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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.


rogersmellyonthetelly Sat 14-Jul-12 16:39:12

If you are staying in the animal kingdom lodge I can guarantee you are going to have a once in a lifetime experience. The rooms themselves aren't that special, but the views are out of this world, the staff are amazing, and having an evening drink round the fire pit is fab.
Definately watch the magic kingdom light show parade and fireworks in the evening, disney studios is great, especially the car stunt show. sea world is superb, especially feeding the dolphins and rays, and book lunch/evening meal at the shark restaurant. book discovery cove now for the swimming with dolphins, it's magic.
Typhoon lagoon is the best of the water parks IMO, you can swim with sharks, although the sea world water park is also excellent.
Basically allow 2 days per park if you can, except sea world which is doable in a day and the water parks. Don't bother with wet and wild, it's a bit tired and not as good as the newer water parks

KinkyDorito Sat 14-Jul-12 16:44:29

Thank you so much for this! thanks thanks thanks

nosleepwithworry Sat 14-Jul-12 16:46:17

With your sea world pass, you should also get Equatica passes. This place is lovely, white sands, just magical.

I cant recommend Discovery cove enough, it is just lovely and a must.
A fabulous day, just fab!

Have days off too, to wander around downtown Dysney, or a mall. Explore the resort hotel grounds.

We are also going next April all being well, SO excited grin

rogersmellyonthetelly Sat 14-Jul-12 16:52:25

Ooo yes, how could I forget the T Rex cafe at Downtown Disney, just fab.

PeanutButterCupCake Sat 14-Jul-12 16:53:20

We're going next April, am ridiculously excited!
DM is planning it to the letter hmm

Especially looking forward to discovery cove and swimming with dolphins, just deciding whether to dine with Shamu, been reading about the incident with the trainer and it freaked me out a bit blush

nosleepwithworry Sat 14-Jul-12 16:55:06

Incident was about 3 years ago now and they no longer get in the water with the wales, butt he show is still as good.
Dont be freaked out, it cant happen again.

Groovee Sat 14-Jul-12 16:55:38

Get yourself on to the disboards. We're going in June but for the first time ever we're not staying in Disney.

Brits guide to orlando and the unofficial guide to Walt Disney world are good.

Tracheostomy Sat 14-Jul-12 16:56:19

Have to second the T-Rex cafe - absolutely amazing, best lasagne I have EVER had and the volcano cake with the smoke pouring from the top - out of this world!

Also, don't miss the Simpsons ride at Universal Studios! have a great time.

nosleepwithworry Sat 14-Jul-12 16:57:26

the Dibb is a great website, have alook on there xx

Tracheostomy Sat 14-Jul-12 16:57:45

We went the week before the trainer was killed at Seaworld - we have her on our holiday videos talking about the whales. Very sad but it can't happen again thankfully.

MyinnergoddessisatLidl Sat 14-Jul-12 16:59:50

I'd recommend setting yourself up on

I found their info essential. Especially practical things such as dealing with the heat, days the parks are busiest etc.

I went into military planning mode, and it was worth it. Plan every other day and get some rest days, the heat is overwhelming there.

The water parks Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard beach were the biggest surprises. Had such fun there, and a great way to cool off, bobbing along the lazy rivers!

Hope you all have a super time x

PeanutButterCupCake Sat 14-Jul-12 17:09:07


<<does an excited dance>>

Cheesecake factory is supposed to be amazing and also heard good things about T Rex cafe.

Is everyone going to Harry Potter Too?

Twinkleinmyeye Sat 14-Jul-12 17:09:53

This is all you need. grin

Their touring plans are brilliant.

RatherBeOnThePiste Sat 14-Jul-12 17:10:44

Hello Kinky - long time no see smile

Yes, Discovery Cove. The most expensive day trip ever, but absolutely marvellous, you pay for a day in and then within that day you can swim with dolphins, but there is so much more there too, swim with rays and fish etc.

Please take them there !!

Tracheostomy Sat 14-Jul-12 17:13:01

Awww I wanna go to Harry Potter World :-( The kids are being boring and wanting to go somewhere different next year. So selfish of them.

Groovee Sat 14-Jul-12 17:13:05

Harry Potter is the reason we're going x

MrsShortfuse Sat 14-Jul-12 17:13:09

I'd recommend these books:

Frommer's Walt Disney World & Orlando with Kids - this will suit you having dc of different age groups because it gives age recommendations for rides/attractions.

The Unoffocial Guide - Walt Disney World 2011 (as mentioned above just noticed)

Agree that Typhoon Lagoon is just amazing. In fact all Dinsey parks are utterly awesome. If you're going last 2 wks in Aug, it will be less busy as schools have gone back, if earlier then make sure you get to parks at opening time and in Disney use fastpass as much as poss. At Seaworld have coins ready for lockers as no bags allowed on big rides.

Have a great time!

solittletimeandsomuchtodo Sat 14-Jul-12 17:19:12

If you could go anytime of the year when would you go??

Groovee Sat 14-Jul-12 17:23:55

May or September, but Scotland don't have holidays then.

Secret7 Sat 14-Jul-12 17:26:37

Would also recommend the Dibb. It gives a good idea on the good and bad times to visit the parks on each day.

We're counting down - 16 days to go grin

amicissimma Sat 14-Jul-12 18:33:28

My tip if you are going to Universal and Islands of Adventure is, oddly, to book a night in one of their hotels, even though you have already booked elsewhere.

The reason is that you get unlimited Express passes for each person for each day, so if you check in cheekily early on day 1 (and everybody does!), you will have passes for that day and the next. It can be hard to find the price of Express passes to buy because they vary according to how busy it is, but when we went in August the room worked out cheaper than 4 passes for 2 days. They're not valid for Rip Ride Rockit, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and Pteranodon Flyers, but still worth it.

I don't think that Universal and IoA will be so good for the 4 year-old, but there is enough for a couple of days.

YouBrokeMySmoulder Sat 14-Jul-12 18:40:22

Kinky on the booking form you can tell disney that you are celebrating a special occasion and every time you do a table service meal they will make a big deal of it. Have you got free dining? If so you will book all your table service meals around 180 days out.

Go to easywdw to see which parks you should be in for what day, it makes an enormous difference to the queuing etc.

We went even further as it was once in a lifetime and used Help Around the Mouse to not only do the itineraries and book the restaurants but they also do a touring plan personalised to your party and the shows you want to see/rides you want to go on and we never queued at all! Five days came in under 100 dollars. I know other people will say its a waste of money but it made it so much easier.

MyinnergoddessisatLidl Sat 14-Jul-12 18:48:17

Went on the Harry Potter rides at Universal 3 times <<boake>>

Loved the Spiderman 4d one too.

October is a great time to go that's when we went last year.

Weather was amazing. And so was Mickey's not so scary Halloween party.

YouBrokeMySmoulder Sat 14-Jul-12 18:51:01

Oh and kinky dd was 4 when we took her to universal and she really enjoyed it, there's lots for them to do, especially in August as you get wet on lots of the rides there. Make sure you take their cossies and a towel for the curious George play area.

We did what was suggested above and had 2nights in the middle of our Disney hols and stayed at the Hard Rock hotel for the front of the line passes. Well worth it. It was lovely to walk to the parks as well after gettin gin the buses at Disney, which were great btw you don't need to drive, you'll get the Magical Express from the airport anyway.

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