Discovery Cove: The Best Park You’ve Never Heard Of! – 112

Orlando has a theme park you’ve never heard of consistently ranked as one of the best experiences. Why Discovery Cove needs to be part of your next trip to Central Florida.

Even if you’ve traveled to Orlando multiple times to visit theme parks, you may not have heard about Discovery Cove.

Think of Discovery Cove as an all-inclusive day resort. It offers a beautiful resort area with lots of unique spaces, animal encounters, and a hassle-free day to relax and have some fun.

Here is what’s included in your visit to Discovery Cove:

  • Beaches, lagoons, rivers, and waterfalls to explore
  • Snorkeling gear (and wetsuits and vests if you wish)
  • Animal encounters throughout the park
  • Swimming with fish and rays
  • Unlimited food and drink (breakfast, lunch, snacks, and drinks)
  • Unlimited beer and wine for guests over 21
  • Hand feeding exotic birds
  • Sunscreen, towels, complimentary parking, and lockers
  • Options to add on dolphin and shark swims and SeaVenture activities

The best part is Discovery Cove has limited daily attendance and reservations which means you don’t have to stand in lines and be over-crowded during your visit.

The same company owns SeaWorld and Bush Gardens so You can add Discovery Cove onto a package vacation at SeaWorld/Aquatica/Bush Gardens or buy daily tickets individually.


  • The price is date-based and varies.
  • Reservations are required
  • Children 2 and under are free but reservations are required
  • Day pass: $225-250 per person based on date
  • Signature Dolphin Swim and day pass: 300-350 (guests 6+)
  • Think of this as a replacement for a park day at other theme parks/food and drinks included

Question: What sounds the most fun about Discovery Cove?

Please let us know in the All Things Travel Podcast Facebook group!

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Ryan and Shayne are both Travel Advisers with Creating Magic Vacations, an authorized Disney Vacation Planner. Feel free to reach out to us for a free quote and to start making magical memories.

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  • Makawao, Hawaii

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Episode 112 Transcripts

Episodes are transcribed with artificial intelligence,s so there are likely some highly amusing translations!

Ryan: Hello, and welcome to All Things Travel. What if I told you there’s an experience in Orlando consistently ranked one of the best theme park experiences, and I bet you’ve never heard of it today. We’re discussing why discovery Cove needs to be part of your next trip to central Florida. You’re listening to all things.

Travel episode one 12 original air date, June 8th, 2020.

So Shayne, I first heard about Discover Cove from my best friend growing up, who lives now in St. Petersburg, Florida. And he was dating a girl who’s. Now he’s married to whose job is to design zoo. And cultural experiences and basically interactive experiences, often having to do with animals. And she started talking about Discovery Cove one time when we were discussing, coming down and I never heard of it.

And she actually designed part of it. And the more she talked about it, I’m like, oh my gosh, I have got to check this place out. And the more I looked into it, Shayne. I just, I love this location.

Shayne: If I had known that job was available in the world, I

Ryan: Yeah,

Shayne: a different route through college.

Ryan: yeah, no, this is what she does. She designs zoos and interactive parts of, whether it’s parks or different things like that. So she’s done work with SeaWorld. She’s done work with Discovery Cove and zoos all over the world. So Shayne we’re going to talk about this all-inclusive experience that you can have on your next central Florida trip.

But first I want to know where in the world is All Travel today,

Shayne: A little place called Makawao, Hawaii.

Ryan: Makawao, Hawaii. Thanks so much for listening.

Shayne: it’s on the island.

Ryan: Okay.

Shayne: So, know, man. I can’t think of anything to do there.

Ryan: I mean, I mean, do we need a bar or any place to go or do we just get to go explore Kauai?

Shayne: I’m going to harken back to episode 75 when we had our friend Too Tall Tom on talking about Maui and he mentioned, I think he mentioned on the Front. I think you

Ryan: Okay. Okay.

Shayne: Mick Fleetwood’s bar. And it’s a bit of a haul from Makawao. But I think that’ll do.

Ryan: Yeah, we’ll, We’ll pick up a Jeep from the rental car company. We’ll pick up our listener friend and we’ll head out.

Shayne: and, but unlike too tall, Tom, we will make it Fleetwood’s won’t get stopped along the way.

Ryan: Well, all right. thank you so much for listening. Do us a favor, reach out to Shayne or I, you can do that on our All Things Travel Facebook group, and Hey, if you’re not a part of the Facebook group, join the Facebook group, man. Or you can reach out to us on email and just say hi, cause I have a little gift.

I want to give you for being featured on today’s.

