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How long to stay and what to see

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Sydney
posts: 61
reviews: 5
How long to stay and what to see

Last year our family with kids 7 and 4 visited Disneyland for the first time and spent 6 full days in Disneyland and California Adventure. Next year we plan to tackle Disneyworld and wonder how long it would take to see the four parks. We want to make sure that we see EVERYTHING including the shows and all the rides. I had thought that 2 weeks would be enough. I also want to include some rest days as last year we had no rest days and came home exhausted. Should we also visit Universal? I understand that Universal has two different park, do we need to visit both parks. What else should be pack into our two weeks? Are the water parks worth it? As you can understand Orlando is a long way from Australia and we want to make sure we come home saying "we saw it all".

Sydney
posts: 61
reviews: 5
1. Re: How long to stay and what to see

Sorry, forgot to mention that we plan to visit in Sept/October.

oxfordshire
posts: 306
2. Re: How long to stay and what to see

IMHO each of the 4 Disney parks needs a full day if you have any hope of 'seing it all' even then I doubt you will. Universal has 2 theme parks, both of which are worth a visit as well as a water park and Seaworld, both in Orlando. That lot together with places like Gatorland, waterboat rides and Kennedy Space Centre (if you truly want to see it all) would take you well over 2 weeks worth of holiday to do. That doesn't include the 2 Disney water parks either.

If my maths is right, if you did all the above, a day at each, that would be 13 days...without any rest days....

You may have to be selective and resign yourselves to the fact that you won't see it all but with a bit of planning you should be able to do most.

My recommendations would be to do MK (obviously), AK, Epcot, MGM, Universal IOA and Studios on one day (picking the most appropriate rides from each park-they are next door to each other), either Blizzard Beach or Typhoon Lagoon (they are quite similar) and Seaworld (the kids will love it). That's 7 full days which will give you the leaway to revisit your favourite park, do some shopping and have a couple of relaxing days. You could even get in a trip to KSC if you're interested. Some say AK is not a full day which could leave you with the afternoon at the hotel (or whatever) and pop back to (say) Epcot for the eveining firework display.

oxfordshire
posts: 306
3. Re: How long to stay and what to see

IMHO each of the 4 Disney parks needs a full day if you have any hope of 'seing it all' even then I doubt you will. Universal has 2 theme parks, both of which are worth a visit as well as a water park and Seaworld, both in Orlando. That lot together with places like Gatorland, waterboat rides and Kennedy Space Centre (if you truly want to see it all) would take you well over 2 weeks worth of holiday to do. That doesn't include the 2 Disney water parks either.

If my maths is right, if you did all the above, a day at each, that would be 13 days...without any rest days....

You may have to be selective and resign yourselves to the fact that you won't see it all but with a bit of planning you should be able to do most.

My recommendations would be to do MK (obviously), AK, Epcot, MGM, Universal IOA and Studios on one day (picking the most appropriate rides from each park-they are next door to each other), either Blizzard Beach or Typhoon Lagoon (they are quite similar) and Seaworld (the kids will love it). That's 7 full days which will give you the leaway to revisit your favourite park, do some shopping and have a couple of relaxing days. You could even get in a trip to KSC if you're interested. Some say AK is not a full day which could leave you with the afternoon at the hotel (or whatever) and pop back to (say) Epcot for the eveining firework display.

Taipei, Taiwan
posts: 4,653
reviews: 6
4. Re: How long to stay and what to see

It all depends on how you define "everything" and seeing it "all". If you can define it reasonably, you can do it in two weeks time. But if you're more literal about it, it would take a while and a lot of work. Let's break it down:

Theme parks: there are 7 traditional theme parks in Orlando. There's also Busch Gardens in Tampa; a number of people drive over. Its a better roller coaster park than any of the ones in Orlando (though IOA comes close). If you aren't into intense roller coasters, you can skip it, but if you are, it would be a must see. That would be 8 theme parks; most people say you can do both Animal Kingdom and MGM in one day, though it would be a long one if you want to see Fantasmic.

Water Parks: Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach are good in their own way. Wet n' Wild is OK, but I would skip it if you're already going to TL and BB.

Discovery Cove: OK, this is the most expensive attraction in Orlando. But if you really want to "do it all", this is a must see. About $270 or so per person to do the dolphin swim, in addition to the rest of the park; you can skip the Dolphin swim and save $$. If you can avoid it because of expense, then do it. If not, plan a day for it.

