Disney / Orlando / Florida - Itinerary opinions please(58 Posts)
I am just battling with deciding what to do... anyone?? I should add we like to be active and are fair skinned so will probably do multiple things in a day - can't spend too long at water parks or beach.
How many days does it take to "do" the theme parks with kids? - When I was younger DH and I did them all in 4 days!
5 nights at a Disney Hotel (or more? 6)
5 Nights relaxing on the coast / beach (inc kennedy space centre)
5 Nights at a universal hotel (or less? 4?)
Book an Orlando villa for 10 nights - missing magic hours but more flexabilty
Go to the coast for 5 nights (inc kennedy space centre)
Spend the whole time in Orlando with trips out to Kennedy space centre etc.
Plan c personally. we did trips out to Busch gardens and to kennedy from Orlando and it worked well. we spent 2 weeks and only just about did everything we wanted to do. what age are your kids? universal is definitely better for the older ones and Disney for the younger.
We have a 7 year old so are spending 2 weeks going full Disney. Staying on-site with a dining plan means I don't have to think about food (other than book restaurants). We are planning a couple of days at SeaWorld and a day shopping too.
When are you going and how old are the children?
We always stay onsite at Disney for two weeks then do two or three days at Universal and one at SeaWorld/shopping.
When we went for honeymoon we did Disney in 10 days childfree in September so the parks were quiet anyway and we didn't need to plan around tired children. We stayed at the Yacht Club and walked into Epcot/Studios almost every night.
It depends what you want out of your trip and what your group are interested in. We are big theme park go-ers so like to stay places where they are easily accessible. O wouldn't do more than 2 or 3 nights at Universal though.
We are planning a couple of days at SeaWorld
Universal I think can be done in 3 days, seaworld 2 Disney: Hollywood Studios 1 day (until the Toy Story/Star Wars opens) Magic Kingdom spread over 3 days (it can be intense) Epcot (2 days although the key fastpass rides are 1 per day at 3 needed) Animal Kingdom 2 days (even then there are bits you cant do!)
We are doing 16 nights onsite. We will do one night in a universal hotel to get fast passes.
DH and DS can go to Kennedy. I've been and don't want to go back.
I won't set foot in seaworld but will possibly take a run out to Busch Gardens.
Plenty of time to do the Disney parks, have rest and pool days and also include shopping.
Our favourite way to do Orlando is stay on international drive. We loved coco keys hotel but usually stay at a holiday inn with a pool that way we get to do much more. When we stayed in Disney or universal hotels we felt like we didn't see much else around.
My dc now older but still rate Busch gardens as favourite park and the Harry Potter bit. Also they love the big fan boats and going gator spotting.
Thanks Ellie! DH likes the big rides so it's for him but I hadn't realised they were owned by the same company so it's off my list.
Sorry, Dailystuck71's DS. I always wanted to go to Busch Gardens, too, until I found that out.
Don't be Ellie, I'm glad you've said. I'm only in the early stages of planning and I am sure I'd have picked up on it when making fimer plans but I can mark it off the list now.
I would say plan b or c. We did five days straight in Disney parks two years ago and by the end of it I was heartily sick of shuffling around theme parks and was really glad we were staying off site. However, there is MASSES to do in/around Orlando so you could easily spend two weeks staying there in a villa and do a nice mix of theme parks and other stuff. Get a copy of DK Florida with Kids. It has masses of useful info and will help you plan which parks you want to visit (as there are so many that you could easily spend every day for two weeks just going theme parks - but I don't recommend that - too exhausting and tedious).
Thanks so far
Kids are 9 & 12 and love ‘big’ rides!
I thought it might be excessive staying two weeks Disney but maybe I’m wrong !
Good ages for a first visit. I was 12 the first time and loved it; I've returned 9 times since and stayed at Disney every time. I like not thinking about real life while I'm away!
In terms of rides for children who like bigger ones; Magic Kingdom - the three mountains, Epcot - Test Track and Soarin', Studios - Rock n Roller and Tower of Terror (can be quite intimidating though) and Animal Kingdom - Everest and Flights of Passage.
Universal is generally more thrilling. You've got Hulk, Jurassic Park, Harry Potters and Rip Ride Rockit to start. I find Universal less immersive than Disney with the exception of Harry Potter however, which is incredible, particularly if you or they are fans of the books.
