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disney dilemma

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brooky28 | 21:36 Tue 17th Feb 2009 | Travel
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Hi everyone. I am going to Orlando with a group of three friends for a week in March. It would be nice to go for longer but seeing as we only have a week can anyone recommend an itinery for us. We want to do Busch Gardens, Disney and Universal studios including a water park but won't have time to do everything so what should we miss and what should we not?
Thanks for any help

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Disneyland has several 'worlds' including a waterpark, (typhoon lagoon) animal kingdom and the theme parks, so although very different to busch gardens, you could give these a miss. However you can get a five day no end date pass to both disney and universal studios, so if you love it and want to go back at a later date then save the tickets and you can re-use any days left on them.
PS expect VERY long queues in the theme parks - waiting times of over an hour for a 3 minute ride are common
If you are staying near Orlando and the "main" Disney and Universal theme parks then DONT go to Busch gardens.

Busch gardens is about a 2 hour drive from the other theme parks (it is actually in Tampa rather than Orlando).

I gather it is a great park (never been there) but if you are only there for a week then there is plenty to do around Orlando without going all the way to Tampa.
It is worth spending a bit of time planning your itinery as that can make or break your holiday.

You should note that buying individual "day" tickets for the parks is VERY expensive and if possible you should try and buy a "week" ticket that gives you access to a group of parks for the whole week.

There are two main competing companies in the Orlando area, Disney of course, and Universal.

The problem is that buying a week ticket for Disney gets you into their parks but no Universal parks, and getting a Universal week ticket gets you into Universal parks but not Disney parks.

So your best bet is to go for one OR the other, buy a week Universal ticket OR a week Disney ticket, buying both would be VERY expensive.

Note that most of these theme parks are HUGE and you can EASILY spend 2 days in any of the parks and still not go on everything.

Lets have a look at the two main companies, Universal and Disney and the parks they have...

more...
Universal parks.

Universal own two parks themselves: Universal studios and Islands of Adventrue. They are right next to each other just north of International drive.

Universal studios has rides and shows based around movies like Jaws, Simpsons, Earthquake, Men in Black and so on. Great park

Islands of Adventure is a HUGE park based around white knuckle rides and family shows. Also a great park.

They also have a deal with some "partner" parks so a Universal ticket gets you into those parks as well

The partners parks are:

Wet and Wild. A water park fairly near their other two parks

Sea World. A combination of zoo and theme park with water and sea based shows, and some theme park rides.

I should say that sea world was my favorite park, and the Shamu the killer whale show is AMAZING.

You can buy a single week ticket that gets you into all 4 of these parks as often as you like

You can also buy a week ticket that gets you into these 4 parks PLUS Busch gardens if you want to go there.

I my opinion you could EASILY spend a week in these parks and never need to go to a Disney park.

More on the tickets here

http://www.universalorlando.com/tickets/orland o-flexticket.html
Itinery for Universal parks

It is important to balance the days you have in Orlando as day after day of theme park can become too much.

If you decied to JUST get a Universal ticket then your itinery could be

Day 1: Universal studios. Busy theme park day

Day2: Wet and Wild. Quieter water based day

Day 3: Islands of adventure: Busy thme park day

Day 4: Sea world. Quieter "sea" based day (plus rides)

Day 5: Busch Gardens if you wish, or revisit one of the other Universal parks

Day 6: Maybe a Disney park like Epcot, or even revisit one of the Universal parks.

As I said, all these parks can EASILY cope with a 2 day visit, or even 3 days, as they are so large.
Disney parks

Disney own SIX parks in the area

Magic Kingdom. Rides and shows

Epcot: HUGE park covering all sorts of things

Hollywood Studios: Film and TV based rides

Animal Kingdom: "wild" animals in their natural habitat

Blizzard Beach: Water park

Typhoon Lagoon: Water Park

Note that the Disney complex is HUGE (about the size of Manchester) if you include hotels and other Disney buildings (lke their nighlife area).

