orlando questions....

Jun 15th, 2006, 07:21 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 43
orlando questions....

I asked several questions a couple weeks ago and really appreciate the responses. Me, my Mom, my 6 year old son and 11 year old niece are leaving Saturday to start our first Florida trip without my Dad (he used to always drive us and this is a little scary going on our own - my dad passed away 3 years ago). Anyway, I just now reserved our room - it is the Holiday Inn on International Drive in Orlando - we are staying 6 nights. Ok - here is our itinerary -

1) Sunday we are resting and shopping, playing in the pool, etc. Does anyone have any reviews for this hotel??? Most of the reviews I've read are fine. This motel is very close to Universal Studios.

2) Monday - Animal Kingdom - **major question - I know they have a shuttle to disney - I don't know how often they come back to get you. Does anyone know how often shuttles generally run because we always like to take a break in the middle and hottest part of the day to go back to the motel - we don't mind paying for the shuttle again - we just don't know how often it runs. **Any advice on this park??

3) Tuesday - Magic Kingdom (we've been here many times so I don't really have any questions about the park).

4) Wednesday - we are resting on this day - **question - how close is the shopping and can we make it there and back? My mom and I couldn't find our way out of a wet paper bag. Also would like to take the kids to Medieval Times restaurant - I'm not sure how close this is and we can take a taxi if there is a chance of us getting lost. Any advice??

5) Thursday - Universal Studios - I know this is the closest park and within walking distance and this will be our last day. Should we walk or take the shuttle??? Also we decided to do Universal instead of Islands of Adventure. Do you agree with this choice? I've been there once and really liked it but I think the kids might like IOA better - **what would you do??

6) Friday - we are checking out and heading up toward St. Augustine - I have no idea how long of a drive this is - I'll check mapquest but any advice you guys have will be very much appreciated. **We would like to stop at the beach the afternoon/evening and just look for seashells.

That's it - we'll be heading on back home and plan to be home sometime Saturday. We live in southern WV by the way and it's about 725 miles to Orlando. I'm sorry this post is so long but we are very nervous as we always depended on my dad and he could drive anywhere...........
mrrockydog is offline  
Jun 15th, 2006, 07:27 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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The hotel you're staying at will probably know when the return shuttles to/from Animal Kingdom run.

There's a great bus/trolley service called I-Drive Trolley, that costs little more than $1/day per person. It runs pretty much the lenght of International Drive with other routes as well.

Enjoy your trip.
rb_travelerxATyahoo is offline  
Jun 15th, 2006, 07:53 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
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I think you will need to shuttle between your hotel and Universal Studios, it would be a long walk, at least a mile maybe a little longer.
I think the kids would like IOA better than Universal Studios, more kid stuff, in my opinion.
Not sure what kind of shopping you want but at the end of International Drive there are outlet malls and stores, and about 5 miles away is Florida Mall, a huge shopping mall. You can catch the city bus(Lynx) #42 from International Dr and get there. They should have schedules on the bus.
St. Augustine is about a 2-2 1/2 hour drive from Orlando.
Medieval Times is in Kissimmee, south of I Drive. Quite a ways in a taxi.
But there are plenty of fun restaurants on I Dr. Hope this helps and welcome to Orlando.
MarthaT is offline  
Jun 15th, 2006, 09:00 AM
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Universal is probably better than Islands of Adventurer for younger kids. The 6 yr. old may be too small for many of the rides at Island of Ad.
MFNYC is offline  
Jun 15th, 2006, 09:18 AM
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You've received some good replies, so I will just add to the consensus that Universal Studios is a waste of time --unless you enjoy 3-D experience rides featuring movies that came out more than 10 years ago. That's pretty much all this park has to offer - I'm amazed it's even still open.

IOA has great rides, great little stores and *much* better restaurants. I believe your family will have a much better time there.

As for Animal Kingdom -- that's a judgement call. We didn't enjoy it that much. It feels very small and annoyingly crowded -- even on slow days. The trails to the various exhibits are narrow and hard to navigate -- seemed like we were always having to squeeze our way in around an explosion of baby strollers, etc. But our 16 y/o DD loved it. She split up and went with a group of friends and they had a good time photographing the animals and riding the roller coaster, etc.

Hope you enjoy your vacation!
Brookside is offline  
Jun 15th, 2006, 09:19 AM
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Here's some info on height limits.
MFNYC is offline  
Jun 15th, 2006, 09:20 AM
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Check the open/close times to Animal Kingdom as they tend to close much earlier than other parks (closed at 7 when we were there a few weeks ago). The park was close to deserted the last couple hours. I don't know if you'd have time to take a mid-day break all the way back at your hotel during your AK day. You might just want to either arrive at the park before it opens and stay until you poop out, or arrive a little later hoping that the park will be less crowded at the end of the day. We did a safari first thing in the morning and then the last safari of the evening and saw different things on both trips.

