We woke up at around 5am. Wide awake and ready to start our day! Whilst the girls sat watching a film on their DVD player, we sat outside with a cup of tea (we managed to get our hands on some PG tips at Walmart, how exciting!) and watched the sun rise. It was one of the most incredible sunrises I’ve ever seen and we were in the perfect spot!
Lake Whippoorwill KOA is located around twenty miles from Disney Springs, Disney world and Discovery Cove. It’s a beautiful, well kept campsite situated next to a picturesque lake. On the campsite there is a swimming pool, on site store, laundrette and play area. We booked a deluxe pull-through, lakeside site with full hook up which cost us $120 for 2 nights. (You can book your stay here at https://koa.com/campgrounds/orlando-se/)
At 8:30am, we left the campsite and drove 25 minutes to Discovery Cove. There was plenty of RV parking and we arrived just as the park opened at 9am. As we were early, there were no queues, so we gave our booking details and received our lanyards (if it’s your birthday month you will receive a happy birthday lanyard- which means all of the workers at the park will wish you a happy birthday).
We booked our tickets online a couple of weeks before our visit. We highly recommend doing this as quite often they can sell out of tickets, and you don’t want to be left disappointed. (Tip- When booking tickets make sure you double check the date and remember in the USA when writing the date, the month comes before the day- 4/5/19 would read as the 4th of May in the UK, but in the USA, it would actually read as the 5th of April.) We booked our tickets at LINK!!!!! The price for standard entry without the dolphin swim was $149 each (under 2s go free). The ticket price covers entry, free food and drink all day, use of wetsuits/goggles/snorkels and even sun cream! There are different add ons available with your ticket. You can swim with dolphins, sharks or even feed the sting rays.
We decided to stop for breakfast first. The food was great, and there was a huge selection available. The French toast fingers with syrup was definitely a hit with the girls. You could also choose from a hot breakfast of sausages, potatoes and scrambled eggs, cereal, fresh fruit and even cupcakes.
After filling up on the free buffet breakfast, we went to get changed into our swimming costumes. There are lockers available free of charge and sun cream dispensers are located by the changing area. We got our wetsuits, goggles and snorkels and head off to the wind away river.
Discovery cove is such a beautiful place, giving you the feel of being on a tropical island. There are lots of beach area with plenty of sunbeds for when you need to take a break and relax (with a cocktail or two).
The wind away river was great fun for all ages! There are floats and life jackets available for the little ones so that they can join in too. The river is crystal clear and I was pleasantly surprised by how warm the water was. As you follow the river, you are taken into caves and under waterfalls (not Poppy’s favourite part as she’s not keen on water going in her face- anyone would’ve thought one of the sharks had escaped the tank, and gone for a dip in the wind away river the way she screamed!). You are also taken through the aviary so you swim down the river and see the beautiful birds flying around. The river ends up in Serenity bay, a beautiful place to relax in the warm water or play on the beach.
Daisy couldn’t wait to go snorkelling. So, we head off to the Grand reef. After getting used to the drop in water temperature, we all went off to explore. We were all amazed at how many tropical fish there were, swimming around the incredible coral reef setting. Daisy had a slight panic, and a mouthful of salt water, when a sting ray brushed past her legs! There are dozens of sting rays, and some of them are huge. They will swim right up to you so that you’re able to touch them, which was amazing! You also get to swim up to the glass barrier, behind which lies several species of shark.
Whilst Daisy and Johnny continued snorkelling, me and the girls went to the beach bar, which serves free drinks and snacks all day. You can get soft drinks, water, tea and coffee or slushies. Snacks available at the beach bar range from ice cream and fruit to crisps and warm, soft pretzels. We stopped by the dolphin lagoon to watch the dolphins playing (although we couldn’t enter the pool, as we hadn’t paid for the dolphin swim package).
Next stop was the aviary. You can take a break from swimming and see the colourful birds flying around. We were given pots of fruit to feed the birds. The birds will land on your hand (and sometimes, land on your head) to eat from the pot you’re carrying.
We had worked up quite an appetite by lunchtime and the lunch menu did not disappoint. Pulled pork, burgers, wraps, pasta, steak… as well as a kid’s menu, salads and the tastiest desserts (The New York cheesecake was a personal favourite). Again, all of this food and drink was included in your ticket price.
We spent the rest of the day swimming, snorkelling and soaking up the sun. There are changing rooms available with showers, clean towels, shampoo and conditioner, and hair dryers. So, you can all get cleaned off and dressed in comfort. Note; all of the facilities were clean and tidy throughout the day.
After an action-packed day, we were all looking forward to a chilled-out evening on the campsite. We played at the park and stopped off at the on-site shop to buy some marshmallows. We were blown away by how incredibly friendly and helpful everyone on the campsite was. Daisy and Poppy made friends with two girls from Tennessee, who were camping next to us, and they spent the evening playing with chalk and making smores. Me and Johnny also joined the family for drinks and smores around the campfire. They gave us some great advice for our trip and even gave us a bottle of champagne they had made (they own their own wine company, check out Keg Springs winery on Facebook).
Sitting around a campfire in the dark, toasting marshmallows and sharing stories with people we had just met is one of my favorite memories from the whole trip. It made me so excited for all of the adventures we had to come!