What is Most cost effective way to do Orlando?

Discussion in 'UK Trip Planning Forum' started by Natman, Oct 19, 2009.

  1. Natman

    Natman Earning My Ears

    Oct 19, 2009
    Hi all,

    We are going to Orlando, Florida in March 2010.
    We don't have piles of money but obviously as this is a once in a lifetime trip we want to see and do as much as possible.

    My family is: 2 adults and 2 children aged 7 and 4

    My wife wants to do the Dolphin swim at Discovery cove so we will probably all want to do that. Does anyone know how strict they are on the Childrens age for the swim? My daughter is only 4 but wants to do it?

    From what I have seen the Dicovery cove Ultimate ticket is our best bet as it gives us 14 days entry to Seaworld, Busch gardens and Aquatica too. does anyone know the best place to get those tickets?

    We also want to do Universal which seems to be very reasonably priced for a 14 day ticket.

    Of course we can;t go to Orlando with two children and not do any disney. So are we best just getting a day pass while we are there? If so anybody know the cost for a family of 4?

    If anyone knows or has some recommendations as to the best way for us to plan our trip or get promotional codes for the above attractions please let us know.

  2. ~Piglet~

    ~Piglet~ DIS Veteran

    Feb 21, 2005
    Welcome to the Boards :wave2:

    My suggestion would be to have a chat with your family and write down all the places you would definitely like to visit and use that as a starting point. There are a lot of things to do in Orlando and to try and fit them all into two weeks (and enjoy it all) would be difficult.

    Discovery Cove is a nice experience, but if I were paying admission for four I would probably wait until DD is old enough to do the dolphin swim too.

    We went in 2005 for our 'once in a lifetime' trip, and are busy planning for 2010 - once you've been you'll want to go back :goodvibes

    Happy Planning :)
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  4. Mrs Doubtfire

    Mrs Doubtfire DIS Veteran

    Feb 27, 2006
    Hi Natman and :welcome:

    A lot of people on here book there holidays separately as you can usually make quite a saving on the cost of a package deal - if you don't feel too daunted by it all :)

    As Piglet said - you will have a lot to fit in if you plan to do DC, SW, BG, Universal and WDW!! I also see that you were thinking of buying a 1 day pass to WDW & wondered if you only planned on going to MK for 1 day and missing the other parks?

    At 4 & 7 I would prefer more days at WDW with the kids than Universal - but others would disagree I'm sure.

    Have you tried pricing up flights to get an idea of cost yet?

    Also Pegasus normally updates his table with the cost of tickets to all the parks each week - but he's currently having a great time over there. If you look out for his post it will give you a good idea of the best places to buy.
  5. penlanspice

    penlanspice Addicted 2 disney

    Mar 3, 2002

    I would do as Piglet suggests and really have a good look through the parks to see where you would spend most of your time, one day at Disney? really? Disney alone could take up 2 weeks holiday, the ages your children are I would leave Universal as they would be too small for most things there, same as bush gardens.
    For my fist trip personally I would do Disney and Seaworld, the parks are massive and usually need 2 days at each park especially with small children.
  6. Cyrano

    Cyrano DIS Veteran

    Oct 23, 2004
    Welcome to the DIS. Let me just say that you might be surprised but I doubt this will be your only visit :goodvibes
  7. Kath2003

    Kath2003 DIS Veteran

    Feb 13, 2006
    Disney is EXPENSIVE. A one-park, one-day ticket is $84 for an adult, and $73 for a child: $314 for the day (currently ~£200). You'd actually be better off doing Disney to the full and buying a better-value/longer-use ticket.

    Discovery Cove isn't cheap. Worth it, but not cheap.

    You really need to decide on which parks you want to do because that will determine a large portion of the rest of your holiday (where will you stay, how will you get around etc.).
  8. Tinks1984

    Tinks1984 <font color=red>We're having a mini party!<br><fon

    Mar 17, 2007
    Children must be at least 6 years old to swim with the dolphins at Discovery Cove.

    As others have mentioned, you may wish to consider doing Disney (maybe on a 7 day ticket, purchased from the UK, as they more often than not work out cheaper than buying them whilst over in the U.S.) and then do Sea World and a day or two at Universal Studios.

    Your children are at good ages to enjoy Disney more I do believe, once there they won't mind that they're not fitting ever other park into one trip, they'll be far too excited about Disney :goodvibes

    And as others have said...it more than likely won't be your last trip. My parents said that to my Brother and me back in 1993 - I've been back 3 times since, 4th trip next May! :rotfl2:

    Stick around the boards too, there's tons of great advice here every day, without these boards, I'd have missed lots of little bits of magic that I found whilst out there last April! :thumbsup2
  9. torsie24

    torsie24 Mummy to a perfect princess.

