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View Full Version : Orlando - But no DISNEY?!?


Amyhoff
03-12-2011, 09:39 AM
We took my daughter to Disney about a year ago, she's not quite 3 1/2 now. My son was born in August and has not been yet. We are headed to Florida in October to visit some friends in Tampa.

We are planning on doing Busch Gardens and SeaWorld, the beach and this mermaid show north of Tampa. My husband does not want to spend the money on a single day ticket to Disney, and with our planned schedule, we don't have more than a day for Disney :( I think I might cry being so close and not taking the kiddos!

Short of stealing the kids and the Credit card one morning and heading there without DH... what can I do? I thought about doing some things I've always wanted to do, but have never had the "time" at Disney. I thought about breakfast at Kona and then exploring the Poly. Then maybe lunch at Boma and exploring the lodge. Would it be sacrilegious to go to Disney resorts and restaurants and not the parks?!?! I can't believe I'm even thinking of it. :(

kimmyann
03-12-2011, 09:50 AM
With the plans you have, I think you will have a blast without Disney. We are about to make our 4th trip to Florida in June and so far have been to Disney once and did the Busch parks the other two times (Busch parks again this year,we have season passes) and I have to say we enjoyed doing the Busch parks more than Disney.:scared1: They are wonderful parks with alot to offer, you may be surprised. Don't get me wrong, we had a great time on our Disney vacation, but for the price it just didn't seem that much worth it to us, DH & I are planning a trip by ourselves in 2013 though. For me, as long as I get to go to Florida, I'm good.:lovestruc

There is just so much to do in Florida, I think as long as you keep an open mind you will have a great trip. (I saw the mermaid show on the travel channel before, looks cool)

Big Willie
03-12-2011, 10:04 AM
If you have the time try Chip and Dale Campfire Sing-A-Long one evening. Its free

Stroll the boardwalk at Disney

There is always Downtown Disney

:cool1:

Way2Goofy
03-12-2011, 10:15 AM
We live about 2 1/2 hours away from Disney. Sometimes we take a "get away" trip to Orlando, just to get away from it all. We have such a blast doing things outside of the parks that we may not always get to do when we take a park visit. The resorts can be fun, Downtown Disney of course or try a new place to eat.

happily single
03-12-2011, 10:15 AM
Just being in Orlando feels like DIsney to me!! We are going down for our Second Annual April Roadtrip and again not "doing Disney". We did however do Downtown DIsney and one of the Disney Water Parks last year. We also took the boat from Downtown Disney to Port Orleans and walked around.

I also knew that we would be coming down to Orlando in October and doing only Disney so maybe that helped, but honestly just seeing all the Disney busses and signs made it feel like Disney:dance3:

ruadisneyfan2
03-12-2011, 10:25 AM
We took my daughter to Disney about a year ago, she's not quite 3 1/2 now. My son was born in August and has not been yet. We are headed to Florida in October to visit some friends in Tampa.

We are planning on doing Busch Gardens and SeaWorld, the beach and this mermaid show north of Tampa. My husband does not want to spend the money on a single day ticket to Disney, and with our planned schedule, we don't have more than a day for Disney :( I think I might cry being so close and not taking the kiddos!

Short of stealing the kids and the Credit card one morning and heading there without DH... what can I do? I thought about doing some things I've always wanted to do, but have never had the "time" at Disney. I thought about breakfast at Kona and then exploring the Poly. Then maybe lunch at Boma and exploring the lodge. Would it be sacrilegious to go to Disney resorts and restaurants and not the parks?!?! I can't believe I'm even thinking of it. :(


I have a friend who loves Disney, has been many, many times but now that her kids are in HS and so many sports in the summer too, their only chances to go are during Christmas break or Easter break. Of course the parks are ridiculously crowded at this time of year so they find other non-park things to do during a large part of their visits, and only visit the parks for evening EMH, which at those times of year, means around midnight-3am. :eek:

They rent the little water mice, visit the different resorts to see them decorated for holidays, have each meal at a different resort restaurant, etc.

Maybe you could do something like that without having to buy 1 day ticket or how about a water park?
Another option, and what we always do, is buy 10 day Disney tickets with the non-exp & water park option so whenever we get a long weekend with reasonable airfair, or say 1 day pre-cruise, we can visit a park by just pulling tickets out of the drawer. The overall cost per day is cheaper this way too.
Then save the remaining days for a future Disney visit. Your cost for that visit would just be food, lodging & airfare. :thumbsup2

If you sign up for the mousesavers.com newsletter, there is a link in there that gives subscribers of the newsletter additional discounts at UndercoverTourist.com. We've bought & used tix from them and they were great to do business with. No complaints and would use them again. :goodvibes

shalom
03-12-2011, 10:40 AM
Would it be sacrilegious to go to Disney resorts and restaurants and not the parks?!?!

