Orlando, FL advice?

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from trex509. Show trex509's posts

    Orlando, FL advice?

    We're in the process of booking a week vacation in FL for March!  Yay!!  We need this so badly.  We're combining the trip with a visit with family, so we have about 3 days to ourselves and then 4 days visiting my fam.  Any recommendations for how to make the best of our 3 days?  We definitely want to spend 1 day at Universal.  The other 2 are up for grabs. 

    So any suggestions as to where to go or where to stay (preferably somewhat cheap)?  We're renting a car and debating driving to the beach or Kennedy Space Center.  It is worth spending a day in downtown Orlando?

    I appreciate any advice from anyone who has been recently!  Especially about how to save some money, this is a really spur of the moment trip!
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from allreadymarried. Show allreadymarried's posts

    Re: Orlando, FL advice?

    Downtown Disney (Marketplace) is fun and free to walk around.  They have some good places to eat, Wolfgang Puck Express and sit down place are great.  They have some bars as well so you can grab a drink.

    I personally love Animal Kingdom but not sure you want to pay for admission to the park if you are looking for something inexpensive.

  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from venforknot. Show venforknot's posts

    Re: Orlando, FL advice?

    I go to Orlando for 2 weeks every year (disney timeshare lol) and we've gotten completely tired of the parks so we always try to find fun new things to do.  I'd say you can skip downtown, but that's just me. It's just another city. It's ok for nightclubs but during the day it's eh. Not vacation-y. If you want to go to Universal there's plenty of good hotels just off their property, but have you checked the rates in their on property hotels? I stayed in the Royal Pacific a few years back and it was great and not crazy expensive.There's also a few Hampton Inns not too far just off of International Drive that are pretty standard and reliable for what you get.  I can't remember if they have pools though. If you had the time I'd say try to see if you can get a room at one of the timeshare places, because they usually have such nice grounds and so many activities you never need to leave the property but you'd probably have to sit through one of their presentations and it might not be worth your time!

    Also, closer to Disney property but a short drive to Universal, any of the hotels on Hotel Plaza Boulevard are reasonable and nice. They're within walking distance to Downtown Disney for night-time activities and offer free shuttles to all the Disney Parks and some of the other hotels. And of course,  there's always Disney but it's absurdly expensive now and you may not want to spend 3 days in the Parks.

    The Drive to Kennedy Space Center is easy and it is very interesting,worth a day. Daytona is about 40 minutes away as well, the beach is great and you can drive right onto it but the area is showing it's age from all it's hard partying years. lol. Unless you really want to get to the beach you may want to consider one of the lakes a little closer in Orlando or Kissimmee which offer beach-like days (sand along the lakeshore). Also for something closer the FI and I always enjoy just going onto Disney property and hanging out at the Boardwalk of the Boardwalk Hotel, or going to the different dinner shows at the hotels. You don't have to be staying on property to do any of that. You can rent pontoon boats, jet skis, etc. at most of the lakes (Disney and non-Disney alike). Also SeaWorld is a fantastic way to spend a day! They've done a great job with it.

    Also right near Universal is a major Convention Center. Maybe check out what's happening there on the days you'll be in town?  Last time we were there there was a comic-con that we went to just for fun and it was a much better time than either of us expected and way cheaper than park tickets!

  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from venforknot. Show venforknot's posts

    Re: Orlando, FL advice?

    There's a ton of hotels in Orlando so maybe look on tripadvisor too and see what's ranked well and cheap. There's just soooo many hotels. lol.
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from trex509. Show trex509's posts

    Re: Orlando, FL advice?

    Thanks guys!

    ARM:  Yeah, Animal Kingdom sounds great but it is $93 per person!  Ouch!  We might do it since we love animals, but not sure since that seems crazy.  Are all the Disney parks that nuts?