But note that the parks are a LONG way from each other, you cant just come out of one park and stroll to another, you would need a car to get between the parks.

You can buy various tickets like 5 day and 7 day, but they do tend to be more expensive than Universal tickets.

More here

http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/wdwi/en_GB/ti ckets/ticketsUKTickets?id=UKTicketsPage
Itinery for Disney parks

The itinery for Disney parks is very similar to that of Universal parks, try to alternate a "busy" theme park day with a quieter water or animal based bay, maybe

Day 1: Magic Kingdom

Day 2: Animal kingdom or Water park

Day 3: Holywood Studios

Day 4: Water park or Animal Kingdom

Day 5: Epcot

Day 6: Revisit one of the Disney parks, or maybe do a Universal park.

To give you an idea of why some of these parks can take 2 days here is a map of Epcot.

http://www.villa-vacations-florida.com/images/ epcot-map.jpg

This is almost 2 parks in one.

The "front" of the park (bottom left) is rides and other interesting things (inventions and so on). Can easily spend a day there.

The "back" of the park (round the lake) is different countries of the world with themed areas from each country, shows from all round the world, shops, restaurants and so on.

Day ends with a HUGE firework display.

Like most of the parks you could easily spend 2 days in Epcot.
I hope my 6 appends above have helped.

I will say it is worth buying a book about the area BEFORE you go, something like that below "Brits guide to Orlando"

A book like that will give all sorts of hints and tips and advice, and spending �10 or �15 on a book could help you save a lot more than that, or maybe make your holiday more of a success.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Brits-Guide-Orlando-Di sney-World/dp/0572032803/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s= books&qid=1234954451&sr=1-1
Here is a clip of the Shamu show in Sea world which is well worth going to to see

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6AJXXpi6T5s
Remember that you will have jet lag and will wake up early. You should take advantage of this and arrive at the parks ready for when they open and are less busy. In the middle of the day, go back to your hotel for a nap and then back to the park for the last few hours before closing time.
The Brits guide books very useful. well worth buying.

I'd suggest leaving the 3rd or 4th day free.....you need to remember if you're walking round a park from 10am until 6pm it gets tiring, especially if it's hot.
Keep a day free for shopping or the pool, or maybe spend 1/2 a dya relaxing at Typhoon Lagoon, then shop in the afternoon/evening.
Universal offer a fast access ticket (only a limited number available each day at the entrance - around $30 per person extra) which gets you quicker access to each ride once)

I'd go for Disneyland (Magic Kingdom), Animal Kingdom, Universal Studios, rest-day (or water park), Islands of Adventure, Seaworld (the shows give you time to relax and sit down), Epcot or MGM on last day

if you have an evening flight, and can drop luggage off early (virgin do this) you can be in a park from 10:30 - 4:30 on your last day too

Bush Gdns is an hours drive away - great coasters and an animal park - but Isle of Adventure has good coasters, and Animal Kingdom does what it says on the tin.

Buy the Brits guide now and have a good look through it.
in response to VHG

you could do 2 parks (well parts of them) in the same day if you were really pushed.
there's one link road going around the disney parks, so the drives easy, but by the time you leave 1, drive to the 2nd, park up and get in, it'll be a good 1/2 hour
>it'll be a good 1/2 hour

Many of the car parks are huge, and it can take almost 30 minutes to FIND the car park, THEN park, then WALK from the car park, then navigate the QUEUE to get inside the theme park.

In fact if you arrive at a park after midday then the car park is likely to be full and you will be right at the back.

I would say to get out of one theme park, drive to another park, then get IN that park would be at least an hour, if not more.

Personally I have never seen the point of doing more than one park in a day, most of the parks are big enough to stay in for a day without seeing everything.

I guess the main reason for doing it is if you want to do maybe a theme park in the morning, then maybe go to a water park in the afternoon.

Problem with that is that some water parks get so full they close for new addmissions. It is rather annoying to arrive at a water park part way through the day and find you cant get in because it is full.

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