Theme Parks + Caribbean Cruise

May 3rd, 2019, 10:52 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Sep 2018
Posts: 3
Theme Parks + Caribbean Cruise

My girlfriend and I are planning a 2 week vacation. We plan to spend the first week in Orlando, Florida, and the second week on a Royal Caribbeans one week Caribbean cruise. We are coming from Vancouver, Canada, and have a few questions.
  1. We are thinking of going to Disney World and Universal Studios. Would 6 days be sufficient time to see both parks? If not, which park would you recommend us going to? My girlfriend loves roller coasters, but I dislike negative g-forces (feeling when the roller coaster cart suddenly dips downwards). Would one of these parks have more virtual rides (ie - perhaps strapped to a cart and having a screen project a virtual world in front of you while the cart shakes), or more adventurous rides (ie - in a cart with guns to shoot monsters)?
  2. We are looking to go to Florida when the weather is warm but not scorching hot. We hope to wear shorts and t-shirt. Is there an ideal time of the year for this?
  3. When would be the off season time for ticket prices? Is there a large difference in ticket prices and hotels for off/peak seasons?
  4. Any tips on where we should stay that is inexpensive but near the parks? We plan to spend the majority of the day at the park, and only go back to our room to sleep.
  5. Are there any packages where we can purchase a combination of flight, room, Disney World / Universal Studios, Royal Caribbean cruise?
  6. We plan to end our vacation with a Caribbean cruise. What would be the most time/cost efficient way to get to Fort Lauderdale? We were thinking of renting a car to drive there. Any other suggestions?
icu222much is offline  
May 4th, 2019, 09:41 AM
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 34,849
Universal has more coasters than Disney

You can get to Fort Lauderdale from Orlando by air or you could also take Amtrak but given the latter's on-time record i would not do that unless i planned for one overnight in FTL prior to the cruise..The drive from Disney to Fort Lauderdale if you use Florida's Turnpike to I-95 south at Ft. Pierce is about 208-210 miles. Turnpike and 95 speed limits are 70 MPH

Disney hotels on site given the transportation system might be something top consider and there are hotels in all price ranges. You would not need a rental car

There may very well be all-inclusive packages marketed by the various airlines or by RCCL

Weather: hot and humid in the summer in Orlando which does not benefit from any ocean breezes as we do further south
Dukey1 is offline  
May 5th, 2019, 05:17 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,708
For coaster and GREAT rides I would go to Universal and stay on one of their on site hotels. You get express access and you can walk to the parks from their hotels.
schmerl is offline  
May 6th, 2019, 06:12 AM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 10,163
Both parks have both roller coasters and virtual rides. There's plenty to do for both of you at either resort, so I wouldn't worry about that.

Six days should be sufficient to see both resorts. I'd budget 4 days at WDW and 2 at Universal. You really need two days at Universal if you want to visit both parks and the Harry Potter ride (you also need a more expensive park-hopping ticket to ride the Hogwarts Express between the two sections of the Harry Potter park).

I'm a strong advocate for staying on-site at WDW so you don't have to rent a car or pay for shuttles (or rely on inefficient "free" shuttles). You can stay at one of the WDW Value resorts for as little as $129 per night, and that includes free transportation from the airport if you go to WDW first. Universal resorts are more expensive (the cheaper one is Cabana Bay, but it's rarely below $160 a night), so it makes more sense to stay off-site there. But there are a lot of hotels on International Drive that are reasonably close to Universal and offer shuttles (or you can just take Uber). In terms of seasons, the quietest time is the two weeks after American Thanksgiving and the two weeks after major US school breaks. But prices can be low in the summer, when it's stifling hot. I've been in July and August, and it's oppressive but doable. Both Disney and Universal advertise hotel discounts throughout the year (more in January/February, when you might not be able to wear shorts and T-shirts. Just be aware that if you want to visit the new Star Wars section of WDW, it doesn't open until August, and you'll need to stay on-site to ensure entry (and book far in advance if you can). If Star Wars doesn't matter to you, then it will likely be quieter and cheaper if you go before it opens because people are waiting.

I don't understand why you are looking at a Royal Caribbean Cruise from Fort Lauderdale. Instead, look at Royal Caribbean cruises from Port Canaveral, which is just an hour away from Orlando and easily reachable by cheap shuttle from the Orlando airport. It's over 200 miles from Orlando to Fort Lauderdale, and the trip takes over 3 hours however you go, but you'll either need to fly, take a bus, or rent a car.

I don't know of anyplace where you can package both theme parks, off-site hotels, and a cruise, so I can't help you there. You can definitely package a Disney cruise with a stay at WDW (and you could begin with a visit to Universal).
doug_stallings is offline  
May 6th, 2019, 11:41 AM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 10,272
I know a lot of people who vacation in Orlando, and each and everyone of them seems to get theme park burn out after 2-3 days.
Are you sure you can/want to sign up for 6 straight days of theme parks? Consider taking a few of those days as completely "off" days - enjoy poolside, or golfing etc. Somewhere not mobbed by crowds and lines.
J62 is offline  
May 7th, 2019, 08:23 AM
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 2,621
Several years ago my daughter had a month off in January between semesters in college that we took advantage of to do a similar trip - we spent about a week at the Disney/Universal theme parks and then did a 13 day partial Panama cruise afterwards. We stayed at hotels onsite at both Disney and Universal.

You could stay at one of the value resorts on property at Disney to take advantage of the transportation so you don't have to rent a car and as noted above the cost at certain times of the year isn't too bad. I'll also agree on hitting Disney first to take advantage of the free shuttle from the airport to the hotel if you're staying at one of their hotels.

Staying onsite at Universal is more expensive but if you stay onsite you get unlimited front of the line privileges at certain rides. This perk may or may not be necessary, depending on the time of year you are going and how crowded it is, but if you've got limited time it's nice to have. Universal has a lot more of those virtual rides than Disney does.

After the theme parks we rented a car and drove to Ft. Lauderdale for our cruise.
chepar is offline  
Jul 23rd, 2019, 08:55 AM
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 3,341
" We are thinking of going to Disney World and Universal Studios. Would 6 days be sufficient time to see both parks? "

Both parks?
Disney is four (4) parks plus two water parks. Universal is two parks.
Orlando_Vic is offline  

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