We love the hustle and bustle of theme parks more than anyone, but as parents, it can be stressful to jump from ride, to show, to meals, to the hotel and back again. (It can be exhausting for little ones too!) That's why we consider Discovery Cove Orlando our little slice of heaven. It's home to over 45 gorgeous dolphins, and it's a home-away-from-home for us frogs.
Discovery Cove Orlando has something for everyone — and every energy level too! From underwater adventures to breezy hammocks perfect for napping in the sun, this all-day resort will make you feel like you've slipped away to a tropical paradise. We're here to give you the details on Discovery Cove Orlando so you know exactly what to look forward to.
Discovery Cove Orlando Overview
When we think of Discovery Cove Orlando, we think of all the awesome benefits of being on a cruise ... without any of the seasickness! Imagine being in the middle of paradise with tons of cool excursions just footsteps away, and you'll find yourself at Discovery Cove. This all-inclusive day resort features unlimited food and drinks, gorgeous beaches, refreshing water and unique animal encounters.
Located at 6000 Discovery Cove Way, Orlando, FL 32821, Discovery Cove is right across from SeaWorld Orlando, and only a 15-minute drive to both Walt Disney World Resort or Universal Orlando Resort. Parking is free for guests.
While waterways don't open at Discovery Cove Orlando until 9 a.m., check-in and breakfast starts promptly at 7:15 a.m. We recommend arriving right around 7 a.m. to start your day of relaxation and adventure ASAP, and to get first dibs on your choice of excursion times. Be sure to have your IDs on hand to verify your reservations at check-in, especially if you plan on indulging in adult beverages! The resort closes at 5:30 p.m. each day.
A huge perk of Discovery Cove Orlando is that they only let in up to 1,300 guests daily, so the park will always feel peaceful and not too crowded. We most recently visited on a busier day, and it didn't disrupt our enjoyment at all! In all aspects, Discovery Cove Orlando makes sure you have a delightful time.
Discovery Cove Orlando Tickets
There are quite a few options to choose from when it comes to Discovery Cove Orlando tickets, and we're here to break them down for you! Oh, and we conveniently have all of the below ticket options available to purchase at a discount on our site :)
The best bang for your buck is the Discovery Cove Day Resort Package, with 14-day unlimited admission to SeaWorld and Aquatica. For the ultimate experience, we recommend hopping on the ticket that includes the dolphin swim package as well — this tends to be the most popular choice.
But wait, there's more! Be sure to check out our options that include 14-day unlimited admission AND free parking at SeaWorld, Aquatica AND Busch Gardens, too! You can grab this awesome deal with or without the dolphin swim package included. (Have we mentioned how much we love how accommodating the Discovery Cove Orlando ticket options are?)
Don't have time to take advantage of the 14-day admission to SeaWorld and Aquatica? We toadally understand, with how much there is to do in Orlando. Luckily, we're now selling Discovery Cove tickets with only the day resort package, with or without the dolphin swim included.
The best ticket for your family just depends on your vacation plans and how much time you have to take advantage of the awesome perks. We promise, you can't go wrong! If you do opt for a ticket that includes theme park admission as well, know that your plastic ID given to you at Discovery Cove also acts as your ticket to the other parks.
How to Book Your Day at Discovery Cove Orlando
As mentioned above, you can book both your day resort and dolphin swim packages through us. But that might leave you wondering how to add on all of the delightful extras we mention below. Well, that's easy!
Once you purchase your Discovery Cove Orlando tickets through Undercover Tourist, hop on over to the Discovery Cove site. Skip straight to Step 3: Upgrades and add your desired Animal Encounters, Relaxing Add-Ons and Photo Packages to your cart. Be sure you select the same date for all of your choices. Voila! You're set up for a dreamy day at Discovery Cove Orlando.
Discovery Cove Orlando Included Experiences
There is so much to do and enjoy at Discovery Cove Orlando that we can easily spend a day here without adding on any additional experiences. That's definitely a "plus" in our book!
Unlimited Food and Beverages
Let's start with the important stuff ... FOOD! Discovery Cove Orlando's Laguna Grill serves up all-you-can-eat buffets.
