Have you ever been to the Seas With Nemo and Friends at Epcot, looked into the large “fish tank” and thought I would love to go diving in there. Well, it you are a certified diver you can. This is a backstage tour that I have done multiple times and it never gets old.
The tour starts at the front of Epcot at Guest Relations. While waiting for your tour guide to arrive you start to meet and talk to the people that will be on the tour with you. It’s easy to start conversations in this group you all have something in common a love for diving and Disney you couldn’t possibly meet a nicer group of people.
Once you are met by your tour guide and checked in the magic starts to happen and you are taken “back stage”and your guide fills you in on the details and points out various facts about the pavilion. A couple of the more interesting facts I found were that there is an exterior holding tank were new fish are kept before being introduced into the aquarium. Or that the entire contents of the water in the pavilion will be filtered during the time that it takes to complete the dive which is about forty minutes. After you enter the building you are taken to staging areas. In these areas you will learn about the manatees and the dolphins and see them in their very own back stage area. You will also see the kitchen where to food for all the animals at the pavilion is prepared and kept.
Once you have been given a brief tour you enter a lounge area where you are shown a short video and educated a little more about the facility and sign a little bit of paperwork before you head to the locker rooms and change for your dive. When you are changed into your wetsuit and everyone meets outside the locker rooms excitement starts to mount as the time for your dive gets nearer. This is where your tour guide reminds you that once you go through the next set of doors you will be an honorary “Castmember” and on “stage”. When you go through the doors you come out on the first floor of the Seas With Nemo and Friends and the park guests in the pavilion start to stare at you. You are guided to the second level and into the observation area of the aquarium. This is a great place to see and say hi to your family before going in the water. In the center of the observation area there is a spiral staircase that you go up to get to the dive platform. This is where valet diving is at its finest. All the equipment is there for you all you have to do is put it on and when you are done just take it off and leave it there. While you are putting your equipment on you are given last minute instructions before getting in. Once you get in the water you are taken on a tour of the tank and all it’s areas. When the tour of the tank is over you are free to go where you please. My favorite thing to do is go up to the glass on the observation deck and interact with my kids. They like to put their hands against the glass with my hand pressed against the other side. I do somersaults and backflips too. Other kids seen to like it too. I then go to the windows of the Coral Reef Restaurant and interact with the people there. I also take some time during the dive to go to the bottom and take in my surroundings looking up and all around. It is an incredible experience to swim with sharks, turtles, stingrays and many other types of fish. When the dive is over and you dry off a little, you are lead back down the spiral stairwell and into the crowd of people that just watched you dive, this is another great opportunity to see your family. You are then lead to the locker rooms where there are hot showers and fresh towels waiting for you.
After freshening up you are lead to the lounge again. While there you watch a video that was recorded of your group while you were diving. At the end you can buy the DVD of the dive. I have bought a few of these which have showed me diving with my family on the other side of the glass.
The dive can be a little price however discounts are given if you are NAUI certified or a DVC Member. If you need a little more help swallowing the cost of the dive just think that Disney does not make any profit from it, all proceeds go to wildlife conservation.
If you are not a diver, you can participate in the Seas Aqua tour or the Dolphins in Depth tour.
To make reservation you can call 1-407-WDW-TOUR
Good luck and have fun.
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