Kennedy Space Center by bus

Discussion in 'Orlando Hotels and Attractions' started by Annette_C, Jan 10, 2017.

  1. Annette_C

    Annette_C Mouseketeer

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    I did a search here and found some info on KSC but did not see any comments from people doing it by bus.

    We're booking an add-on to our 5 day DVC vacay in March. The add-on is for 3 nights at Universal. The TA I'm using is offering a day at KSC with my Universal package deal. It says that it's by bus and that it leaves from a nearby hotel. This is the description:

    Unlimited Space Experience
    Upon arrival at the Kennedy Space Center, you’ll have the opportunity to meet an astronaut before starting your tour at your leisure. Enjoy the Shuttle Launch Experience replicating the sights, sounds, and feelings of the incredible journey of launching into space and orbiting Earth aboard a space shuttle. You’ll strap in and go vertical for launch in a one-of-a-kind, motion-based simulator, the only realistic simulation of a launch ever created. The world’s most comprehensive attraction devoted to the new Space Shuttle Atlantis brings you nose-to-nose with the priceless Atlantis spacecraft as only astronauts have seen it before – more than 60 interactive, touch-screen experiences and high-tech simulators invite you to “be the astronaut.” Later, sit down to a buffet lunch with an astronaut before continuing on to the fully guided bus tour. Tour Duration: Approximately 9 hours
    Round trip transportation is by Gray Line of Orlando.

    My DD14 loves space and is excited about it and is begging us to add it on. Has anyone done this or is at least familiar with this tour?

    Thanks!
     
  2. writerguyfl

    writerguyfl DIS Veteran

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    If you searched the forum, you probably stumbled on some of my Kennedy Space Center posts. I'm a big fan of the place. I'd recommend it to anyone visiting Central Florida. If you daughter is interested in space, I would highly recommend making the day trip. All the fantasy found at Disney and Universal is great, but seeing actual spaceships is hard to top.

    Everything described above except the lunch with an astronaut is included with the regular admission. And the lunch is an add-on available to anyone. Depending on the cost, it might be worth pricing out a rental car for a day. Standard costs for KSC:
    • Admission costs $40 for ages 3-11 and $50 for 12+.
    • Lunch or Dinner with an Astronaut costs $15.99 for ages 3-11 and $29.99 for 12+.
    • Parking costs $10.
    KSC Website: https://www.kennedyspacecenter.com/

    (If you visit the KSC website, you'll see tours that cost $19/$25. Don't worry about any of those tours. The standard bus tour is already included with regular admissions. The standard tour is perfect for first-time visitors.)
     
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  4. Maistre Gracey

    Maistre Gracey DIS Veteran

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    The General bus tour to get to the Saturn V building is excellent. Can't say enough about it....

    MG
     
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  5. Annette_C

    Annette_C Mouseketeer

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    Thanks so much, writerguyfl! The add-on referenced above for KSC is about $130 pp from my TA (includes RT bus transportation). According to your reference, $80 pp goes directly to admission and lunch. The remaining $50pp is for the bus. Not sure if renting a car, parking cost and the fact that we are totally clueless to the area (as far as driving), is worth less than $150! Lol
     
  6. writerguyfl

    writerguyfl DIS Veteran

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    For some people, driving during a vacation is a huge negative. So, there's nothing wrong with spending some cash to avoid the hassles involved.

    That said, the drive between Orlando and Kennedy Space Center is super easy. There are tolls involved, but it's basically a straight shot east.

    [​IMG]

    Link to map: https://binged.it/2jk29W7

    I picked a point right around Universal Orlando as a stating point above. KSC is a major tourist attraction, so there are plenty of signs. But, it's really just State Road 528 (Beachline Expressway) to State Road 407 (Challenger Parkway). Then, you just make two right turns and you're there.

    Feel free to post any other questions you may have.
     
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  7. samsteele

    samsteele DIS Veteran

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    Absolutely agree! The bus tour & Saturn V bldg was the highlight of KSC. Couldn't recommend more.
     
