Discovery Cove - At the very top of the Exclusive Experiences list is Discovery Cove, located just next to SeaWorld. This magnificent marine park allows its guests to enjoy a touch of tropical island paradise away from the usual lively Orlando theme parks. Discovery Cove only gives entry to just 1,000 guests per day, which eliminates one of the only few stresses of theme parks - the queues; there are no queues for anything here – unless everyone decides to go for lunch at the same time. At Discovery Cove you will be able to indulge in the beautiful landscapes of the breathtaking lazy river water feature, complete with waterfalls and caves to swim through and explore, interact with one of the park's playful dolphins in a unique Dolphin Swim experience available to everyone of six and older, admire the spectacular multi-level Grand Reef, a stingray pool and an extensive aviary full of playful birds. Although the entry fee to this particular park is more than four times more expensive than any of the other theme parks in the region, visitors can expect a level of service on par with most five-star hotels. Breakfast, lunch, snacks and beverages (including Anheuser-Busch products) are all fully included in your entry fee, as well as free snorkeling gear. If you really want to push the boat out, Discovery Cove offers a private cabbana boy for an additional fee, which could be worthwhile if you plan to laze by the waters for the day. The Discovery Cove experience truly is an immense one, offering an all-round pleasurable and memorable moment for all.
New in 2011 is the exclusive SeaVenture underwater walking tour. For an additional charge, you'll don a specially designed dive helmet and get up close and personal with the reef’s inhabitants. To find out more about this experience read Attraction Tickets Direct Latest News Blog.
Trainer For A Day Become a Trainer For a Day at Discovery Cove and be taken behind the scenes at this 30-acre park to interact with all the animals and, more importantly, find out how they are trained, fed, looked after and cared for. You get to work with the experts as they go about their daily routine with the dolphins, birds, sharks, stingrays and tropical fish. The experience includes behavioural training classes, feeding and play encounters, the chance to experience a deep water interaction with a dolphin, private individual photo session with two dolphins, souvenir shirt and waterproof camera, as well as the all-inclusive Day Experience perks (including continental breakfast, lunch, snack and beverages). Participants must be at least 6 (under 13’s must be accompanied by a participating adult) and in good health. However, you need to book well in advance.
- $398-488 per person depending on the season
- FREE SEAWORLD CO PARK ADMISSION Your admission to Discovery Cove includes a choice of free entry to SeaWorld, Busch Gardens, or Aquatica water park for 14 consecutive days or the Discovery Cove Ultimate Adventure, which includes free entry to SeaWorld, Busch Gardens and Aquatica water park for 14 consecutive days. It is an excellent way to add value for money and to maximize your park touring. Book your Discovery Cove Tickets here.
- BOOKING DISCOVERY COVE TICKETS Book your Discovery Cove tickets here
- Sharks Deep Dive SeaWorld also boasts some highly worthwhile and original extra programmes which all provide some fantastic animal opportunities. Sharks Deep Dive is possibly the most original and captivating experience of them This experience involves the chance to suit up and dive in a specially constructed cage into the huge shark aquarium, spending half an hour up close and personal with these deadly but amazing creatures. After your two hour induction programme to the world of sharks, you will then be equipped for the dive with your wetsuit, gloves, dive belt and a special underwater diving helmet which allows two-way communication (no scuba certification required). You'll jump into the reinforced steel cage that glides slowly from one end of the 125ft long tank to the other and back. This amazing fish-eye view of these creatures is truly an astounding experience.You'll never tire from this wonderful underwater panorama. You must be at least 10 to participate. $149/person
- Marine Mammal Keeper Experience - The Marine Mammal Keeper Experience is a premium option for three visitors daily, aged 13 or above, to find out about the intensive care necessary to rehabilitate injured manatees, meet the seals and walruses and prepare meals for the beluga whales. It starts at 6.30am and lasts around 8 hours (including lunch, T-shirt, conservation DVD and 7-day SeaWorld pass). $399/person.
- Beluga Interactive Program - Alternatively, the Beluga Interactive Program (with the American spelling!) is equally captivating. The chance to enter the water with Beluga whales is a rare one indeed and this delve into their habitat is highly worthwhile. No swimming is necessary but guests must be comfortable in the water. The programme includes touching, feeding and interacting with hand signals, and is conducted each day rain or shine. $149/person 10 years and upwards.
SeaWorld's Exclusive Tours
- VIP Tour - SeaWorld’s more exclusive experiences also include their 7-hour VIP Tour, which offers visitors their own guide to tour the park, with back-door access to the rides, reserved seating at shows and animal feeding opportunities and a free lunch. $100/adults $75/3–9 year olds.
- Elite VIP Tour - Go one better with the Elite VIP Tour, for a minimum of two people. This is a tailor made tour designed specifically to your groups interest. The Elite VIP tour includes lunch at the Sharks Underwater Grill and penguin and shark encounters. $275/person.
