Help - planning Disney holiday of lifetime

(168 Posts)
KinkyDorito Sat 14-Jul-12 16:26:34

Hi all

I have booked for us to go to Disney in Florida next August. There will be DH and I, and DD (14) and DS (4) - ages for next year.

I want to make this holiday as special as possible. I have been to Florida once, but I didn't organise it. I want to create something very magical. It was DDs request to go there; she has leukaemia and she is due to finish chemotherapy in April 2013. This holiday is to celebrate the end of it, and to give us all something to look forward to.

What I'm after are insider's tips - best places to go, things to see, ways to get best service. We will be staying in the Animal Kingdom Lodge. Currently, I don't plan to drive, so we will be using local transport (I am a big wuss, and I want to enjoy myself and relax after what has been the most difficult time of all of our lives). We have park tickets for all the big ones - Universal, Seaworld and Disney. I think we will also book Discovery Cove.

Any tips would be very gratefully received. I'm working a year in advance so plenty of time.


YouBrokeMySmoulder Sun 15-Jul-12 18:07:07

Exiting? If only this iPad weren't so damn convenient.

ShirleyKnot Sun 15-Jul-12 18:14:52


I don't understand any of it!

YouBrokeMySmoulder Sun 15-Jul-12 18:19:51

And breathe. Right, are you staying onsite? How many days are you there altogether? Are you doing just Disney or Disney and universal and seaworld, canaveral etc?what are the ages?

[shines light in Shirley's eyes and smokes mysteriously]

ShirleyKnot Sun 15-Jul-12 18:28:59


Ok, not staying on site - we're on International drive - staying in the doubletree which backs onto Seaworld for 1 x week. (then driving down to Naples for the second week - OMG)

I have tickets for Disney and Universal. We get there Weds afternoon, I've got to pick up my car on Thursday morning, so was planning on going to Seaworld on that day as its so close to the hotel.

The boys are 15 and 12. I want to do Harry Potter (heh ew) and Magiv Kingdom but beyond that I'm a bit baffled! Planning on doing something every day as we only have the week. Not bothered about doing Cape Canaveral.

ShirleyKnot Sun 15-Jul-12 18:29:45


RatherBeOnThePiste Sun 15-Jul-12 18:36:11

Cape Canaveral is great but a loooong drive.

BestIsWest Sun 15-Jul-12 18:37:13

Shirley - make sure they go on Spiderman at Universal if they are that age, my 14 year old DS thought it was the best ride he went on, better than HP. Also at Universal use the single rider queue where possible. you might not be in the same car as each other on a ride but it's much quicker and it doesn't matter once your on the ride especially if they want to go on a second time - no wait time at all on some of the rides last week.

Also my DCs (teenagers) liked Millers Sports bar on Int drive for food.

BestIsWest Sun 15-Jul-12 18:38:39

Also, we all adored Kennedy Space centre especially the Apollo 8 control room and Saturn V rocket but the shuttle ride there is a bit pathetic compared to the one in Epcot. It was about an hours drive.

YouBrokeMySmoulder Sun 15-Jul-12 18:40:32

Right well the ages make it easier, universal in the priority then. You need to get to islands of adventure on the day you are going at opening time, this will already be hours after people staying on site and virgin holiday punters but no matter. Unless you can come back to harry potter in the early morning if it's open that long then you need to be there first thing.

I haven't done universal without front of the line passes and unlike Disney it's an uneven playing field, hopefully someone will come on and say what its like without. But basically over the two universal parks I would set aside two days having looked at all the rides and shows and decided what is unmissable. Mythos restaurant very good btw. Also bubba gumps in city walk and you can split the mains to make it cheaper.

At Disney (have you got hopper tickets that include the waterparks?) then you want to look at the link I sent and choose to go to MK on a recommended day, not an early entry day and hit the rides in order of space mountain, thunder railroad and splash mountain using the fast pass system properly. Best place for lunch I reckon is Columbia harbour house.

At Epcot the priority is soarin, then get fast passes, sum of all thrills and mission space. Illuminations the fireworks show is worth seeing.

At DHS it's the mad rush for toy story fast passes and then rock and roller coaster and the tower of terror. Star wars is ok all day and the indiana jones show is worth seeing over the lights camera action. Fantastic is very good but you need to get there early.

