We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Orlando trip with Toddler in 2nd week of Dec

Delhi
Level Contributor
43 posts
1 review
Save Topic
Orlando trip with Toddler in 2nd week of Dec

I am planning to stay in Orlando for 4 nights and 5 days with my toddler.

I have purchased a 3 day pass Disney Base Ticket and also Discovery Cove with Seaworld.

For lodging I have booked, Hilton Grand Vacation at Sea world.

I have some queries:

- Best way to travel from Miami to Orlando. Train, bus or car rental. For Car rental, the best route to Orlando from Miami. Is the drive beautiful and are there lot of tolls? Will the train comfortable with a toddler?

- Do i need to rent a car in Orlando to travel to Animal Kingdom, Magic Kingdom, Epcot and Disney Cove.

- Can I cover each one of them in one day. Do I need a fast pass?

-Is the park hopper ticket necessary. Can you actually cover more than one place with a toddler in one day?

- Any tips on planning my trip better.

Thanks

5 replies to this topic
Chickamauga, Georgia
Destination Expert
for Orlando, Walt Disney World
Level Contributor
43,565 posts
96 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Orlando trip with Toddler in 2nd week of Dec

First of all, traveling in December, realize it may not be warm enough to utilize Discovery Cove to it's fullest, and it's an awfully expensive day not to be able to use the water attractions. Also, December could see temps low enough the park closes entirely, so just be warned.

Best way to travel from Miami is definitely car rental. Drive isn't what I would call beautiful in any respect, but if you go up I-95 to Cocoa Beach area, then head west to Orlando, you can avoid the tolls through lower Florida. The turnpike is convenient, but all tolls in the southern end are cashless and you must use the SunPass system down there.

Now, once in Orlando, you can either keep the rental car, or you can use Uber/Lyft/taxi to get from the SeaWorld area over to WDW (quickest, but more expensive), or you can use LYNX public bus system (slower, but cheaper in cost).

Please explain "Disney Cove" as there's no such place by that name; do you mean Discovery Cove? If so, you'll be right there at your hotel, and they may even provide shuttles.

You can cover most if not all of each Disney theme park in one day. Plan for priorities, however, since you'll be visiting during a busy time. Check your park hours and make sure you utilize them to the fullest. Remember, MK will close at 6:00 PM for day guests on nights they are having MVMCP.

You will definitely need to access Fast Pass+ at the Disney parks since it's a very busy time to be visiting. You have already purchased tickets, so now you just need to add them to your personal MDE account and ten book FP+ once your "30 day ahead" point arrives for each park you plan to visit.

Park hopper is not necessary, and usually not recommended for a "first time visit" which I gather you are on this trip from your questions. Once you know the parks better and come back on future visits, the park-hopper option may be more desirable to you.

I know it's tough to do with a toddler, but get to the parks very early and be there when they "open the gates" each day. The morning hours (except for EMH mornings) are the least crowded time of day at the parks, and you can cover a lot of ground faster that time of day.

Eat your meals "off hours" to avoid long lines at the counter service eateries. If you want a table service meal, get online TODAY and see if anything is available. Table service dining started booking for that week back in June, so not much is going to be left to choose from.

Orlando, Florida
Level Contributor
5,453 posts
14 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Orlando trip with Toddler in 2nd week of Dec

Definitely rent a car for the drive from Miami to Orlando. I would not want to be stuck on a public bus with a toddler and there is no train option. It is a boring drive up mostly interstate.

I would do one park each day and not bother with a park hopper. You don't say how young the child is but even a park a day is tiring for a small child.

Delhi
Level Contributor
43 posts
1 review
Save Reply
3. Re: Orlando trip with Toddler in 2nd week of Dec

Thanks, Tenni and Kat for your comments. This was definitely helpful.

I booked a car from Miami to Orlando from budget. Some car rental companies are charging more for one way (drop at Orlando). I checked the Turnpike toll price and it seems the entire trip will just cost $15. URL: www.floridasturnpike.com/TollCalc/index.htm

I'm not concerned about the price, but if I take I-95 are there any good stops like beach or restaurants on the way. Or should I not bother and take Turnpike.

Not bothered for park hopper, thanks for guiding me on this. Booked fastpass for MK and AK. This site was useful to plan the trip: wdwprepschool.com/animal-kingdom-touring-pla…

Did a lot of research but not sure if I should choose Epcot or Hollywood studios. My son will be turning 3 soon and hasn't seen much of Pixar movies yet. Need some help on which one would be better for us.

Regarding discovery cove, I really wanted to visit and hopefully, the temperature is good enough to enjoy water a little bit.

For our day at the Disney places, should I have breakfast before going there. Are there any good places in Orlando (cafe's) which I shouldn't miss. Looking for economical options.

Also, should I book dining with Disney characters? I'm not sure if my son would have the energy to enjoy it after a tiring day.

Chickamauga, Georgia
Destination Expert
for Orlando, Walt Disney World
Level Contributor
43,565 posts
96 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Orlando trip with Toddler in 2nd week of Dec

If you take I-95 instead of turnpike north, you can stop at Cocoa Beach to see a nice beach, and you can eat in Titusville at Dixie Crossroads (nice restaurant). No tolls on I-95 either.

Epcot is a "full day park" and has lots of variety, including some attractions for a 3-year-old. DHS park is about 1/2 a park right now because of the construction of the two new lands going on. I would choose Epcot personally because you'll get more bang for your buck there being a full park.

Yes, you should eat before heading to Disney parks as there's very few "counter service" breakfast locations inside the parks, other than Starbucks locations. However, that also means a very early morning, as you really need to be at the park when the "rope drop" occurs each day in order to get the most out of a short visit, especially during busy times like December.

Booking character meals at this point in the game is likely impossible, or at best, very limited. Those meals started booking up back in June (180 days ahead of time), so you're way behind the schedule for getting into any of them. Check and see, but likely not much if anything available at this point.

Valley Stream, NY
Level Contributor
20,241 posts
62 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Orlando trip with Toddler in 2nd week of Dec

Try for a character breakfast, this way your toddler won't be too tired. We usually just eat a small breakfast in our hotel room (breakfast bars, etc. to just get us going), saves money and more importantly time in the morning. This way you'll be hungry for lunch early and it won't be (hopefully) as crowded. Note that at Discovery Cove if you're thinking of doing the Dolphin swim, kids have to be 6 to participate :)

Reply to: Orlando trip with Toddler in 2nd week of Dec
Get notified by e-mail when a reply is posted