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Planning our Florida trip re enough days out but not so many that we are exhausted!

(20 Posts)
mckenzie Tue 22-Jul-08 19:10:57

We are going for christmas, 'we' being DD who will be 3, nearly 4, DS who will be 7, Dh and me.
We are staying in a villa in Kissimmee for 10 days. We'd obviously like to do as much as possible re the theme parks, water parks etc but don't want to come home shattered, especially as DS will be back at school just one day later.

Would it be sufficent to plan to have one day out followed by one day at the villa followed by one day out and so on? Or do you think we'll come back and regret not having done more?


mckenzie Tue 22-Jul-08 21:55:05


ihatebikerides Tue 22-Jul-08 22:04:28

We went when our kids were 5, 6 and 7. We stayed "off-site" at a villa (+pool)with in-laws too, so we could escape from the hectic parks area. With open-ended tickets (make as many trips as you like within a certain period) we could relax a bit as we didn't feel we had to get our money's worth and spend every minute of every day there. Some days we went in at the crack of dawn and left after lunch. Other days, we'd sleep in, dawdle and go in after lunch and stay all evening. Other days we did no parks at all, but shopping/pool days/ the beach/crocodile-safaris etc... We did as much/as little as we felt like. Those parks are quite enormous and potentially exhausting unless you pace yourself a bit. We did 2 weeks, got home early Sunday morning and all were back at school with no problem on the Monday morning.

seeker Tue 22-Jul-08 22:09:27

we went to the parks early when they were at their quietest - then left at about 11.30 to go back to the villa, or to do something else, then sometimes went back in the evening. The parks are very full on - my dcs enjoyed them much more in short doses. And there's lots of other stuff to do - American supermarkets are an entertainment in themselves!

Kbear Tue 22-Jul-08 22:11:06

I think you will definitely a day off every couple of days. We used to have a lazy day by the pool sometimes then go to Magic Kingdom around 5pm when it was cooler and less crowded.

Out of the big parks, my suggestions of things to definitely do are: Magic Kingdom, Sea World, Animal Kingdom, and Typhoon Lagoon. We also enjoyed Gatorland.

My B-list of places would be Epcot, Blizzard Beach, Universal and Islands of Adventure.

It took us a week to recover from our three week holiday earlier this year!

mckenzie Tue 22-Jul-08 22:12:49

thanks for the replies. Our dcs are quite early wakers so doing the early start while the parks are not so crowded should suit us well.

gillybean2 Tue 22-Jul-08 22:15:19

Depends on lots of things. Jetlag effects being one and how far the villa is from stuff.

We usually go to disneyland in California. I took ds when he was 3, 4 and last time he was 8. I have always booked a hotel 2 mins walk from disneyland so no traveling to worry about and no car parking etc. We go in the morning when ds wakes up and then we go back to the hotel when he's tired and have a rest and then head back in the evening to make the most of our day. The park can be open till late for special events etc (sometimes midnight). Also you can rest up by taking time out to sit and watch the parade or getting your portrait/sillouttes done.

Have done florida. Would say don't push it if the children get tired. No point in getting hot and miserable because you've planned the day there. Take a time out and have a break or cool down in the water but remember the children will have to remain fully clothed and keep their shoes on even in the water spouts parks. WOrth taking flip flops with you to wear while getting wet.

Also think about going early or maybe doing an evening visit when the rides aimed at little ones might be quieter. And if the children get worn out early go back to the villa and have a rest and then maybe go and do something else a little later. Has your villa got a pool? If so the waterparks might be ok for one day but you wouldn't need to do that much as you'll have a lovely pool to go back to after a hard day pounding the parks. Get a hopper ticket so you can jump around the parks visiting more than one specific one in a day.

There's a book I got when we did florida but I can't remember what it's called. It basically listed out the best way to do the parks (for families, for thrill seekers etc) and gave good advice on how to beat the queues and which rides are the most popular so better to get on early etc. I got it at the bookshop travel section so you'll probably find something similar if you go look.

Followed it for disneyworld but forgot the advice when we went to universal, got in one queue and that threw us out and then we got stuck in long queues for the rest of the day.

I think one day on one day off will be fine. But maybe your day off could include things like going to a shopping mall or out for a meal or cinema. So less intense. And if you decide to do teh parks 2 days in a row then go for it. We did the disneything 4 days in a row one time. Was great but we had lots of rests during the day and it wasn't busy, we were straight on almost every ride! 6 times one after the after on the pirates of the caribbean on our last evening!

