Help me plan Orlando (Disney) Vacation

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by DougWright, Jul 21, 2003.

  1. DougWright

    DougWright Stunt Coordinator

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    My wife and I are heading to Disney October 5-13.
    She has never been there and I was last there before Epcott. We want to make the most out of the trip and I was hoping some people here would have some ideas they would share.

    What I know… we will be staying on the resort and I think we are purchasing a 5-day park hopper pass.
    For the other 2 days I want to try to squeeze in Universal Studios, Sea World and Kennedy Space Center. Islands of Adventure/Universal Studios looks to be a WHOLE DAY’S worth (plus they are having a Halloween party at night so we were planning on staying for that anyhow.)

    So here is the question, can I squeeze Sea World and Kennedy into one day? Or is that stretching it.
    Does anyone know about transportation from Disney to Seaworld and Kennedy. Should I rent a car for that day?

    Any information about places that take Canadian Money at par would be appreciated. I am so lost and want to finish the booking now.

    Thanks to all who help!
     
  2. Greg_P

    Greg_P Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi Doug,

    I'm definitely not an expert but I'm currently planning a trip for my family in October to Disney as well. Here are a few sites that have helped me greatly in my planning:

    http://www.wdwig.com
    http://www.mousesavers.com
    http://disneyecho.emuck.com/

    As for your question about Sea World/Universal/Kennedy Space Center in two days. I think that'd be tough to do. I've done all three of those places and they were pretty much all day affairs.

    Hope this helps!
    Greg
     
  3. DonRoeber

    DonRoeber Screenwriter

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    My fiancee and I spent three days last year doing just Universal. I've been to Sea World before, and it's a single-day affair. Kennedy Space Center is a bit of a drive from Orlando, so it'll be near impossible to do. I suggest doing just Disney and Universal.

    For what it's worth, I'll see you guys in Disney this year. My fiancee and I are going there for our Honeymoon. We're doing the Disney Honeymoon package for 7 nights. We're staying at the Port Orleans French Quarter hotel. We'll be at Disney from September 29th to October 6th. The whole thing was a pretty good deal, about $1300 per person, including airfare from Philadelphia.
     
  4. Todd Hochard

    Todd Hochard Cinematographer

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    Kennedy will be an hour's drive from Orlando (actually about 1:15 from Disney property), so doing Sea World and Kennedy in the same day will be fairly difficult, if not impossible. I'd recommend renting a car- it's not as expensive as you might think here- typically cheaper than many other US cities.
    Also, Universal closes the parks, moves everyone out, and then re-opens for Halloween Horror Nights. So, you'll need a ticket for the day, and another at night.

    You could use this to your advantage- go to Kennedy during the day, return to the hotel for a nap, then head to Universal for Halloween Horror Nights.
     
  5. millercv

    millercv Second Unit

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    I am a complete WDW junkie so if you have any questions just let me know. Actually my wife and I will be there Oct 3-12th myself (along with my brother and his family and my parents) - we are staying at the Beach Club Villas (we are members of the Disney Vacation Club).

    As mentioned above wdwig.com is an excellent reference. I would also point you to http://www.intercot.com for a very good forum filled with fellow WDW fans [​IMG]

    Ok now for some general thoughts/tips/etc:

    A 5 day park hopper will allow you to see just about everything, but the key to WDW is to plan. You don't need a "at 5:30 we have to be on Small World" level of planning but a general gameplan and tour order. The parks are BIG. Very Very Big in fact - if you backtrack it will cost a lot of time and wear and tear on your feet.

    Plan on taking some breaks - if you are staying on property head back to your hotel in the early afternoon to avoid the hottest and busiest hours of the day. Then head back to the parks. Another option is to plan and make preferred seatings for a sitdown meal for lunchtime.

    It is hard to find a bad meal at WDW but a few favorites if you are looking for a great meal: Le Cellier Steakhouse (Epcot in Canada), 50's Primetime Cafe and The Brown Derby (MGM), and Boma at Animal Kingdom Lodge (especially for breakfast).

    The first 3 days I would do full day Epcot, full day MK, a morning at AK and evening at MGM and then use the next two days to go back to your favorite parks.

    Also there are Mickeys Not so Scary Halloween Parties going on then so you may want to look at them also.

    anyway that is enough of this book - let me know if you have any specific questions [​IMG]
     
  6. Lee L

    Lee L Supporting Actor

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    www.wdwmagic.com Try not to be overwhelmed and don't read how the rides work if you don;t want to know. [​IMG] They have some excellent forums, including one about trip planning and one about dining, hotels, etc.

    I too am a Disney junkie and I can confirm that there is no way to do Universal and Canveral in the same day.

    Also, try to get a book called The Unnoficial Guide to Walt Disney World. Don;t waste your money on Disney offial Birnbaum guide.
     
  7. Jeff Pug

    Jeff Pug Stunt Coordinator

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    the unoffical guide was the best thing I read when I went there. His philosphy of how to plan for rides will make sure you get to see everything you want to see.

