Orlando area with 18mo old

Dec 10th, 2009, 04:40 AM
  #1  
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Orlando area with 18mo old

Hi all,

I know there are about one million posts about orlando -- but here's another.
I am here in The Villages (a retirement community about an hour north of Orlando) visiting my parents with my 18mo old son.

We need some daytrip activities to do with him! Of course there's Disney -- but its SO EXPENSIVE!! Its still an option, but we are looking for alternatives. We've also thought of Seaworld, which I think he'll like -- but again expensive.

So far we've been to the Tampa zoo, which he loved. Any other great daytrip ideas for such a young one would be so so appreciated!! Thanks!!
steviegene is offline  
Dec 10th, 2009, 05:24 AM
  #2  
 
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It's been a long time since I was 18 months old, but I honestly believe that Disney would not be appreciated by that young of a child and that it would be better to wait until he is older. Others may disagree, but I think it would be overwhelming for someone that young.

One possibility is the Central Florida Zoo in Sanford - not that far from The Villages.
http://www.centralfloridazoo.org/

Another is Green Meadows Petting Farm in Kissimmee - a little longer drive, but doable as a 1-day trip.
http://www.greenmeadowsfarm.com/

Close by in Kissimmee is Gatorland.
http://www.gatorland.com/

What do you think?
Orlando_Vic is offline  
Dec 10th, 2009, 05:54 AM
  #3  
 
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Several things you can do on Disney property without paying for park admission:

Visit the Downtown Disney shopping/dining/entertainment area. Play with Legos (and watch the other kids do so) at the big Lego store. Play in the fountain near the big toy store. Get a free piece of Ghirardelli's chocolate when you walk into their store. Ride the boat that shuttles you from one side of the complex to the other. Or even ride the boat that goes up to the Port Orleans resort, wander around that resort, and come back. Eat at the Irish pub, particularly if they have live music on.

Visit the resorts in the Boardwalk area (Swan/Dolphin, Yacht Club/Beach Club. Wander the path around the lake (or do part walking and part riding the boats that run between Epcot and MGM and stop at all of the resorts in between). Take in some street entertainment and boardwalk games (generally in the evening). Have some ice cream at Beaches and Cream in the Beach Club.

Visit the Animal Kingdom resort. See the African art displays in the lobby, and wander to the animal viewing areas to see giraffes and other animals.

Visit the Wilderness Lodge resort. Sit by the fire in the enormous lobby. Follow the spring in the lobby outside and down the falls into the swimming pool. See the geyser erupt. Walk the path over to Fort Wilderness campground. Visit the petting zoo. In the evenings, go to the campfire program and open-air movie show. Ride the boat shuttle back to the Wilderness Lodge.

Visit the Polynesian Resort. Take the monorail or walk over to the Grand Floridian Resort and check out the lobby (which often has live music). Take the monorail over to the Contemporary Resort. Time your visit in the evening to take in the Electrical Water Pageant on Bay Lake, then watch the Magic Kingdom fireworks from the fourth floor balcony of the Contemporary Resort (with the music from the show piped in). Walk over to the Magic Kingdom entrance and take the boat shuttle back to the Polynesian Resort. (Note you can also watch the Electrical Water Pageant and Magic Kingdom fireworks from the beach at the Polynesian Resort).
DancingBearMD is offline  
Dec 10th, 2009, 05:55 AM
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And this time of year, all of the above resorts are decorated for Christmas, particularly the Grand Floridian, Wilderness Lodge, and the Boardwalk.
DancingBearMD is offline  
Dec 10th, 2009, 06:30 AM
  #5  
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Wow! Great great suggestions!

Do you know when the water pageant and fireworks start/end?
steviegene is offline  
Dec 10th, 2009, 08:14 AM
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Just a word of caution. You might have to be on the hotel's reservation list (room or restaurant) in order to get in. Try to check this out in advance.
Orlando_Vic is offline  
Dec 10th, 2009, 01:10 PM
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Parking at Downtown Disney is open to the public. Can get crowded--we park in the less crowded lot all the way behind the Cirque du Soleil "tent", there is a boat shuttle stop right there that can take you to the "West Side" (or bring you back from the West Side if you choose to walk over there).

As for parking at the resorts, generally you can just tell them you're eating there, or just looking around (at the Christmas decorations, etc.). This is particularly true at the Boardwalk, because they have places like the ESPN Club you might just be dropping in to see. If you're worried, you could make a reservation online (http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining/) or by phone at the resort--no penalties for not keeping reservations (unless they ask for your credit card, as for Victoria and Albert's at the Grand Floridian.

Water Pageant schedule is on this page (but ask at the resort to verify: http://allears.net/tp/ewp.htm

Fireworks at Magic Kingdom vary night to night, you can check here and click on the particular day to see the schedule for the "regular" fireworks: http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/par...gdom/calendar/

This time of year there are lots of nights where Magic Kingdom closes early (like 7 p.m.) and reopens for "Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party", a separately ticketed event. There aren't the regular fireworks on those nights, but there are fireworks in conjunction with the Party. You'd probably have to call Disney (or stop at the Guest Services desk at any of the Resorts or at Downtown Disney) to find out when those happen.