Breakfast is served between 7:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. each day, with all of your favorites to enjoy. Fuel up with eggs, sausage, French toast sticks, hash brown potatoes, cereal, fresh fruit, pastries and so much more. While it is buffet-style, employees will serve up your food for you ... in generous portions too!
Between 11 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., you can enjoy lunch at your leisure. The menu often rotates, but there is always something for every palate. During our visit, we savored pasta with meatballs, turkey wraps, macaroni and cheese, chicken tenders, salmon, Hawaiian chicken, burgers, salads, French fries, steamed vegetables and tons more. Everything was a hit, and we especially appreciated how there was yummy food for grown-ups and tadpoles alike. Oh, and don't get me started on the desserts ... the cake flavors alone are practically endless: chocolate chip, tropical, carrot and even cherry cheesecake.
We mustn't forget about the all-day snack stations! Throughout the park, you'll find snack stands serving up yummy goodies all day. Assorted chips, soft pretzels, cookies, fruit and more will give you all the energy you need to adventure (or to put you into a nice beach hibernation). You can also help yourself to bottled water, soda, coffee, hot chocolate and our favorite — the Icee machine!
Drumroll please ... alcoholic beverages ARE included with your admission for adult frogs ages 21 and up. Frozen mango daiquiris and piña coladas, red and white wine and an assortment of beers are served up all day at the snack stations. Just be sure to drink responsibly.
If you have allergies, be sure to let an employee know upon arrival. (We also recommend giving them a heads up when booking your reservation.) They'll set you up to meet with the chef and develop custom meals to meet your needs for the day.
As a frog, I didn't expect to love meeting birds in the Explorer's Aviary as much as I did. Not only was I impressed at the gorgeous environment and our laid-back feathered friends, but it made my heart leap to see the joy on Tad and Lily's faces as they fed these gorgeous creatures.
Little bowls of fresh, healthy bird food are provided to entice the tropical creatures to get close to you for a fun encounter and perfect Discovery Cove Orlando photo-op. Check out the bird identification guides posted throughout the aviary for a bit of education on what species you're checking out.
Discovery Cove Orlando is home to our favorite "lazy" river. Grab a noodle to make it a relaxing coast through the water as you enjoy the scenery of waterfalls, caves, rainforest, beaches and more. You might even see some cool creatures along the way ... but they're separated from the river itself, so no need to worry about them hitching a ride with your Frog Squad. With the combination of relaxation, fun and breathtaking scenery, this is one of those activities that really allows you to enjoy your family time.
We lovingly call Wind-Away River the "not-so-lazy" river, because there are no rafts or inner tubes to nap on here. The river gets up to eight feet deep at some parts, so even frogs like us like to grab onto a noodle to help float us along. The river is absolutely safe for little ones, but we do 100% recommend grabbing a complimentary life jacket for tadpoles ... even those who are used to flipping their fins! It's easy to get distracted by the scenery and as we always say, better safe than sorry.
Adventuring not your style? We're not here to judge! Discovery Cove Orlando is the perfect place to unwind, and there's nowhere better than Serenity Bay. Lounge on a beach chair or grab one of the hammocks for a nap in the sun in between dips in the tropical swim area.
The Grand Reef
Discovery Cove Orlando's Grand Reef is probably the most unique, exciting and "worth it" of the included experiences. Grab a complimentary snorkel and goggle set (blue bags for adults, yellow for children) and hop in to check out thousands of various, colorful fish through a coral reef.
Small Mammal Viewings
Once or twice a day, professional animal caretakers will bring out a furry (or not-so-furry, or feathery) friend to visit with you at Conservation Cabana. We've been lucky enough to meet an armadillo and owl on our visits, and hope to meet a sloth sometime soon! This is a prime form of edutainment, as the animal experts will answer every curious questions your little ones may have, while they get the chance to touch some interesting critters.
Half of the beauty in Discovery Cove Orlando is that they have pretty much everything covered for you. All of the below resources and perks are included at no extra cost.
- Large lockers to stow your gear
- Showers complete with shampoo, conditioner and body wash
- Fresh towels practically everywhere you turn
- Animal-safe sunscreen (Skip bringing your own, and use this to protect the wildlife!)
