Orlando with Preschoolers

Old Nov 17th, 2007, 09:27 PM
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Orlando with Preschoolers

We are visiting Orlando Dec 2-11. I really need advice on where to stay and what to do with a 3yo and a 1 1/2 year old. We are planning on visiting WDW, Epcot, Seaworld and if we have time and energy...Busch Gardens. I was also wondering if we should take a day or 2 and go to a beach.
I would love advice on any of this or any other ideas/hints you can give.

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Old Nov 18th, 2007, 07:46 AM
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I would strongly suggest reading the "planning" section at allearsnet.com, (http://www.allearsnet.com/pl/planning.htm) especially the "For Families" section which has lots of good advice.

A down-time, relaxing day is a good idea - try Cocoa Beach on the east coast, or our gulf coast posters can point out some nearby beaches on their side of the state.
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Old Nov 18th, 2007, 01:11 PM
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If one of the Disney properties is in your budget, I would stay on site for your Orlando days. Provides return to the hotel rest breaks on your WDW days. You also get best ticket prices by staying at a Disney hotel and have access to Disney transportation.

Relocate to Clearwater Beach and you'll be sand side for some R&R prior to deciding if you can stand one more park with Busch Gardens.

I am sure you will find that four parks in 7 to 9 days with toddlers will be exhausting beyond expectation.
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Old Nov 18th, 2007, 05:26 PM
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What is your budget for Orlando??

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Old Nov 18th, 2007, 06:07 PM
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We have $3000 dollars set aside for this trip. That has to include everything from the hotel to the bottled water in the airport.
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Old Nov 19th, 2007, 05:37 AM
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I dont know what the breaks down to a night - but maybe a moderate level Disney hotel. Check out the Port Orleans Resort -http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/wdw/resorts/resortLanding?id=PortOrleansRiversideResortLanding Page
its a Disney Moderate - it has bus transport to all the parks, a boat transport to Downtown Disney. It also has a food court - which is great for the kids. You may also consider getting a condo on the Disney property - that way you can cook your own meals and do laundry - I have never stayed in one.

I think Bush Gardens may not be great for kids that young. Its a lot of roller coasters and not much for little ones. Animal Kingdom has the same concept, but Disnified with amazing shows (Lion King!!!)

Sea World is GREAT for the little kids.

Weather is also unpredictable this time of year - it could be hot and swimming and the beach could be fine or it could be cold and only a heated pool would be OK. As for beaches you could go to Cocoa and then over to Camp Canaveral to check out KSA.

There is a lot do do in Orlando and I think it is more enjoyable (especially with toddlers) to go slow and not rush.

Also nice for the kids is Universal. Check that out and see if that appeals to you.

HTH
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Old Nov 19th, 2007, 05:48 AM
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When my oldest was 3 we went to Disney Marketplace for an afternoon and he played in the jumping fountains for a very long time. It is a wonderful memory for us.

We stayed at All Star Movies in the Toy Story buildings and he was in tears every day because we had to leave the big statues of the characters to go to the parks. So, while the All Stars are very cool, there can be draw backs.
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Old Nov 19th, 2007, 05:57 AM
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If are thinking about Busch Gardens, the gulf coast has great beaches! Ft. DeSoto was ranked #1 beach in the country a couple years ago.

Also, I think Busch Gardens is an excellent park for small kids. The above poster is correct that there are they have a lot of coasters, however, they also have Land of the Dragons - an area specifically designated for that age. And, the animals alone would merit a visit! Gorillas, Giraffes, Elephants, etc. Busch Gardens is perfect for all ages.

Quite frankly, with your schedule I would fly into Orlando and out of Tampa. Spend 5 or 6 nights in Orlando and then go to the Gulf Coast beaches for some RR.
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Old Nov 19th, 2007, 07:54 AM
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Ok, here is my dilemma...I am really thinking that by the end of the day my husband and I are going to need to be able to close a door on sleeping kids and take a couple hours to ourselves. Unfortunately, the hotels with separate bedrooms and living rooms on site at Disney are way out of our budget. If we get a hotel off site is it a nightmare to park a car and get into the parks during the day?

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Old Nov 19th, 2007, 08:06 AM
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oops, I didn't mean to post that last one without saying thank you for all of your suggestions.
Planning this trip has been a lot more challenging then I could have ever imagined and having insiders tips is absolutely invaluable.
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Old Nov 19th, 2007, 10:32 AM
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The dates you are there should be great for smallish crowds. We stay on-site but always drive our cars in so as to not be reliant on buses, and it really is not a problem to do that.

There are plenty of suite hotels in the area, try to find one relatively close to WDW and you should be fine.