- Behind-The-Scenes Tour Spend 90 minutes backstage at SeaWorld during the Behind-The-Scenes Tour, where animal experts share their knowledge and stories about the park’s inhabitants. Learn more about manatee and sea turtle rescue, meet one of SeaWorld’s small sharks, explore a polar bear den, and find out what it’s like to touch a penguin. $30/adult, $20/3-9 year olds
BOOKING EXCLUSIVE SEAWORLD EXPERIENCES
You can book SeaWorld’s exclusive experiences in advance online or by phone: 1888 800 5447 or book on entry to the parks at the Guided Tours counter.
The Walt Disney World Resort has its own series of behind-the-scenes tours, all of which make for a fascinating accompaniment to the overall theme park experience, and are especially suited to repeat visitors.
- The Keys to the Kingdom - The Keys to the Kingdom is a 4½-5 hour guided tour of many backstage areas, including the service tunnel that runs under the park and the entertainment production buildings. $65/persons 16 years and upwards.
- Family Magic Tour - Disney’s Family Magic Tour is a 2-hour guided adventure that takes you on a search for clues throughout the park at $30/person.
- Disney’s Steam Trains Tour - Join the Disney crew who prepare the park’s trains each day. This is great for those fascinated by trains. $45/persons 10 years and upwards
- Dolphins In Depth A 3-hour delve into the backstage and research areas of The Seas with Nemo and Friends Pavilion, including a chance to meet the resident dolphins. $194/persons 13 and upwards. 13 - 17 year olds must be accompanied by an adult.
- Undiscovered Future World, a 4½-hour journey into the creation of Epcot, Walt’s vision for the resort and into the backstage areas. $55/persons aged 16 and upwards only.
- Dive Quest - A 3-hour experience, with a 30-minute dive into a 5.7million gallon salt water aquarium inside the Seas with Nemo and Friends Pavilion and swim with over sixty different species of fish. You will need to have scuba certification. Theme park admission not required. $175/persons, aged 10 years and upwards.
- The Seas Aqua Tour- Swim on the surface of the Seas with Nemo and Friends tank, which was up until recently the largest water tank in the world and take a look into this wonderful marine world. Snorkel equipment is provided, Scuba certificates are not required. $150/persons 8 years and upwards. Under 17s must be accompanied by an adult.
- Inspiration: Through Walt’s Eyes - Disney’s Hollywood Studios gets in on the action with Inspiration: Through Walt’s Eyes. Tour Sunset Boulevard, go backstage to see Event and Decorating Support and experience Magic Kingdom’s famous ulitidoors. $99/persons 16 years and upwards
Disney's Animal Kingdom
- Backstage Safari Tour - Disney’s Animal Kingdom's three hour Backstage Safari gives guests a look at the care and handling of the park’s residents. $70/persons 16 years and upwards.
- Wild By Design - Offers a 3 hour tour highlighting the park’s history, art, and architecture. $60/persons 14 years and upwards.
- Backstage Magic - This comprehensive tour goes behind the scenes of Epcot, Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios on a 7-hour foray into little-seen aspects of the parks. $224/persons 16 years and upwards.
- Around the World Segway Tour - For those who enjoy the latest technologies, World Showcase offers a morning Around the World Segway Tour on the innovative two-wheeled Segway Human Transporter. The two hour tour includes full instruction and plenty of time to ride these amazing contraptions, which travel up to 20kph. It's advisable to book well in advance for this tour. $99/persons 16 years and upwards.
- Wilderness Back Trail Adventure Segway Tour - If you would like to get off the beaten track, try the Wilderness Back Trail Adventure Segway Tour at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground. Explore the wilderness aboard a segway on a two hour trail tour. $95/persons 16 years and upwards.
For all Disney tours, call 407 939 8687 (or 407 WDW TOUR).
Richard Petty Experience
A collaboration between Disney and former American star racing driver Richard Petty is the high-powered Richard Petty Experience, which can be found just before the parking area for the Magic Kingdom park. Here you can try one of their 650-bhp stock cars on the 1.8-mile oval circuit as either driver or passenger at up to 145mph. Sensible, lightweight clothing is required for the Richard Petty Ride-Along Experience. The interior of the cars is hot and stuffy and you need to climb in through the window – skirts are not advisable.
The programmes consist of:
- Ride Along Experience - The three-lap Ride-Along Experience ($99/person, 16 and over only); You don’t need to book for the Ride-Along Experience
The three driving programmes listed below are for persons aged 18 years and above and all require advanced bookings.
- The Rookie Experience: tuition followed by eight laps on the speedway.
- The Kings Experience: tuition followed by eighteen laps.
- The Experience of a Lifetime: an intense 30-lap programme.
