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Florida Holiday, some Disney stuff but where to start?!

(11 Posts)
Hungrypig Fri 29-May-09 08:02:54

Hoping to go to Florida in the next month with DH, DS (4) and DD (1). We want to do a few days, say 4, in Orlando doing Disney etc and then drive to the Gulf Coast for the remainder. I have been given some advice about the parks but can't decide whether it's best to stay in a Disney hotel on-site (although we were only planning two out of the four days there, the rest to see the Space Centre and SeaWorld etc) or a bit further out? We plan to spend our time by getting to the park early and being finished by just after lunch and perhaps relaxing by hotel pool or whatever in the afternoon (thunderstorms permitting). Also can't decide if it would be better to stay in a slightly cheaper 'suite' type hotel with a kitchenette - not that I plan to do any cooking if I can help it. If anyone can give me the benefit of their experience on this one I'd be so grateful - I've already spent quite a lot of time searching online and am going round and round with it all!

mumoverseas Fri 29-May-09 19:03:36

Hi, I've just come back from the day at some american friends house and were talking about disney. They are going to Florida for a few days at the beginning of July and eventually booked one of the cheaper disney hotels but it was really expensive (around $250 per night) For a lot less than that you can rent a private villa with a private pool/gamesroom etc, some of which are from around $110 per night and sleep up to 10. That way you'd have a fully furnished kitchen, washing facilities etc for less than a hotel.
I've not stayed in a disney hotel before but I know people who have and have said it is really good for doing the disney parks as you get in an hour or so earlier to the parks but if you are planning on doing other parks, such as Seaworld, then it may be best to stay outside disney, particularly as you'll need a car to get to non disney places.

We've gone the last 2 years in July and have tended to go to the parks first thing then back the pool for a few hours then out again in the evening. Seaworld is lovely for the kids as there is shamus happy harbour where they can have fun splashing around and cooling down.

For the coast, we've been to Tampa/St Petersburg and last year we spent a few days near Naples which was nice.

If you are interested in villas have a look at
a 4 bed villa with private pool and gamesroom and within 2 mins walk of a childrens play area and 4 miles from Disney and which has a Minnie & Mickey themed bedroom for your DCs.

If this isn't suitable or doesn't have the availability you want, have a look at which manages around 50 properties all within 4 miles of Disney and which is owned by an english lady called Yvonne.

Hungrypig Fri 29-May-09 21:12:05

Thanks Mumoverseas, the villa option was something I was thinking about off to check out the sites you mentioned.

sleepyeyes Sat 30-May-09 20:58:56

Hi if your doing things other than Disney then I would say stay off site. I would say if your going to stay in a hotel then stay on International Drive, we're planning on staying at Renaissance at Sea-world which is a lovely hotel (highly recommended) which is across the road to Sea-world. They also run buses to Disney and Busch Gardens too.

DH has been quite a few times and feels sometimes that Villas are a bit out of the way for a quick dash home for a rest/lunch, a well placed hotel is the best choice.
He has also stayed at Rosen centre and Peabody (great hotel if you like ducks!) and recommends them.

There is a fantastic website called the DIBB that disney/orlando addicts use, they are all very knowledgeable.

mumoverseas Sun 31-May-09 06:17:22

agree with sleepyeyes ref villas. Some owners/management companys are a bit naughtly and advertise them 'minutes from Disney' - yeah 59 minutes! Thats why you need to go to a company that specialises in the ones that really are next to Disney. Be careful as Kissimmee is a very big place

Kbear Wed 17-Jun-09 23:49:29

stayed at Disney Port Orleans last year - was great for the Disney parks, hop on the bus, right to the door and back again with exhausted kids. You will not leave Disney at lunchtime - trust me. You will still be there at midnight!!

I think it is better to laze by the pool all morning then go to the parks around 3pm. It is fantastic there when it's dark (and cooool) and there is loads to do.

Extra magic hours if you stay at a Disney hotel too.

We got cab from our hotel to Sea World, took twenty minutes. Cab to universal about the same.

Check distance from your villa to the parks that's for sure - some are miles away and take ages due to traffic. Then you park and ride to the park entrance.

MamaG Wed 17-Jun-09 23:51:57

I forgot you'd been to Florida kbear, you never mention it

meadow6 Thu 18-Jun-09 17:56:26

If you are only ging to disney parks for 2 days I think you would be mad to only do a half day. There is so much to see and do, especially Magic Kingdom. You will hardly touch it in half a day. Go early and head straight to behind the castle and your kids will have a ball. Book lunch at the Crystal Place and all the winnie the pooh characters come round to your table for photo opp. Lunch is set price and the food is wonderful.
I find sitting round a pool with my one year old much more stressful than a full day at Mk!!

Kbear Thu 18-Jun-09 18:47:34

MamaG - I know, I don't like to go on about it. HAVE I MENTIONED I'M GOING BACK AGAIN NEXT YEAR??? - WOO HOO FOR REDUNDANCY MONEY!! lol

MamaG Fri 19-Jun-09 09:36:10


cardy Mon 22-Jun-09 15:19:41

Just got back from Florida last week. We did a week in Orland and a week in Clearwater.

Although Orland was great (better than expected) a week was enough and we didn't even cover everything in that time!

We stayed outside of Disney in Lake Buena Vista, which I am pleased I did. It was only a 5 minute drive which was very easy. We stayed at the Sherraton Vistana which was great (build in a couple of pool days). Personally I wouldn't stay on International Drive, it looked a bit tired and old in places.

We did some early starts (when we were still jetlagged) but also did a couple of 2-9pm so as see fireworks, parades etc.. and could do pool in the morning.

Clearwater was wonderful, gorgeous beaches, relaxing etc...just what was needed after a week at Disney!

I would also say try and plan what you want to do in each park before you go otherwise you risk being overwhelmed and use the Fastpass whenever you can.

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