- Wet suits and vests with sizes for everyone (Employees do a GREAT job of estimating your size, but don't be shy in asking for a size up or down.) You can also find life jackets of every size along the shore.
- Snorkeling gear, with prescription goggles available upon request
You might not expect that guests with disabilities would be able to experience much of the aquatic fun at Discovery Cove Orlando, but the resort does an incredible job of including everyone wherever possible. Wheelchairs are provided with special wheels to help guide you through the sand and on wet terrain. (Sneak a peek at the stroller photo below for an idea of what those sand-friendly wheels look like. They work like magic!) There are remarkable viewing areas of the reef that are wheelchair-accessible, and as much assistance as needed is offered by Discovery Cove Orlando employees to help you experience as much as you are comfortable with. Special structures and handrails are even built in to the dolphin lagoons to be as inclusive as possible. We recommend calling Discovery Cove Orlando ahead of your trip at (407) 513-4600 and/or making a note of any necessary accommodations in your reservation. The Discovery Cove Orlando team will do everything they can to make your visit as adventurous and fun as possible.
Specially-wheeled strollers are also complimentary to make your day with little ones that much easier ... and to help avoid a sandy mess in your car later on!
Discovery Cove Orlando Upgrades & Add-Ons
We mean it when we say you can thoroughly enjoy a day at Discovery Cove Orlando without any upgrades or add-ons, and you can keep busy with the included wildlife and activities! However, some of the neatest animal encounters (and luxurious relaxation additions) do come at an additional cost. We find these once-in-a-lifetime experiences to be both reasonably priced and worth it.
With any of the animal encounters, one of our favorite parts is learning from the animal ambassadors and educators. The Discovery Cove Orlando team members are truly passionate about what they do, and it shows! It will touch your heart to see them interact with their beloved animal friends, and it's super fun to learn so much about the wildlife!
Dolphin Swim - Starting at $50/person
The dolphin swim is our favorite part of every visit to Discovery Cove Orlando, and is especially enchanting for first-timers. In small groups, you get to meet a dolphin to feed and touch before taking a swim alongside of him or her. The dolphins are ready to pose for solo and group shots, including one with a kiss! You even get to help the trainers encourage the dolphin to perform some of their coolest behaviors.
SeaVenture - Starting at $49/person
We've never had an experience like this outside of Discovery Cove Orlando! Available for ages 10 and up, this underwater walking tour uses unbelievable "astronaut" helmets (as Tad called them) to experience the sea in a whole new light. Spend 20-25 minutes underwater with an oxygen helmet that will make adventuring underwater practically as easy as taking a stroll on land, guided by an animal expert that will give you fun facts along the way. You'll have an opportunity to touch sea life and be surrounded by gorgeous fish. Fair warning: This experience is not meant for the claustrophobic! However, it was much easier to adjust to than I anticipated.
Cabanas - Starting at $250/cabana for up to 6 guests
We were lucky enough to splurge on a cabana during our most recent visit to Discovery Cove Orlando, and we loved every second. Cabanas add a new level of privacy, convenience and luxury to make your visit even better. Each cabana has its own table and chairs, chaise lounges, private locker, fresh towels, unlimited snacks and drinks and the best part, a Cabana Host. Your host will keep in mind your food and drink preferences to keep the cabana stocked with your favorites, as well as fresh towels and tidying up. We recommend asking for the cabana with the best view of the dolphins! Not only is it a peaceful area, but admiring the fantastic dolphins will keep your tadpoles entertained.
Massage - Starting at $59 for 25 minutes
I personally couldn't be more thrilled with Discovery Cove Orlando's addition of massages. As if you weren't already in paradise already, a licensed massage therapist will transport you to another world while situated along the Freshwater Oasis. You can book multiple massages back-to-back for extended relaxation.
Animal Trek - $79/person
Take a private 90-minute tour with Animal Ambassadors for a behind-the-scenes experience with some of the birds and small animals at Discovery Cove Orlando. Fun fact: Otters are our favorite animals ... other than frogs! Look how cute these guys are!
Ray Feeding - Starting at $59/person
Available for only 10 guests per day (talk about VIP!) be sure to book this cool experience in advance. Feed Cownose and Southern Stingrays, along with thousands of tropical fish, their morning meal during a private swim in The Grand Reef.
