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Discovery Cove - Trainer for a day
There can be little doubt that swimming with dolphins at Discovery Cove is one of the most personally satisfying experiences of any of Orlando’s Theme parks. To get even more from this very special experience it is worth considering becoming a ‘trainer for the day’.
For those who have not visited Discovery Cove it can be found just off I Drive opposite Sea World. This is one visit that has to be planned and booked in advance as there are limited places on any day for normal visits and very few people hoping to be ‘trainers for the day’ can be accommodated.
After registration following your early arrival you will be introduced to your trainers, normally not more than 4 people per trainer. You will receive a waterproof disposable camera to capture all those close encounters. Next it’s off to be fitted with a wet suit and equipped with mask and snorkel.
The first experience is to visit the aviaries and see some of the other animals that live at Discovery Cove. You will get a chance to feed the rainbow lorikeets and other birds who will drink nectar from a small cup held in your hand. This walk gives you a good opportunity to explore the cove and find out where everything is.
It’s then off, for your first Dolphin encounter. You will join another group in the lagoon and be introduced to your Dolphin, you will have the opportunity to touch and interact with it. The dolphins have a lot of freedom and they choose whether to interact, if for whatever reason a dolphin does not want to join the public on a particular day they are not pressured to do so. There are 2 trainers for every dolphin. This first dolphin encounter is exactly what regular visitors enjoy, it will be filmed and a video will be available for purchase at the end of the day.
Following this first encounter you will have some free time to explore the lagoon and the lazy river before lunch. Your lunch will be a buffet served in a private area and you will be presented with your trainer’s tee shirt. After lunch you will have an opportunity to swim in an area normally closed to the public. This provides a fantastic chance to see many tropical fish really close up, a great time to use your underwater camera. Next comes feeding the rays, you will be in shallow water with them and offer small pieces of fish, they glide along and suck up the fish. This is a very memorable experience, it makes you realise how graceful these fish are. As a complete contrast feeding the sharks is quite scary, feeding them with a long pole is one thing, you certainly wouldn’t want to be in their environment as a possible meal.
Then it’s behind the scenes to see other animals such as a sloth and several parrots. These are Discovery Cove’s PR and education animals and they are true Divas. Next it’s back to the dolphins and an opportunity to participate in their training on a one to one basis. This allows the individual to interact with the dolphin with no other distractions, yet another memorable part of a day where there are so many. There is also the chance to see the kitchens which would put many 5 star hotels to shame. Each dolphin has a specific diet logged onto a board and whilst it appears they get fed on a random basis each fish is calculated as part of the overall dietary requirements.
The day ends with what must be the highlight of day, the chance to be towed along by 2 dolphins. By the time this happens many people have left and the lagoon is very quiet. To have 2 of these powerful animals tow you through the water at reasonable speed for a 100m’s or so is very impressive.
You will leave Discovery Cove with a big smile, these wonderful animals will have left a big impression. Disney has the Magic, Universal and Hollywood Studios have the excitement but being a ‘trainer for the day’ tops it all and will be the most unforgettable memory of your holiday.
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