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  1. #1

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

    Hello,


    I am from California and have been to Disneyland lots of times and am going on my first trip to Florida and Disney World from September 8-16. I am staying in the Maingate Disney Area and plan to get a park hopper w/ water park add ons and go to all six parks. I also would like to visit either Cocoa or Clearwater Beach (plz let me know which one you recommend) as well as two parks outside of Disney (Do you recommend Gatorland, Universal, Discovery Cove, or something else?)

    I also would like to know how the weather is gonna be then and if the 15 day forecast is reliable. I just checked it and it says very warm with afternoon thunderstorms on some of the days. I'm glad no hurricanes are on the forecast. For the rain, should I buy my poncho here and bring it to Disney or buy the Disney Poncho over there? Should I even bother packing sneakers or are shorts, sandals, t-shirts, and swimsuit all I need?

    I will have a friend with me for 5 out of the 9 days I have in Florida so I want to know what things are best done with a friend and what stuff is okay to do alone.

    For those of you who've been to both Disneyland and Disney World, what are the biggest differences?


    Please give me any recommendations or tips you might have,

    Thanks.

  2. #2

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

    I'll be there the same week, coming in from New England.

    While I have been to Gatorland, Sea World, and a number of other places outside Disney I no longer bother leaving Disney property. When My kids were little we went EVERYWHERE in that area. Now I much rather just wander around the parks and relax.

    Where to go depends on what your looking for. Seaworld Has some rides but is big for it's shows with the animals. Universal is big for its rides. Disney is just BIG

    Don't worry about the rain. IF it rains the storms roll through quick and it is warm. The sun dries you out pretty quick afterwards. My wife hates getting wet so she does still bring a poncho, but the kids and I use to run and jump in the puddles. We ARE on vacation after all When it rains is the best time to move around the parks if you have to be some place. The rides all get very crowded as most try to avoid getting wet.

    The weather is beautiful, but some think it gets chilly at night. Upper 60s and low 70s isn't chilly for someone from New England, but if your use to warm weather it might be for you. Having a sweater in your bag isn't going to put you over the weight limits for the bag at the airport.

    As for tips, I've never been to Disney land but from what I've read on these boards the biggest thing everyone says that has been to both is the WDW is HUGE! Everything is spread out compared to DLR as well as having 4 parks, Downtown Disney (which is a fun time at night) as well as the hotels as each of those are a site to see as well. The biggest thing is to have fun. If you don't get to see everything don't worry about it, you can see it NEXT time

    Keep an eye out for me. I'll be the big tall guy with the grin that just won't leave my face!

  3. #3

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

    Hi there - sounds like you have a great trip planned! I'm just doing a quick Micechat scan over breakfast, and I don't have time at the moment to go into all of your questions, but the most pressing point to me is - wear sneakers! If I walk around the parks in anything other than reliable, broken-in walking shoes, my feets and legs get ridiculously sore by the 2nd or 3rd day of the trip and stay that way. Now, perhaps you have sandals that you walk in a lot that you swear by, or maybe you are on your feet a lot in your every day life, and you won't have the same problem as me... but WDW is MUCH bigger than DLR and takes a lot more walking, so I would bring a couple different pairs of shoes. Saving space in your luggage is not worth being in pain for your whole trip.

  4. #4

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

    As for beaches, Clearwater is the one I prefer over any in Florida. The sand is so pure, and the pier is fun to check out. If your interested in seeing gators, go to gatorland, but if you want to see gators in the wild, and other wildlife, take a swamp tour on an airboat. Youll love it, if you like that kind of thing. As for any other park besides WDW, Universal is fun, with a lot of new stuff added lately. But the most important thing.....JUST HAVE FUN !!!....LOL

  5. #5

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

    Which park should I go to first? I read Magic Kindgom is the most similar to Disneyland so I'll probably save it for last. Would you suggest Epcot for the first day?

    Also the weekend of September 14-15, I was thinking of doing the beach as my guess is the theme parks are more crowded on weekends than weekdays. Maybe I could do Clearwater Beach on Saturday, September 14 and a gator airboat ride and Cocoa on the 15th?

