Wednesday, November 28, 2012

DAY 8 & 9: Saturday November 3rd & Sun Nov 4th, 2012 (Disney Trip Report) Last 2 days

DAY 8: Saturday November 3rd, 2012

Today is our Discovery Cove day. After breakfast we drove over to Discovery Cove and got there about 7:45 am. We were about the 8th person in the parking lot so we got to park really close to the building at the front.

When you walk in there are little reception desks on both sides and a person standing out in the middle directs you to a reception desk.

After you give them your name and show them your printed tickets they take your picture for your photo ID lanyard and they explain a little about the park. They assign you a time for your Dolphin swim if you have paid for that.

I started to ask them if they could give us a swim time for after lunch but since he didn’t ask me if we had any preference I just kept quiet and let them assign us a time. Our time was 9 or 9:30. I can’t remember specifically. I didn’t write it down so I easily forget. It was early though.

We went to the restaurant and had breakfast. They have a buffet line you go through and they have a wide variety of offerings but I can’t specifically remember what they all were. I know they had the main things like Eggs, Bacon and Sausage. I asked my husband if he remembers what I ate for breakfast because I can’t remember and he doesn’t remember either. So I can’t be of any help in that area.

I had read in several reviews and trip reports of Discovery Cove that if you want to be able to feed the birds in the Aviary to go early while they are all still hungry. The later on in the day it is the more ppl have been in to feed them and they aren’t hungry.

So we got there first thing and was able to have very good interaction with the birds. They have all different shapes and sizes of birds and they will absolutely fly down and land on you. Your arm, your hand, you head. I really enjoyed feeding the birds. I would like to have had more time to stay in there and feed them but with such an early Dolphin swim time we only had about 15-20 minutes to spend with the birds.

We had already stopped by and gotten wet suits and put them on so we didn’t have to worry about doing that. They have free lockers and we had stopped and gotten 2 lockers and put our stuff away and switched our regular shoes for our swim shoes. About 10 minutes before our Dolphin swim time we headed over to the Cabana where you meet the trainers and had to fill out a bunch of paperwork, release forms for every member of our party. 5 of us.

They had some kind of hold up and the trainers were late getting there so the one trainer who was there showed us a couple of little videos that they normally don’t show you just trying to kill some time and then asked everybody if they had any questions. Of course we had one lady who decided she is going to ask about 30 questions about what is required to become a Dolphin trainer because she wants to become one. Just when we thought she was done she would ask ANOTHER question. Finally the trainers showed up and we were broken into 4 groups of 8 or 9 and taken down to the lagoon.

We all walked into the water and it is very, very cold. I can’t say it is the coldest water I have ever been in because the Shark reef at Typhoon Lagoon was just as cold if not colder than this Dolphin water but it felt like freezing cold ice water. You can’t just bail off in there all gung ho. You really do have to ease yourself down in it a bit at a time. I actually never got use to it the whole time we were in there. (30 minutes)

They use 2 different Dolphins for the interaction. The first one the bring out they bring up really close to you and have it swim past the whole group really close so that everybody can reach out and touch it while it is swimming by. She has the Dolphin do this several times.

She also has us do some hand signals to the Dolphin that gets it to make squeaky noises through it’s blowhole. We each got to feed it a Fish. Then once that is over they bring out a second different Dolphin for the actual swim part. It seems like they use the younger Dolphins for the first interaction then bring out the older Dolphins for the part where it pulls you through the water.

In between the touching and the swimming part, they have your whole family get together in front of the Dolphin for pictures. Not only do they take pictures of you the whole time all this is going on they are also video taping it so that they can try to sell you the DVD of your interaction later.

You can choose to either do a deep water swim or a shallow water swim. My DH, DD and DSS decided on doing the deep water swim and DS and I decided on doing the shallow water swim. Although I can swim perfectly fine and have been able to since I was very young, I don’t like treading water and I don’t like being in deep water without a life jacket on.

No matter whether you choose the deep water swim or the shallow water swim the Dolphin pulls you about the same length. You hold onto it’s top fin with your left arm and hold onto it’s side fin with your right arm, or vice versa depending on what side of the Dolphin they put you on.