For me staying in Disney means ease of transportation, Extra Magic Hours in the parks, earlier access to FastPasses and dining reservations and just being close to the magic..! We use Ubers to go to Universal, shopping, SeaWorld etc. so aren't in Disney 24/7 sort of thing, but I definitely wouldn't get sick of it if we were.
The Dining Plan is excellent for taking away the stress of budgeting for food too and gives you the opportunity to eat at great themed restaurants or with characters if you so wish.
If you do decide on Disney Old Key West and Saratoga Springs are less Disney-themed, and a 1 bed villa feels quite spacious and comes with a kitchen and laundry facilities.
The Dibb, EasyWDW and AllEars are good resources for more info.
We're villa over hotel kind of people. After the craziness of the parks we like to chill in our own space and pool. There is extra expense of car hire and daily parking costs ($17 a day).
We did plan C this summer with 12 yr old DSS - WAY cheaper than Disney hotel! We did 2 Days Universal (one at Universal park and one at Islands of Adventure), 2 Days magic kingdom, 1 day Epcot, 1 day Hollywood Studios, 1 Day Animal Kingdom, 1 Day kennedy space centre, 2 Days water parks (typhoon lagoon and volcano bay), 1 day character brunch and then chilling in the villa, one day shopping... may have lost a day somewhere but that was basically it!
If your DCs like big rides the they’ll love the roller coasters at Sea World and you only need one day there.
I’d only spend 3 days at Universal and stay at Hard Rock hotel it’s amazing.
Spend 6 days in around Disney & Kennedy space and the then rest relaxing on a beach! In the water parks you can find lots of places in the shade if needed.
We stayed off site but would choose next time to stay closer or maybe on site we were 25 mins away. You also have to pay for parking so an extra $20 a day :-(
Enjoy! Brilliant place
I agree SeaWorld actually has the best thrill rides but every time it's discussed on MN people get defensive so I give up now...
We did plan c this summer. It was the best option for us, but if money was no object I would do this:
3-4 days at universal studios hotel - you get free fast passes for the parks so won't have to queue as long. You also get to go into the universal water park before the pubic - there were tales of people trying to get in at 9am and being turned away because it was full.
7-8 Disney days (I know that sounds a lot, but I'd allow 2 days for animal kingdom, 2 days magic kingdom, 1-2 days Hollywood studios, 1 day Epcot, then the 2 water parks for half days in amongst that). If you stay at Disney hotels you can book fast passes 60 days in advance so will get to go on the popular rides (3+ hours queuing otherwise).
Then a couple of days (maybe in the middle doing Kennedy space centre etc).
And you should really go to gatorland - the perfect antidote if you've had too much Squeeky clean Disney time
mummymeister & glenthebattleostrich
Unihorn - They are (will be) 9&12 - we are going next summer
juneau - you could be my DH!
Unihorn- I agree - trying to book now for the free dining plan! I have no serious objection to seaworld, but I understand why people do.
SleepingBooty- agree to a point, but we do like the extra magic hours (only been to Disneyparis) but they are invaluable!
Loopy9 - yes it seems general consensus is 3 days at Universal...
Itscurtainsforyou - I wouldn't say money no object...but we can afford to stay at Disney! gatorland?? looks great.
We did 9 nights Disney staying in site at beach club, 1 night kennedy, 5 nights at captiva island, manatees, dolphins, she'll beaches, sunsets.
We lived Disney but were glad we didn't do 2 weeks there, some downtime is essential
you could be my husband
It also depends on your budget OP. I don't know if you've costed it out yet, but the costs involved in flights, Disney hotel and park entrance passes for 2 weeks certainly adds up and you're talking multiple thousands of pounds for a 2-week holiday. If you haven't done any sums yet, I would do some rough ones now, just to give you an idea what each of the options will cost.
Two weeks in Saratoga or Old Key West in the summer with full dining and tickets is roughly £5000. That includes three good meals a day for 4 people and 14 days in the Disney parks. It's always made it worth it to us.
Practicalities aside, we were glad we got a 2 week ticket covering all universal and Disney parks - cost just under £500 per person (floridatix about Christmas time) - it meant we could use the last few days to revisit the places that had been our favourites before we left.
I'd be tempted to buy an eating plan at Disney (do they do this at universal too?) and you can book tables, fast passes etc through the app - really convenient
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