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Florida in 3 weeks - I need urgent help!

(16 Posts)
tactum Tue 13-Mar-18 09:59:24

Right, I know there's loads of info out there on t'internet but I just thought this was worth a shot - sorry if I get anyone's backs up by appearing lazy, but I'm really really not in the grand scheme of things.

Booked in January, flying out in 3 weeks. Thought I'd have loads of time to do research but have had a hell of a few months with a family emergency, having to move my mum into home, emotionally support her, clear house, sell house, sort her finances etc. All down to me and at a distance of over 120 miles. With 2 busy teenagers etc. It's been bloody awful and I haven't had the time or the mental energy at the end of a stressful day to get my head around this.

I was just hoping someone who's been could give me a really swift insight into what I need to do! Here's where we are at:

Have 11 days in Orlando (staying in Davenport), 5 in Sarasota. Car for the duration, all accommodation booked and visa thingys done. Have bought unlimited tickets for Disney and Universal - with Fast Pass for Disney.

I haven't booked any Fast pass rides yet - eek! Which would you go for? I understand it's 3 a day. How would you organise your 11 days and what else, if anything do we need to visit - I was figuring with the waterparks included that's 7 parks across 11 days - some more than one so not much else needed. But would we be missing out on anything amazing?

I know I should really do all my own legwork but I just thought some kind person might be able to give me a headstart. Many thanks in advance......

glenthebattleostrich Tue 13-Mar-18 10:03:26

To need the dibb! Have a look there it's fantastic.

We go in 3 weeks too. Have you done your ESTAS?

We have planned:

2 days at animal kingdom
1.5 at Epcot
1.5 at Hollywood studios
3 at magic kingdom
1 each at the water parks

4 days for shopping, relaxing by the pool or going to our favourite park again.

You won't get to see everything!

Figment1234 Tue 13-Mar-18 10:18:02

Agree that with 11 days you will barely touch the surface of everything, especially if you have tickets to both parks. I would think teenagers are more likely to prefer Universal than Disney, but you can normally do Islands of Adventure in a day, and Universal in one other. You may want to start with those and then go back to them later in the trip if you want to.

I'm a Disney World nut so I can give you a bit more advice about that. Here are my suggestions for Fast Passes:

Magic Kingdom - Space Mountain, Thunder Mountain, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

EPCOT - Soarin, Frozen Ever After, Test Track

Hollywood Studios - Tower of Terror, Toy Story Mania, Rock and Roller Coaster

Animal Kingdom - probably something in the Avatar land that's just opened, and Kilimanjaro Safaris

I don't think you can get Fast Passes for any three you like, I think they are grouped into various bands (e.g. you could get a FastPass for Thunder Mountain or Space Mountain but not both)... but the ones above are the ones I think you should aim at. They are not necessarily the best rides, but the ones I know get the longest queues. Soarin' especially - the queues can be incredibly long, and whilst I like the ride I would not want to spend more than 30 minutes queuing for it.

As for water parks - haven't been to the Universal one but both Disney ones are great.

Another tip - it can be exhausting going around these parks in the heat, especially EPCOT, which is my favourite park, but very big. You do a lot of walking. My advice is to break up the day by having a nice late lunch in one of the inside restaurants - Coral Reef Cafe, the beerhouse in Germany or the restaurant inside the Mexican pavilion spring to mind. My husband and I have started that tradition recently and it really helps to give you a second wind for the evening!

NobbyNobberson Tue 13-Mar-18 10:21:25

I agree - get to the Dibb! The have a fast pass planner which will give you suggestions on which rides to book.

Don't delay! A bit of time now will mean more fun when there! Although it is important to remember that you don't have to stick to it, be organised but flexible!

Figment1234 Tue 13-Mar-18 10:27:42

Oh, another thing you may want to do is get some sports tickets. The Orlando Solar Bears are the local ice hockey team, and because they are lower level the tickets are super cheap and very easy to get.

Orlando City Soccer also play nearby, and at the Disney Wide World of Sports complex you can often get tickets for baseball games at this time of year as professional and college teams do their Spring training there.

Feel free to PM me if you would like!

dogdaydisaster Tue 13-Mar-18 10:27:55

If you have teenagers I would maybe not bother with 7 dwarfs mine train or frozen ever after.

I'd focus on
MK - Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain
HS - Tower of Terror, Start Tours, Rock n Roller Coaster, Toy Story Mania
Epcot -Soarin, Test Track, Mission:Space
AK -Everest, The new Avatar ride (might be tricky at 3 weeks out), kali River Rapids, Dinosaur

But in reality your teens will probably really love Universal, almost all the rides there are fab. You may want to look into whether you can buy an express pass for there, as the parks get very busy at Easter. Or, book a room for one night at a top tier universal hotel, and you get two days of unlimited express passes. Express passes are not valid on the Harry Potter stuff however, but these are great attractions.