Totally not. That's exactly what we planned on doing last year before the Give A Day opportunity -- only one daughter and I really had any interest in doing the Disney parks (although the rest of the family is slowly coming around ;) ). So we did the MK one day, and Disney daughter says the best part of her Disney day was riding the monorail and visiting the Contemporary! :lmao:

The resorts have the Disney magic, too. :goodvibes

KayR
03-12-2011, 01:00 PM
We have been to the area but not to Disney too. It does feel kind of weird to be so close, but it is also an opportunity to do new things too.

You have had some great suggestions already. Here are a few more

Have dinner at the Rainforest Cafe at Animal Kingdom. There is no fee to park in the evening and if you time it right (i.e. around closing time for the park) the characters are usually outside of the parks saying goodbye to park guests.

Do a character meal outside of the parks.

You don't say when you are visiting - sometimes Disney puts on their special evening 'parties' (like MNSSHP) - they can be a cheaper way to get a 'day' at the parks. Tickets are cheaper than a day pass and although the party officially starts at 6.30 or 7.00pm, you can usually get into the park from 4pm. The party then goes on til midnight and you have 7 hours in the MK (which is not usually that crowded for the parties). Sometimes Disney has offered a Princess & Prince party during spring.

HTH

--kay

Upatnoon
03-12-2011, 01:48 PM
Many people fixate on the theme parks and don't realize that Disneyworld is a massive resort with so much more to do. Your daughter would love going to Fort Wilderness, taking a boat ride, Wilderness Lodge, going to the Boardwalk, Downtown Disney, Animal Kingdom Lodge, etc.

Have fun!

KayR
03-12-2011, 01:55 PM
Just remembered other options if you want a Disney fix. The mini golf courses are fun. There are also the water parks. My DD had a blast there at 2yo

-Kay

Art 1
03-12-2011, 02:35 PM
We took my daughter to Disney about a year ago, she's not quite 3 1/2 now. My son was born in August and has not been yet. We are headed to Florida in October to visit some friends in Tampa.

We are planning on doing Busch Gardens and SeaWorld, the beach and this mermaid show north of Tampa. My husband does not want to spend the money on a single day ticket to Disney, and with our planned schedule, we don't have more than a day for Disney :( I think I might cry being so close and not taking the kiddos!

Short of stealing the kids and the Credit card one morning and heading there without DH... what can I do? I thought about doing some things I've always wanted to do, but have never had the "time" at Disney. I thought about breakfast at Kona and then exploring the Poly. Then maybe lunch at Boma and exploring the lodge. Would it be sacrilegious to go to Disney resorts and restaurants and not the parks?!?! I can't believe I'm even thinking of it. :(

We do that often, may even go for dinner somewhere at WDW this eve.

sand&sun2
03-12-2011, 03:24 PM
sounds like fun

JennSaint
03-12-2011, 04:14 PM
We just did this two weeks ago. First time in 10 years we didn't do Disney theme parks. One night we ate at Kona Cafe at the Poly. And a few other nights we ate at Downtown Disney and shopped and walked around. I was surprised I didn't miss the parks as much as I thought I would.
We also went to the Boardwalk one night and watched Illuminations from the bridge.

kathy884
03-12-2011, 05:07 PM
We did a mini three night/two day trip last March with no Disney parks.

Day 1 we went to SeaWorld (We love that park. I think you'll really enjoy it. Busch Gardens is a great park too.

Day 2 We did the Titanic attraction on I drive, swam at our resort pool, and then headed over to the Polynesian, enjoyed their ground, had dinner there, and then took the Monerail around, stopping at the Contemporary and Grand Floridian, just browsing in their gift shops. Depending on what you like to do, visiting a Disney resort hotel can be fun. ALK is another favorite, of ours. We often book a dinner there and go early to enjoy the grounds.

To me the resort hotels are as much Disney as the parks, especially the ones with the great theming.

bbwhos
03-12-2011, 05:09 PM
I have a sort of related curiosity. If you are not staying on Disney property can you still dine at the resorts (not the theme parks)? Are there other things at the resorts, like Fort Wilderness, that you can take part in without staying on Disney property?

momtoejanda
03-12-2011, 05:24 PM
We just came back from doing:

3 days at sea world
1 day at Busch Gardens
4 night Dream cruise

2 games of mini golf one at Fantasia and one at winter summerland
went resort hoping and visited DTD
we did Ohana's character breakfast and character dinner at the Swan

Great time but everyone was so sad that we did not go to MK. I can not justify a one day ticket it is just way too much.