  8. Annette_C

    Annette_C Mouseketeer

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    Thanks again, writerguyfl, for all your kind help! I'll post more questions as I think of them. :)
     
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  9. Annette_C

    Annette_C Mouseketeer

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    Ok writerguyfl, I think you're right and that it may be better to rent a car. Any tips on best rental in the area? thanks!
     
  10. iivye

    iivye Mouseketeer

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    My husband took the Grayline bus to KSC from a hotel near Universal. I think for $20 extra you could have them actually pick you up at your hotel but he just walked to the pick-up spot from RPR. The bus was $59 round trip. So what they are offering is a decent price.
     
  11. Annette_C

    Annette_C Mouseketeer

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    Thanks! Yes, we've looked into that but we also have the problem of needing transportation from SSR to US and back to MCO for trip home. We'd figure it would be more convenient to rent a car for all that.
     
  12. Annette_C

    Annette_C Mouseketeer

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    Actually, can you actually get a rental from WDW resorts?
     
  13. iivye

    iivye Mouseketeer

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    I don't know where you are staying at Universal but if you are staying onsite and keeping the car the whole time make sure to factor in parking fees. I know RPR charges $22 a night which is why we don't usually rent a car while we are there.
     
  14. Annette_C

    Annette_C Mouseketeer

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    Yes, true! Staying at Hyatt across the street from US
     
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  15. writerguyfl

    writerguyfl DIS Veteran

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    There's a thread for car rental locations here: http://disboards.com/threads/car-rental-locations-for-wdw.2927109/

    But, the summary version is that there are lots of rental car locations in the Disney area. If you're staying at Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort, you have many choices within walking distance.
    • Alamo/National at the Car Care Center (near Magic Kingdom) - If you call at least 1 hour in advance, they will pick you up for free at any Disney Resort.
    • Alamo/National at the Walt Disney World Dolphin (Epcot area)
    • Alamo/National at the Hilton Buena Vista Palace (Disney Springs area)
    • Avis at the Hilton Lake Buena Vista (Disney Springs area)
    • Dollar at the Wyndham Lake Buena (Disney Springs area)
    • Enterprise at the B Resort and Spa (Disney Springs area)
    • Budget at the DoubleTree Suites (Disney Springs area)
    Most of these locations will also pick you up for free, if you arrange it in advance. That said, you can walk to them all from the Congress Park bus stop at Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort. Generally, you should be able to rent from any of these locations and return to the airport without any additional fees.

    I don't own a car, so when I visit WDW from Fort Lauderdale, I usually do a one-way rental in each direction. I've done this easily 20 times in the past several years. I tend to rent mostly from Alamo because they are usually cheapest. (The three Alamo/National locations above are operated by the same people and always have the same prices.) My secondary go-to is Avis. I've rented from Budget once, but never Dollar nor Enterprise.

    Here's a map of the Disney Springs area that you can consult about walking times, if desired. The Congress Park bus stop would be just off the map on the left side, near that little looped road.

    [​IMG]
    Link to Bing Map: https://binged.it/2jpNHfd
     
  16. Annette_C

    Annette_C Mouseketeer

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    Thanks again, writerguyfl!
    One more question about KSC...with the add-on package deal we were originally quoted (the one including RT bus transportation), we would get the "ultimate space experience". If we drive there on our own, can we buy the ultimate space experience tickets there? I know you referenced a couple of ticket options in my thread but I'm not sure if the ultimate space experience is different from what you posted. Thanks!
     
