Interested in swimming with dolphins in Orlando, Florida? Here’s my friend Susan’s experience.
I had the very fortunate opportunity to take my son swimming with the dolphins on one of our first trips to Orlando. This is a great experience for kids big and small that love the water and all the creatures in it. Here are few tips if you are in the Orlando area and want to enjoy this experience.
SeaWorld Discovery Cove knows their fish and this package is truly a great experience. My son and I did this day package for his 10th birthday. He’s been obsessed with aquatic animals since and has gone on to get his scuba diving certification and enjoy some of the other experiences I will talk about.
This package for Florida Residents runs $199 ($259 and up for non Florida residents) for the day. This includes a 30 minute interaction with the Dolphins, unlimited admission to SeaWorld and Aquatica for up to 14 days around your reservation, and snorkeling around the Discovery Cove park and enjoying the various other pools at their facility. The have a Stingray tank, coral reef and a lazy river if you want to just kick back while waiting for your Dolphin time.
Children must be at least 6 years old to swim with dolphins. Children ages 6-12 must be accompanied by a paying adult who also is participating in the dolphin swim experience and be at least 15 years of age to visit Discovery Cove without adult supervision.
Dolphins Up-Close Tour – Spend some time with the dolphins and you’ll quickly understand what makes these clever characters some of SeaWorld’s most popular animals. See how they care for the dolphins, participate in a training session and touch a dolphin.
Cost for this program is $50 ages 10 and up, $30 ages 3-9. This is a one hour tour and Pass Members receive a 10% discount.
Marine Mammal Keeper Experience – Live your dream of caring for dolphins, beluga whales and sea lions. Work side-by-side with marine mammal experts and understand what it’s like to care for these amazing animals. Get an intimate look at feeding and behavior patterns and work with the animals just like the pros do. There’s nothing like coming face-to-face with these beautiful animals!
Cost for this program is $399 per person ages 13 and up.
Epcot at Disney World
There are three separate programs at the Living Seas at Epcot that you and your family can enjoy.
Dolphins in Depth – Dolphins in Depth is a 3-hour tour at The Seas with Nemo & Friends Pavilion inside Epcot theme park where Guests can learn about, and get up close with, Disney’s dolphins.
This program costs $194 per person and does not include admission into Epcot. There are often discounts for this program if you are an annual passholder. You do not need to swim or be scuba certified to enjoy this program, but you will need to be at least 13 years of age. All participants under the age of 18 years must have a parent or guardian along with them on the tour. This is a three hour tour.
Epcot DiveQuest – Epcot DiveQuest is a unique scuba diving experience inside the 5.7-million-gallon saltwater tank at The Seas with Nemo & Friends Pavilion in Epcot theme park. Scuba-certified Guests can swim with over 6,000 sea creatures—including sea turtles, angelfish, dolphins, eagle rays and sharks.
This program costs $175 per person and does not include admission to the park. All Guests must be SCUBA-certified and at least 10 years of age to participate. Guests ages 10 to 12 must be accompanied by a paying, participating parent or guardian. This is a three hour scuba diving experience with roughly 40 minutes in the water.
The Seas Aqua Tour – The Seas Aqua Tour allows Guests to swim on the surface of the 5.7-million-gallon saltwater tank inside The Seas with Nemo & Friends Pavilion at Epcot theme park. Guests use a supplied-air snorkel system and do not need to be scuba certified.
This program costs $140 per person and does not include admission to the park. Guests must be at least 8 years of age to participate. Guests ages 8 to 12 must be accompanied by a paying, participating parent or guardian. This program lasts 2.5 to 3 hours with about 30 minutes in the water. If you’re a passholder, you can receive a discount on this experience.
If you love the water, you might consider renting a boat at Walt Disney World.
Susan Finnigan is a military veteran, mother of three wonderful children, wife to her best friend and database programmer extraordinaire. She spends her days as a full-time programmer and runs a web-hosting service and blog at http://www.lynnamorris.com in her spare time. President of her own IT services company, she provides quality websites and computer repair. She also uses her blog to share her shopping and coupon experiences for keeping her budget focused and stretch her dollar as far as possible. A Florida resident, is also Disney addict and uses her savings to visit the Happiest Place on Earth as often as she can!