I wont do that again, everyone would have much rather done a week at WDW. I guess we have learned that it is still their favorite vacation.

dennise
03-12-2011, 07:40 PM
WE have a great time just being in Orlando, we did Hoop De Doo last year, Downtown Disney rode a boat to POR, don't always feel we have to do a park. This year we are flying into Myrtle Beach, spending a couple of nights there, spending a couple in Savannah. GA and then 6 nights in Orlando. would really like to visit some of the resorts.

Upatnoon
03-12-2011, 07:50 PM
I have a sort of related curiosity. If you are not staying on Disney property can you still dine at the resorts (not the theme parks)? Are there other things at the resorts, like Fort Wilderness, that you can take part in without staying on Disney property?
Everything is open to you. The only thng I can think of that you cant do is swim in the pools at the hotels.

nelson84
03-12-2011, 08:15 PM
Get the kids to ask him to go to disney instead of visiting friends. Seriously dose he want to sit around and listen to the same old stories or actually have fun in florida?

bbwhos
03-13-2011, 12:58 PM
Everything is open to you. The only thng I can think of that you cant do is swim in the pools at the hotels.

Thanks! I've often wondered. I'd like to do some of the activities but we tend to stay offsite as my DH prefers. He's not a Disney person as much as I; he rather indulges me and the kids. Some of the dining experiences sound awesome to try! I could make a day just visiting the resorts and looking around the shops and scenery that Disney does such a wonderful job with.

Purseval
03-13-2011, 09:46 PM
Would it be sacrilegious to go to Disney resorts and restaurants and not the parks?!?! I can't believe I'm even thinking of it. :(
We have friends who have been going to WDW since the 1980's and have never once set foot in a park. They go there to stay at the resorts and play golf.

kathy884
03-13-2011, 11:17 PM
I have a sort of related curiosity. If you are not staying on Disney property can you still dine at the resorts (not the theme parks)? Are there other things at the resorts, like Fort Wilderness, that you can take part in without staying on Disney property?

You bet as one other poster said:

Drive to the resort and tell them you are doing shopping or make a lunch or dinner reservation at one of the hotels. They will give you a parking pass for three or four hours. I don't remember.

Here are some of the things we've done when not staying there:

-- We like to eat at the BOMA buffet at Animal Kingdom Lodge. We get their early and look around the grounds and see the animals. We go into the gift shops. One evening we even sat out by the fire and listened to the storyteller after dinner too.
-- They Polynesian is another one we like to schedule a meal at. We really like their grounds, hotel lobby, and food.
-- At Christmas time, especially we like to take the monerail around and look at all the Christmas decorations at the monerail resorts.
-- We have gone to the Polynesian and Contemporary when not staying on property and rented the little mini speed boats just for fun.
-- You have to pay for tennis courts, but if we have stayed at a resort offsite that doesn't have tennis for a treat we have rented an hour and a half of court time on the clay tennis courts at the Grand Floridian.
-- We have also taken the little boat from the Contemporary to the Wilderness Lodge, looked at their grounds, etc. and returned. Did this when we had a little one who really enjoyed boat rides. We were on that trip, though, staying at the Contemporary.

We haven't done this, but some people go over to the Fort Wilderness campground at night for the movies and Chip and Dale sing-a-long, even when they are not staying there.

bbwhos
03-14-2011, 11:08 AM
You bet as one other poster said:

Drive to the resort and tell them you are doing shopping or make a lunch or dinner reservation at one of the hotels. They will give you a parking pass for three or four hours. I don't remember.

Here are some of the things we've done when not staying there:

-- We like to eat at the BOMA buffet at Animal Kingdom Lodge. We get their early and look around the grounds and see the animals. We go into the gift shops. One evening we even sat out by the fire and listened to the storyteller after dinner too.
-- They Polynesian is another one we like to schedule a meal at. We really like their grounds, hotel lobby, and food.
-- At Christmas time, especially we like to take the monerail around and look at all the Christmas decorations at the monerail resorts.
-- We have gone to the Polynesian and Contemporary when not staying on property and rented the little mini speed boats just for fun.
-- You have to pay for tennis courts, but if we have stayed at a resort offsite that doesn't have tennis for a treat we have rented an hour and a half of court time on the clay tennis courts at the Grand Floridian.
-- We have also taken the little boat from the Contemporary to the Wilderness Lodge, looked at their grounds, etc. and returned. Did this when we had a little one who really enjoyed boat rides. We were on that trip, though, staying at the Contemporary.

