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Dianne Salerni : Writer of Teen and Middle Grade Fiction | Aqua Seas Tour

Aqua Seas Tour

Last week, my family took a unique and little-known excursion at Disney Epcot’s Living Seas Aquarium. The Aqua Seas Tour is a behind-the-scenes tour of the Living Seas facility, culminating in a surface swim inside the aquarium!
The tour behind the scenes was cool. It was fun to learn, for instance, that the animals in the facility are fed restaurant-grade food and that the kitchen is maintained above the level of sanitation required for restaurants. The joke at Epcot is that if food falls on the floor in the kitchen at the aquarium, they don’t feed it to the fish – they send it over to the restaurant! (Don’t worry. Not really!) According to Disney, the main aquarium tank contains approximately 5.7 million gallons of sea water and is large enough to hold Spaceship Earth (the giant white ball icon of Epcot) with room to roll it around!
But of course the real draw of this excursion is the swim. Epcot suited us up in wetsuits and briefly trained us on use of the air tanks and regulator. Even though this was a surface swim (and they pile on enough buoyancy to make sure you stay on the surface), the swimmers breathe through diving equipment. It’s easy to get used to and not unlike a snorkel – without the worry of accidentally dunking your snorkel and getting a snoot-full of water.
In full view of the tourists in the aquarium, we swam out into the giant tank, sharing our space with schools of fish, curious eagle rays, sand sharks, and one large sea turtle. The fish were totally nonplussed by our appearance in their environment. The sharks stayed at the bottom where they belonged, while the eagle rays came to check us out eye-to-eye and schools of fish swept by just in case we had any food to hand out. The sea turtle swam up and surfaced for air just a few feet away from me. I poked my head up above the water line and saw his big turtle head appear opposite me. He gulped his air and went back down, completely uninterested in me.
Both my daughters (ages 10 and 13) handled the equipment without much problem. In fact, this was a repeat visit for my older daughter and me. She and I took this tour 5 years ago, when she was only 8! On this trip, the younger daughter had a little trouble with a leaky mask, but overall enjoyed the experience. As for the older daughter, she climbed out of the tank with such a big smile that the Epcot staff told me it made their day.
The cost? About $100 per person, which isn’t bad, and all the money is donated to a wildlife conservation fund. Disney actually picks up the actual expenses of the program. I highly recommend this as a worthwhile experience, and you can learn more about the program here.

9 Responses to Aqua Seas Tour

  1. JEM says:

    I am SO JEALOUS of you right now! What an incredible experience! Now I just need to borrow someone’s children so I don’t look weird going to Disneyworld by myself…

  2. Sun Singer says:

    What a great experience!

  3. Linda G. says:

    That sounds like so much FUN! What great memories you’re making with your kiddos. 🙂

  4. That is so cool- thank you for posting about it and making me smile today. You are such a beautiful family! (I almost said you ‘have’ such a beautiful family but you are to be included in said beauty so I amended!)

    I wish I could live in Epcot. Seriously. I would. They can stick me anywhere, I don’t care. I never ever want to leave that place.

    Thank you for sharing with me one Disney experience I’ve never had!

    ~bru

  5. Candyland says:

    Ooohhh sounds like so much fun!!! Take me next time!!!

  6. Christine says:

    That sounds like fun!
    I’m finding this website really convenient to stalk Gabbey on.

  7. Ha, ha! Hello, Christine! Nice to see you here! You should check out Gabbey in the vlog called Contest Winners (in June). Classic Gabbey eye rolls!

  8. Lenny says:

    hi miss dianne! wow i could love that for sure. im half fish. ha ha. im a really good swimmer and i got my own fins and a snorkle for a present. i never did breathing with a tank. i just really like how i do it. my snorkle has a thing on it so when you dive no water can get inside. then when you get back up it opens and you could get some air. i hope some day i could go to disney and the first place id go is kersplash right into that tank. 🙂 im glad you had a fun time.
    …big smile and hugs from lenny

  9. Jen says:

    So much fun!!! I want to go next time!!! I love that all the funds go to help the wildlife! Worth every penny 🙂