Shayne: And to make sure that you hear where in the world is All Things Travel next week, be sure to subscribe so that you never miss any of our travel tips, travel ideas, or where in the world.

Ryan: So Shayne in the intro, I said, you know that obviously you can travel to Orlando many times and go many different places.

But my guess is you’ve heard of a lot of places before you’ve heard of Discovery Cove when it comes to Orlando.

Shayne: I heard of Discovery Cove from you when I got your email newsletter about it several weeks ago,

before that I had not heard about it.

Ryan: All right. Well, you’re going to hear about it today and I think you might want to go, so think of Discovery Cove as an all-inclusive day resort. Okay. It’s connected with SeaWorld, it’s connected with aquatic. So it’s kind of one of their experiences, but it’s separate. It’s its own thing. It basically, it offers a beautiful resort area lots of unique spaces.

Animal encounters and most everything is taking care of when it comes to your time of Discovery Cove. So it’s kind of one ticket takes care of the day.

Shayne: I want to leave my wallet in the locker and not have to worry about fishing it out for.

Ryan: Yeah. So this is. Always included with your ticket at Discovery Cove. You have access to the beaches, the lagoons, the rivers, the waterfalls, basically think of it as a giant pool and nature complex with different places for you to explore, swim, relax. You’ve got your snorkeling gear, wetsuits and vests.

If you want to wear them either because of temperature or. Are included there animal encountered throughout the parks. So you can do things like sea otters. You can feed birds, you can see different fish, and then you can also upgrade swim with the dolphins or stingrays or different things like that.

Shayne: I know a lot of people who would love to swim with dolphins or sting stingrays the other animal encounters, but they’re not at all interested in a cruise that would take them into the Caribbean. experiences are often offered or trip to Mexico where they’re often offered. So it would be a perfect place to go experience something like that right here

Ryan: Absolutely and here’s where it gets more interesting Shayne, as part of your own inclusive package, eat includes unlimited food and drink. So that’s breakfast, lunch, snacks, and drinks. That also includes beer and wine and some cocktail service. If you wish for guests over 21.

It includes experiences to hand feed exotic birds. It includes your sunscreen, your towels, complimentary parking lockers. And then lastly, like I said, you can add on things like sea venture activities or dolphin or sharks, whims to kind of have that unique experience. So really, I mean, it’s like get out of your car, your swims.

Walk in and you’re done.

Shayne: Most places where you go, there are signs everywhere telling you to not feed the animals. So to, to have this place you can feed the animals. That’s cool. It’s a nice way to interact with them and get a little closer to nature.

Ryan: And looking at, pictures of this place and talking with folks who have been there, I’ve had clients and friends who have been there. It’s just it’s a beautiful area. I mean, think of the nicest resort pool and kind of waterscape area. And that’s what discovery Cove.


Shayne: I was under the impression that it kind of has the look and feel and the vibe of maybe key

Ryan: Yeah.

Shayne: or a Coco Cay..

Ryan: Yeah. I th I think

it’s probably more nature-y and aspect, but it certainly kind of has that feel sure

Shayne: laid back, super

laid back and relaxing. Not rushing from attraction to attraction.

Ryan: Yeah. And in fact that the friends I mentioned at the start of the show who live in St. Petersburg, I mean, going to discovery Cove is kind of their vacation, do like two days at Discovery Cove and one hotel night. And that’s a getaway for them.

Shayne: ‘ cause a lot of times our vacations aren’t really vacations. There’s a lot of

rushing from one thing to another. And this isn’t that one thing I also heard was that the sunscreen that they provide. it’s an animal friendly

Ryan: Gotcha. Sure.

Shayne: to be in the water with the animals.

So whatever you’re wearing, they want to make Sure.

that it’s not going to affect the animals in any negative way. And that’s I like that ecological approach to this form of entertainment in

Ryan: Yeah, no, I liked that. I liked that now for me, when I think of something like this, I’m like the last thing that I want to do is pay this money to have this experience. That’s supposed to be relaxed. And then I’m searching for a beach share. I’m searching for a place by the pool. There’s too many people in the buffet line at breakfast.

So I’m starting the day grumpy. And one of the best parts about discovery Cove is they have a limited daily attendance and reservation system. So you’re not going to be overcrowded at this space. You’re paying a premium. I mean, it’s not an inexpensive day, but you know that once you’re there.

Everything’s going to be taken care of, and you’re not going to be overcrowded by people in the pools, in the water areas or when you’re in line to inner count encounter the animals.

Shayne: And doesn’t the ticket for the day at discovery Cove include and It, a day at SeaWorld that you can use the next day

Ryan: It can.