    I got a caravan rental car for 22 a day from priceline.com(all hail shatner [​IMG] )
     
  8. Ron Etaylor

    Ron Etaylor Second Unit

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    I too am a Disney freak. Another site is disboards.com
    Check that out(the others mentioned are good too). You can find so much Disney info it's unbelievable.
     
  9. DougWright

    DougWright Stunt Coordinator

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    Wow, what a whole lot of good information already... thanks to all.

    I have a new question, the travel agent suggested we try this Dream Maker package and with it we each get 2 "wishes/day" on top of an Ultimate park hopper pass. I understand what the Ultimate park hopper does for me (compared to a 5 day) and that is very good, but I am curious as to what everyone thinks of these wishes.

    For instance 2 wishes can be redeemed for "Cirque de Soleil's La Nouba" which we wanted to see any how and with exchange that worked out to 100 dollars for us. but most things only need one, so I was wondering are most of the things you can get comparable to this.

    This is adding roughly $1600.00 Canadian to the cost of our trip, so we need to get $200 Canadian (roughly $150 US) of value/day for these 4 wishes... does that seem possible?

    Pros: It would be nice to have some more of the paid up front, The ultimate park hopper is kind of nice compared to the regular.

    Cons: I want to be sure I can the extra value out of these wishes.

    The lady at WDW told me the Polynesisian Luau and the the Hoop-de-doo were able to be had for 1 wish (we want to do both...) does anyone know what else can be had as a wish, or what could not be?

    Thanks again,
     
  10. Leo Hinze

    Leo Hinze Stunt Coordinator

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    I recently got back from Disney, where some friends and I took part in "Drinking Around The World @ Epcot 2K3"

    We went to each of the pavilions in Epcot and had a refreshing alcoholic beverage of the type apparently enjoyed by the citizens of each country. We did skip America, though, because where can't you buy a Bud in this country? There are 11 pavilions (not counting America) and the South African outpost, and you should plan on 1/2 hour each. If you go clockwise, and if you time it right, you should be enjoying a nice cold Moosehead about the time the evening fireworks show starts. It's one of the pricier restaurants in the Pavilion, but I highly recommend eating at Morocco. Also, the Fish and Chips with a pint of Boddington's at England weren't too shabby either.

    I'm not familiar with the town of Simpleton, so I'm not sure exactly where you live, but skip Sea World. They have those all over the place.

    I don't know if they do transportation from Disney to Kennedy, but Mears Transportation has a great shuttle service from the airport to the Disney properties, and the chain hotels on the Disney property. I paid $28.00 round trip. I wasn't there for a week, and I only stayed around Disney, but I didn't rent a car while I was there.

    Kennedy was fun, but I haven't been there in a few years. If it's anything like Johnson in Houston, the tour is not the same as it was due to security 'enhancements' after 9/11/2001. They do have a bitchin' exhibit that lets you walk under a Saturn V that is on display horizontally in a huge building.

    Good luck.

    Mears
     
  11. Steven K

    Steven K Supporting Actor

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    Disney World - the best place on earth!

    My wife and I went last year for our honeymoon and we're definitely going back next year.

    Are you staying at a Disney hotel? To quote Ron Epstein, it is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! [​IMG]

    I've been to Disney World 7 times in my life, and have stayed at many different Disney resorts. For our honeymoon, we stayed at the Polynesian for 4 nights and then the Coronado for 3 (Poly was booked!) I definitely recommend the Polynesian, it's absolutely wonderful, albiet pricey. But, any Disney hotel will do. The All-Star resorts are around $100 USD.

    Have a great time!
     
  12. RussR

    RussR Stunt Coordinator

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    Two wishes/day sounds like the Silver Dream Maker, so here's the info on the possible wishes:

    Silver Dream Maker info from Mousesavers.com

    There's been lot's of good advice posted, including all of my favorite sites. Here's my two cents. Relax and have a good time. Don't worry about seeing everything this trip. If you have a plan but something else suddenly strikes your fancy, forgo the plan. As millercv suggested, plan on some downtime each day.

    Apart from that, do see La Nouba, have dinner at Boma in the Animal Kingdom Lodge (be sure to try a Zebra Dome or three!) and take the boat from MK over to Wilderness Lodge, just to walk around or to have an excellent dinner at Artist Point.

    One additional thing...Halloween Horror Nights is a hoot. If there's a "Bill and Ted" show this year, make sure you see it.
     
  13. Zane Charron

    Zane Charron Second Unit

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    OK, lets see. Some good reccomendations here. I grew up in Melbourne, about an hour from O-town and am a bit of a Disney freak myself (though having lived in Germany the last 5 years the whole faux-Euro thing seems a bit cheesy now, though I still love it).

    You're staying at the Port Orleans resort. Good. It's connected to the Riverside resort (this was renamed since I was last there), which make for quite an enjoyable walk/bike ride around. You must check out some of the resorts while there, notably the Wilderness Lodge (amazing), the Polynesian (beautiful and you HAVE to get the Tonga toast for breakfast there) and the Contemporary (for 1971 anyway). Tonga Toast is a big piece of sourdough bread, like 6"x6"x2", stuffed with ripe bananas, deep fried and rolled in cinammon and sugar. Delicious.