You can also see some of the Epcot fireworks (Illuminations, starts at 9:30 this time of year), watch from the bridge between the ESPN Club at the Boardwalk and the Beach Club resort) and Studios fireworks (Fantasmic, times vary, not sure of a solid viewing point, although they will be to the right of the Tower of Terror) from the Boardwalk area described earlier.
DancingBearMD is offline  
Dec 10th, 2009, 01:15 PM
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From allears.net:

DOWNTOWN DISNEY

Festival of the Seasons at Downtown Disney: There are enough toys to fill up Santa's sleigh at stores such as Once Upon a Toy, World of Disney, Team Mickey Athletic Club and LEGO Imagination Center. Guests can finish their holiday shopping at this one-stop mecca featuring something for everyone on their list – Tren-D, the newest designer boutique; Basin bath and body shop; Arribas Brothers; Disney's Days of Christmas holiday shop; Fuego by Sosa Cigars and more -- and enjoy the dazzling light display and holiday decor that adorns the Downtown Disney streets November 17-December 24.

And at Downtown Disney Marketplace, guests can meet Santa himself November 17-26 from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. and November 27-December 24 from noon to 10 p.m. (subject to change).
DancingBearMD is offline  
Dec 10th, 2009, 01:18 PM
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A report on the MVMCP on allears.net says:

Castle Lighting Ceremony

"At 6:30 each evening, Cinderella Castle is transformed into a sparkling wonder. Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald, Cinderella and her prince and fairy godmother work their magic to bring thousands of twinkling lights to life. This show is available to all guests, not just those attending MVMCP. The show is short, only about eight minutes long."

This is really cool, and I'm sure would be visible from the Polynesian Resort beach. And:

"At 9:30 each evening, the "Holiday Wishes - Celebrate the Spirit of the Season" fireworks show is presented."

http://land.allears.net/blogs/jacksp...stmas_p_3.html
DancingBearMD is offline  
Dec 10th, 2009, 01:21 PM
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I should also mention that there is a stage at Downtown Disney, near the World of Disney store, that has pretty much continuous performances, from kids groups and such, in the evenings, this time of year.
DancingBearMD is offline  
Dec 11th, 2009, 03:07 AM
  #11  
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Wow! Everyone thanks for all the information!
We will have to miss the fireworks this time -- as little one's bedtime is at 7. But all the other activites sound great.

We're absolutely going to do the "free" disney tour on Sunday or Monday -- as rain is predicted here the next few days (so any suggestions for indoor activities for tomorrow would be appreciated too!)

Thanks again all!!!!
steviegene is offline  
Dec 13th, 2009, 02:51 PM
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Just wanted to update...
We went to the Central Florida Zoo today and had a really nice time. Its a really small zoo, but they have some monkeys, big cats and elephants. Its very walkable and child-friendly. There was even a little mini-"waterpark" with fountains for the little one to walk through and splash in (it was a big hit). There was also a mini-train and carousel to ride on. All in all a really nice time. The zoo is actually perfect for a small kid, because its not too overwhelming and can be "done" in only a couple hours.
Thanks for the recommendation !! We're going to Disney tomorrow.
steviegene is offline  
Dec 15th, 2009, 08:13 AM
  #13  
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Another update --
Went to Downtown Disney yesterday and really had a nice time. It was my mom's birthday so we seriously considered doing Magic Kingdom since she got in free... but we decided not to.
Downtown Disney was a good choice for us. The little one was fascinated with the big balloon and the boatride and all the activity. We also put him on the carousel and little choo-choo train. Finally we let him play in the fountain -- which was a HUGE hit. He really didn't want to leave.

Our only regret about downtown was lunch. We waited in line FOREVER at Wolfgang Puck -- and later we found all the restaurants on the river on the opposite side of the park. So we really didn't know about them - but wish we had it woud have been nicer. But oh well, other than that it was a really nice day.
steviegene is offline  
Dec 15th, 2009, 09:38 AM
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steviegene: Thanks for reporting back and having a successful visit!!
MichelleY is offline  
Dec 15th, 2009, 01:27 PM
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Glad you had a good time!
DancingBearMD is offline  
Dec 15th, 2009, 03:02 PM
  #16  
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Heading home tomorrow
Thanks again for everyone's great suggestions!
steviegene is offline  
Feb 24th, 2010, 08:34 AM
  #17  
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Back in Florida again this week!
Of course, its supposed to be bad weather the next few days (or at least too cold for my snowbird mom to be outside). Any brilliant suggestions for fun indoor activities for an 18mo old in the Orlando or Tampa area? We have 2 days to fill -- thanks so much in advance!!
steviegene is offline  
Feb 24th, 2010, 01:28 PM
  #18  
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anyone? Its supposed to be 30 degree windchill tomorrow!
steviegene is offline  
Feb 24th, 2010, 04:12 PM
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hey, we're here this cold week too and we have a 2+ year old ... we're about 1 hour north of tampa along the coast and these items below are all within 15-20 minutes of us:
a big hit, and cheap was the butterfly place ($7 per person) in homossasa (http://www.homosassabutterfly.com/) - they let u release a live butterfly into their free butterfly area ... and it's 3 milse south of the homossasa water park and 10 miles north of the weeki wachee mermaid show.
have fun!
lilipad is offline  

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