Florida/WDW/themes parks top tips please!

(27 Posts)
FairyTrain Fri 12-Oct-12 12:07:15

We are thinking about a 10 day holiday to Florida in November this year with DCs (4 and 2). DBIL lives in Fort Lauderdale so will be spending a few days there but plan to have a few days at WDW/ other theme parks. Any top tips for a Florida virgin. If you had 3 days of theme parks etc what would you do/what were the highlights? bearing in mind the ages of my DCs. TIA!

mummymeister Fri 12-Oct-12 12:45:50

I would concentrate on wdw only rather than trying to do any others. forget the water parks as it can be a bit chilly for younger ones and just get a 3 day pass for wdw. if you have time seaworld was great, not thrilled by epcot personally. have a look at the various books like the unofficial guide to wdw and this should help as they have touring plans to help you get the most out of your visit.

Would agree with only seeing WDW if you are in the Orlando area for only three days. I would stick with visiting the Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom (other parks are good but these are also more suited to older children).

Fort Lauderdale is a nice city to visit; it is described as the Venice of the South due to all its intracoastal waterways.

Where are you planning to fly into?. Orlando and Fort Lauderdale are some fair distance apart (Miami is about 20 miles south of Fort Lauderdale).

DuttonsForButtons Fri 12-Oct-12 20:51:34

With DC aged 4 and 2 I would stick to Disney, they will just love it. Get a 3 day WDW ticket, do Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios.
DH and I love Epcot, but it isn't as great for the DC, though it is still fab.

alemci Fri 12-Oct-12 21:08:45

I would try and break up the theme parks so you go one day then have a rest the next. it is very tiring.

take snacks into the park if you can e.g fruit, biscuits , as it is very expensive for everything.

take rainmacs, or umbrella for sudden showers,

don't know how hot it would be but Typhoon Lagoon is lovely for younger ones and could be a bit more relaxing than theme parks.

then again nothing is relaxing with small kids. It's been a while but i have done disney several times.

FairyTrain Sat 13-Oct-12 10:11:35

Thanks for tips so far! We will probably fly Glasgow to Newark then fly Newark To Fort Lauderdale, as DBIL is a few mins from airport. Hire a car and head to WDW for a few days in the middle...off to get guide books from library this am....We are dreading the flights too, any other top tips for making them more bearable??
Anyone know what the weather will be like in Nov?? And queues at WDW?

Re the flights, I would allow around 4 clear hours before you have to board the next flight from Newark to Fort Lauderdale. That clock starts ticking as soon as your plane from the UK lands and you will have to clear both US immigration and customs at Newark, put bags on transfer carousel then perhaps go to another terminal (this will also incur going through security again if you have ended up landside). It can all take up bags of time so the more time you have between the flight from the UK landing to the next flight leaving the better.

Actually if you can do it, I would consider flying to Fort Lauderdale the next day and stay in an airport hotel overnight on arrival.

Do not fully rely on the airline to fully provide re foodstuffs for your children. Bring along what they like and plenty of it (any uneaten fruit MUST remain behind on the aircraft). If you have a portable DVD player use that as well, childrens programmes can be pretty limited.

US internal flights are not cheap and they may also charge you for checking in your hold luggage. Check all their terms and conditions re such before booking.

Weather in FL in November can be pretty good. WDW will have lines regardless but think November is a great time to go.

MOSagain Mon 15-Oct-12 15:32:22

Totally agree that if you are limited to just a few park days, given your DCs ages I'd say Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom and if you really want 3 days then Hollywood Studios.

It will be too cold for waterparks but if they like animals then Seaworld is a nice day out.

Agree about taking food/snacks for on flight too. Definitely go prepared as quite often the airlines don't have the kids meals you've ordered or the kids simply don't like them!

BeckAndCall Mon 15-Oct-12 15:36:30

My advice to is question is always the same - go and visit the DIBB .co .uk and meet the friendly bunch on there. I guarantee there is NOTHING they don't know about Florida....

You'll have so much fun. Weather depends on the bit of November you go - early can still be 28 degrees or so - later needs jumpers.

And avoid thanksgiving weekend - it will be packed.

FairyTrain Mon 15-Oct-12 19:31:41

Thanks for tip about thedibb.co.uk! Never thought about thanksgiving, but hopefully we will miss it if we fly out on 11th and fly back on 21st. Also didn't realised it might be too cold for water parks!

LaFlotte Tue 16-Oct-12 22:55:26

Go to Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom and forget the rest for now. Check the times of the parades so you see those as the little ones love those. If you do decide to go to Hollywood Studios, take them to see the Beauty and the Beast show as they'd like that!

I would focus on parades and shows with them at that age.

birthdaypanic Tue 16-Oct-12 23:01:26

Agree with magic kingdom and hollywood studios, we don't rate animal kingdom so don't do it anymore, we like epcot and ds is 3. All love seaworld.

ihatethecold Fri 19-Oct-12 11:50:47

typhoon lagoon will be closed when you go for its annual refurb.

BiscuitNibbler Wed 24-Oct-12 11:23:30

I would suggest Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios.

HS has the Disney Junior show and characters like the Little Einsteins, Handy Manny etc available to meet. Magic Kingdom itself could easily occupy your whole three days, TBH.

Not that much at Animal Kingdom for that age group apart from the safari. Epcot has some good character meeting opportunities and a few rides they would enjoy, but if I only had three days I'd give it a miss.

