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Tad's Rad Discovery Cove Dolphin Swim Experience & FAQ

by Tad on April 14, 2022 27 Orlando   Video

Discovery Cove Dolphin Swim FAQs - 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.

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 be sure to select one of the packages including 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.

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! You can let the trainer know that you would like to stay in shallow water. The shallow swim keeps you closer to the shore and there won't be any point at which you can't stand up. For the deeper swim, you are still standing for a majority of the time and only need to briefly swim about 20 feet for the dolphin to pick you up for your ride-along. Go for the shallow swim if you have little ones with you or if you're not a fan of deep water (it's a no-frog-shaming zone)!

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 4-foot-deep water with large, powerful animals.

What do I wear for the Discovery Cove Dolphin Swim?

Discovery Cove Dolphin Swim - Wet Suit & Vest Station

Great question! You'll need to wear either a wetsuit (short-sleeve or long-sleeve options available) or 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).

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.

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 Guide - Dolphin Lagoon

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, Thelma, with another family, who was visiting all the way from Idaho!

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 Thelma was the matriarch of her pod. 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 - Dolphin Mimics Behavior

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 Thelma 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! Then, individually, we were able to give her some more well-deserved pats and a hug. As a group, the trainer walked us through a few hand signals that encouraged Thelma to perform her behaviors, such as waving, spinning in a circle 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 Thelma. Photographers were there to capture all of the magic! As the grand finale, Thelma joined forces with the dolphins from other groups to do flips together. I think Lily’s face turned into the actual heart-eyes emoji.

How long does the dolphin interaction take? 

The in-water experience takes approximately 30 minutes (though there's such 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 - Posing with Dolphin

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 Thelma herself were all awesome about all of the photos! Of course, photos of our ride-along were captured. Afterward, Thelma was sweet enough to pose for both solo and group shots, both standard and KISSING! That’s right, Thelma 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 fishes ... 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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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?

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!


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

When will 2024 tickets become available?

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!


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!

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!


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


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!

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!


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 ????

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!


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

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!


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

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!


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?

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!


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?

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!


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.

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!


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.

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!


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?

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!


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. ????

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?

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!


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