Epcot Seas Adventures – Aqua Tour
Wouldn’t it be neat to snorkel with the fish located at The Seas with Nemo & Friends Pavilion in Epcot? Well, guests can do just that in the Epcot Seas Adventures – Aqua Tour! Read my review below!
If you’ve visited Epcot’s The Seas with Nemo & Friends Pavilion, undoubtedly you’ve noticed the spectacular aquarium adventure that lies within the pavilion. There are several exhibits showcasing living reefs, touch pools, sea horses and other various marine life. The crowning attraction is the floor to ceiling acrylic walls peering into an amazing ocean environment. Kids of all ages stand mesmerized as they stare into the middle of the ocean-like environment. Large manta rays silently fly by the glass, a sea turtle comes in to curiously investigate the faces looking on, and thousands of fish school past the window while menacing sharks patrol the bottom. An adjacent connected tank houses playful dolphins who frolic around. It’s truly an impressive sight that can capture and occupy even the shortest attention span.
What most people do not realize is that guests can actually swim and snorkel in this giant aquarium alongside these magnificent creatures.
My husband is a salt water fish tank enthusiast and enjoys visiting various aquariums. He has even owned several tanks in his home. When I learned of this tour, I knew it would be perfect for him! We were fortunate to have the opportunity to take this tour during our honeymoon.
Our tour adventure began in the early afternoon. We arrived at Epcot with bathing suits underneath our clothes and met in front of Guest Services at the park entrance. There, we were greeted by our friendly and dynamic tour guide who introduced us to our group of roughly 15 people. We were escorted to The Seas with Nemo & Friends Pavilion side entrance. Once inside, the group was briefed on tour logistics, the background of the aquarium exhibits, and Disney’s conservation efforts. From there, we watched a short video, received instruction on our snorkel gear, and signed a waiver.
The tanks in the pavilion are kept at a brisk 75 degrees for the inhabitants’ health and well-being, therefore, wet suits are provided for tour guests. We proceeded to the locker rooms where we were able to change into our assigned suits and reconvened outside the locker rooms.
At this point, our tour guide took us single file through the public area of the exhibit to climb a staircase to the top of the tank. This was a unique moment as the regular guests viewing the aquarium watched in wonder as we paraded through closed doors up to the mezzanine in our wetsuits! It felt very special to have this VIP treatment!
Once we climbed the spiral staircase hidden inside of a column in the room, we emerged to a catwalk that surrounded the entire aquarium. Tank guides greeted us with instruction to assemble our oxygen tanks, masks and fins. As a side note, while we used oxygen tanks, this was a surface-only experience. To dive deeper, you must be a certified, and there are scuba tours that can be booked for more experienced divers. (There is also a separate dolphin experience.)
Once suited up, we were invited to enter the water and stand on a platform about 3 feet below the water’s surface. We could see the marine life teaming all around us at this point (A 6-ft Manta Ray glided by our feet at one point as if to greet us and welcome us to their home). At our own comfort level, we stepped one by one off the platform and began our adventure swimming with the fish.
Now, I have struggled with snorkeling in the past in regards to the equipment. The guides were patient with me and gave me time just to adjust to the oxygen tank and breathing apparatus before I ventured out into the water. I must say, once I adjusted to the oxygen tank, I found that it allowed me to have a very unique and pleasant experience. I actually felt that using the tank was easier and more relaxing than traditional equipment!
Once inside the tank, we were able to gently explore at our leisure for an estimated 30-minute experience. The fish and marine life swam to us unafraid and curious. I will say, it was a bit nerve-racking at first to see the sharks that lurked 15-20 feet beneath us; fortunately, they were well fed and remained at the bottom of the tank the entire time! If a break was needed at any point, we were able to simply swim back to the platform for a breather, or we were invited just to swim on our backs.
As the 30-minute time period approached, we all began to proceed to the platform to exit and turn in our equipment. From there, we were taken back to the locker rooms for hot showers (much needed after exiting the 75 degree tank). Once showered and dressed, we exited the area and were presented with a special Aquatic Seas conservation button- one of our most favorite and special buttons we have received to date!
From start to finish, the experience lasted about 2.5 hours.
This tour was by far one of the most unique and amazing experiences my husband and I have ever had! Leave it to Disney to hit another one out of the park! If you love the ocean, marine life, or want a truly unique VIP experience, this one is a must-do!
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