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tips on orlando

27 replies

triplets · 17/03/2004 20:44

Just thought I would start making my lists of dos and donts! We are going to Orlando on the 11th Oct with out trio who by then will be six yrs and nine months old, yes I know, probably mad!
Never been before so any tips to make it as pain free as possible, inc restraunts etc. We are renting a house for 13 nights and then 8 nights on Anna Maria Island which sounds bliss! Also flying for the first time with Virgin, so any tips there please? Any Mumsnetters going at the same time by any chance?

OP posts:
tallulah · 17/03/2004 22:21

Ours were all older when we took them..

A lot of the restaurant chains do free meals for under 9s with adults eating.

We flew with Virgin. The kids all got free satchels, which were quite handy (but unfortunately all exactly the same, so we did get arguments about whose was which).

Are you doing the theme parks?

triplets · 18/03/2004 08:59

Hi Tallulah,
Yes we are, we have already bought a 7 day park hopper, we are there for 13 nights so we can split our time up doing other things, then if we end up not using the 7 days they never expire. We have also got a day ticket for Seaworld.

OP posts:
Hulababy · 18/03/2004 09:07

Ooooh, I am interested in this info too please (hope you don't mind me pinching the info you are given triplets)! I am off in mid August to Orlando with DH, DD (who will be 2 years, 4 months), my parents, my brother and my sister. We are there for 14 nights.

Already know that we are getting a 7 day Disney hopper, a 4 or 5 day Orlando ticket (for Seaworld, Universal, etc), a trip to Cape Canavral (sp?) and DH wants to play golf while me, mum and sister go shopping. We have 2 cars booked and a 4 bed villa. We are going with Travel City direct.

melsy · 18/03/2004 09:33

Sound fabulous girls can I come too!!! I love Disney / Orlando havent been since I went with my Late grandfather 7 years ago I think. My parents first took me when I was 8 and my sis 6 , we then went every year for the next 8-10 years !!!!

I am a veteran Disneyite , I used to work for them too and gave advice in the now gone REGENT STREET store. Here are some tips :

1)See if you can book some restaurants in the parks first beofre you leave UK.
2)Go to the parks early like 8:30, that way you get all the big lockers and you can have breakfast there too. Breakfast on Main street Disneyworld is lovely, so quiet. Or on the steamboat if its still there???
3) Take a change of clothes for all of you when parking it. Take layers as it can get chilly at night.
5) Mickeys kitchen (if still there) is a great place for family lunches and dinners.
6) EPCOT has a great place to book restaurantrs in it main pavillion , they have screems were you can see the person you are booking with and they can see you. Nice to do early in the morning , you get the pick of tables / restaurants.
7) Book a character breakfast for the kids , it is more expensive than all the local diners, but you and the kids will love it.
8) EPCOT always do the two different areas(the modern technology area and the world showcase) on 2 different days if possbile , it can get very overwhelming for the kids in one day
9) Plan your days at the park the day before you go i.e rides to go on / shops to visit/parades to see (there are loads of all of this!!!!), food stops. It will mean you make the most of the day rather than walking around overwhelmed by it.
10) You may want to visit some of the Disney hotels for dinners ,as some of them will blow you away.
11) I havent travelled with my own kids YET, but have gone with others kids always take :colouring books/ crayons/ hire a portable dvd if poss/ things they can make / non perishable snacks like rice cakes / biscuits/ low fat crisps/ change of clothes(always accidents)/ there own blankets/ teddys for familiar smells. Another person to cary it all LIKE MEEEEEE!!!!!
12) YOU MUST stay for the final fireworks down main street , at night.Everyone just parks themselves down the middle of the street facing the castle. They used to play "when you wish apon a star" and we all cried!!! Can you tell Im nostalgic!!
13) Always leave the train that goes round the whole Disney park till the end b4 you go , as it gives you a last taste of the park and the kids will love it.

Enjoy , will report back if I have any other ideas.

jmg · 18/03/2004 09:57

Seaworld often have a special offer on where you take your used day ticket to the passport desk just inside the entrance and they issue you with a second day ticket free of charge.

That makes it very good value.

Our children were 3.5 and 5 when we went last October and they loved hte magic kingdom and disney mgm but weren't so keen on some of the other parks (anilmal kingdom was ok but TBH I think it was the adults that liked it best). They loved Seaworld.

Second Melsy and hte change of clothes but mainly because we got soaked on some of the rides and could not have walked round as wet as we were!

Don't forget to fit in a visit to Walmart the toy and gift prices are half of what they are in the parks!

Tissy · 18/03/2004 09:59

I last went about 10 years ago and am waiting for dd (2) to be old enough to appreciate the experience. We stayed in a motel in Kissimmee, but would definitely try to stay in a Disney hotel next time for at least part of the time. Distances are so huge over there it can take an hour to drive from the hotel to the theme park, get parked and make your way in through the gates!

