Holiday in Orlando - any advice?

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by HT Dude, Mar 19, 2006.

  1. HT Dude

    HT Dude
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    Hi folks, we're thinking of doing Orlando. Do you have any recommendations on where to stay and what to do in 14 days?
    Us, 2 grandparents, 2 young kids. 6 in total. We want to do the best resorts - Disney Word and Universal (obviously) but what others and how many days in each? And if there is time left over, we'd want to do the beaches, too. I suppose a car would be useful?
    And book the flights and hotel separately and then separate resort tickets?
    And book where? Lastminute.com?
    Any advice from your holidays appreciated.
     
  2. Abbeygoo

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    I'd make three suggestions :

    1. Stay on International Drive - right in the heart of things and several of the hotels offer free transportation to the theme parks. The location allows easy access to the Disney parks / Sea World / Universal etc and also a trip into Orlando itself. There are also several attractions on "I Drive" itself and by basing yourself here, it allows several easy trips without worrying about transportation.

    2. Places to see - like you say, obviously, you'll be going to Disney & Universal. At least a day at each of the parks (MGM Studios, Magic Kingdom, Epcot etc) as one day between them all is no where near enough. Don't let anyone tell you that it is. Each of the parks within Disney is a day trip. Same for Universal Studios - one full day from morning 'til midnight! If I could recommend one unusual trip, I went to Gatorland - brilliant. The evening trip we did involved a bit of Gator wrestling and the usual barbeque (you can eat Gator nuggets!) and free booze. The best bit for me, though, was the walk round the swamps (safely of course) armed with a torch. The sights were breathtaking ...... not going to say anymore.

    3. My 'must not miss' - Sea World, absolutely awesome. Say hello to Shamu for me! Have a great time!
     
  3. GBDG1

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    Don't make jokes about carrying explosives whilst getting on the plane.
     
  4. mh123

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    Yeah... if you're planning to hire a car, fly to Tampa instead of Orlando. Adds an hour to the journey ('cos of the drive) but soooooooo much more pleasant airport :thumbsup: You tend to find fewer kiddies on the plane which definitely helps (can't promise mind you... I'm only going on personal experience!). Tampa also means you can quite easily detour and take in Busch Gardens on day 1 / day last.

    Also, if you do rent a motor, drag the family over to Kennedy Space Center - about a 90 minute drive but a fabulous day out.
     
  5. Curry Monster

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    if you can afford it stay at one of the disney hotels ... we stayed in the 'carribean beach resort' and it was amazing . Alot better than staying on international drive( a bit like an american version of blackpool...)

    Also book direct with a company in orlando you will save alot of money this way (we have been twice and we paid about half the price virgin etc wanted)

    get attraction tickets in the uk before you go...a hell of a lot cheaper if prebooked

    If you stay in a disney hotel you usually get free access to the parks (expensive otherwise so take the price into consideration when looking for hotels)

    DO NOT MISS the water parks...blizzard beach and typhoon lagoon....brilliant!!!!
     
  6. KevD

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    Just beat me to it, I would defo say KSC and Busch Gardens.
    If you are driving, and if your there for 14 days I recommend doing it try Gator Land :thumbsup:
     
  7. HT Dude

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    Thanks everyone.
    I must be doing something wrong, here.
    Trying to get an idea of flights on Lastminute.com and the total cost (for flights only) comes out at over £10,000!!!
    It doesn't allow me to specify return flights with flexibility in the dates.
    Daft.
    I guess we're too late for the Easter break. Oh well, it means we have more time to planit for the summer holidays.
     
  8. LV426

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    I'd second the advice to stay on I-Drive. There are lots of cheap but reasonable hotels here and you're spoilt for choice as to where to eat.

    If you prefer not to drive (and/or to avoid the "cost" of the "free" hire car) then there is a more than adequate local bus service (Lynx) which will take you to all the essential destinations in the Orlando area with reasonable ease - just a little planning. Of course it can take longer than driving, but is (in my opinion) less stressful. Full details of the network are available here. It costs USD 12 per person (age 6 and under ride free if accompanied) for a weekly pass which allows unlimited use of all Lynx buses. You can buy passes at two locations on/near I-Drive - at the Orlando/Orange County Convention & Visitors Bureau and at ABC Supermarket on Carrier Drive. There is a useful map on the website which will give you an idea of the geography and extent of services/routes, and drivers are for the most part civil and helpful.