Shark Swim - Starting at $99/person
Yet another über-exclusive experience, the shark swim puts you side-by-side with sharks for a free swim after a shark talk and training session with one of Discovery Cove Orlando's Expert Aquarists. Tad is begging to try this new offering, and we can't wait to check it out!
Trainer for a Day - Starting at $460/person
The most ultimate in upgrades, this Discovery Cove Orlando experience is perfect for animal lovers. Included in this experience are a thorough dolphin interaction, fish feeding in the Grand Reef, special meet-and-greets with tropical birds and small mammals, behind-the-scenes tour of Discovery Cove Orlando, shadowing a trainer for the day and 14-day access to SeaWorld and Aquatica.
Day Beds - Starting at $79/bed
Not ready to splurge on a cabana, but still want a special place to chill out at Discovery Cove Orlando? A day bed is the perfect place to unwind with a drink in hand.
Drink Package - $30/person
Just in case the unlimited wine, beer and select frozen beverages weren't enough, you can always upgrade your drink package to include Sangria, Rum Punch, Discovery Cove Sunset (park exclusive), Mojito, Cuba Libre, Margarita and a selection of local craft beers and upgraded wines. Of course, this is only available to guests 21 and older!
There are three photo packages to choose from at Discovery Cove Orlando, as well as á la carte images, but the most popular option is the full photo package. For $229, you get the whole nine yards: all digital images, video footage of your dolphin interaction, 6x8 prints with souvenir frame and a photo album.
Discovery Cove Orlando Tips
- Arrive around 7 a.m. to be first in line for check-in. You'll have the best choice of times for activities such as the SeaVenture or Dolphin Swim.
- Discovery Cove Orlando does a great job of handling that unpredictable Florida weather. If a thunderstorm disrupts your day, they'll do your best to reschedule your activities for later in your Orlando trip. If that doesn't work with your vacation agenda, you'll have up to a year to return to Discovery Cove Orlando.
- If you're not diving in for the dolphin swim, be sure to at least watch them play. Between 4 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. is the best active viewing time!
- Are you a bird lover? Head directly toward the Explorer's Aviary bright and early. The early bird gets the worm, as they say! In the morning, birds will be at their hungriest and excited to interact as long as you have a bowl of (provided) food in hand.
- We'll say it once, and we'll say it again: Use the provided sunscreen! As aquatic creatures ourselves, we know the importance of respecting wildlife. And hey, using Discovery Cove Orlando's sunscreen will save you a couple bucks rather than using your own!
- With that being said, go easy on the sunscreen. It is much thicker than standard sunscreen, so start with less and build up as needed.
- Be kind to the wildlife. The Discovery Cove Orlando team does a stellar job of caring for these beautiful animals (Did you know they even stay behind in hurricanes to make sure the wildlife is safe and sound? And there is someone on-site 365 days per year, even holidays?) so be sure to follow the experts' instructions and give the animals some space, unless otherwise instructed.
- Plan no more than two "big" activities in a day. During our last visit, we conquered the wow-ing SeaVenture and amazing Dolphin Swim, and had just enough time for all of the great included adventures as well. Discovery Cove Orlando is a place for relaxation ... so don't bite off more than you can chew!
- On the other hand, we absolutely endorse biting off more than you can chew — so to speak — when it comes to dining. Every cuisine is so delicious, you'll want to try it all! Get a smorgasbord of entrees and share amongst your family.
- Bring grandma, grandpa, great-uncle Jeremiah ... Discovery Cove is the perfect destination for a multi-generational trip, with the perfect amount of adventure and relaxation to keep everyone happy and enjoying their time together.
- We frogs are very H2O-dependent, so we can't remind you enough to stay hydrated. You can grab a water bottle at any snack station, and this will help you feeling energized in the Florida sun.
- If you have a GoPro (or other waterproof camera) there is NO better place to bring it than Discovery Cove Orlando. You can't bring it with you during the dolphin swim, but you will catch unbelievable footage in the Grand Reef and Wind-Away River.
We're already hoppin' to head back to Discovery Cove Orlando, and we hope you're ready for your first or returning visit too. Have any questions about what's included in your resort day here? Shoot us a comment.