If you have a general idea of which parks you will be at which days, call 407-wdw-dine to see if you can get reservations for a character meal - my kids, the same ages as yours, really enjoyed them. MGM doesn't have as much to do with little ones, but it is the best place to see some of the characters (Little Einsteins, Cars) if one of your kids has a preference.

Take some time to visit the various resorts to see the Christmas decorations. They are beautiful and you can visit easily. You can take the monorail and do a circuit of them. I know that one of the top things for my kids is different modes of transportation, so the monorail, ferries, trains were a huge highlight of their first trip.

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Old Nov 19th, 2007, 03:00 PM
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Plenty of good suite hotels near WDW, try looking at those in the Lake Buena Vista area.

Lots of people who stay on Disney property choose to drive to the parks - and as amcc points out, crowds will be smallish at that time of year.

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Old Nov 19th, 2007, 05:54 PM
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Ok...well, that's a relief because I just can't see how we could afford a disney resort. So, now does anyone have any recommendations for a comfortable, clean suite near WDW? And...is it important for me to buy my disney tickets before I leave? I just hate to make such definate plans for each day when I'm not sure what we are getting into and what my kids will be up for.
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Old Nov 20th, 2007, 06:17 AM
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Don't buy your tickets before you go - you can buy theme park tickets at many hotels and at the parks. If you arrive at the parks for your first day during the week the lines in the morning for tickets wont be very long. On the weekends you never know - but netter to wait in line then buy something you end up not wanting!
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Old Nov 20th, 2007, 06:18 AM
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At this late point, pretty much only the expensive on-site properties are left, although if you don't mind switching hotels during your vacation, you might be able to find a good deal at one of the Value resorts during weekdays. Check the disneyworld website for discounts and to check availability online. Here is a list of hotels near Disney, some of which are suites. This website is a major Disney fan website, so it's probably as good a place as any to find a hotel near disney.
http://www.mousesavers.com/preferred.html

Disney doesn't have to be too complicated. You have 9 days, and there are 4 parks. One way to think of it is one day per park, one day to repeat your favorite park, and a couple of days at the beach or elsewhere. The MGM and Animal Kingdom days don't have to be 12 hour marathons (and the Magic Kingdom closes early some days too), these parks close early some days. Check the times on the disneyworld website - there is info on opening and closing times, parade and fireworks times, etc.

My kids at 2 and 4 loved Sea World.

Buy tickets beforehand if you want - the tickets don't tie you to any park at all. With your kids so small, I wouldn't bother with Park Hoppers, since cost is a consideration. I don't think there are discounts to buying them early, but you do avoid the lines on your first day. You can always add days when you are there if you decide to stay longer.

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Old Nov 20th, 2007, 07:21 AM
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DON'T GO TO DISNEY!!!

Pop Warner will be going on in Disney December 1-8th and it brings about 150,000 football players and cheerleaders for the world championships.

The parks will be absolutely packed and I'm sure the All Stars are completely sold out already.

My suggestion would be to head to Tampa and Busch Gardens and further down the beach until Pop Warner heads out and then head to Disney.

They completely overtake the parks.
 
Old Nov 20th, 2007, 09:09 AM
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OMG! NO! It's too late, we already booked our flight! What is Pop Warner? What football players. Oh, I think I'm going to cry. This trip is turning out to be so hard to plan and nothing is going right.
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Old Nov 20th, 2007, 09:23 AM
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I really think that you are worrying too much. Pop Warner does have alot of kids, but they play their games and do their competitions during the days. I've been there before on those dates and will be there again (not as part of Pop Warner) and while you may see some groups at the parks, they by no means take over or will ruin the experience. And, since you are probably staying offsite, you won't even have to deal with them at the hotels, which is where most of the complaints I've heard about them originate (they cheer, they make noise, they act like kids at Disney

This should be a fun vacation and whatever you don't do will not be missed by your kids. Disney is enjoyable for them no matter what, but they will pick up on your stress. I promise that even the rides on the trains or the boats will be fun for them. Disney is so big it can be easy to feel overwhelmed, but it shouldn't be.

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Old Nov 20th, 2007, 09:40 AM
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amcc, Pop Warner averages about 100,000 athletes a year and that doesn't count the cheerleaders and the families for both.

I've also been there during that time and to say that the crowds are light is simply not true.

Since they are staying off property, they'll miss the night time cheerleading practices but they will still encounter crowds.

Picknwildflowers, go to www.DisBoards.com and start searching Pop Warner. They'll have loads of good information for you on how to avoid the crowds.
 
Old Nov 20th, 2007, 12:36 PM
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Thank you GoTravel for warning me and giving me that Disney link. It's very helpful. Do you think SeaWorld will be crowded too? Or do they pretty much just stick to the Disney parks?

and thank you amcc for talking me off the ledge, lol. This has been a difficult trip to plan because this is our first big family trip and I'm missing the days of a backpack and a vague idea of where I'm going.
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