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  17. writerguyfl

    writerguyfl DIS Veteran

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    I don't see "ultimate" in the original description...just "unlimited". I'm 99.99% certain that Gray Line Tours isn't providing anything other than transportation here. They're not offering any unique tours. Everything at Kennedy Space Center (KSC) that you'd get through Gray Line can be purchased direct. Here are the KSC ticket options you can see at their website (click on "tickets"):

    Daily Admission: Required to enter. Priced at $50 for adults, $40 for 3-11. Give you access to the main Visitor Center Complex, including the Space Shuttle Atlantis with Shuttle Launch simulator, IMAX films, Astronaut Encounter (chance to meet an astronaut). KSC bus tour, which takes you to the Saturn V Center (which has various exhibits).
    Lunch with an Astronaut: Optional. Priced at $29.99/$15.99. Longer experience than Astronaut Encounter that includes lunch.
    Specialty Tours: Optional and not recommended for first-time visitors. (The standard tour is more than adequate.) Priced at $25/$19.
    Special Experiences: Optional and not recommended for first-time visitors. More involved half-day tours hosted by astronauts. Priced at $149-199/$139-174.
    VIP Launch Viewing: Only applicable to days with rocket launches.

    KSC website: https://www.kennedyspacecenter.com/

    If you only did the standard daily admission, you'll still have a complete experience and not see all the exhibits. I've never done the Lunch with an Astronaut, so I can't directly comment. But, any time an astronaut is involved, you'll get some amazing stories. You'll get some of that in the (free) Astronaut Encounter. The lunch will just be longer. Whether you want to do the Lunch with an Astronaut is a judgment call.

    The Atlantis exhibit is not-to-be-missed. The pre-show prior to seeing the Shuttle beats anything Disney or Universal does, in my opinion. In the area where the Shuttle is displayed has docents. They are all volunteers that worked directly on the Shuttle program. Once, I asked a question and was rewarded with several fascinating stories from an technician about how they built the Shuttles. They also usually have some small gifts (like souvenir coins) that they hand out of people asking questions. That might be something your daughter might appreciate.
     
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  18. Maistre Gracey

    Maistre Gracey DIS Veteran

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    In short... see the Atlantis exhibit, then take the General bus tour to the Saturn V building. Other stuff is great, but this is my recommended starter point.

    MG
     
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  19. Annette_C

    Annette_C Mouseketeer

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    writerguyfl, like you said, the "ultimate" space experience is not listed on the KSC website that's why I was confused...
    When I go into the Gray Line Orlando website though, it is listed there.
    It says:

    Ultimate Space Experience

    WHY YOU SHOULD GO
    Blast off on the ultimate experience for space enthusiasts at the Kennedy Space Center

    Highlights
    • Explore in style with a Space Pass: admission ticket to Kennedy, astronaut luncheon and up-close bus tour!
    • Ride the Discover KSC bus tour
    • Dine with an astronaut!
    • Learn all there is to know from your professional driver-guide
    • View the Space Shuttle Atlantis up-close
    • Be welcomed to the Kennedy Space Center by an astronaut - Gray Line exclusive
    Inclusions

    • Roundtrip transportation from Orlando, Kissimmee, Disney or Lake Buena Vista meeting points
    • NASA Space Pass, which includes admission ticket, lunch with an astronaut, and Discover KSC Tour
    • Assistance from a driver-guide
    From the description, it looks like Grayline is including the daily admission ticket plus lunch with astronaut in their ultimate package.

    Thanks for the tips, by the way. My daughter is going to be in her glory! She wants to work for NASA some day (she's only 14 now). :)
     
  20. writerguyfl

    writerguyfl DIS Veteran

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    Looks like "Ultimate Space Experience" is just marketing language. The Gray Line package is just transportation with the standard admission and Lunch with an Astronaut.

    And, I'm glad I could help. My mother helped program the rockets on the Apollo Lunar Module, so NASA was always thought of highly in my house growing up. Although, she worked for a contractor (IBM), not NASA.

    Have fun.
     
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  21. Annette_C

    Annette_C Mouseketeer

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    Just wanted to update here since I have received such great advice from everyone, especially writerguyfl. :)
    We decided to rent a car after all but just for the day we'll be going to KSC. The best part is that there is a Budget rental on premises at the Holiday Inn Universal! We'll be staying at the Hyatt next door and it'll be so convenient. No bus to catch and freedom to do what we want!
    Thanks again for all the advice. :thanks:
     
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