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  1. #16

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    Re: My first trip to Florida and Disney World planned for September 7-16...

    First off congrats on the first visit you'll have to let us know how you find everything here in Florida!

    IMO Universal does need two full days as you can do most if not all by 6/7 if your taking your time and starting at like 10ish...

    I tend to take a small break at like 2 and go back and eat at the hotel, and relax for a couple of hours...it really makes a big difference in the tiredness factor in it all, of course last time we went full bore and did 3 parks or at least all the major attractions in one day. That I think was too much for our style of exploration, but the way we usually do it we find we are better off as everyone's kids are screaming and they seem ready to leave by the time we get back to the parks to use the rest of the day.

    For a meal that's really good for under 50$ a person I recommend Raglan Road, VERY good food at downtown Disney, they also got some fancier options for the food explorers in your group.

    Have fun! Enjoy yourself its a very different experience from Cali and in some ways I think better.

  2. #17

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    Re: My first trip to Florida and Disney World planned for September 7-16...

    Some quick tips and responses to others' comments:

    -Be prepared for traveling from your hotel to your destination to take up to an hour, or maybe even longer, depending on the time of day. The non-resort shuttles often drop guests off in the parking lot of Epcot or MK - in the case of MK, the parking lot is actually by the TTC, so even just getting to the MK will require an additional transport. If this is the case, you will have to get from the parking lot to the Disney bus stops, and THEN wait for the bus to your final destination. If you are at one of the "good neighbor" hotels, look into how far of a walk it is to Downtown Disney. If it's close, you might be better off walking to DD and catching a Disney bus from there...I think DD is under construction these days, so that may complicate things. All of this is why I always stay on Disney property at WDW, but it certainly can get pricey!

    -Epcot is my favorite WDW park! It is definitely a full day affair! Exploring World Showcase is so fun...don't miss the French film, Impressions de France. It is full of gorgeous sights and gorgeous music. World Showcase has a lot of great, fine restaurants, but most of the counter service and snack options are also very good and very tasty. Sampling all the food and browsing in all the shops is a very pleasant way to spend a day! And, oh yeah, there are still awesome rides in Future World I just had to chime in with some nice words about Epcot after reading someone's opinion that it was underwhelming!

    - For a nice (but under $50) meal, you may want to look into a buffet or family style meal. I've heard very good things about Ohana at the Polynesian Resort (which is on the MK monorail loop - very easily accessed!). You'll get a lot of bang for your buck, and have the opportunity to sample a lot of different foods. If a more fine-dining setting is what you had in mind, I love the Brown Derby at Hollywood Studios, especially since I find most of the counter-service restaurants at that park to be lacking.

    - Since getting back to your hotel will be a little difficult, plan ahead for each day -- make sure you know the park hours for each park and bring everything you'll need for the whole day with you. The WDW water parks are REALLY great, but they are definitely not a full day affair...if you get there at 10am, you will probably have had your fill by around 3 or 4pm at the latest. So you should bring a change of clothes with you and go hit a theme park for the rest of those days. Going back to your hotel to change will eat up so much valuable park time!

    - If you are a Harry Potter fan, then Islands of Adventure is a must-see! The Harry Potter section of the park is unbelievable. If you love huge thrill-rides, then you may want to spend two days at Universal...but if giant coasters aren't your favorite thing and you'd be okay with skipping a few of those, then you can probably get by with just one day at Universal..............That being said, there is more than enough at WDW to keep you entertained for your entire trip. Adding an additional day to a park-hopper is much cheaper than purchasing a one day ticket to Universal. So unless you are just dying to see Harry Potter or go on some thrill rides, I would just add another Disney day. You can use the money you save by doing that to treat yourself to another nice meal, or to buy a nice souvenir. But I am totally biased towards Disney, so of course I would say that

    No matter how well you plan, it is impossible to do EVERYTHING at WDW in one trip. I've been there 8 times and I have still barely scratched the surface. So the most important thing is to have fun! Stay rested, keep your feet in good shape, stay hydrated, and do what feels good on each day.