Character Meals: Of course there are a number of these, including Crystal Palace, Cinderella's Royal Table, 1900 Park Faire, etc. If you have young kids, may be hard to get away without doing one of these, or more. If you don't have young kids, may be able to get away with it.

Dinner shows: Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede is on of the big ones, along with Arabian Nights and Medieval Times. May want to do 1 of these, unless you're not interested. The food at these is not going to be the best you've ever had.

La Nouba Cirque Du Soleil: You said something about shows, and this is the best standalone non-Disney show.

Nightlife: Universal's CitiWalk and Pleasure Island at Downtown Disney are the big club complexes. Can pay for the clubs a la carte or pay all inclusive fees. Or can walk around during the day at these places, if you're not interested in clubbing. There's also the House of Blues by La Nouba. And, of course, there are the myriad of restaurants outside of the Disney character dinners.

Shopping: You can skip Prime Outlets, Lake Buena Vista Factory Outlets may be worth a look see, but Premium Outlets is the hands down winner in the outlet mall category. As far as regular malls, Millenia Mall is a rich mall with Tiffany, Bloomingdales, St. John, Neiman Marcus, and other stores. Florida Mall is only a little less rich than Millenia, and has over 250 stores, so is a bit bigger. But a trip to Orlando would not be complete without visiting the boutiques (and other stores) on Park Ave in Winter Park, and visiting the park across the street. You probably will have to skip the flea markets such as Flea World in Sanford. There's also Bass Outdoor World at Festival Bay and the other International Drive touristy shops

The "Other Orlando": There's places like Wekiwa Springs State Park and Blue Springs State Park, Bok Sanctuary, Lake Eola Park in downtown, and Uptown Altamonte, as well as driving out to Kennedy Space Center and Daytona USA or to St. Augustine, but you'll have to skip these. Not enough time.

Beaches: Though a lot of people make trips to the beaches you'd probably have to skip these too. You've got a lot of nice beaches in Australia, so that shouldn't be a big deal

Miscellaneous: Richard Petty's Driving experience at Disney, International Drive attractions (Ripley's Believe it or Not, Wonderworks, Pointe Orlando, the Fun Spot, World's Largest McDonalds, or just walking around; it wouldn't be a trip to Orlando without taking a walk on I-Drive once), Old Town in Kissimmee and other US 192 attractions. Not to mention visiting the different themed resorts at Disney.

IL
posts: 7,059
reviews: 18
5. Re: How long to stay and what to see

Hello jpcl,

If you want to fit all that Orlando has to offer along with rest days two weeks won't be enough, however you can comfortably fit in all 4 of the Disney parks, at least one water park, I recommend Typhoon Lagoon and yes it is worth it!) Two days at Universal. You also might want to consider a day at Discovery Cove. www.discoverycove.com which will also give you tickets for a day at Sea World. It is pricey but well worth it in my opnion!

Townsville...
posts: 556
reviews: 4
6. Re: How long to stay and what to see

Dear Jpcl My family went to disneyland in sept last year and just heard we are going to Disneyworld in December for 2 weeks, I have exactly the same queries as you! My kids are a bit older. We so enjoyed disneyland and CA! Hope you get good advice i can borrow too.

Taipei, Taiwan
posts: 4,653
reviews: 6
7. Re: How long to stay and what to see

Katsie, the time around Christmas and afterward to New Years is perhaps the busiest time all year long in the touristy areas of Orlando. If that's the time you're going, you need to plan accordingly.

Townsville...
posts: 556
reviews: 4
8. Re: How long to stay and what to see

We are going the first two weeks in Dec. I have heard that that time is not as busy as later. Is that right? Can someone please recommend a GOOD villa that will not break the bank?

Taipei, Taiwan
posts: 4,653
reviews: 6
9. Re: How long to stay and what to see

No Katsie, you should be fine then; it will be much less busy at that time.

Check out previous posts about Windsor Hills for villas.

Sydney
posts: 61
reviews: 5
10. Re: How long to stay and what to see

Thanks for all the wondereful advise. We went to Seaworld in San Diego last September. Is it worth visiting the Orlando one. How different is it than Seaworld San Diego?

Our kids are young so I think that we will give Busch Gardens a miss, however, Kennedy Space Centre is a most for my husband who is "space crazy". Will the kids aged 9 and 6 enjoy Kennedy Space Centre?