    May 14, 2008
    We are big Disney fans and have just got back from a 2 week trip to WDW.

    We left Disney property once in 14 days (for one day at Universal) and STILL didn;t do all Disney has to offer. And we don;t have kids so we didn;t have to contend with all the super popular Fantasyland rides and chracter meet and greet lines.

    Personally if I was taking a 4 & 7 year old (and remember, I love Disney) I would have 2 weeks at just Disney, with maybe a day out for DC and SW if it's on your must do list.

    A 2 week Disney tickets is only a fraction more than a one week one, and you are getting 4 theme parks and 2 water parks included in that (all of which are perfect for kids of 4 and 7). If you start adding on SW,DC,US, IOA and BG then you are looking at a LOT more money!
  10. loobylou44

    loobylou44 Mouseketeer

    Mar 26, 2009
    Hi and Welcome
    The first time we went to Florida our children were 7 and 9 and we just did Disney parks and had a fantastic time, so I agree with many of the PP's and I would leave Universal this time. If you try to do all the parks you won't have any down time and you will all be shattered!
    Whatever you decide to do you will have an amazing time and I am positive you will want to go back!
  11. catherine

    catherine <font color=red>Hey not fair, you guys already hav

    Aug 27, 2000
    First of all let me say welcome to the DIS :welcome:

    As others have said I would plan on spending a significant part of the vacation at the WDW parks. Perhaps have a day at Sea World (if you get a one day ticket you can get an extra day free). Your DD is not old enough to swim with the dolphins, so that would mean that only one of you would be able to swim with your 7 year old. I would wait until your DD is old enough before doing this.

    Whatever you decide to do I'm sure that you'll all have a wonderful time! :goodvibes
  12. Dimplenose

    Dimplenose Stranger from the outside

    Apr 2, 2002
    We had our first "once in a lifetime" trip when my children were 4 and 7. We stayed on-site at All Star Sports and apart from one day at Universal we just did Disney. The kids thought Universal OK but at that age much preferred the 4 disney parks, the water parks, crazy golf, character meals etc.

    We've had 4 trips to Florida over the past 11 years and have never needed more than 2 days at Universal. We've visited Busch Gardens once and never been to Seaworld. The Disney tickets might look expensive but we have certainly had our money's worth on each trip.
  13. torsie24

    torsie24 Mummy to a perfect princess.

    May 14, 2008
    I think in a funny way, if you were to do "as much as possible" although you'd see loads it would not be half as good a trip as if you were to see less but at a more relaxed pace.

    If you go with the aim to 'see as much as possible' you'll end up with tired, upset kids, sore legs and cursing your alarm that'll no doubt be going off every morning so you can do as much as possible the next day.
  14. mitchfishguard

    mitchfishguard Mouseketeer

    Jul 11, 2009
    got to agree with mrs doubtfire. disney is the place for 7 and 4 year olds (and you too). discovery cove is not what i would do. the price of a long-visit disney ticket far outweighs the single visit. universal do good deals on re-entry as do seaworld. go to their sites and see for yourself. however, do what YOU think is right. but take the tips about disney!!!!!!!!
  15. igk

    igk DIS Veteran

    Aug 25, 2003
    Hello and welcome!
    You'll probably think everyone is biased in favour of Disney on these boards, but even so I'll add my name to the list of those advising you to consider more time at Disney World, particularly with your children the ages they are.
    The last five times I have been to Orlando we haven't been anywhere other than WDW (apart from mini-golf one afternoon!), not because the other attrations aren't any good, but because there wouldn't have been time to do everything so we had to make a choice.
    It's REALLY expensive to just go to WDW for one day - and you'll not even skim the surface of what's on offer. The cost per day goes down greatly beyond 3 days. (To be fair though, that pricing policy is designed precisely in order to keep you at WDW and discourage you from going elsewhere.)
    I don't know - I'm sure you'd have a great time doing Discovery/Universal/Busch etc. but if anything I think you'd be better off not going to WDW at all than going for just one day. :confused3
  16. 2Tiggies

    2Tiggies Near to Tigger's House

    Sep 21, 2009
    I am also a big Disney fan so I won't be repetitive....

    If you would really like to spend some time at Universal, then do it. I think everyone here seems to have kids and has recognised that kids at the age yours are, will have a much better time at Disney. If you went again in 3 years or so, I suspect that could very well change somewhat. We go for 2 weeks at a time and always plan to get out and spend some days doing other things - never done it (apart from a bit of shopping at a mall before racing back for the fireworks!).

