Dolphins in Depth at Epcot - Disney World
Dolphins in Depth Review
Before my last trip to Florida, I put together a hub on where to swim with Dolphins in Florida. The experience I elected to do myself was the Dolphins in Depth tour at Epcot Center at Walt Disney World and so I thought I would share my experience so you can get an idea of what the tour is like if you're thinking about signing up for it yourself.
The Dolphins in Depth tour at Epcot is available on weekdays. Since there are other backstage opportunities involving the Epcot Aquarium, Dolphins in Depth is only done once a day, and starts around 9:30 a.m. It is highly recommended that you book your tour well in advance to avoid disappointment as only 8 people are allowed on each tour. Call Disney Tours (407) WDW-TOUR or (407) 939-8687 to schedule.
Currently the Dolphins in Depth tour costs around $170, but prices do change. If you are a Disney Vacation Club member, you get a 15% discount. You also get a discount if you are a WDW annual passholder and I would guess that they also offer a discounts to Disney credit card holders. So it is worth asking about potential discounts when you call them on the phone.
For the money you pay, you get the three hour tour, a t-shirt and your photo with one of the dolphins. I thought it was well worth the money for such an intimate experience.
I arrived at Disney World during the first week of January, so I decided to schedule my dolphin encounter on Monday the following week.
On that day, I had to arrive at the Guest Relations booth just outside the main gate at Epcot at 9.30 a.m. Shortly after I arrived, a couple of Disney cast
members came out and took myself and four other people behind stage at the Living
Seas aquarium after having us sign paperwork absolving WDW of all responsibility for any mishaps. As the tour takes place "backstage" we also were not allowed to take any photographs at any time during the tour. So the only picture I have is the one of me and the dolphin.
Part of the three hour tour is 30 minutes or so in the water with the dolphins in waist deep water. This is naturally at the end of the tour and so I figured the 2.5 hours leading up to it would drag by, but actually it didn't. It was really interesting and now I would really like to go back and do the scuba tour that they do in the afternoons.
The Disney tour guides told us that when the Living Seas was first opened, the dolphins were
in the main tank with all the other animals, but that shortly proved to
be a big mistake. Because dolphins are bullies and like to spin sea
turtles around until they look like spinning tops, and they like to use
the Rays for games of frisbee and they really love annoying the
sharks. So eventually WDW installed a barrier that keeps the dolphins
out of the main tank, but lets brave and/or foolhardy fish travel into
it if they are so inclined.
Meeting the Dolphins
After the educational tour, we got into our wetsuits (don't forget to bring your bathing suit with you) and went to meet the dolphins. The Disney cast members had fun parading us through the public areas of the Living Seas aquarium while we were all trussed up in wetsuits.
We had actually seen the dolphins earlier in the tour, but this time it was going to be up close and personal. Epcot has four dolphins, all male. During the meet and greet, we had two different dolphins to play with. My guess is that they trade off which dolphins take part each day so they don't get bored.
The trainer had us do different commands for various tricks that the dolpins can do. Most of the tricks for these close-up encounters tend to be of the type that get you splashed... a lot. I'm not sure who is more amused -- the trainers or the dolphins.
Then everyone got to have their
picture taken individually with a dolphin in their arms.
More by this Author
One of the most popular activities at Disney World are the character meals. Held at various restaurants inside the parks, as well as at several of the Resorts, character dining is a great opportunity to get your kids...
This is my "best of" list of my top favorite Disney World rides. I've never been much for roller coasters and thrill rides, but I love the theme park rides at Walt Disney World. Here are my 5 favorite WDW...
You can get gift cards at CVS for all kinds of places. Here's a sampling of what's available on the racks.