You can't just "walk down the road" to the nearest diner- it's miles!

In the USA a "sandwich" means a quadruple-decker huge thing, with loads of fries and all the coffee you can drink-unless you want to go up a couple of sizes, share meals! I ended up having to buy a new pair of jeans, because I couldn't sit down in the ones I flew out in!

Definitely go to Cape Canaveral- your boys will love it!

Take (or buy while there!) a spare suitcase for all the shopping you do. Don't overload yourself on the way out, you'll have twice as much coming back.

Disney souvenirs are EXPENSIVE. Don't go mad on day 1 . All the different areas have shops, and you can end up spending a fortune. If it were me, I'd set an upper limit every day, and the money can then be spent or saved up to spend later.

SoupDragon · 18/03/2004 10:05

Go to the Disney waterparks rather than Wet and Wild. My memory of W&W is that it was tatty but they may have done it up since then.

MGM studios has Playhouse Disney live on stage (Bear inthe BBHouse, Roley Poley Oley. Pooh Bear...) which DSs (4.5 and 2.5 at the time) throughly enjoyed.

Also, the character dining buffet in the Crystal Palace in the Magic Kingdon was fantastic. It was Pooh Bear and friends when we went. DSs were sooo excited, the food was as much as you could eat and was superb. It wasn't exactly cheap but it was good value for the excitement and the quality of the food. Book a slot in advance when you arrive at the park.

Trying to think of restaurants... Most are very child friendly and cheap to be honest. Breakfast out is wonderful - best bit of an American holiday for me!! Look out for the free visitors guides which are in those newspaper dispenser type things all over the place. They have vouchers for special offers etc and can give you a good idea.

If you want maps of the theme parks in advance to plan your trip, email me on huffhorse at hotmail dot com and I'll send you some of the hundreds we seem to pick up in October last year!

Another top tip : FASTPASS! The more popular Disney rides have a system where you insert your park ticket and you are given another ticket to bring back to the ride at a specified time later on (usually an hour slot about 2 hours or so later). You can then skip the queues and go straight to the front. Essential with small children who don't want to wait in line.

Do NOT go on "It's a Small World" inthe Magic Kingdom. It's horrid, horrid, sickly and horrid and you'll be singing the song for the rest of your life

DSs loved the 3D shows. Mickey's Philarmagic and It's a Bugs Life (Animal Kingdom)were favourites.

Take water with you although there are fountains throughout the Disney parks (the water from these tasted metallic to me). Also agree with taking snacks to the park.

Check the times for Character Greetings where you can have your photo taken with assorted Disney characters.

Look out on the maps for the play areas. These are a nice breather from the hassle of rushing round the rides and stuff.

Even though it's October, don't forget hats and sunscreen! There can be very little shade in places.

Will you be in Disney for Halloween? If so, you could book for Mickey's Not-So-Scarey Halloween party which (I think) is in the Magic Kingdom after the park has shut. I'm disappointed that we didn't know about this far enough in advance.

Flying - lots of small snacks, cheap toys and sticker/colouring books. DS1 did, however, watch some cartoon about a horse on a continuous loop during one flight with Virgin to the US. You'll probably find there'll be something to amuse them on the seatback TV. There's not much in the Virgin satchels TBH so don't rely on them for amusement value.

Oh... I want to go back!! We're not going to the US this year

SoupDragon · 18/03/2004 10:09

DSs loved the Animal Kingdom and the Magic Kingdom but we got away with (less than) half a day each in MGM and Epcot as there was little to appeal to them (with a hopper you can do these together with another park without wasting a day on your pass).

Don't foret that your passes last forever until you use all your days. We were told that the children's passes age with them so they can use them as an adult. I presume they check the issue date with the age of the adult trying to use it!

melsy · 18/03/2004 10:16

LOL at its a small world , everyone I know has a story about being in trapped in there!! We got stuck for half an hour in the snow mountainy bit and I still have flashbacks sitiing in there telling the anamtronic dolls to "shut up already" !!!!"its a small world after all, its a small world after all , its a small world after all, its small small world"

jmg · 18/03/2004 10:19

Oh you bunch of cynics. My little ones loved its a small small world. In fact the queues were so short when we were there that we used to come off it and they would run straight back on again

But I do have to say that reading this thread this morning has got that B**y tune back in my head again!!!

Batters · 18/03/2004 13:07

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SoupDragon · 18/03/2004 13:08

DSs didn't get a chance to see if they loved IASW. I've been on it once and that was enough The thought of being stuck in there...

It's a world of laughter, a world of tears, it's a world of hopes and a world of fears... Urgh!

Mind you, I love the bit from Shrek with the annoyong puppets singing those rules.

