I thought I would do a little throwback series for the next few weeks re-capping our holiday to Disney World in Florida. At the time of going I kept a daily blog which was only ever used for that holiday and i’m so pleased I did. Every night I would sit down and document what we had done each day even down to what kind of weather we had. I love reading it back every so often reliving the memories. Today we spent a wonderful relaxing day at Discovery cove! It was just pure amazing.
Day Eight – Discovery Cove (Monday 14th November 2011)
Todays Weather 83f (28c)
We all woke really excited today – we were heading off to Discovery Cove to spend the day there and also swim with the dolphins :o) Neither of us have been here before – they had only opened up a year or so after our last visit 11 years ago.
We arrived around 9am and we checked in at reception – they took our details and took photos of each of us for our name/guest badges we had to wear on a lanyard for the duration of the day. We were also given our dolphin swim time of 2.50pm so were told to have lunch before hand as the restaurant closed at 3 so we wouldn’t have a chance after the swim.
Once we had checked in we had our complimentary photo taken and went off to get some breakfast – everything for the day was free and included in the price, (well I say everything was free … we had to pay for the photographs we had taken with the dolphins). Included in the park tickets – we were entitled to breakfast, lunch, snacks, drinks and even locally produced alcohol. It did feel strange getting a tray of food and drink for breakfast and just heading off to a table without having to pay for it first.
After breakfast we headed off to get fitted for our wetsuits and to get a bag containing our snorkels, mask & dolphin friendly sunscreen.
First place we headed for was the ‘Coral Reef’ we weren’t really sure what to expect so we donned our snorkels & masks and off we went!!!
The water was a tad cold – they had the temperature set to 75f so I was expecting it to be warmer but having the wetsuits helped because it was only our arms and legs exposed. Steve went first and he came back saying ‘Wow you’ve got to come and see this”
At first I found the whole breathing through my mouth and not my nose a little odd and kind of started breathing really fast and feeling a bit light headed but I soon got the hang of it – as I swam towards Steve the bottom of the pool was only about waist height so I didn’t see much until I swam a little further to the edge of the rocks …… I peered over the edge and looked down into a cavern of coral reef and the most beautiful looking tropical fish – all different shapes, sizes and colours. They weren’t the slightest bit bothered by us swimming around them. The one thing I couldn’t get used to were the rays swimming around – some of them were absolutely massive – i’m talking 4-5ft diamater. I am pleased to say most of them were swimming below us (the Coral Reef must have been about 12/15ft deep.) We swam over to the other side where we came across a glass wall under the water and behind the glass were loads of sharks – some big, some small. There is something quite unnerving snorkeling watching a shark swim towards you until you realise there is the glass between us! The biggest shark in there must have been about 12ft long – he was HUGE.
I must admit I didn’t really hang around too long getting back to the ‘beach’ I wasn’t too keen on having huge sting rays swim and flap right next to me – Steve though it was hilarious at one point to stroke the back of my leg as he was swimming behind me – my god I must have lept about 3ft up in the air squealing inside my mask and snorkel …. the sod. I like to think he was swimming behind me because he was relying on me to make the way free ;o)
I still hadn’t got used to the whole snorkeling thing and my breathing wasn’t going right so we headed over to the warmer water and lazy river – the feeling of walking into that water after being in the salt water was amazing – just like stepping into a lovely warm bath. We went round the lazy river a good few times, it’s really long and relaxing and you swim through mini waterfalls and at one point you have the aviary above you with tropical birds and bridges. During that time we used our masks and snorkels so we could get used to them – Lauren picked it up so quickly and loved looking at all the fake artifacts that had been placed on the floor of the river. Pretty soon we all had the hang of snorkeling – Steve being Steve thought it was hilarious when he burped through the tube whilst swimming along – It sounded like a fog horn I don’t think he knew a couple of people were so close cause they passed us giggling thinking it was hilarious too.
After all that swimming we decided to give the Avery a go – you get the chance to feed the different birds in there. Certain birds liked to eat fruit & sweetcorn so we were handed a pot that we had to hold out for them to fly over to and some liked mealworms so a few were put in my hand for them. Lauren didn’t want to go the mealworm route after she discovered they were still alive. I must admit they were pretty wriggly and tickley lol. Steve was the photographer for this part – he had no interest getting up close to any of the birds so he wasn’t impressed when one landed on his shoulder lol.
ust as I said we’ve all avoided being pooped on a lovely bird decided to poop on my arm!!!
We were finished in the Avery around 1.30pm, we then headed off to have lunch so we were ready for the dolphin swim.
Just like breakfast we were allowed to eat and drink as much as we liked.
After lunch it was Dolphin time YAY. We went to the Seahorse Cabana where we had to sign consent forms and have a briefing on what was going to happen, then we had to watch a short 5 minute video.
We were put into a group with 6 other people and were taken to the waters edge to meet our instructors. We were told there would be two Dolphins we would be interacting with – Stella who is 6 & Marita who is 8.
The water was again salt water so the temperature was a little cold but we only had to stand waist height for most of the experience – the group had to line up and we got the opportunity to touch Stella as she swam past – a few people also got the chance to feed her some fish (Lauren & Steve did this) we learnt how to do certain hand signals to get Stella to do certain things. One example was to mimick casting your fishing rod for her to swim away, then we had to ‘reel’ her back in and she came swimming back towards us. We would also wave at her and she would wave back with either her flipper or tail.
We then had the opportunity to all have our photos taken kissing her and then have a group photo taken. (we’re collecting these on Friday so i’ll have to wait until then to upload them).
Marita was then brought out and we all individually were taken out to deeper waters so we could ride her back to shore – it was amazing and I wished it could have lasted for longer. Lauren did so well – she had the choice to do a shorter trip in shallow waters but she opted to go out into deeper waters.
I can’t believe how fast 30 minutes can go?? It was all over so quickly. Since we had mastered the snorkeling through the lazy river we went back to the ‘Coral Reef’ but OMG all the sting rays had decided to be in the shallow waters and they were everywhere :-0 Lauren was less keen on swimming this time, and I was too TBH but once you had walked past and avoided them swimming into you and were in deeper waters it was ok, I was brave enough to touch one as it swam by and it felt like jelly *shudders*
Looking at the different tropical fish was amazing – so many different colours, we swam over to the shark wall again and back to shore – Lauren didn’t come in with us the first time but we persuaded her for one last time to experience it, once we told her the rays weren’t in the deeper waters she was ok – we were both so proud of how well she took to it. I had a few underwater cameras with us and took loads of photos so hopefully we’ll have some nice shots once I get them developed.
Before we knew it, it was time to leave and get the photos ordered. We opted for the full package in the end which includes a photo album, a poster of the group photo with the dolphin, some wallet sized photos and 6 4×6 prints for the album, the DVD & the CD with all images taken throughout the day.
We started off the morning by saying next time we come we surely won’t need to do Discovery Cove again but by the end of the day we certainly felt different – we really will be doing it again – the place is amazing, so beautiful & peaceful and well worth the money we spent. It’s like someone there said you pay the price to go to a Disney Park but once inside you have to buy snacks, drinks, food, parking etc – at DC everything is included even down to the towels, shampoo & suncream. You can literally turn up on the day with nothing but yourselves. Well worth every penny and what an experience.
Next up Disney Hollywood Studios.