Virgil Sun 28-Oct-12 14:28:40

We are here at the moment. I'd disagree with the fact that there is nothing at the animal kingdom. I'd say do magic kingdom twice and leave Hollywood studios and Epcot. Epcot isn't great for the kids really, lots to look at but not for little ones. Magic kingdom is fab particularly since the new fantasy land will be fully open (soft opening at the moment). Very long queues though for the rides suitable for little ones such as Peter pan and dumbo. Yesterday Peter pan was an hour to wait which is just too long.

Animal kingdom is fab. Lion king show. Nemo show, safari and the dinosaur playground. Mine are now five and seven but were three and five the first time we came. We struggle to get them out of the dinosaur playground.

At hollywood studios they'd like the playhouse Disney stuff, little mermaid show, honey I shrunk the kids playground, toystory ride.

We may be sitting right on the edge of the hurricane (so weather is changeable) but its still fab here!

Virgil Sun 28-Oct-12 14:31:15

If you fly virgin the kids meals are dreadful by the way. Both of mine were upset with how bad they were. The adult meals were not much better. Free flowing drinks are helpful though.

SoggyMoggy Sun 28-Oct-12 14:36:29

Thanksgiving is on the 22nd this year. So you'll potentially have some of the crowds at the parks, but not the worst of it. The flight out on the 21st though ... warning, the airports will be a full blown madhouse. Thanksgiving is the single biggest travel event in the US, beating out Christmas by a mile, and you'll be in the thick of it. But it shouldn't be a real problem as long as you budget extra time in and go prepared with a sense of humor about the insanity. grin

FairyTrain Sun 28-Oct-12 19:00:51

Fantastic tips thank you so much. What kind of clothes are needed at this timeof year?? Is it shorts and t-shirt weather or jumper and coat...(clearly clueless!)
soggy would it be better to fly on thanksgiving??

BiscuitNibbler Sun 28-Oct-12 20:48:50

Think you may be missing out on Epcot, Virgil.

Some examples my DD loves: character meet (best one at Disney - queue once and see all the main characters in turn), Figment ride, music and sounds play area after Figment ride, boat ride in "Norway", Donald Duck boat ride in "Mexico", dancing to the band in "England", meeting the country-appropriate characters in each country, the boat across the lake, the street entertainers (especially China and Japan), Spaceship Earth, Living on the Land boat ride, the huge aquariums and Nemo ride and of course Turtle Talk with Crush.

DD is 3.6 and she enjoyed all of these when we went last September, and she remembers them all is looking forward to seeing them again next month.

Agree that the Virgin food is terrible. We will be bringing a packed lunch!

Fairy - we're packing shorts and tops, and some warmer clothes (cardigans / long trousers) for evenings.

SoggyMoggy Sun 28-Oct-12 22:49:30

It's definitely better to fly on Thanksgiving itself it you can manage it. Still busy, but signifanctly less so than the day before the holiday would be.

ByTheWay1 Mon 29-Oct-12 19:59:21

I also cant see why EPCOT isn't for little ones - mine loved it-

living the land ride, Journey into imagination with figment ride - and the interactive exhibits after, spaceship earth, Nemo, Turtle talk with Crush, Innoventions, Characters, the musical fountain, the free Coke from round the world in Club Cool, the water "snakes", the round the world tour getting a mask and having it stamped at each country - the shows in each country - the Japanese drummers are a sight to behold - and the acrobats! and the differently dressed characters in each country too - and mine loved the Ellen ride too... and in Mexico - the donald duck ride, and eating funnel cake, and the fab lights and fireworks show...

There seems to be a real prejudice against EPCOT for younger kids, but we find it an absolute joy!!

FairyTrain Mon 29-Oct-12 21:52:49

I have been given the all clear to book!!! We are planning to spend 5 days at Fort Lauderdale then head to WDW for 4 nights, please can you recommend accommodation, I think it would be best to stay in a WDW hotel, but you guys might know better?? DH wants to do Legoland which seems to be in the middle of no where! Is it worth going to?? Just applied for ESTA things, anything else I should do in preparation???

Sparklegeek Fri 02-Nov-12 21:22:32

Re preparation - the very best thing I did before our Florida trip in May 2009 was to read The Unofficial Guide to WDW from cover to cover. That book was my bible & worth its weight in gold. I planned everything with military precision & we did 11 theme parks in 14 days & queued twice the whole fortnight smile

BooToYouToo Sun 04-Nov-12 10:58:55

Hi, we are in Florida now and the weather is quite changeable. Sunny skies but as you will be up early due to jet lag then make the most of it and get to the parks before opening. That can mean it's cold so pack plenty of layers.

Go on DIBB website and check their busy day guide then plan to visit the quieter parks, not failed us yet. Another good book is the Brit Guide.

We are taking lots of bananas and grapes to the parks as well as water. Have also packed sarnies for the kids as most food on sale is deep fried.

If eating offsite then I recommend Longhorn Steakhouse, Carrabas, and Olive Garden.

Have loose change and dollar bills for the toll roads.

Also have cash to pay for parking, about $14 per park.

We bought tickets from Floridatix.

FairyTrain Sun 04-Nov-12 21:09:55

Thanks bootoyou. Good tips about food & layers of clothes. Bought new no spill water bottles for the kids yesterday. We will be there 16th to 20th which might be busy...
Is it "coat cold" or "jumper cold"?? I have a slight obsession about the cold hmm since we live in Scotland..

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