  3. #18

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    Re: My first trip to Florida and Disney World planned for September 7-16...

    Quote Originally Posted by PBandJ View Post
    Some quick tips and responses to others' comments:

    -Be prepared for traveling from your hotel to your destination to take up to an hour, or maybe even longer, depending on the time of day. The non-resort shuttles often drop guests off in the parking lot of Epcot or MK - in the case of MK, the parking lot is actually by the TTC, so even just getting to the MK will require an additional transport. If this is the case, you will have to get from the parking lot to the Disney bus stops, and THEN wait for the bus to your final destination. If you are at one of the "good neighbor" hotels, look into how far of a walk it is to Downtown Disney. If it's close, you might be better off walking to DD and catching a Disney bus from there...I think DD is under construction these days, so that may complicate things. All of this is why I always stay on Disney property at WDW, but it certainly can get pricey!

    -Epcot is my favorite WDW park! It is definitely a full day affair! Exploring World Showcase is so fun...don't miss the French film, Impressions de France. It is full of gorgeous sights and gorgeous music. World Showcase has a lot of great, fine restaurants, but most of the counter service and snack options are also very good and very tasty. Sampling all the food and browsing in all the shops is a very pleasant way to spend a day! And, oh yeah, there are still awesome rides in Future World I just had to chime in with some nice words about Epcot after reading someone's opinion that it was underwhelming!

    - For a nice (but under $50) meal, you may want to look into a buffet or family style meal. I've heard very good things about Ohana at the Polynesian Resort (which is on the MK monorail loop - very easily accessed!). You'll get a lot of bang for your buck, and have the opportunity to sample a lot of different foods. If a more fine-dining setting is what you had in mind, I love the Brown Derby at Hollywood Studios, especially since I find most of the counter-service restaurants at that park to be lacking.

    - Since getting back to your hotel will be a little difficult, plan ahead for each day -- make sure you know the park hours for each park and bring everything you'll need for the whole day with you. The WDW water parks are REALLY great, but they are definitely not a full day affair...if you get there at 10am, you will probably have had your fill by around 3 or 4pm at the latest. So you should bring a change of clothes with you and go hit a theme park for the rest of those days. Going back to your hotel to change will eat up so much valuable park time!

    - If you are a Harry Potter fan, then Islands of Adventure is a must-see! The Harry Potter section of the park is unbelievable. If you love huge thrill-rides, then you may want to spend two days at Universal...but if giant coasters aren't your favorite thing and you'd be okay with skipping a few of those, then you can probably get by with just one day at Universal..............That being said, there is more than enough at WDW to keep you entertained for your entire trip. Adding an additional day to a park-hopper is much cheaper than purchasing a one day ticket to Universal. So unless you are just dying to see Harry Potter or go on some thrill rides, I would just add another Disney day. You can use the money you save by doing that to treat yourself to another nice meal, or to buy a nice souvenir. But I am totally biased towards Disney, so of course I would say that

    No matter how well you plan, it is impossible to do EVERYTHING at WDW in one trip. I've been there 8 times and I have still barely scratched the surface. So the most important thing is to have fun! Stay rested, keep your feet in good shape, stay hydrated, and do what feels good on each day.
    Didn't know the shuttles would take that long....Anyway, we might rent a car for part of the trip if we find the shuttles too cumbersome (hotel has a car rental on-site) I definitely want to hit Typhoon Lagoon to swim with the sharks and Blizzard Beach to go down the Plummet Summit but figure we could wear our swimsuits under our clothes, put our clothes in a locker and then put the clothes back on over our swim suits if we want to go to another park. I do like roller coasters but am not totally nuts over them. I do like Harry Potter so I think I do at least want one day at Universal. I'd prefer the theme ride over the wild coasters. Been to Six Flags Magic Mountain (lots of very intense coasters) and can do 2 or 3 intense coasters a day but not continiously over and over again as then I get a little sick to my stomach if I ride them all day. I'll probably do the coaster in the morning and then eat lunch and do the air conditioned indoor themed rides in the heat of the afternoon as the food settles.

