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Old 02-13-2013, 05:07 PM   #16
KodakFigment
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Our trip is June 6-12. We're planning to front-load the trip with the long, exhausting days in the hopes that we can sort of wind down towards the end with less-stressful activities so we won't be completely exhausted when we go home and, eventually, back to work.

It'll be me, my wife and our two boys (12 and 6). We're driving from Nashville and we'll roll into town on Thursday afternoon/early evening.
The only other item on our to-do list is that my 6 year old has asked us for years if we would take him to the ocean so he could see it. From what I've found it seems that Cocoa Beach is the closest place to do that about an hour away, so that's probably where we'll go.
You might consider going a bit out of your way on the way down or the way back. Assuming you are traveling I75 you could cut across the state towards Jacksonville or a little further south by Daytona and then come into Orlando on I4. Probably add a couple hours to the trip but then the beach visit would be taken care of without using another full vacation day.

For a day trip Cocoa Beach is about 1:15 from WDW straight across Rt. 528. Daytona is about 1:45 straight up I4. You could combine a beach trip with a visit to the Daytona Speedway. The tour is well worth it! I know our boys really liked it.
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Old 02-15-2013, 08:01 AM   #17
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I just have to say, while we thought the Gulf was beautiful, we were hoping for the ocean waves. We live in Montana and travel to the Oregon and Washington coasts. But the Pacific is so cold that the kids have never been able to truly enjoy it. So on day 2 of our trip we went to Siesta Beach (the Gulf), that was packed so we traveled a little further. The kids loved it but were wondering where the big waves were.
So on day 5, we did the hour drive to Cocoa Beach. We walked over a dune, and we all stopped and took in the beautiful sight. The waves crashing on the shore. We had a hard time leaving. For us, there is just something about the ocean waves, the noise, the smell, that is such a comfort, almost calming, and just what we needed after 2 full days in the parks :-)
But with how you are driving, it makes sense to do the gorgeous Gulf
There is one catch.....
I have been to both the Gulf side for a beach stay and the Atlantic coast for a beach stay. While it was a real pleasure to swim in the ocean in the Gulf, not so much in the Atlantic ........... I am well used to Atlantic ocean waves living in Newfoundland, Canada and have experienced the fun and adventure of swimming in a lively (and freezing ) ocean HOWEVER this was an entirely different thing! Within seconds, I was swept off my feet, turned upside down, dragged across the bottom, and this was all within seconds of getting my feet wet! I lost my hat, my sunglasses, and my hotel room key because once the ocean gets a hold of your things, you are not getting them back! I will say one thing on the positive side, the water was warm but then it is warmer still on the Gulf side.

So it depends on if you want to go to the beach and just look at the beautiful waves crashing on the shore (then I would recommend the Atlantic coast) or if you want to have fun beach time (then you should try the Gulf). Good luck with your choice! I will be returning to the Gulf coast myself.
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Old 02-19-2013, 04:09 PM   #18
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OK, I found these forums a week ago and have quickly become addicted to them. I've gone so overboard with my trip planning that I might be traveling alone by the time we go because I'll drive my wife batty! Either way, you guys are totally awesome, so I will continue to ask all of my questions in the hopes that you will continue to answer them.

Our trip is June 6-12. We're planning to front-load the trip with the long, exhausting days in the hopes that we can sort of wind down towards the end with less-stressful activities so we won't be completely exhausted when we go home and, eventually, back to work.

It'll be me, my wife and our two boys (12 and 6). We're driving from Nashville and we'll roll into town on Thursday afternoon/early evening. We're going to be staying at a rental home, so I figure the first night will be mostly grocery shopping and getting situated to hit the parks hard for the next few days. We'll be at Hollywood Studios bright and early for Star Wars Weekend on Friday and we'll hit the other parks on Saturday and Sunday as desired...then we'll try to start slowing it down a little. On Monday we're planning a day at Sea World and currently don't have anything planned for Tuesday before leaving on Wednesday morning to come home. I'm trying to find some smaller, somewhat less of a rush-rush types of things that we can do. I've got a few ideas, but I'm hoping you all can give me some more.