    Can I do both Universal parks in a single day easily? How good is Discovery Cove? I'll probably skip Sea World as I read it was too similar to the one in San Diego which I've been many times.

    Also, I'm not used to humidity since California only gets dry heat (Typical summer day is low 80s during the day and 60 at night where I live). Will it be very tiring and training to walk around in the humidity? Will I be able to spend the whole day at the theme park and only going inside to eat lunch and dinner as I do at Disneyland or will I tire a lot more easily?

    I plan on hitting the parks around 10AM and staying til closing most days. On the days my friend is with me, we might go back early (like 5ish) one day and then go hang out in downtown Disney in the evening. But generally, I'm an on the go type of girl.......

  6. #6

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

    If you are staying on Disney property you can take advantage of extra magic hours in the parks. One park each day does this. If it is supposed to rain more on one day than the others I would go to Animal Kingdom that day as the animals seem to like to play in the rain on the safari.
    I would not recommend Universal in one day. Even if you skip everything that is the same as Universal Hollywood there's enough different things to fill two days. Plus I think they are closing early some days due to Halloween Horror Nights.
    As for getting tired in the parks, yes you will get tired as there is a lot more walking and it will be humid. Drink a lot of water and take 10 minute breaks every so often and you will be fine!
    I am from Southern California too and my 5th Disney World trip will be on 9/24-10/2. I have gone in september twice before and the parks arent too crowded and its a lot of fun! Have a great time!



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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 am from California and have been to Disneyland lots of times and am going on my first trip to Florida and Disney World from September 8-16. I am staying in the Maingate Disney Area and plan to get a park hopper w/ water park add ons and go to all six parks. I also would like to visit either Cocoa or Clearwater Beach (plz let me know which one you recommend) as well as two parks outside of Disney (Do you recommend Gatorland, Universal, Discovery Cove, or something else?)

    I also would like to know how the weather is gonna be then and if the 15 day forecast is reliable. I just checked it and it says very warm with afternoon thunderstorms on some of the days. I'm glad no hurricanes are on the forecast. For the rain, should I buy my poncho here and bring it to Disney or buy the Disney Poncho over there? Should I even bother packing sneakers or are shorts, sandals, t-shirts, and swimsuit all I need?
    Parks outside of Disney... Definitely check out Universal but I also HIGHLY recommend driving to Tampa (which is just an hour from WDW) and visit Busch Gardens. They currently have a $50 weekday ticket deal, which is a bargain. The animal exhibits and shows are great, plus they have some of the best roller coasters in Florida (if you like coasters).

    Beach? Well, I live in Clearwater, so I'm biased toward Clearwater Beach. The area around Pier 60 is touristy, but a lot of fun. Lots of good local restaurants around too (I recommend one of the Frenchy's locations).

    As for the weather. I say check the forecast EVERY SINGLE DAY because it can change frequently. It may be September now, but we're still in our "rainy season", though at the tail end of it now (thankfully - I am SO tired of the almost daily storms).

    I would definitely bring sneakers with you though. WDW is HUGE compared to Disneyland. You'll be doing a LOT of walking (we're talking miles here). You're going to want footwear that is comfortable, good for a lot of walking and won't give you blisters.

  8. #8

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

    I'll be there during that time, too!!! Can't wait!!!

    If you do wear sandals, I recommend bringing some blister band-aids with you in your bag, they are a lifesaver! Even for sneakers that normally don't give you blisters with everyday walking, you never know. I ran into that my first trip and it was NOT fun.

    As for weather, I have only been to WDW once and that was around Christmastime. But this year, we are going to MNSSHP on the 13th so even though my costume is a strapless dress, I have an alternative planned if it's cold or raining. But like any place in the US, the weather can change in a minute or from day-to-day, so like Aimster said, keep checking.

    Ponchos - bring your own from home. You can go to a grocery store and get them for like $1 instead of paying Disney prices for a poncho of the same material. Keep it in your bag as well, they fold up so small it won't take up much room.
    Press today is so concerned with cool vs. not cool that they're starting to forget good vs. bad. I'm not sure I'll ever be "cool", but I will always tirelessly strive to be "great". - Josh Groban

  9. #9

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

    Thanks for the tips-everyone! I'm so excited. Plan on getting the DW park hoppper with park add ons and a two day park hopper at Universal as well. I think I'll skip Busch Gardens and Discovery Cove as there seems to be enough to do within all those theme parks and I also want two off days just to enjoy the beach. I am not staying on Disney Property but on Maingate as it is lot cheaper. First park I want to visit is Epcot and then I'll take it from there!