    One person told me I should have planned this trip in November or early December because of the Christmas decorations tall over the place, still low crowds unless it's Thanksgiving or Christmas week (they told me first two weeks in December are good) and no hurricane threats. Is there real chance of a hurricane coming on my trip? A small part of me wants to experience one at the END of the trip after I do all the theme parks and beaches (without putting myself in danger and watching the hurricane from the safety of my room) so I can see what's like. But then again, I've been told to be careful what you wish for you as you might actually get it.

  4. #19

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    Re: My first trip to Florida and Disney World planned for September 7-16...

    Quote Originally Posted by PBandJ View Post
    Some quick tips and responses to others' comments:

    -Be prepared for traveling from your hotel to your destination to take up to an hour, or maybe even longer, depending on the time of day. The non-resort shuttles often drop guests off in the parking lot of Epcot or MK - in the case of MK, the parking lot is actually by the TTC, so even just getting to the MK will require an additional transport. If this is the case, you will have to get from the parking lot to the Disney bus stops, and THEN wait for the bus to your final destination. If you are at one of the "good neighbor" hotels, look into how far of a walk it is to Downtown Disney. If it's close, you might be better off walking to DD and catching a Disney bus from there...I think DD is under construction these days, so that may complicate things. All of this is why I always stay on Disney property at WDW, but it certainly can get pricey!
    \
    Okay, so some notes here...

    There is no direct transportation from or to Downtown Disney from or to any Disney Theme Park. (Okay, this isn't completely true, they are doing some very limited testing to Animal Kingdom, but it's limited.)

    If you get dropped off at the TTC by your hotel shuttle, the Magic Kingdom and Epcot are just a quick monorail ride over, and the other parks are a quick bus ride. No real problems getting around there.

    It's never a good idea to stay at WDW unless you plan to remain at WDW the entire time... and even then, it's quite a time saver to have a car.
    -Bill

  5. #20

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    Re: My first trip to Florida and Disney World planned for September 7-16...

    Quote Originally Posted by CaliforniaGirl1990 View Post
    Didn't know the shuttles would take that long....Anyway, we might rent a car for part of the trip if we find the shuttles too cumbersome (hotel has a car rental on-site) I definitely want to hit Typhoon Lagoon to swim with the sharks and Blizzard Beach to go down the Plummet Summit but figure we could wear our swimsuits under our clothes, put our clothes in a locker and then put the clothes back on over our swim suits if we want to go to another park. I do like roller coasters but am not totally nuts over them. I do like Harry Potter so I think I do at least want one day at Universal. I'd prefer the theme ride over the wild coasters. Been to Six Flags Magic Mountain (lots of very intense coasters) and can do 2 or 3 intense coasters a day but not continiously over and over again as then I get a little sick to my stomach if I ride them all day. I'll probably do the coaster in the morning and then eat lunch and do the air conditioned indoor themed rides in the heat of the afternoon as the food settles.
    Islands of Adventure has very few indoor attractions. Be warned, most of the indoor stuff is next door at Universal Studios Florida.

    Quote Originally Posted by CaliforniaGirl1990 View Post
    One person told me I should have planned this trip in November or early December because of the Christmas decorations tall over the place, still low crowds unless it's Thanksgiving or Christmas week (they told me first two weeks in December are good) and no hurricane threats. Is there real chance of a hurricane coming on my trip? A small part of me wants to experience one at the END of the trip after I do all the theme parks and beaches (without putting myself in danger and watching the hurricane from the safety of my room) so I can see what's like. But then again, I've been told to be careful what you wish for you as you might actually get it.
    Yes, there is a real chance... however, if one does plan to hit Orlando, generally your hotel will let you cancel your reservation and the airlines will let you rebook up to a year later. You're coming at a fine time... the least crowded week of the year.
    -Bill

  6. #21

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    Re: My first trip to Florida and Disney World planned for September 7-16...

