Adventure Under the Sea: Epcot’s Aqua Tour

Admittedly our crew is … well, we’d probably prefer “enthusiastic” to “fanatical,” but we’re really big fans of Walt Disney World! We’ve got our favorite rides and restaurants; we know some of the fun facts, where to find a lot of the hidden Mickeys, and how to hit the high score on Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin.

Epcot_Scuba_Exterior

One of our favorite adventures – and a new surprise for these old hands at the Disney experience – was the Epcot® Seas Aqua Tour. If you think the magic only takes place on one side of the stage door, think again. … Our backstage tour included details about  the more than 6,000 sea creatures and their care, facts about the Caribbean Coral Reef Aquarium and its and impressive monitoring and filtration systems, and information about Disney’s significant conservation efforts around the country. Most exciting was the chance to snorkel in the 5.7 million gallon manmade saltwater tank. (If you can’t quite get your head around how big that is, Spaceship Earth – the Epcot golf ball – would fit inside the Aquarium with some room to spare).

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Epcot_UndertheSea

After a brief tour behind the scenes, including some insights into how the manatees, sharks, dolphins and other fish spend their days and what they eat for lunch – and assurances from the guide that the sharks had in fact eaten lunch – we changed into scuba gear and headed to the tank. The whole group seemed to feel a little sheepish heading through The Seas with Nemo & Friends Pavilion to the tank until one small admirer told us we were the coolest thing he had seen all day at the park.

SeaLife


After some instruction and assistance getting on our gear, we were ready to swim with the sharks … and the sea turtles and angelfish and eagle rays.

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The animals seem unfazed by the people in their midst. More than once we turned to find ourselves right in the middle of a school of fish or the path of a ray. Though you sign a contract that you will not harass – or even attempt to touch a turtle – our guide joked that the turtles don’t have to sign it and they do come quite close.

SeaLife_B


The air tanks prevent you from going under water, but floating along the top of the crystal clear tank with an air tank, you’ll see every kind of imaginable creature, including the ones waving from the restaurant and viewing areas. Little mouths may have some trouble adjusting to the adult size regulator, but everything else, including the wetsuit, booties, fins, vest and goggles were available in kid sizes. Disney provides lockers for changing and all the necessities, including showers with body wash, shampoo and conditioner and hair dryers.  

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No photos are allowed “backstage,” but a photo of you and your group, in your gear, is taken once you’re in the tank. We received the photo, a commemorative pin and a bag (handy for our wet swimsuits) along with an informative, memorable, magical afternoon.

UndertheSea


For more information: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/events-tours/epcot/epcot-seas-aqua-tour/



About

Elisabeth Ritz is founder and president of Ritz Communications, an international healthcare public relations agency. A frequent business traveler, Elisabeth is enjoying new “just for fun” destinations and kid-friendly vacation spots with her boyfriend and his three children.


'Adventure Under the Sea: Epcot’s Aqua Tour' have 2 comments

  1. ginamccarthy@me.com'

    March 11, 2017 @ 10:43 am Gluka

    My 8 year old girls is very small for her age. Will she have trouble doing the EPCOT Aqua tour? I think she would love it but I am concerned she is too young even though it is for 8 and up. What do you think?

    Reply

    • April 18, 2017 @ 11:36 pm Sarah Hirsch

      it depends on how comfortable she is in the water. Overall I think she’d do fine!

      Reply


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