Dolphin Lagoon, Beach Chairs, and Sandy Beach in Discovery Cove

Is Discovery Cove Worth It?

Discovery Cove is a a day resort in Orlando, Florida. Oddly enough, this is one of the highest rated attractions in Orlando. Considering the competition, that’s saying something! But, is Discovery Cove worth it?

Water and foliage in Discovery Cove

When I first heard about Discovery Cove, I thought it sounded awesome. But, after checking out the price? Nevermind.

Lagoon and Sandy Beach at Discovery Cove

Later, I heard through a friend that Discovery Cove was the BEST part of their Orlando vacation. Hmmmm….really??? So, I took a second look.

Discovery Cove Beach

I found out that there is a lot more value at this day resort than I initially realized.

Lush vegetation and pathway at Discovery Cove Orlando.

Discovery Cove is actually an all-inclusive experience. Sure, there are some optional upgrades, but most of what you need to have an amazing day is included in the price which covers parking, food, and gear!

What to Expect at Discovery Cove

Upon arrival, guests enter the Discovery Cove check-in area. It is similar to a hotel lobby.

Discovery Cove Lobby Area
Discovery Cove Lobby

As your group gets signed in, you’ll get general information and times for any special experiences. Then, it’s off to breakfast.

Discovery Cove Orlando Check In Desks

After breakfast, it is time to get outfitted for a day of fun. Discovery Cove requires that guests wear either a wet suit or a vest. These are both bright yellow on the back so they are easily visible to life guards.

Discovery Cove Wet Suits and Vests Pickup Area
Guests must wear a Discovery Cove wet suit or vest.

The changing area and restrooms are nice and spacious and that’s where you can pickup towels as you need them. There are lockers available which are included in your admission. Animal friendly sunscreen is provided as well.

Discovery Cove Lockers
Lockers are available for storing belongings.

Food and Drinks

Breakfast and lunch are served in the Laguna Grill restaurant. There are lots of options and the food is quite good.

Front of the Laguna Grill Dining Area in Discovery Cove
Laguna Grill
  • Entrance and Cooking Area
  • Discovery Cove Breakfast - Eggs
  • Discovery Cove Breakfast - Biscuits, French Toast Sticks
  • Discovery Cove Breakfast - Fruit
  • Discovery Cove Restaurant Seating Area with Table and Chairs
  • Discovery Cove Lunch Tray - Salmon, Potatoes, Mac and Cheese, Cake
  • Discovery Cove Lunch Tray - Salmon, Rice, Burger, Watermelon, Cheesecake

You’ll also find that Discovery Cove offers beverage/snack stations available throughout the day with snacks, water, soda, and icees. So, anytime you’re hungry or thirsty, Discovery Cove has got you covered.

  • Discovery Cove Snack Station - Icee Machine
  • Discovery Cove Snack Station - Coca Cola Machine
  • Discovery Cove Snack Station - Bar with Basket of Chips and Snacks


Most activities are included in your admission. These include snorkeling in the Grand Reef, relaxing in Serenity Bay, floating in the Windy River, and exploring the Freshwater Oasis.

  • Discovery Cove Stingray in the Grand Reef
  • Discovery Cove Serenity Bay Pools
  • Discovery Cove Windy River
  • Discovery Cove Marmoset
  • Discovery Cove Sign with Map

Special Experiences & Extras

Discovery Cove has several optional extras including swimming with dolphins and sharks or feeding sting rays.

We did the Dolphin Swim. And, it was absolutely worth the extra cost! We had plenty of dolphin interaction time. And, it was a big thrill being pulled through the water by a dolphin. On the down side, keep your wallet handy because the photo package costs extra and it is hard to pass up!

Discovery Cove Dolphin Swimming
Discovery Cove Dolphin Swim

I wouldn’t suggest signing up for more than one or two special experiences. There are so many other activities to enjoy. So, too many scheduled activities would detract from the included attractions.

Is Discovery Cove Worth It?

When deciding whether or not Discovery Cove is worth it, there are really two things to consider: Time and Money.

Fish and Stingray by Reef

Let’s start with money. For us, it was worth the money. When you consider what all is included in the price and how much fun it all is, we thought the value was there.

Fish near Coral Reef

As an added bonus, the tickets we purchased came with 14 days admission to both Seaworld and Aquatica which was really nice! Check out ticket options at Undercover Tourist.

Lighthouse at Seaworld

In terms of time, whether or not Discovery Cove is worth it depends on what you are hoping to get out of your trip and how many times you’ve been to Orlando.

Blue fish

We have been to Orlando (Disney) many times. So, on this vacation, we skipped Disney altogether.

2 Stingray

If this is your first visit to Orlando and you’re visiting Disney, I’d suggest just sticking with the Mouse. For that trip, I think it is best to just stay in Disney and don’t leave. Save Universal, Seaworld, and Discovery Cove for future trips.

Discovery Cove Reef

For us, this Orlando trip about was about exploring non-Disney attractions. And, Discovery Cove was a highlight of our week. We had a blast!

Discovery Cove Fish

While I was skeptical at first, it didn’t take long to realize that Discovery Cove is WAY worth the time and money! And, I can’t wait to go back!

Check It Out: Discovery Cove Trip Tip

This post contains an affiliate link for which I make a small commission if you make a purchase. I was not compensated for this post nor did I receive any discounts or free tickets.

3 thoughts on “Is Discovery Cove Worth It?”

    1. I have an underwater point and shoot Olympus camera that I use for beach and water activities. It isn’t super fancy, and I’ve had it for a while. Comes in really handy!

    2. I used my phone camera in a waterproof case. They sell them there. We got great pictures!

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