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  1. #1

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    California girl's first trip to Florida and WDW- trip report- LOVED IT!

    I stayed in Orlando from September 8-16 and I am going to say WOW- I have never had so much fun in my life! I thought I liked Disneyland but now I like Disney World MUCH, MUCH better.

    First of all, I wasn't prepared for how BIG WDW is compared to Disneyland. I arrived in Florida with the intention of doing multiple things- WDW, Universal, Discovery Cove, etc. But WDW and it's 6 parks (including the water parks) kept me plenty entertained that I ended up not making it to Universal Studios. My friend (who was with me for part of the trip) and I opted to spend our non-disney day together visiting Cocoa Beach and doing an airboat ride on the way instead (she had been to WDW before so 2 days of park hopping was enough for her). For the time I was by myself, I spent 4 days park hopping and one day at Clearwater Beach and took a speed boat ride with the dolphins for 2 hours and spent the rest of the afternoon swimming in the warm, warm, happy waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

    I ended up spending 6 of my 8 full days in Florida at WDW during the off season (September is supposed to be the least crowded) and STILL didn't do all the rides. Magic Kingdom is much like DL which I've been going to every year since I was 2 so I only spend one afternoon and evening there. I ended up spending 2 mornings and early afternoons at Typhoon Lagoon and 2 at Blizzard Beach- I just LOVED the waterparks. I spent 2 early mornings and afternoons at Animal Kingdom. I spent 2 two late afternoons and evenings at Epcot and 2 late afternoons and evenings at Hollywood Studios.

    My favorite rides at WDW- Animal Kingdom's African Safari ride went FAR beyond all my expectations. LOVED seeing the animals so close up so rode multiple times both times I was there. I was totally WOWed by how the giraffes came right up to the car and how close I saw the elephants, zebras, okapis, flamingos, and buffalos. I also liked walking around and looking at the animals as well. The Dinosaur ride was pretty much like the Indiana Jones ride at WDL in terms of motion with different scenery. The Himalaya ride was like the Matterhorn. The Kali Rapid ride was WAY better than the Grizzly Rapids equivilant at Disneyland and because I had my waterproof bag I bought for the WDW trip, I didn't have to worry about my phone getting wet.

    Hollywood Studios- my favorite was still Toy Story Mania but lines were still long despite being off season and I got there too late to get the fast pass so only did this once- it was exactly like the one in California anyway. I really enjoyed watching the American Idol show as it was a sit down activity that provided both rest and entertainment at the same time. I enjoyed watching the guests perform and voting for them. Enjoyed the Aerosmith coaster and Tower of Terror as well (both practically walk on for single rider's line).

    Epcot- I liked both the countries of the world and the rides at future world. Loved Mission Space and Ellen's Energy ride (nice sit down right for rest and entertainment at the same time). Spaceship earth was literally walk on so I did it twice as well. California Soarin was the same so I skipped it. I liked the eco boat ride as well. Didn't get to innovations east due to getting there later in the afternoon.

    Magic Kingdom- only did Small World, Space Mountain, Pirates, Splash Mountain, Peter Pan, Big Thunder Railroad, and the Haunted Mansion. All the same as DL so wanted to focus on the other parks.

    Blizzard Beach- LOVED IT, LOVED IT, LOVED IT. Chairlift was very convenient so I could get to the top without walking on all those steps. Summit Plummet was AWESOME and so were the other slides. Liked the Toboggan Racers, Run Off Rapids, Slusher Gusher, Teamboat Springs as well. Did all the slides multiple times and spent some time after lunch floating in the lazy river.

    You're gonna laugh at this one, but my favorite part of Blizzard Beach was when they evacuated the pools and slides cuz a thunderstorm was approaching. Having lived in California my whole life, I NEVER experienced a close up thunderstorm so I was excited about getting to experience one. While most of the people were grumbling about the slides being closed and having to take cover (many left the park), I was actually enjoying the sights, sounds, and smell of the thunder and lightning. I have to admit that I was quite startled at how LOUD the thunder was as I was under cover but not indoors. I actually laughed out loud when the thunder and lightning was close up. After the storm, the crowds were virtually nil and I could get on all the slides multiple times with less than 5 minute wait time even though the park was only open for about an hour and half after reopening. Glad I stayed.

    Typhoon Lagoon- LOVED the wave pool, Crusher n Gusher water coaster, and Snorkeling with the sharks. Loved all the raft slides and one body slide as well. Did all 3 multiple times and enjoyed floating around in the lazy river for a break. Loved the tropical theme and the sandy beaches (not quite as nice as the REAL Clearwater Beach though).

    I am already planning to visit Florida again next year- October 2014!. This time, I'm gonna save and plan on 2 FULL WEEKS so I can do all the parks at WDW multiple times AND Universal's 2 day park hopper, a day at Discovery Cove, and add on 3 days in Miami including one day at the Everglades. I told one of my girlfriend's to save up so she can come with me so I can have company the whole time and not just part of the time (she's motivated now after hearing about my trip experience).

