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Disney parks and Winter the dolphin

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Worcester, United...
posts: 21
Disney parks and Winter the dolphin


I'm wanting to plan a trip for this October (2013) for myself as a single mum and my son who will be 8 and is on the Autistic Spectrum.

We have been saving for a few years. He is desperate to meet Winter. Thought it would also be fabulous to do lots of parks while we are there too. I'm thinking of about a total of 16nights or so.

Could anyone help or advise as to the best way to do things as i;m quite anxious doing it alone. I took my son to Lapland when he was 3 on my own but that was an organised package holiday. Should we stay for about 10 days somewhere close to the Disney parks, Seaworld etc probably interested in more Animal related parks and then travel to Clearwater and spend the rest of the holiday there? The main concern for me is safety. I've read lots of reviews saying that a resort/hotel in Disney itself if very safe but what about Clearwater? Is it more wise to book a hotel or would an apartment be just as safe?

This would all mean hiring a car also. I am a confident driver (in the uk) but have never driven on the right before - any tips? Is the journey from Orlando to Clearwater a straightforward one?

Thrown loads of questions out there, but any info/help would be so much appreciated.


posts: 50,719
1. Re: Disney parks and Winter the dolphin

Welcome to the forum

I have traveled alone with just one child and have no hesitation in Recomending you stay at a Disney Resort, it makes for a very Stress Free Holiday. You can will have Free Transportation to all the Disney Parks as well as from and back to the Airport if you want. You can get a Package that includes your Resort, Tickets and even Dining ( there is an offer for Free Dining at the moment, a very good deal ) With 10 days or more you will have plenty of time to take it all in at an easy pace. Staying at a Disney Resort will give you the opportunity to visit the Parks for a few hours and then take a nice break back at your Resort to take a rest, go for a swim, recharge and then head back to the Parks for the evening. It is easy enough to visit Seaworld for a day, there is pubic transport from Disney or a Taxi is always available.

You could then rent a car for just a few days to go to the Beach, Clearwater is lovely and there are safe and affordable hotels. You could also do a day trip, there are tour companies that provide transport and even a package that would include lunch

Start with the Disney Resort Offer, see what you think


Resort Top Picks

Value - Pop Century


Moderate - Port Orleans Riverside


Deluxe - Wilderness Lodge


There are others of course but that will give you an idea of what's available to start dreaming and planning

Worcester, United...
posts: 21
2. Re: Disney parks and Winter the dolphin

Thank you so much for your help. I will take a look at the links you kindly supplied. From a financial point of view would you recommend booking flights and hotel separately or as a package deal?

Any idea what the weather is like in October?

Trying not to get excited yet, hoping have saved enough!

posts: 50,719
3. Re: Disney parks and Winter the dolphin

Many book flights separately but with the deal mentioned, you can add flights, always good to explore and compare overall prices

October is Wonderful, we have gone many times in October. The Weather is still quite warm, perfect for swimming and the Crowd Levels are on the Lower side, easy enough to manage fun days at the Parks

There are two Special Events at Disney World that are well worth checking out. Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party and Epcot's Food and Wine Festival. Those are the Top reasons we visit in October :)

posts: 501
reviews: 12
4. Re: Disney parks and Winter the dolphin

Tip for driving that my friend does. When shes here she wears her watch on one side then switches it to the other when she goes abroad so she knows what side she should be on. Not sure how it would work for you but she swears by it!

Its not so difficult once youre on the road. Its more confusing when your driving a UK car on the wrong side of the road. That confused my head so much!

Great idea though about going to see Winter :) Shes has an amazing story! And will definitely be something your child will enjoy :) I am thinking about booking tickets aswell now.

Worcester, United...
posts: 21
5. Re: Disney parks and Winter the dolphin

Thanks for the watch tip - good idea, worth a try.

Do you know what the area of Clearwater is like? Is it safe for a mum & child alone do you know?

Are private rentals a good idea?

Worcester, United...
posts: 21
6. Re: Disney parks and Winter the dolphin

I'm a complete novice or dunce to be more accurate when it comes to the Orlando resort thing.

Do you have to buy separate tickets for Disney World, Seaworld, universal, discovery cove etc? My son and i are more animal focused could anyone suggest the best places to visit particularly for up close and personnel experiences.

posts: 50,719
7. Re: Disney parks and Winter the dolphin

I would suggest a Hotel in Clearwater. Having all the amenities and security would be top of my list . There are safe and lovely options in Clearwater

posts: 50,719
8. Re: Disney parks and Winter the dolphin

Yes, all those Parks are owned by different companies. There are Agents that bundle the Tickets, call them "the one" and such but they are in the end, separate tickets. It is alot more cost effective to buy tickets to one or a few at least, different Parks ( Disney Tickets are priced the more days you play, the less you pay per day )

You can get the Disney Ticket for as many days as you like, if you book a Disney Resort, you can get the 14 day ticket for the price of 7 as part of the deal. Discovery Cove and Seaworld can be a combo ticket. Not sure I would Recomend Universal Parks, that might be pushing it with an 8 year old with Special needs, you might want to scale down and have some rest days, just my thoughts

Worcester, United...
posts: 21
9. Re: Disney parks and Winter the dolphin

Its all rather mind boggling!

Thanks so much for the help. I'm wondering if we are better off just doing Discovery Cove, Seaworld maybe Busch gardens? and then moving down to Clearwater to relax on the beach and see winter. We have done EuroDisney (i know, no comparison whatsoever) but found my son then 4 become a little bored halfway through day 2!:) He is more animal orientated. I haven't even looked into Universal Studios, i had just naively assumed it was film based, something my son is also very into (wants to make his own movies one day!:) ) My son is high functioning but thanks for the caution which i've taken on board.

The main reason for the trip is to see Winter, i'm just getting wrapped up and confused with trying to sort out other activities and take advantage of all that Florida has to offer while we are there.

sunderland, uk
posts: 946
reviews: 31
10. Re: Disney parks and Winter the dolphin

Hi we have 2 autistic children and on our last visit we did Clearwater for the day, we loved it that much we are planning a week on the coast when we go back next year. We are hoping to do Clearwater Marine Aquarium to see winter on our next visit. There are some fab hotels some cheap and some not so cheap. We have hired a condo for a week but is further down on Anna Maria Island. However we did look at the Hilton as it was right on the beach and also Frenchys Oasis Motel. We did Disney last year for the first time in 8 years and it was fab. The staff were much better with regards to our childs needs than Universal were. The drive was straight forward from Orlando to Clearwater. If you have any questions please feel free to ask.