    I do have a pair of very comfortable sandals but I will also bring sneakers as well and some crocs as back ups. Will bring one swimsuit, 5 pairs of shorts and tees, one dress, one pair of pants, and a light sweater. I am going to a sporting store to buy a poncho and a waterproof fanny pack (where I live it never rains LOL) so I can walk around freely in the rain without getting my credit cards and iphone wet. I never actually saw a close up thunderstorm before and am hoping to experience one in Florida- I heard those are pretty intense and a loud flashy one may put more adrenalin in me than the thrill rides since it will be my first encounter w/ lightning.

    Do they let you wear your fanny pack on the rides? They do at DL as I don't want to leave any belongings unattended.

    Not planning to rent a car afterall as there are daily shuttles from the hotel and my friend I willl take the Gray Line tours (picks up directly across the street from the hotel we are staying at and provides lunch buffet) to Clearwater beach for one day and the airboat ride combined with Cocoa beach the other day. My friend and I talked about it and we decided that between parking fees, gas costs, and the stress of driving in unfamiliar terroritory and given that we don't have much experience driving in heavy rain, it would be less stressful to rely on the shuttle services and let others do the driving.

    The Gray Line Clearwater Beach tour comes with the option of swimming with the dophlins (which I've done in Hawaii before). I am trying to decide if I should add that experience or just use the whole day to laze at the beach. I'm definitely doing the airboat add on with the Cocoa Beach tour.

    Any thing I am missing? I wish I could spend a month in Florida but I only have 8 days so I'm gonna make the most of it!

  10. #10

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

    I'm from California and have been to Disneyland many times but made my first trip to Disney World earlier this summer. One of my highlights was an afternoon & evening exploring the resort, riding buses and monorails to see the various hotels and go to Downtown Disney. Highlights included riding the monorail through the Contemporary Resort Hotel (can't do that in California!), and, for my wife, getting a Dole Whip at the Polynesian Resort. Dinner at Raglan Road in Downtown Disney was amazing, by the way.

    We only went to two theme parks. Epcot wasn't quite up to my expectations (which were probably unrealistically high, to be honest), but we loved Animal Kingdom. Not a whole lot of rides at Animal Kingdom, but it's probably the most beautiful theme park I've ever been to.

  11. #11

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

    Quote Originally Posted by DannyB View Post
    I'm from California and have been to Disneyland many times but made my first trip to Disney World earlier this summer. One of my highlights was an afternoon & evening exploring the resort, riding buses and monorails to see the various hotels and go to Downtown Disney. Highlights included riding the monorail through the Contemporary Resort Hotel (can't do that in California!), and, for my wife, getting a Dole Whip at the Polynesian Resort. Dinner at Raglan Road in Downtown Disney was amazing, by the way.

    We only went to two theme parks. Epcot wasn't quite up to my expectations (which were probably unrealistically high, to be honest), but we loved Animal Kingdom. Not a whole lot of rides at Animal Kingdom, but it's probably the most beautiful theme park I've ever been to.

    How long did you stay? ONLY 2 of the six parks. I wanna do all six......at least see them all..
    Typhoon Lagoon swimming with the sharks sounds fun and so does Plummet Summit at Blizzard Beach which is why I'm doing the waterparks add on.

    I'd prolly like Animal Kingdom as I read they have real animals on their safari unlike that Jungle Cruise at DL. I enjoy zoos and wildlife parks. Is Epcot at least worthy of one full day- I've been hearing about it forever.

    I'm staying at a budget hotel off of Disney property as I cannot afford resort prices. Would you still recommend riding the monorails around just for the scenery. My friend and I plan to eat the free continental breakfast, a late lunch at the theme parks (like 2 or 3ish) and snacks for dinner and maybe go back to the hotel earlier to eat dinner at a fast food joint near by on certain days and swim afterwards. We plan on only one nice meal the whole time we are there as we're spending our money on entertainment by scrimping on food expenses. For that one nice meal, should it be at the theme parks or in downtown disney itself? Do you have one nice restaurant that you'd recommend that's under $50 a person for that nice meal?