Book your Richard Petty Nascar experience here
Cirque du Soleil's La Nouba - One of the other exclusive Disney gems can be found at the Downtown Disney location, where collaboration with the international circus group Cirque du Soleil brings the amazing show La Nouba to life twice a day (Tuesday-Saturday). This is hard to describe, but if you can imagine a combination of dance, acrobatics, live music and stunts that absolutely defy the imagination, then you have La Nouba. The 90-minute show is staged in magnificent style in its own theatre and features a wealth of eye-catching costumes, amazing special effects, superb staging and a vibrant, 40-strong cast who will have you blinking in astonishment. And even that does not do it justice. Our only advice is – go see it for yourself! However, although it is occasionally possible to get last-minute bookings by turning up at the box office for any Returns, it is highly advisable to book in advance as the show is extremely popular.
To find out more about La Nouba and book your tickets click here
Universal Studio's Orlando
The Blue Man Group - Universal Orlando’s Sharp Aquos theater, in CityWalk, plays host to the wonderfully eclectic Blue Man Group, a 2-hour show brimming with inventive musical and visual humour and a heavy dose of audience participation. The Blue Men never speak, but communicate brilliantly through gestures and subtle facial expressions. Their use of non-traditional percussive instruments, including each other, is simply astonishing, while their unique brand of physical humor will leave you shaking your head in amazement. Although it may go over the heads of the under-8s, Blue Man Group’s performance is family friendly, with the added benefit of having strong teen appeal.
Book your Blue Man Group tickets here
The Kennedy Space Centre
Lunch with an Astronaut - This is an absolute must-do for all visitors, whether this is your first visit or your 21st. Here, you get to be part of a small group who enjoy a buffet-style lunch, and a personal talk, Q&A session, meet and greet and autograph session with one of NASA’s small group of genuine astronauts. Meeting the men and women who have been up in the Space Shuttle, the Space Station, Spacelab and even the Apollo missions is a fascinating and truly worthwhile addition to a Space Center visit.
- $24.37/adult $16.95/persons 3-11 years
ATX Astronaut Training Experience - The all-day Astronaut Training Experience is an alternative to a repeat visit to the Space Center as it involves a full day’s activity learning just what it takes to go up into space. You'll do some genuine astronaut training, with an exclusive tour of the Space Centre involving a lot of hands-on activities, including the low-gravity chair and Space Shuttle mock-up.
- You must be atleast 14 years of age to take part in this experience. Under 18s must be accompanied by a parent.
Family ATX Experience - is for children aged 7 and upwards that want the astronaut experience but aren't of age for the Astronaut Training Experience above. A special t-shirt and cap is included with this experience.
There are some height and weight restrictions for the Astronaut Training Experience, and sensible clothing is required – no skirts or sandals. It is vital to book in advance, as the ATX Experience has proven quite popular. Attraction Tickets Direct can assist you in booking your ATX experience, as well as other Kennedy Space Center experiences.
Book your ATX tickets here
In and Around Orlando
Warbird Adventures - Based at Kissimmee Airport off Hoagland Boulevard, just south of Highway 192, this unique operation flies 1945 T-6 Harvards and takes people up in the air in these vintage two-seater aircrafts. Passengers have the choice of a flight-only or flight with aerobatics ride. Flighst with aerobatics is literally the best ride in town, bar none! Roller-coasters will seem tame by comparison afterwards. The G-force you feel during the various loops and rolls your pilot puts the plane through is quite stunning. You also get to take the controls yourself – under careful supervision – and try your hand at a few basic aerobatics, which is truly an intense feeling. Warbird Adventures also fly Bell M*A*S*H helicopters, and they provide full photo and video coverage of your flight. The costs vary according to the duration of flight and the ‘extras’ you choose in the way of aerobatics and pictures, but it is well worth going for the full one-hour all-inclusive Ultimate package (call for details).
Book your Warbird experience here
Balloon Flight - A Balloon Flight is also another wonderful way to do something special in the area, as it provides a breathtaking view of much of central Florida. They usually go up first thing in the morning (when the winds are lightest) and treat you to a marvelous sunrise panorama of Orlando and beyond. There is very little sensation of movement, you simply go along with the wind gently. You may also get a glimpse of some of the local wildlife, from alligators to white-tailed deer. The flight is drawn to a close perfectly with a champagne toast on landing. This is by far one of the most memorable experiences Florida has to offer and.
Book your Balloon Flight here
Limo Rides - Limo Rides in Orlando have become increasingly popular in recent years, with a huge collection of different vehicles available, from the typical American stretch limousine to the amazing stretch Hummer. Typically they are used to provide airport transfers, but they also provide a great special occasion treat for birthdays, wedding anniversaries and can also be hired as your choice of transport for dinner shows, nightclubs, restaurants and general nightlife. There are also special limo excursions that will take you shopping, to a Disney character meal or to the Kennedy Space Center. It certainly adds a really classy touch to your holiday, and children in particular enjoy the limo style. For a treat for all the family, try a VIP Disney Character Meal with limousine transport.
Book your VIP Character Meal here.
Check out our Expert Orlando Itinerary Planner and learn the complete ins and outs of Orlando here.