While most people picture busy theme parks when they think about Orlando, we discovered a real gem that doesn’t fit that picture at all. Discovery Cove is located right by SeaWorld and just a short drive from the Disney parks. It’s an all-inclusive day resort where your family can relax and unwind alongside some unique animals.
We started our day by checking in at one of their lobby desks, and were surprised we had no wait. Checking in has a sort of hotel feel with multiple desks and staff ready to check-in your whole party. You’re given photo ID badges on lanyards which you’re required to wear all day long. Grace was celebrating her birthday and she was given a special red Happy Birthday lanyard whereas the rest of ours were orange.
Next we headed to the lockers (complimentary) where we dropped off some stuff and then over to the cafeteria for breakfast. The food was above average cafeteria food, and we were very impressed with how our daughter’s food allergies were handled. The chef came out personally to talk with us and let us know which foods were not safe for her. He also gave us some special allergy-friendly snack packs for her to have during the day.
After eating breakfast we headed to grab some gear. Stations are set up with snorkeling gear and wet vets or wet suits. The staff at the station was very helpful in finding the proper sizing for us and the girls. Plus they include sunscreen packets that are safe for the sea life! There’s a great fresh water river system that winds about the resort and allows you to relax and explore. I was so happy I ordered my Lifeproof Waterproof Case so I could use my phone as a waterproof camera!
We loved seeing the cute marmosets and the girls had a blast feeding birds in the free flying aviaries. They designed this area to be an Oasis with the winding river, and we thought they did a great job. The vegetation and clean water make you feel like you’re really exploring a secluded bit of nature. You definitely don’t feel like you’re in Orlando, Florida!
One of our other favorite parts of the day was spending time at the Grand Reef. This is a salt-water swimming area that has some great stingrays and fish sharing the water with you. All the stingrays have had their stingers removed and there are some massive sized ones! Add in the white sand beach and you’ll feel like you’re in the Caribbean.
We enjoyed a bit of lunch and also loved the snack shacks located around the resort. One nice part about Discovery Cove is that it’s all inclusive, so you don’t have to stress about paying for your meals, snacks, and drinks during the day. Of course you’re paying for it upfront but I love not having to worry about food spending during my relaxing day!
After lunch we enjoyed spending the rest of the day swimming with the rays and gliding along the freshwater river oasis. Our girls still talk about our day and we’ll be returning in the future. It was a favorite vacation day for all of us!