Mom And Daughter Laughing together on Hammock at beach
  • On Jan 6, 2020
    Alexandra from ON Asked Note: This answer was provided prior to the change to planDisney and may still contain references to Disney Parks Moms Panel.

    Experiences, policies, pricing and other offerings are subject to change and may have changed since the date of this answer.

    We stop at Cozumel and my 7 year old twins and 9 year old want to swim with dolphins. Should I pick Dophinaris or Dolphin Discovery? Or are both pretty much the same? Any other helpful tips for this excursion would be appreciated. Thank you!

    Hi Alexandra, thanks for stopping back by the Disney Parks Moms Panel with an excellent question. From Cast Member to Disney cruiser, you've had quite the Disney journey. Like you, I'll be sailing to Cozumel soon, and I'm excited about all the possibilities in Cozumel Port Adventures.

    Deciding on Port Adventures is challenging because it's so hard to choose just one! What I've learned is to closely scrutinize the particulars of excursions to make sure they meet my expectations. In this case, your kids are wanting to swim with dolphins. Clearly, there are multiple packages available between Dolphin Discovery and Dolphinaris.

    If "swim with dolphins" means your kids would want to interact with dolphins and get a hug or a kiss, then go with a Port Adventure with "Encounter" in the title. Which one you choose will be determined by whether you or another adult want to get in the water.  The Dolphin Encounter, Lunch, Drinks and Beach at Dolphin Discovery does not require an adult to participate in the same excursion; however, you would have to purchase the Dolphin Discovery Observer. Meanwhile, for the Dolphin Encounter at Dolphinaris, guests ages 5 to 11 years old must be accompanied in the water by a parent or guardian booked on the same excursion at the same time.

    If swimming with dolphins means your kids expect to actually swim around and do some tricks with them, then I suggest the Dolphin Swim at Dolphinaris or the Dolphin Swim, Lunch, Drinks and Beach. But on these, BOTH would require that for your seven and nine-year-olds to participate, a parent or guardian would have to be booked on the same tour. 

    The other distinctions I see between the two companies: Dolphin Discovery is in a partitioned area in the ocean, so the tide does factor into the experience, while Dolphinaris is in a lagoon-like pool. Travel time to Dolphinaris is 5 minutes from the ship whereas Dolphin Discovery, located in Chankanaab National Park, is 20 minutes away.

    I did a similar dolphin program in the Dominican Republic, and I must say it was AWESOME to be able to play with them in deeper water and not just have a shallow water interaction. We experienced a dorsal tow by two dolphins and a foot push where the dolphin actually lifted us out of the water. I think overall, you get more with a Dolphin Swim experience, but an Encounter would also be fine, especially for a first time interaction with dolphins.

    I would encourage you to also check the individual websites for Dolphin Discovery and Dolphinaris as one might stand out more to you than the other. Dive deeper on the details of each one and decide which sounds most appealing for your kiddos. Be sure to read the Know Before You Go particulars because that's where I found requirements on whether an adult/parent must actually participate in the same Port Adventure or has to purchase an observer pass.

    Whichever Port Adventure you choose, it's sure to be a FINtastic experience! Please sail back and visit us again with any other questions.

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Meet the Panelist: Sherry, South Carolina

Ahoy there! I'm Sherry, a wife and mom to two, lawyer, and blogger from South Carolina. Family time is precious, so making the most of it is a top priority. That's why planning cruises to exciting destinations, trying new port adventures, and experiencing fabulous entertainment and dining is my jam! I'm thrilled to be your personal navigator as you chart your course on your next Disney Cruise Line vacation.  Learn More About Sherry

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