    Kennedy is a ways from WDW. That and Sea World in a day, I don't think so. And Kennedy has gotten EXPENSIVE. Last time I drove by there, 2 years ago, it was like $28 to get in. Not the $10-12 I paid as a kid in the 80's.

    Epcot will take AT LEAST a day to go through. It's a huge park with some very good restaraunts.

    Halloween Horror Nights is quite fun, at least it was in the early 90's.

    If you've been to a sea-life kinda park before, I'd say skip Sea World. If not, it's worth going to.

    There is so much touristy stuff to do in Orlando you could spend several months there and still not see everything. WDW would take a month by itself.

    Some of the mini golf courses in Orlando and Kissimmee are great as well. International Drive, Downtown Orlando, various parks, etc. If you want a great steak try Charlie's Steakhouse in Kissimmee.
     
  14. Randy Tennison

    Randy Tennison Screenwriter

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    As a mongo-Disney fan myself, I must say that I've never thought the add on packages were a great value, so my vote would be for ultimate park hopper passes without the add-ons.

    BTW, 5 days for everything at WDW is stretching it. You've got 4 theme parks, 3 water parks, Pleasure Island (for night time), Downtown Disney (great shopping), exploring the property (going to other resorts . . .highly recommended just to see them), plus any other activites you want to try to squeeze in, such as golf, boating (the water sprites are a blast), swimming at the resort, etc.

    I would recommend 6 days at Disney and one at Universal.

    Also, don't rent a car. You won't use it at all during your days at Disney. The bus system is fantastic. You might be cheaper to take a cab, or try to find a shuttle bus from one of the local hotels!

    Have fun!

    BTW, I second the vote for www.disboards.com. A great web community for everything Disney!
     
  15. DarylA

    DarylA Agent

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    Doug-
    Skip the Poly luau but do the Hoop Tee Do. Seaworld is a great place. I'd highly recommend Discovery Cove (part of Seaworld and across the street). Swim with the dolphins and snorkel all day with s-rays, fish etc. We went a year ago and still talk about it being one of the greatest things we ever did! Call now for reservations. They book early. Enjoy your trip. I second the Tonga Toast recommendation at the Poly! Simply awesome.
     
  16. JayV

    JayV Supporting Actor

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    Doug, pay attention to recommendations from Chris Miller and Dave Falasco -- both gave me great ideas/advice for my trip last December!

    -j
     
  17. Michael*K

    Michael*K Screenwriter

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    I highly recommend the book Birnbaum's Walt Disney World Without Kids 2003 We just got back from WDW for five days over the Fourth and the book proved invaluable. Some tips: If you are staying at a resort, be sure to take advantage of days when resort guests are allowed into the parks an hour early. The resort we stayed at (WDW Resort Hilton) allowed us into a different park an hour early each day and it made a world of difference. We were able to hit all the big rides before the parks opened to the general public. Sea World was an absolute blast. Again, get there when the park opens and you'll be all set. We got to ride to park's two fantastic rides (Kraken and Journey to Atlantis) several times before the shows started. Frankly though, I would assume the time of year you're going is probably considered "off season" so the crowds shouldn't be so bad. We also were in Orlando the first week of May (between spring break and summer vacation for kids) and when we were at Universal we literally walked right onto most of the rides. I think the longest wait we had was about five minutes. Have fun.
     
  18. Dave Smith

    Dave Smith Stunt Coordinator

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    My favorite guide book is the Unofficial Guide by Bob Sehlinger, recommended above. It's exhaustive and fabulous.

    We're going back in August, it'll be the third time in four years for us. Animal Kingdom Lodge again [​IMG]

    If you can, eat at the California Grille at the Contemporary. It's on the 15th floor and has great views of the Magic Kingdom.
     
  19. Lee L

    Lee L Supporting Actor

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    If you want to go to the California Grill, find out what time the fireworks are and try to get a priority seating then. They dim the lights and play the fireworks music in the restaraunt. It is quite cool. If you can't get a PS, you can always just show up and kick it in the lounge. Definitely go out on the roof observation deck at some point(take a hard left off the elevator and go down the hall past the restrooms).

    Also, when you are there, if you are interested in riding rides, do use the Fastpass system. Also, if there are long waits posted for rides like Tower of Terror and Rock n Roller Coatster in MGM or Mission Space and Test Track in Epcot or Space Mountain and Alien Encounter in MAgic Kingdom make sure you get another fast pass for the other attraction just after you window opens and before you go on the ride. That way you will kill off at least some of your wait time while loading on the ride. (even with the fast pass it still takes about 20-30 minutes minimum to do all the preshow and ride the ride.
     
  20. Matt Pasant

    Matt Pasant Second Unit

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    Any tips on saving money for doing a booking at the Grand Floridian.

    I want to take my fiance' to Disney, and she really wants to stay there. Man is it expensive.
     

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