    Having said that, as other posters have said, it is not cost effective to do Disney short term. Anything less than 5-7 days is a waste and as a first visit, I would give it at least a week. It works out cheaper for your park tickets that way. You could always do one week at Disney and one week at Universal. I know that what I like doesn't necessarily suit everyone else.

    Whatever you decide, have a great time planning and keep us up to date!

    By the way, welcome! (I meant to say that first - My manners are appalling today).
  17. WiganTony

    WiganTony DIS Veteran

    Nov 23, 2007
    Hi and welcome,

    If you are still considering Discovery Cove and the ticket giving admission to SW, BG and Aquatica, this will account for at least 4 days of your holiday.

    I would concur with the note above that perhaps your children may be too young to take advantage of most of the rides at Universal (we didn't visit US until this year when DD was 11), so I would suggest considering perhaps purchasing a 10 day Magic Your Way base ticket giving 10 days admission to Disney theme parks (but not allowing you to hop between parks). This would cost in the region of $240, which when compared against the cost of a couple of single day admissions (circa $80/day) looks a bargain.

    If you wanted to visit the Disney water parks, you can add this option for approx $50, but if you already have Aquatica with a DC ticket, may be better saving yourselves $200.

    With the above tickets, you could as well have a few half days chilling out at Aquatica, followed by the remainder of the day at a Disney Theme park (or an evening to view fireworks) - this would avoid the children becoming too tired.

  18. stubb

    stubb Mouseketeer

    Dec 4, 2002
    you will find these boards really helpful and friendly.A holiday in Florida is fantastic but it is not like your regular package trip you do need to do a fair bit of homework and as for once in a life time.....
    Your children are at such a lovely age to go. We did dc for the first time last year 4 did the swim 2 did the non swim and yes it was a fab day but very expensive and i think you would be better to spend the money on the disney tickets.
    Enjoy the homework but the boards are very adictive
  19. madmumof2

    madmumof2 DIS Veteran

    Jun 6, 2008
    I'm here now and I'm coming to the end of my 2 week holiday (go home friday night!) and I can only say what we've done. My children are at a similar age to yours, 6 and nearly 4. We've managed to do all the disney parks and Typhoon lagoon in 1 day (each), bar Magic Kingdom when we left at 4pm.

    We have also done both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure in the same day, leaving about 4pm again, and Seaworld where we left at 2pm! We've done a day at Clearwater on a dolphin cruise and today have spent the day on I drive doing some shopping and some attractions there.

    All this I've managed on my own and we've pretty much had every afternoon free to chill out by the pool which has worked out perfectly for us. The kids have gone on all the rides and shows they have been able to get on (height wise) so we've left nothing out that could have been done.

    Universal was good, but the fact that we did both parks before 4pm shows how many rides they got on. All the rides you can go on with no height restrictions we did, and there aren't many. I love Universal and was longing to ride some of my favourite ones, but I would go with the majority and say leave it until the kids can go on more.

    The only reason the day was a huge success was because we had breakfast with Spiderman, and I'm sorry to all the disney lovers, but he was by far the best character we've met. The interaction and time spent (caught him hiding before we were allowed in and he chatted to us, then came round the tables twice too) was just fantastic.

    So it is possible to do everything you want to do if you plan it right and still get a lot of relaxing time (which is essential by the way!) but it has taken a LOT of planning on my part, and sneakily steering the kids away from the rides they couldn't go on lol.

    I've really enjoyed my holiday and wouldn't have done it any differently. As long as you take into account sleepy children and tired legs, and make sure you have plenty of rest, not just rest days but a fair amount of time per day to chill for a bit, you'll be fine.

    And planning is half the fun too!!
  20. irongirlof12

    irongirlof12 <font color=blue><marquee>Am I the only one who lo

    Nov 3, 2006
    I think the less you try to fit into your 1st trip the better, otherwise you can burn out and not enjoy the relaxed way of florida life.

    We won't take DD12 and DD7 to Universal until they are older as they are a bit anxious about 'big' rides and I don't want them to feel they can't do a lot on holiday.

    A good guide book will help you to decide.

    we went to discovery cove with our young 'um and they definatley will not allow them to swim under age. They will let all of your party into the water to stroke and have group piccies, but that is very time limited. Personally i would leave that until they are older to remeber it, or go elsewhere.

    Happy planning, whatever you do will be the best holiday ever!

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