  12. #12

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

    I know it may be last minute to change things, but if you stay at a value resort you may come out ahead on cost. Shuttle and taxis will add up and a lot of convenience will be lost.

    The plus of the Disney Ponchos is that if they tear you can exchange them. The downside is they are expensive, and you won't always be onsite.

    For a special meal you should make a reservation in Epcot.

    Probably also too late, but could you visit Cocoa Beach and the Kennedy Space Center in the same day? The Space Center is very nice. However I prefer beaches on the gulf side.

    If you have been to DLR a lot, haven't you been to SeaWorld San Diego and Universal Hollywood? That would be a reason to skip Sea World and the Studios. You will want most of a day at Island of Adventures. Crowds are going to be low so time isn't super critical.

    Take Epcot slow it is really a place to explore rather than go on rides.

    Bring some food with you, some power bars of snickers in your fanny pack can sub for lunch.
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    Re: My first trip to Florida and Disney World planned for September 7-16...

    Quote Originally Posted by swampymarsh View Post
    I know it may be last minute to change things, but if you stay at a value resort you may come out ahead on cost. Shuttle and taxis will add up and a lot of convenience will be lost.

    The plus of the Disney Ponchos is that if they tear you can exchange them. The downside is they are expensive, and you won't always be onsite.

    For a special meal you should make a reservation in Epcot.

    Probably also too late, but could you visit Cocoa Beach and the Kennedy Space Center in the same day? The Space Center is very nice. However I prefer beaches on the gulf side.

    If you have been to DLR a lot, haven't you been to SeaWorld San Diego and Universal Hollywood? That would be a reason to skip Sea World and the Studios. You will want most of a day at Island of Adventures. Crowds are going to be low so time isn't super critical.

    Take Epcot slow it is really a place to explore rather than go on rides.

    Bring some food with you, some power bars of snickers in your fanny pack can sub for lunch.

    Hotel includes a free shuttle every hour to either Epcot or Magic Kingdom (from there I can take the intershuttle between parks) plus a one shuttle a day to and from Universal as well as steep discounts for Gray Line Tours that do various excursions in Florida. I did think about the Kennedy Space Center and Cocoa Beach Combo tour (Grayline offers discounts on combo tour) but I decided on the airboat instead of the Kennedy Space Center cuz I read that Epcot has a lot of space themed stuff.

    I will take your advice and look pick a nice restaurant at Epcot. Yeah, I'll carry snacks to go as well. I chose September cuz I read when crowds are lowest, flights and hotels both are cheapest, knowing that it's hurricane season, but it was a risk I was willing to take.

    Thanks for all the advice. Is there anything I'm STILL missing?

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

    Expect to be amazed by the size of the place... in WDW, things are pretty far away from each other.

    The Kennedy Space Center is something to see, especially now with Atlantis there.

    Best restaurant for the price these days in World Showcase at Epcot is the pizza place "Via Napoli" in Italy.

    In my opinion, Universal Studios Florida is NOT skippable, as it's a very different park than what you'll find in Hollywood. You certainly won't need an entire day there, but you'll want to see:

    -Mummy (Very different in Florida)
    -Men In Black
    -ET
    -Despicable Me
    -Rip Ride Rockit (Can't believe I'm saying that, I hate the coaster, but people tend to like it)

    Things that are fun and different, but you can skip if you're running low on time:

    -Twister
    -Disaster (It's not in Hollywood at all. Don't let people say it's just Earthquake alone, there's more to it than that, and it has Christopher Walken)
    -Lucy- A Tribute

    You can skip Transformers, Simpsons, and Shrek 4-D, as they are almost identical.

    If you miss Terminator in California, see it in Florida, but it is almost identical to the old California version.
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    Re: My first trip to Florida and Disney World planned for September 7-16...

    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.
    Last edited by TimmyTimmyTimmy; 09-03-2013 at 03:16 AM.
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