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katieo

Anyone done the theme parks in Florida, USA? Which ones and where did you stay?

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Originally planning on a 3 day stop over in Florida, we are now thinking we will need two weeks LOL....

 

Thinking of staying at hawthorn suite universal they have transfers and free breakfast. Reservations were helpful in what they think we should do but what about with children? I got the feeling the person taking the booking was too young to have children.

 

Taking aged 7 and 10.....

 

Opinions most welcome......

Edited by ali

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Guest dragon1970

We did Disneyworld and Busch gardens and also Miami Metrozoo which is brilliant.

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I've been to the parks in 2010 but we didnt stay in one of the nearby hotels. We stayed in a place called southern dunes (if i remember correctly). It was one of those places with the villas were all exactly the same and golfcourse etc. Reminded me of Desperate housewifes or somewhere like that lol.

 

We went to Busch gardens (wasnt that impressed), discovery cove - was quite good but didnt like the dolphin experience and wouldnt do it again. My favourite park was universal studios - its amazing! Unfortunately i was stuck with my OH's bratty 9 year old lol and his sister wouldnt go on anything so i didnt get to see as much as i wanted. Its amazing though, im sure you'll love it! I also managed to sneak a visit to disney land - big kid! Im sure you'll all love that park too

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I was gonna answer, but then read the part about children. I went as an adult with no kids.


Has two beautiful Aussie little girls :-)

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I lived and worked at Disney World,you can pm me if you like.

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I was gonna answer, but then read the part about children. I went as an adult with no kids.

 

I answered but i dont have kids either, im still a big kid lol a woman child haha.

 

You should still answer if you've been, im sure OP would still appreciate park recommendations etc

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Hey, its one of our favourite holiday destinations, I was taken as a 10 year old child many moons ago and the magic has never left me. Been four times since at various stages of life, 18 no kids tagged a bit of a miami adventure on to it. My mum often comes with us now we have kids, have taken all age ranges from the youngest in a pram to teenagers. We have all loved it. The Harry Potter bit of universal was fantastic, we love all of the parks, I particularly like EPCOT. The water parks are also amazing and some of my favourite family memories where captured in a brilliant wave pool in Typhoon Lagoon. So although we have been many times and those who hate theme parks wont be fans, we allow ourselves to be big kids and get right into the magic, even the moody teenager got a picture with Cinderella lol:biggrin:


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Hi Ive stayed at the Hawthorne suites but it was about 5yrs ago! The free breakfast was fantastic & they also did a free drinks hour as well on an evening plus free transport to all the parks! Dont know whether they still do? Weve also stayed in the animal kingdom hotel in disney but I did feel like I had been kidnapped by mickey mouse & actually preferred the none disney hotels.

Weve done all the parks over a period of 15yrs and our favorite is animal kingdom because it is a more managable size.We did enjoy discovery cove and had a swim with the dolphins. Seaworld is also a must & my tip is to book a lunchtime meal with the killer whales & you get a birds eye view of them & the food was great too. Foods generally rubbish in the parks & if you find anything of nutritional value you generally shout eureka!!! things may have changed since we last went in 2009 though.

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A few years ago ... But loved it .... Epcot was my favourite ....

Busch gardens .... Don't forget to visit the hospitality tent were they allow you to sample the Bud range of beers (hope it's still there, lol)

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Seaworld - thats the one i forgot to mention! We paid to swim with the dolphins and you got a pass that got you into seaworld, busch gardens and aquatica aswell as the discovery cove.

 

some of the hotels beside universal studios looked amazing

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We did a week in Florida last February - me, OH and kids 10 and 6. We didn't stay in a hotel though, we stayed in a self catering villa (with a pool) about 20 minutes away from the parks. We booked through Virgin holidays I think it was. I wouldn't worry about the hotel with kids - most places are great with kids and very much set up for them. We went self catering because my kids are fussy eaters but if you're kids eat normally they should be fine.

 

We visited all of the Disney parks and went to Epcot twice. My OH and the kids also went to one of the Disney water parks on one of the warmer days we were there. We also had a day at Kennedy Space Centre. The kids loved pretty much everything. We only did Disney as that was my OH's dream and we were only there a week. Only thing I would say is avoid summer unless you like it very hot and humid. February was lovely - we had one really cold day but the rest of the time was really pleasant. The kids made use of the pool at the villa even though it wasn't heated.


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Well 3 days wont be enough, it will leave you wanting more as well as another holiday after....so 2 weeks definitely a wise choice!

Your kids as well as your self, will love all of disney world, even if 1 of you does not like a part of it, it has the magic to ensure you are ALL entertained. I have to say my daughter and neices loved the water parks (and adults to) think it was called Typhoon Lagoon and universal was great though ran out of time :(.......For a break we drove down to daytona beach for the day not to far, you can drive your car on the beach and even hire sand buggys which are fun. Beach lovely and clean to. We also stayed in a villa not a themed onsite hotel, as felt we needed to relax after the long days. That was lovely lots of space relaxing kids asleep early :).........im sure from all the positive relies on here it helps you more excited have fun x


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Guest dragon1970

Oh yeah, I forgot Seaworld as well. Had a great day there.

 

Seaworld - thats the one i forgot to mention! We paid to swim with the dolphins and you got a pass that got you into seaworld, busch gardens and aquatica aswell as the discovery cove.