    Your holiday rep won't offer you this as an option and typically neither do travel agents. My cynical side tells me it's because they don't get any commission from Lynx and for no other reason.
     
  9. Razor

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    I have been to Orlando 4 times now. I would personaly stay at the Grovesnor Hotel in Down Town Disney. Its an excellent hotel with great facilities. Its also in Down Town Disney which is handy as there are loads of shops and restraunts in that area. I have also stayed in the mentioned International drive, its ok here but a bit out of the way for Down Town Disney. The Hotels here are normally cheaper and a bit more basic. They are however good hotels which are clean and will have everything you need.

    Try Fultons crab house when you go, you cant miss it as its a flaoting restraunt. Its one of the best places I have ever been to eat and I have been to a fair few places. There is also a nice restraunt next to it called Portabellos and does Italian food, you have to try the garlic bread, they bring you a full garlic clove which has been cooked and home made butter, you mix the 2 together and spread onwarm bread, lovelly. Pebbles is another place which is at the Cross Roads is a recomended place to eat it over looks a lake, very nice. You will get a 3 course meal in TGI Fridays for around $10, the portions are huge and food is far better than the TGI's we have here. You also get free top ups in all restraunts for your drink (non alcohol), a nice touch.

    Go to the retail outlets for discounted brand names such as Timberland, DKNY, Nike, Reebok, Tommy etc..... I picked up a £600 Timberland leather jacket for £127. Bargain city.

    Hire a car when your out there the place is vast and there is plenty to see. Petrol is stupidly cheap

    Take a credit card which you as there will be so much to buy and spend your cash on.

    People are really friendly and will often say hello to you in the street, coming from London this was weird at first but very welcoming.

    When your theme parking it do not miss The Spiderman ride, at the time this was the best ride out there (universal studios). I am sure there are a load more now.

    Oh and dont forget to tip. The bar system out there is a bit weird. I didnt fully understanding it but you ask for a drink and they give you a drink but they dont ask for cash. Just leave a few dollars as a tip once you get your first drink. Once your finished drinking settle up and leave another tip. I think this is the right way.

    For me Orlando was and still is one of my favourite places to go. I spent 1999-2000 millenium new year there.

    BTW when your out there say hello to mickey from Razor. :hiya:
     
  10. ush flynn

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    for 6 people and i guess 4 paying? you could think about renting a place out there, much more comfortable and you can cook breakfasts and make lunches rather than arrange another trip out ever time, also you would get your own pool and a bit of peace and quiet.

    We usually stay in kissimee just outside the attractions close to internation drive, john young pkwy and I-4. The advantage here is as we leave the house we arent then jammed into all the i-drive traffic and there is other routes into disney and universal which would save you a good hour/ 90mins a day in traffic at busy times of the year.
    Other advantage of staying to the west of the attractions is your closer to tampa, again no traffic getting out onto the highway down to the coast, its about 45-50 min drive from where we usually stay, and we can get to universal in about 20 mins.
    We usually get what they call hopper tickets
    its like season ticket for the park which allows you unlimited access to the parks for the period you are there, you save bunches of time and effort and if you find a decent deal locally ( ie.. in orlando) then you can save big bucks.
    I know your bringing kids but the price hike during holiday periods is tremendous so expect to pay more to get and stay there, also your choice of places to stay this year will be very limited.
    Renting a car, pre book, pick the keys up at the airport.. theres nothing wrong with orlando international airport, imo forget the tampa airport thing, tampa itself isnt a nice area and after a long flight you usually get there when its dark you just wanna get to the place your staying asap and crash for a while.
    Being late when you arrive i find that any screaming kids are usually KO'd by about half way, just wear themselves out, noise cancelling headphones will do the trick. For some reason chloroform isnt allowed.... whats all that about!

    On i drive dont forget to spend time in the little places, some great crazy golf courses, totally over the top, ones got a crashed plane stuck on a big rock formation!! mad!! some good karting, shooting, fun fairs, at night you will see the skycoaster, they strap you into a harness attached to a bit of rope, heave you up to the top of this pole and let you swing all the way back down and through a big A frame... scary stuff!!
     
  11. Beobloke

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    Try not to punch people when they tell you to "have a great adventure" when they've just sold you an ice cream.

    And don't be tempted to go on the second of the "Fire and Ice" rollercoasters in Universal straight after you've been on the first (as you come off, you have the option to exit or join the queue again for the other ride) - it took about 2 hours for my stomach to recover!! :D
     
  12. ush flynn

    ush flynn
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    oh dont be a wuss, the duelling dragons should be seen as a double ride, one you have to do both, and queue for the front if its not TOO long, if not go for the back
     
  13. Razor

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    That ride looked mad, I stayed away. :rolleyes:
     
  14. Marcus Geezer

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    If one of your main objectives is to see a lot of Disney, book a package deal with Virgin and stay in a Disney themed hotel. Even the All star resorts arent too bad, but we stayed in the Animal Kingdom Lodge last year and had a great time.

    The upfront costs may seem high, but you can use the Disney transport to get around so you could get away with not hiring a car for at least a part of the holiday and save money that way. Also, our Disney park entry tickets were included in the hotel ticket so that saved us a lot of money.
     
  15. Artie Fufkin

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  16. Parklife

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    I'd second the renting a house suggestion. 7 of us went last year in Nov for 4 weeks. House cost £1000 with 4 bedrooms and a heated pool. I find that 2 weeks of eating out gets on my nerves. Sometimes nice just to get something without chips!!

    I would advise not to go without a car and would stay away from International Drive. Unless you are at one end or the other it can take ages to drive down it!!

    In 2 weeks you will be hard pushed to fit everything in. I always find it good to have one day out and 1 day relaxing by the pool/beach. If you hit the theme parks everyday then you will be exhausted!!

    Depending on the age of the kids will dictate where you go. Some places have a lot more thrill rides than others.

    Best piece of advice I can offer is Monday nights all you can eat ribs at Tony Romas for $18. Absolutely superb!!!
     
  17. nabby

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    With a group that size I'd seriously consider renting a villa. Try looking on holiday-rentals.com - I've booked a few places from there before and every single one has been great. There's lots of choice of places near to Disney.

    Hire a car but with that size group go for a 7 seater or 8 seater. You'll need room for everyone plus luggage, plus shopping! Hire it from here as the deals are always better at this end. Even the bigger vehicles are easy to drive due to them being automatics, the size of the roads and the fact that you drive straight into a car park space (no reversing in as there are often no number plates on the front of cars).

    Definitely allow a rest day between parks if you can - even if it's just hanging out at one of the air conditioned malls!

    Eating out is cheaper than here and food from malls (from the food courts) can be of a high quality, especially at the Mall at Millenia.

    Fly into Orlando International as it is much nearer than Tampa (I've done Tampa, Orlando International and Miami, and Orlando International is the easiest by far!!).

    The options for Disney tickets are pretty complex, as there are a lot of add-ons. Take a look at the options on their website before you buy (either here or out there). Also look at the DISForums (as previously mentioned) as they have lots of excellent opinions and hints.

    If you're likely to go back again, then buy the tickets for Disney that don't expire.

    If you're going to Universal Studios, look at their website before you go as they often have some great offers if you buy the tickets in advance - when I went last November, we got tickets that were "Buy 2 days and get another 5 free", ie 7 days.

    The shopping is great and it is so easy to max out your credit cards! The main Malls are the Florida Mall, The Mall at Millenia The Premium Outlets Mall and Downtown Disney (not quite a mall, as such) - actually there are a couple more but I can't remember their names.

    Check out what's on at the cinema - if there's a rainy day it can be good option and it's very cheap compared to here.

    DVDs and CDs aren't always as cheap as they are bought on-line from the UK but you can get some bargains.

    If you want to get a guide book, the Unnofficial Guide to Walt Disney World is the best one I've read.
     
  18. Zapp.Brannigan

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    Make sure you have time for your 4-course brekkie at Sizzler's on International Drive. An absolute must for the day of fun ahead!! :smashin:
     
  19. nabby

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    Only four courses at an "eat all you can buffet breakfast"? Pah, that's barely a starter! :rotfl:
     
  20. ash

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    Sorry, but whats International Drive?
     
  21. Alan_W

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    For a party your size a large villa with pool is the way to go. Do the parks with some quiet days lazing around your own pool to chill out.

    Try www.travelcitydirect.com for good package prices :hiya:
     
  22. ash

    ash
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    Alan, what airlines do travelcitydirect do?
     
  23. LV426

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    It's a street about 4 miles long half way between WDW and downtown Orlando - full of hotels and restaurants and some shopping.
     
  24. Alan_W

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    Cheapest option is via their own 747's. Good upgrade prices too.

    I think they will also use other airlines if required.

    I am going end of July, party of 6 from Cardiff to a 5 bed exec villa, pool etc 7seater van, all insurance for just over 4k. :thumbsup:
     
  25. ash

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    Yeah, I done my own quote and it was pretty cheap compared to VirginHolidays.
    I've never heard of travelcity airlines, are they good? And any idea on upgrade prices, I do love extra room. Links would help :)
    I hope I'm not invading this thread.
    BTW, the villas on travelcity are pretty cheap, and nice. The difference between 4 bedroom and 7(or 8 I think) is like $100.
     
  26. Alan_W

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    Try here :rolleyes:
     
  27. ash

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    Sorry. I'm a bit :boring:
    You are great :clap: :smashin:
     
  28. speedymct

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    For accomodation I'd try www.orlandolet.com. They've got a 4 bedroom villa with pool & jacuzzi about 8 miles south of Disney. It's in a nice area & it's quite central, but far enough away from the madness :)

    We went a couple of years ago & couldn't fault the holiday, exept that it was too short.

    Any questions I'd be happy to answer!
     
  29. Woodywizz

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    I got married in Florida last July, and we had us (me and wife), grandparents, greatgrand parent, sister and brother-in-law, and our 4 year old daughter - all in one villa. I would definitely recommend a villa, somewhere to relax after a hard day at the parks and being able to cook your own meals, watch TV, go on the internet, etc... Also, I would concur with the fact of doing one day at a park and one day off relaxing - if you don't you will be shattered. Hotels on International Drive can be a bit hectic, yes you are close to everything, but it is nice to get away from it all and back to your own place and own pool.

    Definitely hire a car. We had a 5 litre Mustang and an 8 seater bus, petrol is unbelievably cheap and you can see so much more. Driving is a doddle once you are used to it and is not stressful, very very easy to navigate.

    Parks - what can I say, brilliant!! Magic Kingdom is..well..magical for the kids, be sure to stay for the fireworks and evening parade. Animal Kingdom..again fantastic, as is Universal. MGM is not so good, nor Epcot. Agree with Abbeygoo, Seaworld is exceptional.

    Eating out - a choice to suit everyone. Try the all-you-can eat breakfast at a "Ponderosa", $5 per person and sets you up for the whole day. For steaks, try "Longhorns", Italian try "Olive Garden"; avoid "Dennys Diner" - we had a terrible meal with appalling service - though they did halve the bill.

    Other things to do - golf, many championship standard courses with clubhire; Gatorland; Kennedy - we saw a shuttle launch while we were there.

    Travel - we flew with Travelcity, very good. Flew into Sanford - less congested than Orlando, longer drive but worth it.

    If you're interested we stayed here. Fantastic place, and at 850 quid per week, it can work out relatively cheap when split between couples...and definitely more relaxed than a hotel.

    Enjoy your time there, I am jealous.
     
  30. shadowritten

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    Agree 100% - stayed on International Drive the first time, Caribbean Beach Resort the second. Go Disney all the way - it's commercial, but magical for kids.
     

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