The Walt Disney Company has long been an innovator when it comes to its theme parks & resorts. But that being said, that doesn’t mean that the Mouse doesn’t still keep a close eye on the competition. And when one of the other Central Florida parks introduces a service that quickly proves to be popular with Guests … Well, Mickey see, Mickey do.

Case in point: When Aquatica opened back in April of last year, one of the more popular features at Sea-World Orlando‘s next generation water park was its 18 private cabanas. Where -- for a seasonally based price of $99.99 to $224.99 -- guests could then make this shaded, sheltered spot their base of operations for the entire day. At their cabana, they could also help themselves to the complimentary sunscreen & towels as well as the cold beverages that were stocked in the cabana’s refrigerator.

A typical cabana at Aquatica
Here's what a typical cabana at Aquatica looks like

Given that Aquatica’s private cabanas are sometimes booked weeks ahead of time, it was really only a matter of time before the Walt Disney World Resort rolled out a similar service at its two own on-property water parks. Which is why – back in June -- Blizzard Beach opened four Polar Patios and Typhoon Lagoon made four Beachcomber Shacks available for rental.

Just like with Aquatica’s private cabanas, BB’s Polar Patios and TL’s Beachcomber Shacks offer a shady, secluded spot that the Guests can then have exclusive use of for the entire time that these water parks are open for that day. And, the amenities include lounge chairs & tables, complimentary towels, water and lockers, as well as all-day drink mugs.

Blizzard Beach in Walt Disney World
It's a lo-o-o-ong way down from Summit Plummet.
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Though the Polar Patios and Beachcomber Shacks are a bit pricier than Aquatica’s private cabanas (i.e. $250 per day plus tax), they have nonetheless proven to be an extremely popular addition at both Blizzard Beach & Typhoon Lagoon. So much so that – during the winter months (when these two WDW water parks traditionally close for maintenance) – the Imagineers will supposedly be scouting BB & TL for addition spots to drop Polar Patios and Beachcomber Shacks into.

Now you’d think that it might tick off Shamu to have Mickey “borrowing” the concept for one of Aquatica’s more popular & profitable amenities … But SeaWorld Orlando still has an ace up its sleeve: Discovery Cove. A theme park that’s so exclusive that only 1000 guests allowed in each day. Where you then have the opportunity to swim & play with dolphins.

Discovery Cove
Discovery Cove at SeaWorld Orlando.
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Mind you, the Mouse reportedly has toyed with the idea of building a Discovery Cove-like facility (Check out this website’s stories about the “Disney’s Night Kingdom” and “Disney’s Jungle Trek” projects). But Mickey has yet to move forward with either of these ideas.

And in the meantime, thousands of Central Florida visitors eagerly sign up to spend the day at Discovery Cove. Where they can then swim through schools of 10,000 brightly colored fish or hand-feed 300 exotic birds in a free-flight aviary.

Discovery Cove Aviary
Look out for the lorikeets in Discovery Cove's aviary.
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There honestly is nothing else out there like Discovery Cove. With its gleaming white beaches that are dotted with thatched huts, cabanas and hammocks. Where you can swim in a resort-style pool, which is complete with waterfalls and lush landscaping. Or snorkel through a series of intricate coral reefs where you can then explore undersea ruins. And did I mention that – along with your admission – you get free use of all wet suits, snorkel gear, towels and lockers? As well as enjoying Discovery Cove’s all-you-can-eat buffet which includes freshly prepared dishes like salmon teriyaki?

Yeah, Discovery Cove has proven to be a guest favorite ever since this intimate theme park first opened back in July of 2000. So-much-so that many tourists now automatically set aside a day for this immensely relaxing experience so that they can – in effect – get to take a vacation from their Central Florida vacation.

Discovery Cove Dolphin Encounter
Swimming with dolphins will be a highpoint of your day at Discovery Cove.
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Of course, there are those who have repeatedly put off making a trip to this oh-so-exclusive SeaWorld Orlando destination because of Discovery Cove’s pricey admission fee ($307.79 at the gate).But that may change once they learn about those discounted tickets that Orlando Fun Tickets is now offering.

So if you want to get into the swim of things this summer, you should definitely look into visiting Aquatica, Discovery Cove, Blizzard Beach and/or Typhoon Lagoon during your next trip to Central Florida.