St. Augustine is about two hours from Orlando, depending on traffic.

You'll want to take a shuttle or drive from your hotel to Universal ($10 parking).

If you drive to Disney, prepare to get lost once you get inside WDW -- we were there three days and got turned around when we were leaving three different times. Once you're in the park they only seem to have directional markers to I-4, and we didn't arrive via I-4 and were looking for another highway. There aren't a whole lot of landmarks inside Disney -- the roads are all tree-lined and look similar.

But don't be afraid to drive. You don't have to take the Interstate from your hotel to Disney. Get a good map from one of the tourist books or from the front desk of your hotel and highlight the routes you want to take. Your niece may enjoy helping you navigate with the map.

Both IOA and US have a variety of rides and attractions. It's been a long time since I was at US, but we just went to IOA for the first time on this trip. I think you and the kids would enjoy IOA. Your 6yo would LOVE the Spiderman ride, I think. And I thought Poseidon's Fury was really cool. It's not a ride, it's kind of like a show (there is no singing or dancing!)

Have a great time! I loved Animal Kingdom. I think it's my favorite Disney park.
xrae is offline  
Jun 15th, 2006, 09:35 AM
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I agree with the suggestions given by the previous posters. It seems like you have done a very good job of planning your trip.

I also like the idea of a free day Wednesday with nothing much to do. Visiting the theme parks with temps consistently in the 90's, high humidity and the beginning of our summer rainy season, visiting the parks can be physically demanding. (Be sure to bring small, collapsable unbrellas with you. Many summertime visitors to central Florida do not anticipate our almost-daily, afternoon thunderstorms. If you have to buy them or lightweight, plastic ponchos at the parks, you will pay $$$.)

The shopping outlets at the north end of I-Drive are very close and easy to visit from where you are staying.

You will like St. Augustine! As MarthaT mentioned, it is 2-2 1/2 hours away. Just take I-4 to I-95 in Daytona and go north another 45-50 minutes and exit at State Road 207. The historic district is just a few miles to the East. BTW, there is so much to see here, why don't you consider spending the night here and continuing on home the next day (Sunday)?

Anyway, have a great trip!
Orlando_Vic is offline  
Jun 15th, 2006, 09:35 AM
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First of all, remember: comfortable shoes, sunscreen, and lots of water.

Yes, call your hotel to find out about their shuttle.

Animal Kingdom: animals are much more active in the morning, so if you want to do the safari ride, do it early in the morning. allearsnet.com or disboards.com have LOTS of info on the parks that you will find helpful.

Shopping is everywhere! Seriously, it's all up and down I-drive. Take the I-ride trolley and you can get to two outlet malls and Pointe Orlando (which is undergoing construction, but should still have plenty of things open including a multi-screen movie theatre).

Go to: http://www.internationaldriveorlando.com/ - click on "visitor information", then "maps of the area" and you'll get a map of where the I-ride trolley goes. This should also be a helpful website for you.

Universal: your 6 yo may not be tall enough for some of the rides at Islands of Adventure. Go to: http://www.universalorlando.com/ioa_index.html and click on the attractions for the height requirements. Definitely take a shuttle - it's a longer walk than you think.

St. Augustine is fun! Should be about 2 hours from Orlando.

Enjoy your vacation.

dsquared is offline  
Jun 16th, 2006, 08:43 AM
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Unfortunately, it looks like you are going to the Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom on the same day as the Extra Magic hours for Disney hotel guests. This is especially important to you because you are not staying at a Disney resort. Disney has 30,000 rooms and, although not everyone will use the Extra Magic Hours, that is a lot of people to have funneled to one or two parks at a given time. The parks will already be busy when you get there. Consider reversing the day. Ideally, I would send you to the Magic Kingdom on Wednesday - which is your resting day.

Animal Kingdom - don't plan on going back to your resort. This park closes earlier than the other parks - for example, the June Hours are 9AM to 8PM. Are you planning to ride Expedition Everest? If so, get your fast pass as soon as you get to the park. This is Disney's newest ride so the fast passes go quickly, sometimes by mid-morning.

ajcolorado is offline  
Jun 16th, 2006, 08:46 AM
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By the way, we love St. Augustine but it doesn't really have a good beach. You'll need to go to nearby Anastasia Island State Park - I think that is the right name. There is a lighthouse nearby.

Saturday is a great day to go to the Fort as they generally have more going on. We haven't been there in awhile but when we went, it was cheaper to get the annual family pass than to buy individual one-day passes.
ajcolorado is offline  
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