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Last minute Orlando, Florida tips?

(11 Posts)
Avinalarf Sun 21-Aug-11 16:39:02

Off tomorrow for 3 weeks. We're doing Disney, Universal, the water parks, possibly Kennedy Space Center and hopefully lots of lazing by the pool (although weather is tropical storms at the moment - eek!).

Any last minute tips or recommendations?

TIA

bigun1 Sun 21-Aug-11 16:49:14

comfy sandals & go to walmart as soon as you get there and get one of those water bottles attached to a fan, as it is hot hot hot there!

Also we put bottles of water in the freezer over nght for the next day, they are totally lush the next day in the heat.

The cost of eating in the parks has risen, so we took nce sarnies and stuff with us OR had a really good brecky (Ponda rosa) and then saved ourselves for a nice tea, had ice cream to be going on with in the day.

get to the parks as soon as they open and get your fast passes as soon as you can as when we wnet in July, it was 2-3 hour waits for each ride and the fast passes had all ran out by about 9.30 every morning angry

Have a fab time, its our fav holiday destination.

bigun1 Sun 21-Aug-11 16:50:00

Where are you staying?

bigun1 Sun 21-Aug-11 16:50:28

Im SO excited for you i cant stop smiling while typing like a loooon grin

Figgygirl Mon 22-Aug-11 12:18:17

I agree with bigun's comments. It is VERY hot in Florida at this time of year, and tropical storms are fairly common. Even without a storm it will probably rain very hard every afternoon for a while, which raises the humidity to 100%. It can feel very steamy afterwards!
You will not be outside all the time - many rides and attractions are indoor with air con, and have fans spraying a cold water mist in ride queue lines at intervals.
They sometimes have to clear the water for a while in the waterparks if there is a risk of lightning, until the danger is past.

We have not been in July/ August, but have had temps in the high 90's in April/ May and also some stormy days, but they don't usually last long. We had to divert to Tampa airport on arrival one April trip, as there was a tropical storm and it was too windy to land in Orlando, so this can happen anytime.
We also use the water bottles with the fans attached, which have a shoulder strap to carry them with. We bought ours in the parks.

The parks are always busy when the Americans are on holiday - we hit Spring Break by accident one year, which was horrendous! Water parks were full within 30 mins of opening, so you had to get there very early to make sure you got in. Queues for slides etc were very long.
As bigun says, you need to be at the park gates well before opening time, and head for the most popular ride to get Fastpasses, then go straight to another popular ride befor that gets busy. You can get another fastpass after you have been on the ride or after about 2 hrs if they have not all run out for the day.

When we last went, you could buy Fastpass/ Fast Track tickets at the entrance of Universal Studios and Islands of Adventures parks. We didn't need to do this as parks were not too busy outside school/ college holidays, but I would buy them if parks were crowded to avoid long queues.

People make dining reservations for table service and buffet restos in the Disney parks and hotels from 6 months in advance so some of these could be booked up by now. We usually just eat in the fast food ones as we go, although we do like Tuskers buffet for lunch in Animal Kingdom park.

The Ponderosa restaurants are all you can eat buffets in the Orlando area - there is more than one. They have gone downhill a bit since we last ate in one, ( so I have heard ) but still good value for money.
We have not hired a car as we stay in a Disney hotel or with a friend nearby, and use the Disney buses and taxis. If you are driving, arrive early at all the parks to avoid long queues for the car parks.
Taxis can drive straight in, and drop you by the park entrance. People driving have to park, then usually catch a land train to the park entrance as the car parks are huge.

Not meaning to put you off regarding queues and crowds, I am sure you will have a great time. Just be prepared for very busy parks, and the very hot and humid weather. Worth packing some Magicool sprays to take into parks with you, as these are so refreshing - you can buy them in chemists. We take small telescopic brollies which double up as sunshades.

People on the Trip Advisor Walt Disney World and Orlando forums can help with tips and up to date info.

mumofsoontobelawstudent Mon 22-Aug-11 22:25:18

If you are planning on going to Harry Potter world at IOA I'd recommend you go there first thing. It is at the far side of the park and you should go straight across then as the queues will be much shorter first thing in the morning and I believe they actually close that area off when it gets really busy.

Have been twice in July when really hot but its ok if you make sure you have small fans and drink lots of water

Hulababy Mon 22-Aug-11 22:32:07

Got back just over a week ago.

The Universal parks were not that busy overall, even Harry Potter bit, esp so on the weekends oddly. Most of the time we could walk straight onto the Dragon Challenge ride and the Hippogriff was about 15-20 minutes. In a morning Hogwarts was about 40 minutes and 60 in the late afternoon/evening. Olivanders was the worst at a good hours wait in full sun.

TBH compared to the past none of the parks were quite as busy as we've dealt with previously.

Harry Potter was fab and definitely worth a visit. The attnetion to detail is second to none. Visit it in the evening too to see it all lit up.

Weather was very hot - 100+ most days and heat index higher. Humidity very high. Had rain most days as is normal at this time of year. Generally in afternooon although was more adhoc than normal, and lasting about 30-60 minutes. You can see it coming though so head for an indoor show or a coffee shop.

Most of the schools over there have now gone back this week, or next, so parks might be less busy again.

Have fun.

We had an amazing time again and DD (now 9y) enjoyed every second of every day - spent 12 days int he parks, on by the coast and one in the pool befor eheading back to the airport,

Hulababy Mon 22-Aug-11 22:33:44

The weather is hot yes but not really a problem tbh - and I speak as someone whpo doesn't do hot! You spend so much time indoors in airconditioned shows/rides/queues or in queues with air fans you don't really deal with fun sun that often or for huge lengths of times.

We avoided the 3pm parades though as that is a long time in full sun.

rachael43 Tue 30-Aug-11 10:55:09

Hi all, we go to florida in 8 wks time, 1st time,, does anyone out there have any tips for keeping 2 boys (aged 10 & 7) from getting board on a 9 hour flight, the farest they have flew in the past is greece.

Avinalarf Tue 13-Sep-11 18:54:11

Just wanted to say a belated thank you to all who posted on my thread. We got back at the weekend...it was amazing!

It was very hot (90-95 most days) and there was some very heavy rain on some afternoons / early evening, and a amazing tropical storm on our last day (seriously - I have never seen rain like it!), but it was continuously warm and we managed to be out and about most day all day.

I would definitely go again in late Aug/early Sep. Disney parks were pleasantly busy, but not packed (went once at Christmas - carnage!).

I should also add, we spent the second week in a lovely place called Anna Maria Island on the west coast of Florida - highly recommend for a more chilled out, beach / pool break from the madness of Orlando.

God, it is depressing being back in blighty grin

Hulababy Tue 13-Sep-11 19:01:36

Good to hear you had a great holiday. Seems ages ago since we got back - reality is about 5 weeks, but feels so long ago now. This Uk weather is not helping!

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