Little kids activities in Orlando?

Old Sep 22nd, 2004, 10:04 PM
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Little kids activities in Orlando?

We will be visiting friends in Orlando mid-October for 2 days. They are very new to FL and still learning the ropes. My friend has researched some attractions for our 4 and 5 year olds and I'm wondering what the wise Fodorians think of these places?

We will probably pass on Disney until the kids are older. My son is not "branded" on Disney yet and their kid has already been a million times. Plus I have the feeling I would be looking longingly at some many things thinking "if only the kids weren't here!" So we want to do fun kids stuff.

SeaWorld got 5 stars in my friend's "Guide to Florida with Kids" book. I'm really leaning towards that for one day.

What about--

Gartorland?
Orlando Science Center?
Wonderworks?
Silver Springs?
Old Town?
Boggy Creek Airboat Rides?
Arabian Nights Dinner?
Downtown Disney? (When do they set up the ice rink)?

Thanks in advance for the advice!

Codysmom is offline  
Old Sep 23rd, 2004, 10:55 AM
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I can only comment on two items on your list. We loved SeaWorld--the shows were the best part, IMHO; and the kids loved being able to feed and pet the dolphins. It's very clean and the food was much better than in any theme park I've ever visited.
Downtown Disney is always good for one night. The Lego Store is great, there's a huge toy store and the largest (I think?) Disney store in the world. Don't miss getting a sundae at the Ghiradhelli (sp?) ice cream parlor. I don't know about the ice rink (?), but it certainly wasn't there when I visited in October or March.

You didn't sound completely convinced to pass on Disney, so let me offer our experience. My kids have been twice. The first time, one was 3 years old and the other was 11 months. The second time, they were 6, 4, and an 18-month-old. They are definitely not branded on Disney (they watch the movies occassionally, but they're not usually the first choice). I will admit my oldest was a big Buzz fan the first time he went, however. But they love the parks so much. If you use the switching off method (one parent waits to the side with the kids while the other rides, then switch without waiting in line again), then you'll be able to do everything. On our last visit, my 6-year-old was tall enough for every ride, and my 4-year-old only missed 2 or 3 rides per park. At Magic Kingdom, your kids would be able to ride the vast majority of the rides, and FantasyLand is completely geared toward kids their age. And mid-October is a fabulous time to visit the parks. It's one of the least crowded times of the year (as long as it's not Columbus Day weekend). Animal Kingdom is also a great choice if you only have one day. The kids love the animals (as do many adults), great rides, and you can see everything in one day.

Not to sound cliche, but there is a certain magic when you experience Disney through a young child's eye. Kids will have fun there at any age, but the wonder and awe that they experience when they're little....just consider it.

Whatever you decide to do, have a great trip!
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Old Sep 23rd, 2004, 12:39 PM
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I think SeaWorld is a great theme park to visit and it will take an entire day so be prepared.

Gatorland is hokey and a bit run down. We drove by it on a trip when my daughter was 4 with the intentions of stopping and visiting. We pulled into the parking lot, looked at each other and she said "Let's get out of here".

Old Town is a shopping area. Not much to do there.

If your children are sensitive to noise, then you may want to reconsider the airboat rides. Think of the noise of a lawnmower and then multiply it by 1000. That's the sound of an airboat ride. They are fun but no one can hear for about an hour after.

I've never heard of an ice rink at Downtown Disney. I agree with the previous poster, the Lego stuff is lots of fun but remember it is a shopping area.

I would reconsider Disney and concentrate on the Magic Kingdom. Your children are actually at a perfect age for that park. My daughter went when she turned 3 and has been back 3 times since and each time speaks fondly of "the first time" she saw the castle, the Dumbo ride, the Treehouse, etc.

It really is fun with small children.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2004, 12:56 PM
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Having taken children the same age to Orlando, "ditto" the other posters. Seaworld is great for 1 of your 2 days.

Your kids are the perfect age for the Magic Kingdom. MK is truly magical for kids at that age. Your kids don't need to know anything about any Disney stories or characters to have a great time. My boys had no idea who those princesses were. I promise that you won't wish that your children weren't there. You will delight in seeing your children have so much fun. There is no comparison between MK and any of the other places on your list. Capecodnative's descriptions are right on target.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2004, 05:40 PM
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Okay I'm sold! You guys give great advice. I can only assume there is a big difference to Disneyland here in CA. If we do Seaworld and MK, which one should we do on our "short" day, the day we need to be at the airport after 6 p.m?

Thanks!
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Old Sep 23rd, 2004, 07:00 PM
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A lot of little kids will be very happy with a nice swimming pool designed for children. You can just hang around a hotel for a good part of a day.

Plus another vote for Disney World.

BAK

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Old Sep 23rd, 2004, 09:49 PM
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Message: Codysmom--I would choose SeaWorld for the shorter day. If you're there for park opening, you should easily manage to see all four major shows and all major attractions by 5. There are only two major rides (a rollercoaster they'll be too small for and a water flume ride that has a 42" height min.) and one minor helicopter simulator ride that I read wasn't worth it if the wait exceeded 10 min., which it did.

MK on the other hand requires at least one full day. In March, we spent a 12-hour day and an 8-hour day there. But when we went in late October, we did just about every ride in the park in a day and a half, and that included riding Buzz Lightyear about a dozen times (warning, your kids will become addicted, and you may as well!), seeing a couple of parades, and not rushing. Seeing that you're visiting at one of the slower times, you should be able to accomplish most rides in one full day. Check times on one of the Disney sites, however, before you leave. Disney can close anywhere from 7 to midnight at that time of the year, so plan accordingly. Have a great time!
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