    BTW- lines were pretty low and with the exception of Toy Story Mania, I NEVER had to wait longer than 30 minutes for ANY ride even without the fast pass. Most lines were 10-15 minutes. Early September was great. I hope next October will also be as slow in terms of lines (am choosing October because I want to be there for the food and wine festival and the mid day heat hopefully won't be as intense).

    I'm not sure if I EVER want to go to Disneyland again after seeing how much bigger and better Disney World is.



    One amazed Californian here!
    Last edited by CaliforniaGirl1990; 09-20-2013 at 09:04 AM.

  2. #2

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    Re: California girl's first trip to Florida and WDW- trip report- LOVED IT!

    Glad you had a good time. Yeah WDW is HUGE compared to the 2 parks at Disneyland. A lot of people fail to realize this when planning vacations if they've never been before. Park-hopping is not as easy as walking across the esplanade like in California. The parks are miles from each other (the only 2 that are in close proximity are Epcot & DHS) and traveling between them takes time.

    That's funny about being excited about the thunderstorm. Here in Florida, if there's lightning within a 5-10 mile radius, anything outdoors is shut down until the threat passes.

    One thing I want to warn you about for Food & Wine... After 5:00 during the week and the weekends is when all the locals come out and it gets BUSY. So you'll want to hit that early as it's very popular with the local crowd. Also, if the Magic Kingdom is having a Halloween party a particular night, the other parks get busy with all the people leaving MK because they don't have party tickets. Expect DHS & Epcot to start getting busier starting around 6:00 (the parties start at 7:00).

  3. #3

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    Re: California girl's first trip to Florida and WDW- trip report- LOVED IT!

    Quote Originally Posted by aimster View Post
    Glad you had a good time. Yeah WDW is HUGE compared to the 2 parks at Disneyland. A lot of people fail to realize this when planning vacations if they've never been before. Park-hopping is not as easy as walking across the esplanade like in California. The parks are miles from each other (the only 2 that are in close proximity are Epcot & DHS) and traveling between them takes time.

    That's funny about being excited about the thunderstorm. Here in Florida, if there's lightning within a 5-10 mile radius, anything outdoors is shut down until the threat passes.

    One thing I want to warn you about for Food & Wine... After 5:00 during the week and the weekends is when all the locals come out and it gets BUSY. So you'll want to hit that early as it's very popular with the local crowd. Also, if the Magic Kingdom is having a Halloween party a particular night, the other parks get busy with all the people leaving MK because they don't have party tickets. Expect DHS & Epcot to start getting busier starting around 6:00 (the parties start at 7:00).
    Yes, it was HUGE but the shuttles between parks were pretty efficient so it was easy to hop between parks. I didn't think each park itself would be so big though. I sort of regret making this an 8 day trip cuz 3 days is more than enough to do everything multiple times over at DL.

    About going in October, I can deal with slightly larger crowds in the evening but don't want to wait in line for hours to go on a ride. Are you talking about half an hour to 45 minutes in line instead of 15-20? I can also stay on site and make use of the extra magic hours? Are those uncrowded? My friend and I might be interested in one of the not so scary Halloween Parties in order to go on rides without much of a line wait and enjoy the Halloween decorations- are they suitable for adults without children?

    About the thunderstorm, we only get to hear thunder about once a year from a distance where I live so experiencing one THAT close up was a novel experience- I could even SMELL the thunder. The only thing was I had left my iphone in the hotel cuz I thought I couldn't take pictures at a waterpark while I was in my swimsuit in and out of the water. I regret it cuz I couldn't film the storm.

    The water parks are seriously underrated. I wish they were open longer hours than 10AM to 5PM as I could easily spend more time at one.

  4. #4

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    Re: California girl's first trip to Florida and WDW- trip report- LOVED IT!

    Once you have the Magic Band you'll be able to book 3 fast passes per day ahead of time and not worry about lines on your favorite attractions. It's really handy.

    I found it funny how you were saying all those MK rides are the same as DL's but the ones you named all have subtle differences I'm so glad, too - we have enough clones already!
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    Re: California girl's first trip to Florida and WDW- trip report- LOVED IT!

    Quote Originally Posted by CaliforniaGirl1990 View Post
    Yes, it was HUGE but the shuttles between parks were pretty efficient so it was easy to hop between parks. I didn't think each park itself would be so big though. I sort of regret making this an 8 day trip cuz 3 days is more than enough to do everything multiple times over at DL.

    About going in October, I can deal with slightly larger crowds in the evening but don't want to wait in line for hours to go on a ride. Are you talking about half an hour to 45 minutes in line instead of 15-20? I can also stay on site and make use of the extra magic hours? Are those uncrowded? My friend and I might be interested in one of the not so scary Halloween Parties in order to go on rides without much of a line wait and enjoy the Halloween decorations- are they suitable for adults without children?

