A thread about going to Florida with teens.(37 Posts)
Hi, we're hoping to go next year with the DC's who will be 14 and 17 at time of travel. We want to make it a "wow" holiday, and fit in as much as possible. They both like theme parks, not too fussed about Disney, meeting Mickey mouse etc! Would Universal be better? Also waterparks are a big favourite. DD will want to shop, see animals, and probably shop some more.. DS will want to be "doing stuff" (helpful!) Please pile in with your success stories of Florida with teenagers!
What about swimming with the dolphins at Discovery Cove, book a night at the Hard Rock Hotel which qualifies you for 2 early entries to the parks (check in at 7am) and 2 days of front of line passes. Both of these are expensive but I believe they'll add the 'wow' factor to your holiday.
PS - I've not been yet, but we're going there summer 2015 and intend to do both the above.
Ooops, should have mentioned the front of line passes are for Universal Studios and Island of Adventure. All Harry Potter rides will be excluded from this, however that's when the early park entry comes in handy!
We're going next Easter with a 14 year old. We've booked 2 nights in New York, so we can just have a taste of it. We fly into Florida, stay 3 nights at Universal, 2 days on Disney (so we can do Epcot and Hollywood Studios) and apart from that, we're planning to shop, and then chill out at the coast for a week. We have done Florida before. My daughter loved Busch Gardens, like a big safari park with big rides, and the two studios listed above. Apart from that she loved the Converse shop and Hollister and Abercrombie and swimming in our villa's pool. I love Florida.
try and do universal rather than Disney as it is much better for older teens imo. also try and do a trip over to Busch gardens and also out to kennedy space centre. mine loved it. downtown Disney was also a hit - all the old gaming machines etc. they also enjoyed the crazy golf. OK with the water parks but preferred sea world. there are other attractions like gator land to try plus there is a ziplining/tree surfing type place and also an everglades ride. HP - not to be missed. neither is the despicable me ride and the rock and roller coaster or the hulk.
Have you had a look at the DIBB boards? It's a forum that's predominantly about Disney, but it covers Florida, as it's the prime destination for folks on the Disney trail. There's also a Universal Studios board, that helps you make the most of your trip to Universal. If you ask on these forums, you'll find a lot of people who have children a similar age and have lots of experience in Florida holidays.
We spent all our time at either universal, or the water parks. Epcot was ok, but only for a day or so. Disneyland was just a day.
We wish we had travelled to the Space Center, and the west coast.
Thanks so much for replying! What did you do about accommodation? We're thinking of booking a villa. Good idea or not? Any recommendations? Have looked at dibb, was a bit overwhelmed to be honest!
Are you planning on anything other than the theme parks? We had a day at a baseball game which we all really enjoyed.
We rented a villa in Kissimmee with a small pool which worked well. Although if we went again we would spend some nights at the hotel in universal to be directly on site.
We're hoping to do other stuff as well as theme parks. Not really into baseball, we went to a game in Boston years ago, didn't really enjoy it. Thanks again for replies.
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annainspire - would you happen to be plugging your own website?!
You have to go to discovery cove where you can swim with dolphins. Aquatica is opposite it, a water park and great fun.
We don't want to ditch the theme parks entirely, but we don't want to spend the whole holiday queuing for rides either. will have a look at the everglades, thanks. Any more suggestions please?
The two Universal parks and also Busch Gardens have the bigger rides, especially coasters.
Disney is still good for those ages but it isn't a day of big thrills as such. It very much depends on what they want, but the 4 Disney parks all offer plenty for older children and adults. And the Disney water parks are great too, esp for those liking the water slides.
We are looking to go again this summer - DD is 12y now. She has loved the holidays, at all ages so far.
Not yet done Busch Gardens as it is further out but thinking we may do it this time.
We like Kennedy Space Center too.
You cant go all that way and not do some theme parks!! Couple of days at Universal, couple of days at Islands of Adventure. If you want ti try any Disney make it the waterparks.
Busch Gardens - yes!
Take them to the Ponderosa for an all you can eat breakfast at least once.
We drove to Daytona Beach one day - Id imagine there are nicer beaches but this was was great and the novelty of being able to drive righr onto the sand.
International Drive has plenty to look at for a walk up and down.
If they are Big Bang Theory fans, try and fit in dinner at The Cheesecake Factory one night.
Also, the biggest McDonalds in the world is on International Drive
Biggest MacDonald's in the world?? Love it! Busch Gardens is on the list, and waterparks are always a hit with my two. All really helpful, thanks all.
Is it best to book everything separately? Flights, park tickets, accommodation?
Amazed people still think swimming with dolphins is OK - its also owned by Seaworld to make matters worse.
Ah, the theme parks are great - even at that age!
My lot were very underwhelmed by the Space Centre.
Shopping outlet centres are a bit of a waste now given that you can get everything online. That's personal though - I hate wasting time going round them as they're soulless places, and I can't help but work out the cost-per-day of being there . . .
It's definitely cheaper booking things separately - well, flights and accommodation, park tickets don't seem to vary. I'd always stay in theme park accommodation for the transport and queue skipping (Universal)/extra Park hours (Disney). It's really safe too, so if you go for that option, they can easily spend time on their own and come back to the hotel when they like.
Water parks seem to often have work being done, so maybe check before you go. Agree that swimming with dolphins just seems to be an awful thing to do - maybe people could claim ignorance a few years ago, but surely not now?
The cheapest way varies each year, depending on times,how many of you, etc.
In the past it was almost always cheapest to book everything individually and independently. Now, not always.
We are looking to go this summer. This time it is working out cheapest to book the flight and hotel accommodation together via Thomson, with Monarch being next cheapest for like holidays. Both include car hire but the insurance is an extra top up ad v dear, so works out cheaper to get the package, not pick the car up and organise your own separately.
None include Disney and/or Universal tickets on the whole. Saying in a Disney hotel doesn't give you free entry, for example - though it does give you free parking, a saving of £$17 each day.
There are reputable ticket agencies online. Check travelsupermarket.com for an up to date list. Or you can buy direct from Disney and Universal. It i only approx £2 more per person to book via Disney direct and you will then get an online ticket code to use for the FastPass online system quicker.
Just to say that Royal Pacific is cheapert than Hard Rock Hotel. Also, don't think you have to be Disney fans to enjoy Disney parks - I couldn't really care less about Disney films etc but The Magic Kingdom is just about my favourite place on Earth.
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