It will be beautiful weather but VERY busy. So plan for this and get to the parks as early as possible, then enjoy a couple of rides early before your fastpasses kick in.

Have a great time.

NobbyNobberson Tue 13-Mar-18 10:35:05

I have heard that if you can't get flight of passage fast passes ahead of travelling, the day that you are at animal kingdom, log into my Disney experience at 10:30am and search. You might just get lucky - apparently they are in the habit of releasing some each morning

DiplomaticDecorum Tue 13-Mar-18 22:54:39

Definitely recommend booking a Universal hotel for a night - not Cabana or Sapphire - the other three get you passes for almost all of the big rides, including Harry Potter (new) and early opening times. You can check in from about 6.30am and do everything Universal in two days easily.

mummymeister Wed 14-Mar-18 07:51:02

buy the books wdw with kids and beyond wdw with kids. in the back of these books are what they call touring plans of each of the parks and several of them are with teenagers in mind. they are brilliant you can get the books by tomorrow if you order online today and have the plans in front of you to discuss with your teens. definitely prioritise the bigger rides like HP, space mountain etc and be prepared for long days and lots of walking.

BluthsFrozenBananas Wed 14-Mar-18 08:01:59

With fast pass you’re not restricted to three a day, you can initially have three, but once those three are used you can make another single fast pass reservation, and once that’s used another and so on. Because of this it’s best not to have your initial three spread out over too much time.

In my experience you can get a lot more done and queue a lot less by doing this. Even if the initial three you make aren’t all necessarily the rides you’re desperate to do, if you can get on three rides in the first couple of hours in the park then keep on making individual fast passes and using them.

I hope that makes sense!

chipsandpeas Wed 14-Mar-18 08:06:49

Look at the maps of the parks and plan that way then book your fast passes you don't want to have them too close together if you have to run to the other side of the park to use them
Also if you don't mind not riding together then use the single rider lines can get on rides much quicker

BluthsFrozenBananas Wed 14-Mar-18 09:14:38

Also check out opening times of the parks and the times of the nightly fireworks on line. It really does pay to get to the parks as early as you can, and here jet lag will work in your favour for the first few days at least. We generally take bowls and spoons and get milk and cereal to keep in the hotel room so we can have a quick breakfast and get out as fast as we can (and sometimes have a leisurely second breakfast mid morning in the park). Then when afternoon comes, and the crowds and heat hit their peak, go back to your hotel for nap or a swim in the pool. Then go back to a park for the evening, do a couple more rides and watch the fireworks or nighttime show.

Trampire Wed 14-Mar-18 09:32:40

We went first time last summer. Took me and dh ages to wrap our heads around what to do. Too much advice and too much to do!

Anyway, for our kids (teens and tweens) we LOVED Hollywood Studios. The Hollywood Tower, Indiana Jones stunt show, Star Wars light show in the evening.

I would download the Disney App and try and fast pass -

Avatar rides - both the River ride and the Dragon flight thing.

Everest ride in Animal Kingdom - went on that twice.

We loved Splash Mountain too although it's quite old.

Universal - the biggest hit ever was Harry Potter. We spent most of our time there. Get in early and go straight there. The Forbidden journey and Escape from Gringotts rides are amazing.

That's all really. Just feel your own way.....

We were advised to go out very early as it gets too hot. However we found it was much more pleasant fast passing what we really wanted later in the day and heading out late afternoon. I found there was lots more going on in the evenings and we were just too exhausted going the whole day from early to late. But you might find different.

Juanbablo Wed 14-Mar-18 19:23:21

If you are on Facebook join the group It's Orlando Time. There's tonnes of advice on there. Also get the My Disney Experience app, link your tickets and book your fastpasses and any dining you want to do. We are also going in 3 weeks and just booking our fast passes.

Appleby39 Tue 20-Mar-18 16:11:27

Wow I am impressed at the information contained here with regards to Disney and Universal. We are going in August for two weeks with our teenage son. Hubby and I used to go often during the 90's and only now our son is properly ready to ride have we bothered looking at it again. He never used to like any type of rides but he's certainly grown out of that now. We did do a trial with him back in 2012 at the Paris one and he's been there again just this month with school. I can't wait. We are staying on Disney property for the the whole duration although I say that we have also booked 2 nights at the Royal Pacific at Universal in order to take advantage of the extra early hours and express pass. Thank you for all the tips in here, they are brilliant.

tactum Fri 23-Mar-18 13:50:31

Ooh thanks people for all your advice - have booked fastpasses at each one of the 4 Disney parks.

Thanks massively also to the people who suggested staying in a Universal hotel to get Express passes - we've splurged on a room at the Hard Rock Hotel (£270!!) and I've checked it gives us all Express passes for the full 2 days which it does. WOuld never have thought of this so fabulous - thanks very much. And also staying in that hotel will be one of the trips highlights anyway.
Only a week to go.........!!

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