10 Tips for Tackling Theme Parks
#1 What do I want to see? First, plan what you want to see on your vacation. Explore the top Orlando attractions, free Orlando activities and the best destinations just a quick drive from the city to help you decide what to include in your ultimate Orlando experience.
#2 How long do I need? Plan the length of your Orlando trip based on the number of attractions you wish to visit. You’ll want to allow at least a day for each theme park, especially if you have the kids in tow. Don’t be a late riser! Plan to get to the parks half an hour before opening to avoid the crowds and get the most out of your day.
#3 Don’t overschedule! A rest day is a good option. Plan a free day to relax in the comforts of your vacation rental, play in the pool, picnic in the park and explore your neighborhood.
#4 Consider your company. A vacation with small children is a different vacation from one with teenagers. When planning, keep in mind the ages of your group and the pace at which you will explore.
#5 When should I visit? Orlando is a year-round destination. Summer, Christmas, and Spring Break are very busy, while the quieter months are January, February, September, and October. Take into consideration the typical weather and any events you may wish to attend. We recommend traveling during the off-peak season, as it usually means cheaper tickets and smaller crowds.
#6 What do I need to bring? Pass on the blisters and pound the pavement in comfortable shoes, remembering a sweater for the cooler evenings. Unless you are planning a night of fine dining, casual clothes are all you’ll need. Bring your own survival kit with the basic essentials, as these are costly in the theme parks and you may wait in long lines to buy them. Kids in tow? It is worth considering a stroller for little legs. You can rent them in most parks, however, it is more affordable to bring you own. Save time and money by taking your own snacks and drinks into the park, including water bottles to fill up at the fountains, if allowed. Read through the park rules prior to arriving to find out what’s allowed into the parks you plan on visiting.
#7 How will I get around? Consider your transportation – Disney World, Universal and SeaWorld are all within a half-hour of each other and paid shuttles are available. The I-Ride Trolley is a great way to explore the International Drive area, however, a rental car is a great option for freedom to explore. Airport car rentals are more expensive so it may be cheaper to take a cab to a nearby pick-up location and rent from there. Remember to budget for parking fees!
#8 Should i book restaurants in advance? If it is not a counter service restaurant, you’ll definitely want to make reservations as far in advance as the park allows. For a quick bite, we suggest having lunch a little earlier or later to avoid waiting in long lines. If you are traveling with kids, look for specials outside of the parks where kids eat free! There are plenty of coupons and specials to be found. In Disney, character dining is a special experience for the little ones, however, it tends to book up months in advance, so be sure to make a reservation.
#9 It's raining, now what? Rainy days can be used to enjoy the amenities of your Disney vacation rental, but does not necessarily mean you have to stay inside! Grab a poncho and continue to enjoy the fun. The best theme parks to enjoy on a rainy day are Disney’s Magic Kingdom and Epcot, with great indoor attractions and ride queues. Outside of the parks, visit the Orlando Science Center has four floors of activities and interactive exhibits, or ride the historic Monorail to enjoy aerial views of the park while you stay dry.
#10 Last but not least - Buy your tickets in advance! Outline your basic itinerary and get the best deal by purchasing tickets ahead of time. Tickets can be purchased directly from the theme park website or through a discount ticket site, such as Undercover Tourist. Special events at the parks may require separate tickets, so be sure to see what events are going on during your stay.
- FlexTickets combines Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, Sea World, Sea World Aquatica, Sea World Waterpark, Wet ‘n Wild and Busch Gardens in Tampa.
- Disney World Park Hopper tickets allow you to come and go through all four Disney World theme parks in one day, although we suggest covering a park a day to save on exhaustion!