After lunch I would head to a waterpark if you have hopper tickets or the free arcade centre at downtown Disney, I had trouble pulling my ds out of there.

I don't know about seaworld.

[goes for a liedown]

ShirleyKnot Sun 15-Jul-12 18:41:51

Right, spiderman at universal.

So, like if we go to universal for 2 x days that should be ok?

YouBrokeMySmoulder Sun 15-Jul-12 18:42:19

Fantasmic [seriously considers getting off the sofa to use the pc instead of the ipad]

ShirleyKnot Sun 15-Jul-12 18:42:50

X posted! Thanks so much smoulder. Xxx

YouBrokeMySmoulder Sun 15-Jul-12 18:50:05

Remember as well that if you have hoppers then you can finish at universal, have dinner in city walk and then drive over to Disney for one of the firework shows etc.

I haven't seen the new universal nighttime thing over the lake so don't know if it is worth staying for. Once you know the times of everything you can work it out anyway.

Spiderman is great, we loved the simpsons as well. Make sure they keep their mouths shut on Jurassic Park and take some towels for universal, you get wet on lots of rides.

BellaVita Sun 15-Jul-12 18:51:13

Islands of Adventure (next door to Universal) is far better IMO than Universal. It has all the roller coaster rides - The Hulk was bloody fab.

YouBrokeMySmoulder Sun 15-Jul-12 18:54:42

Here is the easywdw equivalent for universal

I agree that IOA has more but we liked terminator, the Simpsons, the mummy etc, all unmissable I think. We also liked the vibe more but I'm a sucker for Americana.

BellaVita Sun 15-Jul-12 18:55:27

Shirley, literally just down the road from where you are staying is a fantastic supermarket - Publix, we always get snacks and stuff from there. Across from Publix is a designer outlet, cannot remember the name, but it is really nice)

Aquatica is just across the road from Seaworld.

ShirleyKnot Sun 15-Jul-12 18:57:42

So do you think I'd be really, REALLY stupid not to decide what we're doing on which days until we're there?

RatherBeOnThePiste Sun 15-Jul-12 19:00:57

Shirl - it is such a big place I think you need to have an idea or you will waste precious time. Disney itself is bigger than the Isle of Wight I believe, that's just the Disney parks, forget International Drive and Seaworld etc. Tis huuuuuge. You need a cunning plan.

BellaVita Sun 15-Jul-12 19:01:40

We usually have a good idea of what is going to happen on what day and we have been a fair few times. You are on such a tight timescale, I think you would be mad not to plan.

ShirleyKnot Sun 15-Jul-12 19:07:08

Gah Gah GAH!

OK then.

Thursday - Seaworld
Friday - Harry Potter(?) then something? What something?
Saturday - erm
Sunday - erm
Tuesday - Disney
Wednesday - drive to Naples
Thursday - Wednesday - Lie on beach with 1 x trip to Everglades.

YouBrokeMySmoulder Sun 15-Jul-12 19:07:21

Yes, you would be barking not to look at the crowd calendars and go to the least busy parks on each day. You also need to know what your priorities are and make sure you do them. You can be as spontaneous as you like once you get to Naples.

Have you got hopper tickets btw? I think you, only pay for parking once if you go to more than one Disney park, can someone else confirm that? I don't know as we were onsite for that bit.

akaemmafrost Sun 15-Jul-12 19:08:39

Going in April grin am clueless so will be watching this thread!

YouBrokeMySmoulder Sun 15-Jul-12 19:10:44

So Saturday would be your universal studios day if Friday is your islands of adventure day.

Then look at the Disney crowd calendars to find out what are the best days for Sunday, Monday, Tuesday. Once you work out those days then come back, if you do animal kingdom then it will only be expedition Everest and the safari so you could do that after one of the rope drop parks.

ShirleyKnot Sun 15-Jul-12 19:13:44

I'm not sure what the tickets are - they're called a Disney Ultimate Ticket.

Right I'm going to try and decipher those calendar things and get a plan together.

ShirleyKnot Sun 15-Jul-12 19:14:46

See, I can read the words you're typing Smoulder but I don't understand them at all!! grin

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