SoupDragon · 18/03/2004 13:12

Batters, I think I've got individual maps for each park as well as a couple of copies of a bumper "all park" booklet! How sad is that?? I meant to put together a scrapbook with all the photos etc but haven't done it yet (and only need one map of each!)

miggy · 18/03/2004 15:07

Are they girls or boys? Our favorite bit was lunch in the castle (swish restaurant in the famous castle bit). costumed waiting staff adress all little girls as "princess" and Disney princess characters drift in and out. Expensive but reasonable food, very comfortable chairs (you will realise the significance of this after spending hours walking round the park!) and a long lunch allowed us to recharge our batteries. Magical for little girls.
Wear trainers and socks not sandals, there really is a huge amount of walking and mine all had blisters after day one.
We are going in july, cant wait.

jmg · 18/03/2004 15:13

Oh meant to say - even with 6 year olds you should get a pushchair in the parks - even if its just to dump all your stuff in. There really is an incredible amount of walking. Ours took turns getting in and having a rest, but they do have double ones which might suit you better.

Metrobaby · 18/03/2004 16:01

soupy - where did you stay when you went?

Metrobaby · 18/03/2004 16:04

Meant to also ask melsy the same question ...

Also melsy - I heard the final fireworks thing is at midnight. Is that right ??

This thread is making me want to go so badly - although the earliest I could go is next year, and i'd have to persuade dh too who reckons it's not worth it

melsy · 18/03/2004 16:18

An interesting site with online video clips of attractions , photos of restaurants and shops and maps here .Really made me get a lump in my throat watching the video of wishes firworks display that I talked of earlier .

melsy · 18/03/2004 16:23

You must do a tour on the monerail that takes you to one of the old famous Disney hotels from the 70's The Contemporary , you drive through the atrium.

My god this is really taking me back to my childhood , and i keep on remmebering things that I loved as a kid , but not sure if they still exist!!!

May keep popping back with more things.

melsy · 18/03/2004 16:35

Metrobaby , in answer to your question , we stayed at the Grovsner resort , which by todays standards it seemd to be a bit dated. When I first went as a child it was called the buena Vista hotel and it was disney owned. The marketplace was called Beuna vista village and the stuff there was unbleivable.

My parents stayed at the Disney carribean once and said they had a lovely time. There are great facilites there and man made beaches. I went to have a look and it really is lovely there.

Yes the fireworks are late,depends on the parks closing time when you go, but your on holiday and there timings will be a little haywire anyway. My mum used to keep us up till then but what a memory to keep!!!We still woke her up at 5:00 to go to the park the next day as we were soooo excited.

melsy · 18/03/2004 16:37

Oh to help with late nights we would go back to the hotel for a nap and a rest and go back in again for dinner etc, but we were staying right near so it didnt take too long to get back.

SoupDragon · 18/03/2004 17:28

Erm... we stayed at the Westgate Vacation Villas Maingate(I think) and also at the Hyatt Grand Cypress.

Last November the Wishes fireworks in the Magic Kingdom were at 7pm, 7:30pm or 8pm depending on the day so not too late. The latest thing I can find is the SpectoMagic parade at 9pm but that was a repeat of the 7pm performance. Epcot has 9pm fireworks every night. Yes, I kept atimetable too

tallulah · 18/03/2004 17:33

Universal Islands of Adventure is more for teenagers & adults. Most of the rides are exciting! Universal Studios is probably OK for little ones as well (my youngest was 11 & big enough for everything).

Don't get sucked into the Nickelodeon splat attack filming! It involves over an hour sat on the bleachers in the blazing sun, unable to leave, with the potential of being covered in gunge & cream. (The gunge is green-coloured chicken fat & DOES NOT come out of clothes!!!!!)

Hulababy · 18/03/2004 21:18

LOL Soupdragon. We took DD to Disney Paris aged 18 months last year and she adored It's a small world. After the third go I was being tortued by that song!

Ailsa · 18/03/2004 23:23


So glad we planned everything, holiday company provided us with a planner to fill in, probably the best bit of advice they gave us.

Agree about Wet'n'Wild although it's better than Water Mania, but the Disney water parks are even better.

DH and I went for 3 weeks 10 years ago, and had breakfast everyday at Dennys and dinner at the Ponderosa in Kissimmee, buffet meal - we paid according to the size of the steak that we wanted, everything else we could help ourselves to.

Make sure you pick up the discount magazines. We used a voucher from one of the mags when we went to Busch Gardens, we stayed at the Holiday Inn Tampa Bay and got the room for half price.

Def. visit Kennedy Space Center, a long day out but well worth it.

Do what the locals do, drive EVERYWHERE, even if you're only going over the road, if you try to walk across the roads it can take forever.

When you go to Disney, buy a plastic Poncho and take it everywhere. We could have done with ours when we played adventure golf in Kissimmee, we thought we'd hang around for a while for the rain to pass over, we eventually gave up and went back to the hotel. The girl at the entrance booth asked us if we wanted a 'rain check' to come back another day, but unfortunately we were going home the next day.

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