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill View Post
    Islands of Adventure has very few indoor attractions. Be warned, most of the indoor stuff is next door at Universal Studios Florida.


    Yes, there is a real chance... however, if one does plan to hit Orlando, generally your hotel will let you cancel your reservation and the airlines will let you rebook up to a year later. You're coming at a fine time... the least crowded week of the year.
    I'm surprised there's no ride in Orlando that simulates a hurricane so people experience what it feels like. I want to know....I heard they can only predict about 5 days in advance so one could theoretically form after I arrive in Orlando and hit on the tail end of the trip so I could find out for myself. But I wouldn't be crazy enough to wander around outside in it....LOL

    About Universal, that's why I like the idea of the park hopper. I can go back and fourth between the two as I feel. I don't need to do all the rides, or even most of the rides in both- just the main ones and the others that interest me. Remember that I have been to Disneyland and Universal in California so there are some overlapping rides that I'll skip unless i have extra time.

  7. #22

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    Re: My first trip to Florida and Disney World planned for September 7-16...

    Quote Originally Posted by CaliforniaGirl1990 View Post
    I'm surprised there's no ride in Orlando that simulates a hurricane so people experience what it feels like. I want to know....I heard they can only predict about 5 days in advance so one could theoretically form after I arrive in Orlando and hit on the tail end of the trip so I could find out for myself. But I wouldn't be crazy enough to wander around outside in it....LOL

    About Universal, that's why I like the idea of the park hopper. I can go back and fourth between the two as I feel. I don't need to do all the rides, or even most of the rides in both- just the main ones and the others that interest me. Remember that I have been to Disneyland and Universal in California so there are some overlapping rides that I'll skip unless i have extra time.
    Exactly. That's why I made the list for you of what to not miss at Universal Studios Florida.

    At Islands of Adventure, the rides to be sure not to miss are:

    -Amazing Adventures of Spiderman
    -Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
    -The Cat in the Hat
    -The Incredible Hulk Coaster (Outdoors)

    If you like water rides, you'll also want to do:

    -Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls
    -Popeye & Bluto's Bilge-rat Barges

    Jurassic Park River Adventure is not something you really have to do, but it is on a larger scale in Florida.

    Camp Jurassic is a very unique and cool playground that you may have a blast exploring, especially the caves.

    I highly recommend to eat at The Three Broomsticks while you are in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and explore the shops. Dragon Challenge is a set of dueling coasters, but the only thing "Potter" about them is the queue.

    There is also a small family coaster there... not really worth your time in my opinion.

    You can easily skip pretty much everything else in the park, including, but not limited to:

    Dr. Doom's Fear Fall (It's just a drop tower)
    Storm Force (It's like the teacups)
    Poseidon's Fury (Special Effects Show)
    Carou-Seuss-sell (It's a Merry-Go-Round)
    etc.
    -Bill

  8. #23

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    Re: My first trip to Florida and Disney World planned for September 7-16...

    Quote Originally Posted by TimmyTimmyTimmy View Post
    Start with MK. You donīt want to be in Disneyland Light as a grand finale do you? Then you save the best and to you new for last.... the rest that is.
    I always end my stay with Fantasmic but then you have seen a better version of it in Disneyland.

    DON`T bring food to EPCOT. It has plenty.

    Space center is worth a visit if you have alot of time and care about old space things... ... but youīll wish you were in Walt Disney World while there. Space is a snoozefest.

    Gatorland? What is that? and who cares?

    Do NOT miss Universalīs Islands of Adventure. It has the best rides in America. Disney is great... but in Orlando Universalīs Islands Of Adventure is a must.
    Thanks- I will definitely visit both parks! I am looking forward to the Harry Potter ride most of all...