After about 30 minutes we were all through and when you get out they have ppl waiting to take you into this little Cabana where you can look at all your pictures and they show you what different picture packages they offer. That is also when you choose which of your pictures you want printed out and made into key chains. I picked the Adventure package ($159) which gives you 6 printed 6X8 photos, 2 photo keychains and a CD of all your park pictures for the day. But you don’t’ have to go get your pictures right then. You just chose which package you want. And although the prices for the pictures is complete highway robbery, there is no way I could have this once in a lifetime experience and NOT get the photos from it. DH really didn’t want to spend almost $200 on pictures but I talked him into it. (We had already spent $149 on a photopass + so this would be $300 spent on just photos for this trip)

Oh, and I forgot, they also get a picture of each person where you put your hands under the Dolphins chin and reach down and give him a kiss on the snout.

After the dolphin swim we went back to the birds for a few minutes and then went into the lazy river. The lazy river felt really nice and warm after having been in that freezing cold water. Just an FYI if you ever plan on going to Discovery Cove, there are 2 waterfalls you have to go under that totally drown you as you go under them. You can avoid them by taking a short cut through the aviary and I tried to do that but got a little lost in the maze of aviary and ended up going right back out the way I came in and had to go under the waterfalls anyway. Then my family had gotten way ahead of me in the lazy river and I had to swim pretty hard to catch up with them. It made me mad that they didn’t wait for me and went on ahead without me because had I not been able to catch up to them we could have gotten separated and not been able to find each other again in that big park.

After the lazy river we went to have lunch. Now I do remember what they had for lunch. I had grilled Talapia, which was amazingly good. They had hot dogs, burgers, Chicken Tenders, fries, Mac N Cheese, salads desserts and any kind of drink you could want. This would be the first of 2 lunches we would have there. After spending a few hours in the warm water Oasis we went back and had another lunch.

The warm water oasis is nice. You can swim by a glass enclosure that has Otters and there is a little island that has Marmocet monkeys. There are seats made into the water you can sit on. It does get deep in some places which I don’t like but you can avoid the deep areas by staying around the sides near the walls. I sat on a ledge while the family swam around playing and having a good time.

A park photographer came along and asked if we wanted to have some underwater shots and since it is included in your photo CD and doesn’t cost extra I told her to go ahead and take some underwater shots.

There are snacks and drinks available to you all day. The kids had soft Pretzels about 4 times through out the day. They have Granola bars and Trail Mix. They even have alcohol and mixed drinks. We didn’t drink any alcohol but they had very good sweat tea. They also had Ice cream sandwiches and Strawberry fruit frozen ice cream bars. We took full advantage of the food and drink offerings through out the day. You pay $279 per person to be there so there is no guilt in eating all day long if you want to. For almost $300 a day they could serve you Steak and Lobster if they wanted to.

But our $279 Ultimate tickets included entry into Sea World, Aquatica and Busch Gardens for up to 14 days from date of first use. It only costs $20 more to make your ticket into the ultimate ticket that includes Busch Gardens.

Now since my DH and I have Sea World season passes we could have gotten discounted tickets into Discovery Cove for just $169 per person but it would not have included entry into any of the other parks. It would have been Discovery Cove only. And going to the other parks was in our plans so paying the full price for the tickets saved us a lot of money in the long run.

Also, you can use your Discovery Cove tickets to get into any of the other parks BEFORE you use them for Discovery Cove. You just show your Discovery Cove ticket at the turnstiles to the other parks and you get in. No problem. That came in handy considering Discovery Cove was our last park day.

We ended up getting out of our wet suits, getting dressed and getting ready to leave about 3 pm.
I stopped by and picked up our photo package. It took them about 10 minutes to print everything up and burn the CD and make the keychains. Since I went so far before closing there was not a big line of ppl waiting to get their pictures yet. But by the time we left we were all tired and ready to go.

We drove back to the resort and had an afternoon rest before heading off To DTD for dinner at Rainforest Café. Instead of taking the boat from POR again we drove ourselves to DTD and had to end up parking all the way down between Planet Hollywood and T-Rex and walking all the way to the end of the marketplace side of DTD. Rainforest is at the very beginning of DTD marketplace and there is no place to park over there. SO if you plan on parking yourself to go there, there is going to be a walk involved. No way to get around it.

The 3 guys had Steak, DD had Chicken fried Chicken and I had Fried Shrimp. We had desserts and the whole experience only took about 1.5 hours from the time we checked in to the time we walked out. The bill was $200. That’s how much almost every sit down dinner was for the 5 of us.

We drove back to the room and started getting our stuff ready to leave the next day.
The kids had had enough swimming for the day so they didn’t go swimming back at the resort but they did go down to the pool and played Ping Pong and watched the outdoor movie.

Early to bed. Up tomorrow, we leave for home.

DAY 9: Left Disney. Flew home. Had a great trip. Until next time Disney!!

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