2015 Sea TREK Operator of the Year
Discovery Cove Orlando
Sub Sea Systems recognizes Discovery Cove Orlando as the 2015 Sea TREK Operator of the Year. Of the nearly 50 Sea TREK operations worldwide, Discovery Cove received the highest marks in all categories: tour quality, guest satisfaction, staff professionalism, conservation efforts, innovation, and overall commitment to the Sea TREK program.
The award-winning park– ranked No. 1 Amusement Park in the World by TripAdvisor– is a luxurious, tropical oasis that caters to a daily VIP list of just 1,300 lucky visitors. Individuals hoping to get their name on the list, better plan early as reservations book out months in advance.
With a reservation secured, guests can experience any number of the park’s signature experiences, including: swimming with dolphins, snorkeling with rays and tropical fish, and taking a Sea TREK (branded as SeaVenture®) underwater stroll.
SeaVenture takes place in a dedicated area in the Grand Reef® that was designed and constructed specifically for the underwater walking tour. From a colorfully enhanced 265-foot walking path, to a 21-foot acrylic panel that gives guests a face-to-face encounter with reef sharks, to a lifting mechanism and conveyor belt system for easily maneuvering helmets, and even an ADA wheelchair lift for accessibility– no detail was overlooked in the development of the site.
SeaVenture accommodates more guests than the typical 9-helmet Sea TREK operation; with 27 helmets, three groups of 9 can be in constant rotation– one group in briefing, one entering the water and one exiting. Tours are monitored by a number of trained and certified safety divers, both in the water and on custom floating manifolds at the surface.
Beneath the surface, guests are transported to another world as they move along in slow motion, while sparkling fish flit in and out of view. A meandering path leads guests to a large panoramic window where reef sharks swim just beyond reach. Around yet another bend is a habitat teeming with beautiful lionfish, also separated by a transparent enclosure. Velvety rays and schools of fish encircle guests as they trek through the colorful reef. During the journey, each guest also has an opportunity to do one-on-one touches with friendly critters such as urchins, crabs and sea stars, while having their photo taken.
For many guests, the highlight of the experience is simply overcoming hesitations about getting in the water. And thanks to the highly professional, patient and encouraging staff, these guests are able to face their fears.
TripAdvisor member Tracey Greenwood from Manchester, UK shares, “I was very nervous and scared, but wanted to do this so much. I told the staff of my fears and was soon reassured. From the moment I stepped foot in the water, I was taken care of every step of the way.” Sara S. from Dublin says, “I was worried about the SeaVenture as I’m not a great swimmer… We all felt so safe, it’s managed very, very professionally.”
The SeaVenture experience also lends itself as a unique way for lovebirds to pop that very special question; although some may find it challenging to hear their loved one’s response, a visual head shake ‘yes’ usually does the trick! Discovery Cove offers package deals for those planning to propose underwater.
Discovery Cove is one of three Sea TREK locations in a tie for hosting the world’s oldest TREKKER. During the elderly gentleman’s SeaVenture experience he proudly shared he’s “93 and still diving strong!”
With the purchase of a SeaVenture experience, guests will have the satisfaction of supporting a good cause. 5% of the proceeds are donated to the Rising Tide conservation project– a group committed to finding alternatives to wild fish collection. Recently, Rising Tide helped fund a team of researchers at the Oceanic Institute of Hawaii Pacific University. The team successfully bred and reared the world’s first yellow tang, a popular fish used in saltwater aquariums worldwide. The environmental impact of ending wild collection of yellow tang could be significant. This scientific breakthrough was possible thanks to proceeds from Discovery Cove and its SeaVenture guests!
These are just a few of the many reasons why Discovery Cove was selected as the Sea TREK Operator of the Year. Their achievement is best described through the words of one of their guest’s– “SeaVenture put an exclamation point on the satisfaction of everything!”
Discovery Cove offers daily SeaVenture tours. To learn more, visit: discoverycove.com