    About the thunderstorm, we only get to hear thunder about once a year from a distance where I live so experiencing one THAT close up was a novel experience- I could even SMELL the thunder. The only thing was I had left my iphone in the hotel cuz I thought I couldn't take pictures at a waterpark while I was in my swimsuit in and out of the water. I regret it cuz I couldn't film the storm.

    The water parks are seriously underrated. I wish they were open longer hours than 10AM to 5PM as I could easily spend more time at one.
    I was at the parks the same week you were. Last year we went in Qctober and while the parks did seem a bit busier last year it wasn't by much. The extra hours is something a lot of people are using. I find that you get smaller crowds going to the park on the non extra hours when they open.

    The No So Scary party is a lot of fun. Even if your not a kid or have kids with you. The crowds are smaller, the park is lite very different and the shows have that something extra added, especially at the Haunted Mansion.

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  6. #6

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    Re: California girl's first trip to Florida and WDW- trip report- LOVED IT!

    Quote Originally Posted by SpectroMan View Post
    Once you have the Magic Band you'll be able to book 3 fast passes per day ahead of time and not worry about lines on your favorite attractions. It's really handy.

    I found it funny how you were saying all those MK rides are the same as DL's but the ones you named all have subtle differences I'm so glad, too - we have enough clones already!
    Hoping the magic bands are then also available to ppl who are staying off property as I'm not sure yet whether or not we'd want to fork the extra money for on-site hotels (especially if the extra magic hours do NOT provide smaller crowds). I did notice some subtle differences but for me, I'd rather spend time riding rides that are completely different than the equivalents at DL (remember I've been to DL every year since age 2; some years we went twice in a single year). When I initially went on the trip, I thought I'd spend more time at Epcot and surprised myself by falling in love with Animal Kingdom and the Water Parks more. I'm thinking I might appreciate Epcot more during the food and wine festival- especially since next year, I'm going to go with another friend whose a big "foodie".
    If the crowds are higher in the evening, we can deal with it but it looks like daytime crowds will be pretty similar to what I experienced in September; right?

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    Re: California girl's first trip to Florida and WDW- trip report- LOVED IT!

    Quote Originally Posted by CaliforniaGirl1990 View Post

    You're gonna laugh at this one, but my favorite part of Blizzard Beach was when they evacuated the pools and slides cuz a thunderstorm was approaching. Having lived in California my whole life, I NEVER experienced a close up thunderstorm so I was excited about getting to experience one. While most of the people were grumbling about the slides being closed and having to take cover (many left the park), I was actually enjoying the sights, sounds, and smell of the thunder and lightning. I have to admit that I was quite startled at how LOUD the thunder was as I was under cover but not indoors. I actually laughed out loud when the thunder and lightning was close up. After the storm, the crowds were virtually nil and I could get on all the slides multiple times with less than 5 minute wait time even though the park was only open for about an hour and half after reopening. Glad I stayed.



    One amazed Californian here!

    I'm curious to know whether you thought the thunderstorm was an attraction or special effect? I can't imagine that someone born in 1990 who would be 23 now can go 23 years without ever seeing a thunderstorm. It sounds kinda weird, no offense. Does Cali really never get thunder and lightning? I thought thunderstorms happened everywhere.
    Last edited by Dobies4you; 09-24-2013 at 10:23 PM.

  8. #8

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    Re: California girl's first trip to Florida and WDW- trip report- LOVED IT!

    Welcome to MiceChat and glad to hear you had such a wonderful time at Walt Disney World The water parks are definitley a good time and not talked about much on here. I remember having a lot of fun at Typhoon Lagoon when I was younger; went to Blizzard Beach a few years ago for the first time and thought it was alright.

    Next time you go to WDW take some time to hotel hop. Its really fun to see the different hotels and the different themes, restaurants, pools, grounds, etc of each one (well, most of them at least. I highly recommend cruisin' by the Grand Floridian, Polynesian, Animal Kingdom Lodge, Art of Animation, Wilderness Lodge, Port Orleans (both Riverside and French Quarter), and even Coronado Springs and Old Key West, and Saratoga Springs.

    Oh, and a big word of advice: make dining reservations WAY in advance at the best restaurants around the resort (both at the hotels and in park). Unlike Disneyland, restaurants at WDW get booked up far, far in advance. It kinda pisses me off to be honest, you can't just roll up to a restaurant at a park expect to wait 15 minutes and get a table. Some spots you literally have to reserve like 5 months out, no joking.
    Here are just a few cool spots to dine at that I personally take an interest in listged by location:
    Magic Kingdom - Be Our Guest, Tony's
    Polynesian Resort - Ohana
    Hollywood Studios - Sci-Fi Dine-In Theatre, The Brown Derby
    Grand Floridian - Narcoosee's
    Animal Kingdom Lodge - Jiko

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