I would really like to squeeze Gatorland into the trip as that's the place I always remembered from when I was a kid. Depending on what time we get into town and what time they close we might even hit them on Wednesday afternoon before we do anything else. The only other item on our to-do list is that my 6 year old has asked us for years if we would take him to the ocean so he could see it. From what I've found it seems that Cocoa Beach is the closest place to do that about an hour away, so that's probably where we'll go. So on Tuesday I figure we'll get up and drive to Cocoa Beach for a short time, but that will probably get us back around lunch time leaving a lot of the day to do other things. What else is there to do?

Kennedy Space Center seems like a good option but it's pricy (since we'll most certainly be broke from the previous 4 days!) and I'm not sure it's a good fit for the whole family. Are there any other local attractions you've found in the past that you would recommend for a 2-3 hour or half-day activity?
Hello in my opinion if you want to take your family to the ocean and you would like a little bit of the ocean all to yourself to cherish your memories.... then head for the beautiful Anna Maria Island, we took our family there for our last day of our 3 week holiday and it blew us away....we gathered shells and found the sand dollar shells, a local told us if you find a whole one it is considered good luck!

We are from the U.K and did our research on the net and I used google earth alot if you type" Bean point" we found us a great parking spot near the Rod and Reel Pier car park...we passed Holmes Beach and it was busy with it being Easter Sunday but we found our little piece of paradise for the day at Anna Maria Island....one day we will return but Ssshussh don't tell everyone about AMI!
Enjoy your Ocean day...
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Old 02-19-2013, 05:35 PM   #19
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Well, I booked everything last night and today I'm second guessing myself! All of your suggestions about the ocean visits are making me think about revamping the trip from start to finish.

Instead of travelling mid-week where I can't afford an "extra" day of vacation I'm thinking of changing the dates from June 2-9. This will still allow us to do everything we've got planned, but it gives us more flexibility in coming and going.

It's a 10-hour drive from my house to WDW, but if we were to leave a day early (Sunday) and drive half-way (ish), then we could be at a beach around noon and get a hotel for the night. That would give my wife and boys an entire afternoon at the beach before we got up on Monday morning and finished the drive to Orlando. Since we wouldn't have as far to drive on Monday we could be in Orlando by lunch time, which gives us even more time to do everything out there that we want to do!

I've never been a big fan of beaches (and I lived in Hawaii for 5 years!), so my wife was throwing fits that I was only going to alot about 3 hours for a "beach visit"...but this way her and the boys can spend as much time as they want while I watch Nascar in the Hotel room....it's win-win for everyone!!!!

I wasn't aware of the differences between the coasts, but that is definitely something to think about. Maybe I'll let my wonderful wife read this post and make that decision...as long as I've got Nascar to keep me occupied they can spend the entire week out there in the sand and salt!
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Old 02-19-2013, 09:04 PM   #20
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Contact your Senator/congressperson. They can set up a complimentary tour of Kennedy Space Ctr. We are going in April and even the parking is comped. The senate staffer didnt even know this was possible until i inquired about it.
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Old 02-21-2013, 10:41 AM   #21
KodakFigment
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Well, I booked everything last night and today I'm second guessing myself!
Welcome to the DIS!!! We tend to be compulsive planners. I venture to say not too many of us have decided on a trip and not changed it at least 5 times.

Just remember, do what makes you happiest, don't try to accomplish everything on one trip. Disney and the ocean will still be there for the next time.

I do think you and your family would enjoy Daytona or one of the nearby areas. June on the Atlantic coast will not bring cold water or giant waves, so they can still have a wonderful "beach' day playing in the surf. And sounds like you and at least your oldest would really enjoy seeing the speedway.
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