Hi, I just booked this experience for my husband and 8yo son. I will be sitting out w/o 6yo and some other members of our travel party. Can anybody tell me if there is a good spot or opportunity for me to take pictures of them while they’re in the tank? Neither one is Scuba certified, so snorkeling at the surface will have to do.
They tried snorkeling at Aulani earlier this year, and there was a cool viewing window where they could swim up and wave to me. Does Epcot’s facility have something similar?
Not really. Since they will be at the surface, they will be above where you can see them. They did provide us with some nice photos taken as we were standing at the entry to the water. Each member of the tour got a picture printed out and delivered at the end.
Cannot comment on the snorkelling but I did the DiveQuest experience in 2011 and thoroughly enjoyed it. It looks like the price difference between the snorkelling and diving tours is minimal but I suppose the cost of getting certified would be far more. Still, whatever they do, I’m sure they will both enjoy the experience of being in the tank with the marine life - you get to see a bit of the behind the scenes stuff too, which is interesting.
As already noted, you will struggle taking photos of the surface unfortunately. You might be able to see something from the main viewing Seas viewing area but it could be difficult to co-ordinate where the two groups are. The diving was done in the main tank (the one with sharks and turtles in), which is the bit in front and mostly to the right of you if you walk down the corridor to the viewing windows and look out of the big ones at the end (may make more sense when you are there) - I’d expect the snorkelling to be in the same tank, if that helps you see them.
Hi, thanks again, everyone, for the info. My husband and son both really enjoyed the Aqua Tour! For anyone looking for info on how to capture photos of participants, here are some things to keep in mind:
About 40 minutes after the start time, you can see the participants suited up as they walk through The Seas area. The tour started at 12:30, so I was able to catch pics of my family around 1:10ish.
The participants enter the public area via a backstage door next to the Diver Lock-Out Chamber on the ground floor. They go up one of the two side-by-side staircases and walk to the (circular) end of the aquarium viewing area. There is a secured door leading to a spiral staircase, and the swimmers march through this door and upstairs to prepare for their time in the tank.
Participants are in the tank w/the rays and sharks and fish. This is the tank that is on your right as you venture further away from the other exhibits. They enter the tank via a platform that is literally on top of the viewing area, not via the platforms that you see and can photograph as you wait.
I took my first in-tank photo of my husband and son at 1:40 – 70 minutes after their tour started.
After the swim time, there is no other opportunity to see the participants before the end of the tour. So once you take the photos you want, feel free to resume your day elsewhere.
My husband and son were given a drawstring backpack for their wet swim clothes, a rectangular commemorative button (the kind that seems like lightly laminated plastic with a cardboard back), and a complimentary PhotoPass download of the two of them.
My husband said that his visibility from inside the tank was really good at first, but it got tougher as the anti-fog spray on his mask wore off. I wore a pair of light-up Mickey ears, so that he could distinguish me from other guests. Here’s a pic of my 6-year-old watching his brother and dad in the tank: