Been to a theme park recently or planning a trip? Tell us about it here or get some helpful tips for your next visit.
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Re: Orlando & Tampa Trip Help

by ponder » Wed Mar 02, 2016 6:30 pm

abigsmurf wrote:If you really want to minimise driving time and are planning on spending a big chunk of your time in the Disney parks, it may be worth considering a Disney hotel. You pay a premium over normal hotels (about 30-50% more) but the excellent bus system can make it worthwhile, especially as you save on parking charges.


I don't wish to be too contentious, but I totally disagree with this comment. In fact, with the transport infrastructure generally in place around Orlando, I wouldn't recommend driving at all unless you're staying outside of the main tourist areas - it's unnecessary and adds another expense. A combination of hotel shuttles and I-ride/Lynx buses is relatively hassle free and much, much cheaper than car hire / parking fees. Hotel shuttles travelling to Disney will drop guests at EPCOT where you can utilize all of Disney's on-site transport for free.
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Re: Orlando & Tampa Trip Help

by Owen » Sun Jun 05, 2016 5:49 pm

Hello everybody! We have now booked some excursions and so it might give some more to go on in terms of help.

We are flying into Orlando on August 26 at 6:25 pm. Our hotel is then a 20 minute bus ride from the airport. We fly back at 9PM on september 9th. We are currently looking at a trip along the lines of...

August 26 - Fly in late and look around I-Drive, maybe go into Universal CityWalk.

August 27 - Hollywood Studios in the morning + Animal Kingdom in the evening

August 28 - Magic Kingdom

August 29 - EPCOT

August 30 - Legoland

August 31 - Discovery Cove and possibly Fun Spot in the evening

September 1 - Busch Gardens

September 2 - SeaWorld

September 3 - Miami & Everglades Tour (all day).

September 4 - Break

September 5 - Universal Studios

September 6 - Universal Islands Of Adventure

September 7 - Universal Favourites

September 8 - Unsure

September 9 - last bits & home


We are currently unsure when to do fun spot, and we aren't sure when to fit in the Hollywood Studios firework show as well as when to at least fit the Volcano Bay/Aquatica water park in, so any help in re-arranging this rough plan would be appreciated! (We need to plan in order to book Fun Spot and Discovery Cove excursions).

Thanks!
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Re: Orlando & Tampa Trip Help

by Danny » Sun Jun 05, 2016 7:26 pm

It's so hard to plan any holiday to Florida as you could spend a month there and still not get everything done, it's all down to personal preference and priority.

Personally I'd switch Animal Kingdom and Hollywood on your first full day as Hollywood is open later and the evening entertainment is awesome!

I also wouldn't spend a whole day and evening at Epcot, obviously that's just me but I'd find an afternoon and evening for the fireworks perfectly acceptable to get everything done. Same with Legoland, are you likely to want to spend a full day there?
Normally I'd say allow another day for the Uni parks but am I right in thinking you are obtaining some sort of fast pass?
As you're only looking to do Busch for one day I'd recommend their 1 shot fast pass that's around $20 each which is great value, and if you can book on to one of their safari's!

It's a difficult scenario to help with as it really all is down to what you want to get out of your visit, but time management is key. I'd also say that whatever plan you have, don't set it in stone apart from the days you have mentioned, as sometimes that can cause more hassle and it's fun just getting up and deciding where to go in the morning. :)
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Re: Orlando & Tampa Trip Help

by MakoMania » Sun Jun 05, 2016 7:32 pm

That looks like my ideal trip Owen, I wouldn't change a thing! (Except maybe skip the Disney Parks and just go to SeaWorld on those days, but I get the sense that that may not go down too well with you :lol )

Tip, Dine With Shamu at SeaWorld is fantastic and it's probably the best theme park food in Orlando.

You're in for a real treat with Discovery Cove!

The only thing that may concern me is the single day at Busch Gardens, it could prove hard to fit everything in, especially if storms linger.
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Re: Orlando & Tampa Trip Help

by Owen » Sun Jun 05, 2016 7:44 pm

We are doing Animal Kingdom second as they are now opening after dark and we are very excited to see the tree projection show and rides in the dark! Although we are looking to go to Hollywood after dark. We were considering on doing Busch gardens in the "unsure" gap so your concerns are pushing us to go down that route. In regards to Legoland and other half day parks, would you think these would be good days to go to water parks?
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Re: Orlando & Tampa Trip Help

by MakoMania » Sun Jun 05, 2016 8:29 pm

Apart from Legoland & Fun Spot I don't think there are any more half day parks, Discovery Cove maybe, but the whole point of that park is to take things slowly.
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Re: Orlando & Tampa Trip Help

by Adam.W » Sun Jun 05, 2016 8:39 pm

I'd personally have the break day and the last day as days where you revisit the parks you really like (presuming you have some sort of pass). It could be a half day and you spend the afternoon having a break, and after that you can go to a park in the evening. I also liked splitting up the parks (ie. Epcot day 1, MK day 1 evening; MK day 2, Epcot day 2 evening). It really splits things up, and gives a bit more freedom, and feels like you're revisiting the park. I did, however, have a disney pass for the entire holiday, so I could revisit as much as I liked.
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Re: Orlando & Tampa Trip Help

by Burniel » Mon Jun 06, 2016 10:12 pm

I'm also off to Florida this year, doing the other side of August (2nd to 16th, I believe, which is definitely going to make for busier parks). We're nowhere near as planned as you, we've just got passes for every park and we'll just wake up in the morning and decide where to go (with the exception of Discovery Cove, which is booked for the 9th). I also did a trip in 2011 with a similar plan and we managed to get to everything important without stressing about a timetable, worked out really nicely. :)

What with the parks being open ridiculous hours, the limit to how much you can squeeze into a day really depends on how much you can take on a daily basis. Legoland sticks out as a day you could fit a waterpark into. Your 3 days at Universal could turn into 2 and a half-day or 2 and an evening depending on how long a "day" is, again opening an opportunity for a waterpark.

If you don't have to make a full decision before the day, I'd recommend leaving the 8th completely free - having a free day takes the pressure off if it looks like you're not going to finish a park within the allocated day, especially for parks like Busch Gardens, which could be quite a squeeze. If the 8th came around and there was nowhere that you hadn't finished, I'm sure you'd think of something to do! ;)
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Re: Orlando & Tampa Trip Help

by Owen » Tue Aug 09, 2016 12:18 pm

Hello again, I am considering dropping Legoland and was wondering if anyone had any opinions on it? Is it worth a visit or are there better ways to spend my time?
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Re: Orlando & Tampa Trip Help

by tjreevzi00 » Tue Aug 09, 2016 5:20 pm

Legoland is similar to Windsor if you have ever been, so personally I would never go to either again. However, when we did go it was practically empty and spent about half the day there as there was nothing left to do but the weather wasn't great in the morning of the day we went which could have put the majority of people off. So, I wouldn't go unless I was having to please anyone under the age of 10


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Re: Orlando & Tampa Trip Help

by Owen » Sun Jan 08, 2017 11:49 pm

Hello, not posted in awhile however we now have an update - all parks are now booked and ready to go so I've come up with a basic plan. Thoughts would be really appreciated as well as suggestions on reservations for breakfast and diner! :)

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Re: Orlando & Tampa Trip Help

by ponder » Mon Jan 09, 2017 12:25 am

Where abouts are you staying? There's loads of good food along I-drive. Texas de Brazil is the ultimate if you don't mind spending a bit of $$.

I'm also booked up for June for 12 nights for our honeymoon. Going to hit it fairly hard as we have 3 days in the Bahamas afterwards to chill. Hopefully Volcano Bay will be open. They're including it in ticket packages from 1st June, so fingers crossed!
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Re: Orlando & Tampa Trip Help

by Owen » Mon Jan 09, 2017 12:37 am

It's the Coco Key hotel, fairly near universal. :)

Also, Volcano Bay is expected soft openings as early as May so I'm sure it'll be ready! :P
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Re: Orlando & Tampa Trip Help

by MakoMania » Sun Jan 22, 2017 5:34 pm

I'd advise against not spending a full day at SeaWorld. Park hours for 30th Aug are 9am-6pm , this should be enough to do everything at the park but if you're planning to leave SeaWorld earlier than about 5pm I'd advise against it.