We haven't done this, but some people go over to the Fort Wilderness campground at night for the movies and Chip and Dale sing-a-long, even when they are not staying there.

That's awesome! I wasn't sure even on the boats if we could use them. Thanks for the great info!!

CamdenScott4
03-15-2011, 10:57 AM
We have a similar approach for our vacation plans this coming April. We are doing MK and IOA but that was all the amusement parks we could afford. I laughed when DW told my MiL that we were going to spend the rest of our days at "3rd string attractions". But DD is obsessed with Titanic and it is very cool place. Wonderworks is another place we will visit. And we have Day Passes to CoCo Key Resort Water Park.

jeff968
03-15-2011, 11:48 AM
We just got back from 9 days in orlando. The weather was fantastic. I was disappointed by the lack of any new development at the Disney parks (I was planning on a Magic Kingdom day, it had been 5 years since we were there but nothing has changed other then space mountain reformat and the closing of toon town) so we skipped it. We did US IOA to see Harry Potter, a day at aquatica, and we did visit DTD for dinner but our trip was pretty much Disney free. We hung at the resort and enjoyed that great Florida sun.

Princess Disney Mom
03-15-2011, 11:52 AM
Go to DTD. Buy the kids a Disney toy and you can get some really cute pictures. There will be music playing and you will get the Disney feel. Watch the fireworks from the TTC. Ride the monorail. Visit a resort and get a Mickey bar or other Mickey treat.

Organic Cleaner
03-15-2011, 12:22 PM
everytime I go to Orlando we go to Disney

toandjo
03-15-2011, 05:27 PM
We are staying offsite for 14 days and thought we might like to go check out the resorts. Can we park in the parking lots? Is there a charge for parking like at the parks? Are we allowed to just park and walk around?TIA

Upatnoon
03-15-2011, 06:53 PM
We are staying offsite for 14 days and thought we might like to go check out the resorts. Can we park in the parking lots? Is there a charge for parking like at the parks? Are we allowed to just park and walk around?TIA
You can park at the resorts for free, but they may limit you to 3 hours or so.

kathy884
03-15-2011, 08:55 PM
We have a similar approach for our vacation plans this coming April. We are doing MK and IOA but that was all the amusement parks we could afford. I laughed when DW told my MiL that we were going to spend the rest of our days at "3rd string attractions". But DD is obsessed with Titanic and it is very cool place. Wonderworks is another place we will visit. And we have Day Passes to CoCo Key Resort Water Park.

:thumbsup2 We often do a six day trip with two days at SeaWorld (we have season passes), one other major theme park for one day, and time at our resort and smaller attractions. We love the Titanic attraction too // think it's really well done. DS is a big Titanic enthusiast. I think what you are doing is actually a really fun way to go, and more relaxing than a major theme park every day. I bet you'll love seeing the new WWHP and what fun to go to the classic MK too.

happymommy
03-16-2011, 06:25 AM
We're going this week :scared1: (gotta pack!) and not doing Disney either. I'm actually burned out. We got passes for the Anhueser Busch parks (super grover pass) so doing those and Discovery Cove (yeah - 80's all week!).

We plan on one evening parking at the Boardwalk and eating there, then walking around and watching the entertainment. If we have time!

kathy884
03-16-2011, 06:40 AM
We're going this week :scared1: (gotta pack!) and not doing Disney either. I'm actually burned out. We got passes for the Anhueser Busch parks (super grover pass) so doing those and Discovery Cove (yeah - 80's all week!).

We plan on one evening parking at the Boardwalk and eating there, then walking around and watching the entertainment. If we have time!

Happymommy -- That sounds awesome. We love all the Busch parks / activities. // We leave on Sunday too. And I'm so excited. We are, though, this time doing Disney on two of our six days. // thrilled with the weather forecast too. It looks perfect! // For us it will be Day 1 SeaWorld, Day 2 MK, Day 3 Kennedy, Day 4 DHS, and Day 5 SeaWorld (our favorite again). Day 6 resort time (tennis and swimming before an evening flight) -- I think I'm even more excited than DS -- feel like a little kid when I get to go to Orlando.

SanFranciscan
03-16-2011, 07:34 PM
I have a sort of related curiosity. If you are not staying on Disney property can you still dine at the resorts (not the theme parks)? Are there other things at the resorts, like Fort Wilderness, that you can take part in without staying on Disney property?

Oh, sure. I have been to Orlando only twice, but I think that we spent as much money, probably more, during our off-Disney-property stay in 2007 as we did last September while sleeping on Disney property. Maybe it was because 2007 was our first trip so everything was so new to us.