 

some of the hotels beside universal studios looked amazing

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A few years ago ... But loved it .... Epcot was my favourite ....

Busch gardens .... Don't forget to visit the hospitality tent were they allow you to sample the Bud range of beers (hope it's still there, lol)

 

Sadly the hospitality tents have gone :-( I remember going in '95 and you could go to the bar at the entrance then the one at the back if the park, then back to the entrance where the staff have changed shifts or forgotten you, then back the back if the park.......... I think you get the picture!!

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Yeah i was going to say that i didnt see any either but i wouldnt of got anywhere near them anyway! This thread is so making me want to go back to florida now

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What are your kids thrill thresholds like katieo? Busch is great for the real thrill seekers, wall to wall roller-coasters but a bit of a trek from Orlando if that's where you're gonna be based, Seaworld is a great mix of rides and family attractions and if you want you can get an Orlando flex ticket that includes both of the Universal parks with it. As you're quite limited on time I'd recommend going for either the flex ticket and just doing the parks on that or go for a Disney world hopper pass that will allow you to skip between the Disney parks. The internal transport at Disney is pretty good and you can move between the parks during the day.

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3 Days! Florida is one of our fave holidays. If that really is all the time you have then it would have to be 'The Disney Parks'. If you went to Universal aswell you would be spreading yourselves too thin. Get a 'hopper pass' which will allow you to skip from park to park. With kids the age of yours I would spend at least one whole day in The Magic Kingdom. Book a character breakfast (this will gain you early entry to the park). Get a map and pre plan your route. A lot of the rides that attract a big queue can be a bit disappointing ie. the speedway and haunted house. Definately include splash mountain and The Peter Pan ride because you won't find a ride like them anywhere else in the world, even at the other Disney parks. Schedule in a parade also, but get there early. Spend the next two days between the three other parks. The rides that stand out for us are:- Epcot (soaring, test track & space ship earth), your kids probably won't appreciate 'The world showcase' I know mine didn't!; The Studios:- The backlot tour, tower of terror, Toy story & Fantasmic (closing show). Animal Kingdom; Dinosaur ride and expedition Everest (if you have to skip one park this is probably the one to consider).

You have to bear in mind though that it can take between 40-50 mins to get to the Magic Kingdom from the parking lot and drop off points, and the same to transfer between parks. The Resort is massive and you'll be absolutely shattered but you will have the time of your lives :biggrin:.


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I am a big Florida fan as my profile pictures shows :-) its me interacting with some teenage killer whales at Seaworld in my opinion a fantastic park that all my kids (i have 6) enjoyed to done extent more than Disney. Disney is mind blowing there is no place like it Magic Kingdom is a must with kids and adults ? We have stayed in a villa when we went with another family and another time stayed on international drive. I drive hotels are good because they generally have free transport to a lot of the parks if you decide not to hire a car. Driving over there is very easy and straightforward. I'm happy to answer any questions PM me

 

Angie


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I dont know how much you could fit in in three days, you'll be exhausted. We felt like we needed another holiday after two weeks lol

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There is Dinosaur World in Plant City, close to Tampa. It`s not an amusement park though but nice for little kids - fossil digs, dino playground and of course life-sized dinos :biggrin:.


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You can't beat staying in one of the Disney hotels


I just want PIO to be a happy place where people are nice to each other and unicorns poop rainbows

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You can't beat staying in one of the Disney hotels

 

I was so desperate to stay in the animal kingdom one lol maybe i'll treat myself someday

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I was so desperate to stay in the animal kingdom one lol maybe i'll treat myself someday

 

 

I worked at Disney World and the Disney resorts and hotels are pretty fantastic. They actually do have some budget ones which are more affordable and yet still have all the Disney (being on property) perks attached. I was lucky because on my days off all the parks were my playground ( unlimited entry for Disney employees).

Edited by Sammy1

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I worked at Disney World and the Disney resorts and hotels are pretty fantastic. They actually do have some budget ones which are more affordable and yet still have all the Disney (being on property) perks attached. I was lucky because on my days off all the parks were my playground ( unlimited entry for Disney employees).

 

Wish you still worked there lol i'd be sucking upto you the now! You know camp america etc? Well theres a thing where if you can find a american employer to sponsor you for the summer if your a student, i'll try my luck with disney lol

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Wish you still worked there lol i'd be sucking upto you the now! You know camp america etc? Well theres a thing where if you can find a american employer to sponsor you for the summer if your a student, i'll try my luck with disney lol

 

Disney run a number of international programs, some for students for just a summer term, some for six months and longer ones that last for a year or more. The international cultural rep program does not require you to be a student. Disney arrange all the work visas.

 

I also did Camp America for three years (summers) when I was a student - fun!

 

If you want any info regarding the Disney programs, then please pm me and I can point you in the best direction. I had the time of life there and it was the best experience ever. They arrange all the accommodation and you live in an apartment complex with many other nationalities from around the world. Gym on site,spa's and swimming pools and they even transport you into work. Most of the participants are from the age of 18 up to 30. I would say the average age was around 22 and 23.

 

I worked at EPCOT and loved it. I still have many friends still there and really, it created a life time of memories and opportunities as I then went on to live and work for another company in Miami.

Edited by Sammy1

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