guide to Discovery Cove 

Stay cool!

Keep hopping, Tad!
View Comments
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Sep 4, 2023 at 10:35 a.m. Marie Says...

My husband does not want to do the dolphin experience, so it will be be and my 4 kids (2 are under 12). Will I need to purchase 2 dolphin experiences for me so I can go separately with the younger ones, or can I accompany both simultaneously? Also, how good of a view will my husband have from the beach of the swim? Will he be able to get good photos? Thank you!

Reply
Sep 12, 2023 at 1:21 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Marie!

You can accompany them at the same time! As for the view for your husband, it depends on where your group ends up. There are three lagoons, and each one holds a few groups at a time. Some might be further out in the lagoon, while groups in the center are usually a bit closer to the shoreline. He can ask trainers where he'll have the best view depending on your group's location. Ultimately, the best shots will likely be from the Discovery Cove photographer.

Stay cool!

Tad

Reply
Jul 11, 2023 at 10:59 a.m. Cheryl williams Says...

Hi, can under six year old still walk through the little sting ray pool, is it still there? My 5 year old loves sting rays but us too young for the feeding experience wondering if the little sting ray pool is still open and if he will be allowed to walk through it - thank you

Reply
Jul 11, 2023 at 2:22 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Cheryl!

By any chance, are you referring to The Grand Reef? You can go swimming and snorkeling with rays and fish in this area and it's open to children of all ages. The shallowest point is 0-1 feet (zero-entry style, like a beach), while the deepest point goes up to 12 feet.

Stay cool!

Tad

Reply
Jul 12, 2023 at 10:19 a.m. Cheryl Williams Says...

Thank you - we were there in 2014 and there was a separate shallow pool of sting rays you could walk through near the bird area I was wondering if it was still there thank you so much for the quick reply, we are taking our youngest for his birthday but unfortunately he is only 5 so wouldn’t be allowed to do the dolphin swim

Reply
Jul 12, 2023 at 10:52 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Cheryl!

Hoppy to help — unfrogtunately, there isn't a stingrays pool over on that side of the park. The birds aviary is nearby Freshwater Oasis (where you can see sea otters and marmosets), Serenity Bay and Wind-Away River. There is a shallow pool near the birds aviary but it's just used as a spot to lounge in.

Stay cool!

Tad

Reply
Jul 4, 2023 at 7:20 p.m. Harry McQuaid Says...

Hi, we have booked the 15th of July for discovery cove but didn't booked the dolphin swim we are bringing our daughter who is special needs, not thinking she will want to but now she wants to, can I pay for her at the gate, yours

Harry McQuaid

Reply
Jul 5, 2023 at 9:13 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Harry!

If you booked through Undercover Tourist, please call our customer service team at 1 (800) 846-1302. If you booked directly through Discovery Cove, please contact their Guest Relations at 1 (407) 513-4600.

Stay cool!

Tad

Reply
Mar 12, 2023 at 6:48 p.m. Debra Says...

Can an 8 year doing the snorkelling after we have done the dolphin swim

Reply
Jan 15, 2023 at 3:54 a.m. Dee dee Says...

Hi! I can't get my wedding ring off! Can I wear it when I swim with the dolphins? Can I get individual photos with the dolphins and picture is me and my daughter with the dolphins? Lastly, do I have to purchase inclusive tickets? I only want to swim with the dolphins! I'm not interested in eating, drinking or doing any other water activities!

Thank you!

Reply
Jan 17, 2023 at 9:08 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Dee Dee!

Yes, wedding rings are OK to keep on. The photographers take individual and group photos, and you can purchase photos individually or in a photo package. By booking the Dolphin Swim package, you are purchasing Day Resort admission, which includes the all-inclusive experiences and amenities. You can book Day Resort admission only but you cannot book the Dolphin Swim separately.

Stay cool!

Tad

Reply
Nov 15, 2022 at 5:40 p.m. kelly Says...

How does the dolphin swim and 2 parks package work? When do I need to determine my 2nd park?

Reply
Nov 16, 2022 at 11:01 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Kelly!

The Dolphin Swim + 2 Parks package includes unlimited admission to SeaWorld and Aquatica over 14 consecutive days, which is activated at the first park visit. Since you don't need to make park reservations for SeaWorld or Aquatica, all visits just have to be over those 14 days.

Stay cool!

Tad

Reply
Jul 11, 2022 at 7:22 p.m. Neil Says...

When will 2024 tickets become available?

Reply
Jul 11, 2022 at 4:12 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Neil!

At this time, we don't have any updates on 2024 tickets or reservations, so keep hopping back!

Stay cool!

Tad

Reply
May 27, 2022 at 7:30 p.m. Amber Says...

Hi, I've never been to DC before, and I was wondering about the add-on photo packages. Is the price for the photo package per person? Or do the photos include everyone in my group (myself and kids)? Am I supposed to purchase a package for each of us or just one? Also, are we allowed to take pictures ourselves on our phones instead? Thanks!

Reply
May 27, 2022 at 4:32 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Amber!

The photo package can be bought as a unit for the entire family (not per person). Unfortunately, personal cameras and phones are not allowed in the lagoon for the Dolphin Swim for the safety of the animals and your devices. It sounds like everyone in your group will be participating, but if you hoppen to have any other members in your party not taking part in the Dolphin Swim, they are welcome to take photos and videos from afar along the beach areas. Aside from the Dolphin Swim, Flamingo Mingle and Shark Swim experiences, you may use personal cameras and phones throughout the park. For instance, I was able to bring my own GoPro during the SeaVenture experience, and I caught some awesome underwater footage in the lazy river and the Grand Reef. Hope this helps, and let me know if you have any other questions!