Please note that SeaWorld operates a staggered ride opening system, the only ride that opens at 9am on 9am park opening dates is Manta.

The thing to remember with SeaWorld is that the shows take up a large chunk of the day. For example, say if you wanted to watch just 2 of the major shows, each show lasts about 20-25 minutes and I'd reccomend arriving at least 20 mins before to get a decent seat. So that's about 90 minutes out of the day already (presuming you don't visit Sea Lion Stadium or Seaport Theater).

My only other concern is that if they keep to current policy, the Antarctica dark ride may be closed on Aug 30th.

I'm sure you'll have a fatastic trip! :D
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Re: Orlando & Tampa Trip Help

by Burniel » Sun Jan 22, 2017 6:04 pm

MakoMania wrote:I'd advise against not spending a full day at SeaWorld. Park hours for 30th Aug are 9am-6pm , this should be enough to do everything at the park but if you're planning to leave SeaWorld earlier than about 5pm I'd advise against it.

Please note that SeaWorld operates a staggered ride opening system, the only ride that opens at 9am on 9am park opening dates is Manta.

The thing to remember with SeaWorld is that the shows take up a large chunk of the day. For example, say if you wanted to watch just 2 of the major shows, each show lasts about 20-25 minutes and I'd reccomend arriving at least 20 mins before to get a decent seat. So that's about 90 minutes out of the day already (presuming you don't visit Sea Lion Stadium or Seaport Theater).

My only other concern is that if they keep to current policy, the Antarctica dark ride may be closed on Aug 30th.

I'm sure you'll have a fatastic trip! :D

Seconded. I went in mid-late August 2016 and left at 4:30 as we had arranged. Got two major shows done as well as everything I cared about (skipped stuff like Wild Arctic because I've been before) once, except Mako, which I did three times. Would have preferred another go on Manta and another round or two on Mako, which the extra time would have allocated for. I also think I got a pretty quiet day for August.

Honestly though, I thought the Antarctica ride was disappointing, mainly because I didn't know what it was until I was on it - it just doesn't really do anything. I'd take a quieter day with Antarctica closed over a busy day with it open.
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Re: Orlando & Tampa Trip Help

by MakoMania » Sun Jan 22, 2017 6:25 pm

Burniel wrote:
MakoMania wrote:Honestly though, I thought the Antarctica ride was disappointing, mainly because I didn't know what it was until I was on it - it just doesn't really do anything. I'd take a quieter day with Antarctica closed over a busy day with it open.


Yeah, many people go in expecting a Universal style dark ride but that's not what they get which leaves them dissapointed. It's a fantastic dark ride in my opinion which absolutely everyone can ride, that was the primary mission of Antarctica, to create an immersive ride that can be experienced by all. Some people love it, some hate it. I think it's alright if you don't go in with sky high expectations, but it's far from bad. The Penguin habitat is undoubtedly the highlight of the attraction though!
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Re: Orlando & Tampa Trip Help

by Owen » Sun Jan 22, 2017 9:18 pm

Why would Antarctica be closed, may I ask?
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Re: Orlando & Tampa Trip Help

by Burniel » Sun Jan 22, 2017 9:31 pm

Owen wrote:Why would Antarctica be closed, may I ask?

It currently only opens on weekends and US school holidays (which will have finished by 30th Aug).
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Re: Orlando & Tampa Trip Help

by Owen » Mon Jan 23, 2017 2:23 am

Oh in that case I'm sure I could pop along on a Saturday to give it a try! ;)
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Re: Orlando & Tampa Trip Help

by MakoMania » Sat Apr 08, 2017 1:20 pm

Owen wrote:Oh in that case I'm sure I could pop along on a Saturday to give it a try! ;)


I am happy to report that Antarctica is now open daily :)
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