When we visited Orlando as a family last year, we coveted a day out at Discovery Cove.
It’s an ‘exclusive’ all inclusive resort where you get to swim with dolphins and paddle in a pool where rays flap around your thighs.
What’s not to love?
In the end we were so wiped out after a day at Magic Kingdom we opted to save our money, sit around our pool and sip cold beer. Me and the hubs, not the children obviously . . .
Then I was given the opportunity to visit Discovery Cove with a group of bloggers on a most amazing tour of Orlando theme parks – SeaWorld, Busch Gardens, Aquatica and Discovery Cove.
I think I responded to the PR by saying “can I snap your hand off right up to your elbow? Errr, yes!”
Anyway, Discovery Cove.
It is a magical place. Only 1,000 people are allowed in at any one time so you need to book in advance. Well in advance. Like sometimes months in advance.
And here’s why. My top 5 favourite bits of Discovery Cove:
1. Swimming with dolphins.
I’ve heard stories from so many people who have done it, but until you’re there in the water with one of these amazing creatures, you really don’t know what you’re missing.
If there is ever a day my animal-obsessed little girl gets to do this, it will be a day she remembers for the rest of her life.
Pictured above (from left): PRs Lucy and Kerry (both getting married v soon, so you can imagine how that went down with a group of women . . . there was squealing), English Mum Becky, Jo Beaufoix, Little Mummy Erica, Laura Are We Nearly There Yet Mummy, Me, Liz at Living With Kids. And the really quite gorgeous Rascal.
2. Lazy river.
I know, right up there at number 2! As I floated/swam my way around this picturesque waterway I never once felt I was in a Florida ‘attraction’.
Draped in vines, bordered by rocky outcrops, flowing under a stalactite stuffed cave, I spent half an hour in heaven.
As I was floating/swimming around said river with bloggers Laura, Erica, Becky and Liz, I also laughed and laughed and laughed. Bliss.
3. The venue
It’s idyllic. You would never know it’s only been there 10 years as giant bamboo towers over you as you walk through the lush, gorgeous gardens.
Peaceful and beautiful – truth be told I felt like a movie star. Especially when Liz came walking back to our little beach with a very lovely young man carrying a tray of frozen slushy thingies (I’m sure they have posher names than that, but you can’t take the 80s girl out of the modern-day miss!)
4. Up close and personal with rays
Standing in a pool with stingrays tickling your legs as they glide through the water. Bit weird but fabulous.
These are magnificent, graceful creatures – some are so big in the snorkelling pool that if you swim above them and spread your arms out like wings, you feel kind of small next to them.
5. The wetsuits
Trying to get 6 English mums into wetsuits was quite frankly hilarious. If you could have seen the antics of these bloggers in the changing rooms, using Sumo wrestler moves, a touch of leaping and lots of giggling to get into the skin-tight attire, well, let’s just say that would be a video you’d all want to see.
Especially given that Erica and Jo managed to put theirs on back to front . . .
However, it wasn’t perfect.
I was disappointed with the food, which given the exclusivity of the venue I thought would be a lot better. Or just less ‘resorty’.
But my biggest disappointment? I went to this glorious place and didn’t take my camera.
Yea gods, I felt like I’d lost a limb!
Included in the price is all food and drinks, your mask, snorkel, swim vest, towel, locker and sunscreen.
For full details of the park, the facilities, availability and prices visit the Discovery Cove website.