Stay cool!

Tad

Reply
Mar 13, 2022 at 10:49 p.m. Sam Says...

Hi!

Just booked our Signature Dolphin Swim package at Discovery Cove! I see on other sites that when COVID hit they stopped the ride-along part of this experience so trainers would not need to be close to visitors. Is this true? Is it still not part of the experience?

Thank you!

Reply
Mar 14, 2022 at 1:47 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Sam!

During our last visit (which had been after COVID-19 hit), we were able to swim with the dolphins but there were some modifications to the experience (the ride-along part took place in shallow water rather than out in the deeper water).

Stay cool!

Tad

Reply
Jul 11, 2021 at 6:45 p.m. Cissy Says...

Hi- I have the Birthday ???? personalized buoy for a surprise for my daughter. How big is the buoy? We are only traveling with a carryon and want to plan ahead for packing.

Thank you ????

Reply
Jul 12, 2021 at 10:32 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Cissy!

When holding up the buoy, it's about the length of your body and has a rectangular shape that's similar to a Pillsbury dough can. Google has some good images of it if you need a better visual!

Stay cool!

Tad

Reply
Apr 4, 2021 at 6:35 p.m. SHIRLEY W MOODY Says...

I do not swim would you recommend the shallow dolphin swim or not to do it. Like head above water and able to touch bottom to stand up. 63 years old-wish I could swim. Thanks

Reply
Apr 5, 2021 at 1:10 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Shirley,

Right now due to COVID-19, dolphin interactions are only taking place in the shallow portion of Dolphin Lagoon (your head would remain above water while standing!). Without the COVID-19 restrictions, there is a deep-water portion that's part of the Dolphin Experience, but they can easily make accommodations for non-swimmers. Hope this helps!

Stay cool!

Tad

Reply
Mar 22, 2021 at 3:59 a.m. Cynthia Says...

We are planning a trip this summer, just checking if we can bring our own face snorkeling gears to the park. Thanks

Reply
Mar 22, 2021 at 12:32 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Cynthia!

You sure can - Discovery Cove allows guests to bring their own masks and snorkels into the park (but any diving or swimming outside of that is not permitted).

Stay cool!

Tad

Reply
Mar 12, 2021 at 7:20 p.m. Spencer Carter Says...

How cold is the water? Is it better to swim with the dolphins earlier or later in the day? Do they have more energy at different times of the day when it's colder or warmer out? How early do I need to be there to select the best time to swim with the dolphins?

Reply
Mar 15, 2021 at 1:50 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Spencer!

The fresh water Serenity Bay, Freshwater Oasis and Wind-Away River are maintained around 85-86 F (30 C). The salt water Dolphin Lagoon and The Grand Reef is maintained around 76-77 F (25 C). If you’re participating in three or more add-on experiences during your visit to Discovery Cove, Discovery Cove recommends that you arrive by 7:30 a.m. for check-in and proper scheduling of your day (plus breakfast is generally served around 7:30 a.m.!). Have fun!

Stay cool!

Tad

Reply
Mar 7, 2021 at 4:26 p.m. Allison Says...

Hello! We are planning a trip in September and with everything up in the air with COVID if our flight gets cancelled and we can’t come do we get a refund within so much time?

Reply
Mar 9, 2021 at 9:35 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Allison!

You can see refund and return policies on each ticket's description page - please feel free to give us a call at 1 (800) 846-1302 with any questions!

Stay cool!

Tad

Reply
Feb 6, 2020 at 5:13 a.m. Luis Arenas Says...

Hi, I got the package with the pictures and a cd, but is broke, I’ll like to know how can I get a copy of the cd pictures ? Thank you.

Reply
Feb 7, 2020 at 12:55 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Luis!

We'd recommend calling Discovery Cove to see how they can help with your photos! There's an email submission form here, or you can give them a ring at 407-513-4600.

Stay cool!

Tad

Reply
Apr 23, 2019 at 4:51 p.m. Chris Says...

I'm looking at Discovery Cove for a 1 year wedding anniversary trip. I noticed that on the official site, they have a "celebration package" option. Is that something that I can purchase thru Undercover Tourist also? Thanks.

Reply
Apr 23, 2019 at 4:23 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Chris!

Unfortunately we don't offer the Celebration Package at Discovery Cove, but we appreciate you checking here first! Hoppy anniversary!

Stay cool!

Tad

Reply
Feb 23, 2019 at 11:11 a.m. Beth Says...

If one of the party didn’t want to do the swim with the dolphin but still wants to watch are they able to buy the standard ticket and still be given access?

Reply
Feb 26, 2019 at 9:10 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Beth,

Yes, if one person in your party doesn't want to do the swim, they don't need to purchase it, and can just watch from the beach.

Stay cool!

Tad

Reply
Aug 21, 2018 at 4:53 a.m. Lauren Mullen Says...

Discovery Cove is absolutely amazing. Most relaxing vacation I have ever been on. Thanks for sharing your experience. ????

Reply
Aug 15, 2018 at 10:35 p.m. Breanne Says...

Do I understand that the shallow swim experience your feet will always be on the ground?

Reply
Aug 15, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Breanne!

Other than when you are coasting through the water alongside your dolphin friend, you will always have the ability to stand in the shallow swim experience. Awesome question. :)

Stay cool!

Tad

Reply
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