  9. #24

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    Re: My first trip to Florida and Disney World planned for September 7-16...

    Sorry, I was mistaken about the Downtown Disney bus scheme. Now that I think of it, of course they don't have buses to theme parks there, because then people could just park for free at DD and take a bus to the parks! Although if you were really desperate, you could take a bus from DD to, say, The Contemporary and walk to MK

    I don't think you made a mistake going in September -- hurricanes aside, I think it is good for your first WDW experience to be a pure one, without all the Christmas overlays! But I'm biased because I find Christmas decorations and music very annoying.

  10. #25

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    Re: My first trip to Florida and Disney World planned for September 7-16...

    4 more days!!! YAY!!!!!
    Last edited by CaliforniaGirl1990; 09-20-2013 at 08:23 AM.

  11. #26

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    Re: My first trip to Florida and Disney World planned for September 7-16...

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill View Post
    Okay, so some notes here...

    There is no direct transportation from or to Downtown Disney from or to any Disney Theme Park. (Okay, this isn't completely true, they are doing some very limited testing to Animal Kingdom, but it's limited.)

    If you get dropped off at the TTC by your hotel shuttle, the Magic Kingdom and Epcot are just a quick monorail ride over, and the other parks are a quick bus ride. No real problems getting around there.

    It's never a good idea to stay at WDW unless you plan to remain at WDW the entire time... and even then, it's quite a time saver to have a car.
    "Quick" is a relative term - but if you're taking a shuttle from an offsite motel to the TTC, then a Disney bus from there to Animal Kingdom or the Studios, an hour would be a very optimistic estimate. Once you get there and try it for the first couple days, you will be better able to decide whether the cost savings outweighs the time commitment for you - everyone's priorities are different!

  12. #27

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    Re: My first trip to Florida and Disney World planned for September 7-16...

    Quote Originally Posted by PBandJ View Post
    Sorry, I was mistaken about the Downtown Disney bus scheme. Now that I think of it, of course they don't have buses to theme parks there, because then people could just park for free at DD and take a bus to the parks! Although if you were really desperate, you could take a bus from DD to, say, The Contemporary and walk to MK

    I don't think you made a mistake going in September -- hurricanes aside, I think it is good for your first WDW experience to be a pure one, without all the Christmas overlays! But I'm biased because I find Christmas decorations and music very annoying.
    There are free Downtown Disney buses from there but they're not the official buses, but the Downtown Disney Area Hotel buses.
    Last edited by Otamin; 09-04-2013 at 08:19 AM.

  13. #28

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    Re: My first trip to Florida and Disney World planned for September 7-16...

    Don't miss Universal and Islands of Adventure. Great parks with lots of new technology. Don't miss the Mummy (much better than the L.A. one), Simpsons Land and Ride are VERY funny, Despicable Me, Harry Potterland is unlike anything at any theme park - amazing, Spiderman, Hulk Coaster, Disaster-the Ride is creative and funny, Animal Show is always fun, MIB. We like to eat at Mel's, Monster Cafe, and Simpson's area.
    The Universal Parks are across close to each other like Disneyland and Cal Adventure. If you have the chance to spend one night in one of the 3 Universal Hotels, your room key skips ALL the lines the day you check in and until the end of the day you check out - Very unbelievable benefit that feels unreal.
    Check out their website.
    My opinion is that Disneyland pulled a lot of the best rides from WDW. Things like Carsland improved on Test Track. I like Disneyland better really. I love Indy Ride and Matterhorn, Toad Ride, Alice Ride, Storybookland Boats, Casey Jr, etc. WDW doesn't have Disneylands history or personality.

  14. #29

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    Re: My first trip to Florida and Disney World planned for September 7-16...

    I agree with Bill. We also love the New Simpson's Land, New Transformers Ride, Mummy Ride (lots better than Hollywoods), Hollywood Coaster, Despicable Me, MIB, and ET.

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