Kbear Tue 22-Jul-08 22:46:48

Brits Guide to Orlando is a good book

ladymariner Tue 22-Jul-08 23:05:45

When we went ds was 9 but we went with the intention of fitting in as much as we possibly could, simply because we had saved up and looked forward to it for so long we really didn't want to waste any time of it!
And it was awesome, we had a totally amazing time. We were out every single day, had a huge breakfast in sizzlers or ponderosa, then spent the day in the parks. Yes, we were on the go all the time but we felt you can rest when you get home, and we certainly didn't go all that way to wander round a shopping mall/supermarket, bargains or not!
You can hire big buggies whilst you are in the parks so if your dd gets tired she can rest up in there, and there are so many shows to watch and things to look at you can always catch your breath whilst watching those.
It was one of the most fantastic holidays we'll ever have, ds was young enough to be caught up in the magic of it all, and it is magical, I got a lump in my throat when i saw the castle for the first time, but he was old enough to want to keep going and go on all the rides.
Magic Kingdom was my favourite, followed by SeaWorld, but everything was brilliant. You can't really describe to people what it's like, the atmosphere, the shows, the feeling of being there.We're saving up to go again, hopefully in 2010 when Harry Potter World is open.

mckenzie Wed 23-Jul-08 09:14:55

thanks very much for the replies. We are staying in a villa in Eagle Point, Kissimmee and have a car. The villa has a heated pool and also a games room with lots of things to keep DS busy certainly and I think DD too.
I definitely want to go to the water parks and so does DS. DD will probably be more enthralled with magic Kingdom so we're aiming for a good mix. The idea of going out early, coming back to chill and then returning in the evening suits us though. I don't think we'll need to worry about the heat too mcuh thoguh in December will we?

Is the book that Kbear mentioned the same one that you had gillybean2?

meadow6 Thu 24-Jul-08 15:00:08

Just got back yesterday. Went for 2 weeks with kids who are 9,7,2.5 and 7 months. This is our 3rd year and we just go for it while we are there. I wouldn't plan too much with regards to a day at the villa. there is far much to do that is out of this world!!! We were at a park everyday and the kids (all of them ) loved it. Usually up and out at denny's for breakfast by 9 and at a park by 10.30. left parks about 5 so kids could play in pool back in villa. At the parks you do it at your own pace. Don't go all that way for an amazing experience and spend half of it at the villa. You will regret it !!!!!!

mckenzie Thu 24-Jul-08 18:35:56

good point meadow. But we do ususally like to chill out a bit on holiday and do not very much quite a bit as oppose to being at home and rushing here, there and everywhere. We might have to make the exception this once huh?

meadow6 Fri 25-Jul-08 12:48:48

honestly it is worth it. But it is still easy to relax round the parks. Lots of shows etc to chill out to and you just take it at what ever pace you like once you are in.

meadow6 Fri 25-Jul-08 13:00:21

I am so envious of you going at xmas. I think it will be amazing, also cooler and less busy than when we go. If you get the chance go to Celebration Village. Its a "purpose built" town, bit Stepford wifes but lots of nice cafes for breakfast, lunch. dinner. During Dec they have snow falling in the mainstreet every day . Can't remember the times ( will check newspaper I brought home and let you know. May sound a bit naff to some people but not me. I was a complete cynic when I first went to florida but I just embrace the whole thing when I am there.

AttilaTheMeerkat Fri 25-Jul-08 14:41:59

Weather in December is often pleasant and not overtly hot. It may be a bit "chilly" for the water parks; they can also be closed in the winter season.

The Disney parks over the Christmas holiday period itself do get very busy - infact Christmas and Easter are their busiest times. I have been in the Magic Kingdom on Christmas Day and it is not an experience I would want to repeat due to how crowded it was.

AttilaTheMeerkat Fri 25-Jul-08 14:44:04

Typhoon Lagoon is closed in December but Blizzard Beach is open from 10am till 5pm.

roquefort Fri 25-Jul-08 14:53:18

Agree with the getting up early - you will wake up very early anyway because of jetlag and then possibly going back in the evening having had a break/sleep. The best book is The Unofficial Guide to Disney.

mckenzie Fri 25-Jul-08 18:09:44

thanks very much for the extra mesages. Jetlag!!! The only thing that i am consoling myself with is that coming home, they should lie in a bit longer. I took the DCs to Australia at Easter and the jetlag once we got home was awfulsad but when we arrived in Australia I had 4/5 mornings of 9am wake ups - lovely!

What is Blizzard Beach please Attila? - I cant find it in my little guide book. I have been warned about Disney being busy at christmas - to tell the truth we haven't booked the holdiday particularly for Disney - we've just renting a friend's villa in a warmish winter resort that happens to be close to Disney, if you get my drift. So I think we'll steer clear of the Disney places for the main holiday days.

AttilaTheMeerkat Sat 26-Jul-08 17:50:15

Hi Mckenzie

This should link you to Blizzard Beach:-

michala100 Wed 06-Aug-08 21:20:37

hi been to florida over christmas five times now - love it obviously weather great not too hot for kids and its so lovely to have a winter shot of sun. anyway my advice is get up early you will anyway the first week coz of the jet lag get to parks for when they open and do them till lunch then go home and sleep but you must must must go back for the evening fireworks at disney all parks have their own and all are like going to west end shows for free many have two shows over the busy time so see the earlier ones as you will not make the later ones because of the time differene. Water parks and swim have to be planned around the weather we had to swap our swim with dolphins last year for a different date as too cold even in wet suits

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