Shayne: okay.

Ryan: again, discovery Cove is the same company that has SeaWorld and aquatic and Bush gardens. And so you can do several things. You can get a discovery Cove ticket by itself. Or you can bundle it together. You can get a bundle for a length of stay with SeaWorld aquatic and Bush gardens.

If you want to drive over to the Bush gardens area. Now again with discovery Cove, you’re choosing a specific days. You can’t just show up, but you can bundle it all together for pricing you can also do a hotel package with discovery Cove.

Shayne: It also sounds like this would be. A great day in the middle of a week or so Disney vacation where you want to have a rest day, but you don’t want to just have a day where you do nothing

when you’re spending all this money to be in Orlando. So you can take that rest day and spend it doing these sort of

Ryan: Right.

Shayne: activities at discovery.

Ryan: you’re absolutely right. So let’s talk about some of the pricing. So again, they’re date-based and they vary. So obviously, middle of the summer is more expensive than fall or the spring reservations are. Children under two are free, but they still need to have reservations because again, they kept that number there.

So if I’m getting a day pass, depending on the day I looked at the calendar, I kind of looked through the summer. So not the least amount of time, but you’re looking at about 225 to two 50 per person based on the date. That’s pricey.

Shayne: Yeah.

Ryan: you think about. We’re replacing a park ticket we’ve got two full meals and drinks included in that.

Then the price a little more reasonable. cause again, you’re talking about. Access to all of the activities, but also space to relax and enjoy the day. You’re talking about unlimited food for breakfast and lunch. And these are, buffet-style meals. You’re talking about unlimited drinks and all these other amenities.

So, once you start to package that together the pricing may make sense. Now, if you want to add the signature dolphin swim, you can get a day pass there. And the dolphin swim is for guests six and up, and this would be 300 to three 50. So there is obviously an increase there, but not everybody in your party needs to get that.

So if you’ve had that experience in the past and your son or daughter hasn’t or vice versa, you are going with your. With your significant other or your partner, and you want to do that. You can add that on to your stay. So that’s what I think that’s the way to kind of look at discovery Cove is it’s an upgraded, it’s an upgraded relaxation day, you know, if you replace a park day and think of your food and drinks included, I think the pricing makes sense.

Shayne: Especially if you’re getting the dolphin swim day, that interaction, it’s there, it takes a lot of trouble, a lot of money and a lot of time to get that dolphin interaction anywhere else. And to be able to get it there in the middle of Orlando for that price, it seems just seems reasonable to me.

Ryan: Yeah, absolutely. especially if you’re like our family’s Shayne, where you’re going to central Florida a lot, and it’s universal Disney, maybe it’s, jumping off from Orlando to get on a cruise, something like that.

And it’s we want to go to Florida. We know we’re going to be there. But we want something different. I think that’s where discovery Cove comes into the conversation. And then how can we add that on to SeaWorld or aquatic what their waterpark and things like that, you can really make this an interesting resort vacation amongst those three SeaWorld, Aquatica, and Discovery Cove.

Shayne: So, what I want to know, Ryan is your, the big, volcano bay fan and blizzard beach. how would you compare this? Or how would you like this as sort of a waterpark day?

Ryan: I think this is not a water park. And at first, when I started to think. About Discovery Cove. That’s how I saw it. And really, I think it’s more of a private adjust, like you said, kind of a private island day. If I want to do waterparks, I’m going to pair this with Aquatica and their water park.

I’m not going to look at it as a waterpark. I’m going to look at it as, yeah, I like that. It’s a private island all-inclusive day on land. Not on an island.

Shayne: You get to get close to nature without getting too much of it on you.

Ryan: Well, and Shayne, you’re not a waterpark guy. You don’t like getting wet. Is this sound like something that interests you or would you head to a park and do some roller coasters?

Shayne: I all right. So I’ll make the joke about that. I don’t like getting wet, but I do love the beach. So I think if I can hang around this more relaxing atmosphere among the birds, the nature

Ryan: Yeah.

Shayne: creatures and all that, I think I’m going to enjoy that more than a waterpark.

Ryan: Gotcha.

Shayne: Well, if you’re interested in Discovery Cove, and you’d like to experience this as of a Disney or Universal vacation or in stat on one of those vacations. Ryan, and I would both love to help you plan that trip. We are both travel advisors with creating magic vacations. You can reach out to R Y A N at or S H A Y N E at

Ryan: Most families are confused and overwhelmed when planning a vacation, we work with you to plan a trip perfect for your interests, saving you time, money, and stress.