    VFK:  Wow, thanks for all the advice!  We'll have to check out the lakes, that sounds fun.  Yeah, I figured we could skip downtown, so thanks for confirming that.  We gotta think about what we want to do, everything seems very pricey!  Even Kennedy Space Center is $43 per person.  Have you ever been to the City Walk or Celebration?  I've heard of them but don't really know what they are.  Any suggestions for good restaurants?

    ETA: yeah there are a LOT of hotels.  We might just do priceline and see what we get.  They say you can get $55 a night!  Probably an older hotel, but maybe we'll put the money towards theme parks rather than a resort hotel.  Can't decide, gotta talk to DH.  He does tend to prefer the timeshare resort type things, but I don't want to waste too long on a tour.

  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from venforknot. Show venforknot's posts

    Re: Orlando, FL advice?

    City Walk is actually kind of part of Universal but you don't need tickets to get into it, at least you didn't last time we went to Universal (maybe 4-5 years now). That may have changed. It's neat, has some shops and restaurants. I don't know if you could kill a whole day there. Again, it's good for nightlife stuff.

    Celebration is actually a town. It's like something out of the movie the Stepford Wives but at the same time I kind of want to live there. lol. The little square area in Celebration is fun to check out just for it's sheer Americana vibe and realizing that people actually live there. lol. I don't know that it's a vacation thing to do though. We've been there because I like I said, we're bored with everything else.

    I personally like Bongo's at Downtown Disney. They just redid that whole area and there's a bunch of new restaurants over there. There's a Tony Roma's not too far from Universal and I like their ribs too. There a lot of chain restaurants outside of the park properties so you pretty much know what you'll get and there's a bunch of crazy dinner shows in the area which are fun, but you have to realize you're getting overcharged for blah food/small portions and be ok with that. You're there for the show! lol. We pretty much always stick to the places at the hotels though. There's a huge variety of restaurants if you hotel lobby hop and if you're wise about what you order you don't have to spend a fortune. (of course we also have a kitchen when we're there and usually only eat out for dinner).

    I liked the restaurant in the Royal Pacific when we were there last and I know the Portofino Bay had a decent place.

    Also for entertainment I think you can get airboat rides to go look at alligators and stuff around the area. We've never done it but I think there's a few companies that do it. There's also Gatorland and i know there's a company that does Segway Tours of Orlando. lol. Also, if you're catholic or religious in general the Mary Queen of the Universe Shrine is beautiful. It's a catholic church but it's huge and grounds are very nice. Southern churches are a whole different animal. It's worth checking out if you're into that kind of thing. There's premium outlets in Orlando too (same company as Wrentham I think!) There's also just all kinds of crazy little touristy things to do, attractions like Ripley's Believe or Not, Old Town, geez, just a whole bunch of stuff. We just drive around and walk into random places if the admission isn't too high. lol.  

    Again, the 40 minute drive to Daytona gives you the beach and you can take a tour of Daytona International Speedway for about $25 or $30. They ride you out on the track in a tram thing and have a little movie and some museum exhibits and stuff. Nothing crazy but OK. You can drive on Daytona Beach and you can rent golf karts to tool around the beach in. It's fun. And one town over in Port Orange has a really nice shopping plaza.

    The problem is that it's a tourist area so you're going to pay tourist prices. If you go downtown for meals, etc. the prices are more normal, but they're still city prices. The good news is you're not there on school vacation week (I hope) so you'll at least save a little just by that fact and be able to breath! lol.
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from venforknot. Show venforknot's posts

    Re: Orlando, FL advice?


    That has some fun stuff to do!
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from pinkkittie27. Show pinkkittie27's posts

    Re: Orlando, FL advice?

    I haven't been to Universal in almost ten years, but it was a blast. The one thing I will say is that some of the really fancy rides (spiderman, etc.) were shut down for an hour or two each day because they were having problems. Not sure if you can call ahead and ask about it, but if there's certain ride that you really want to go on, I'd at least try to find out if it's on the fritz before you go.
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: Orlando, FL advice?

    I lived in Orlando about, gosh, almost 25 years ago so take this with a grain of salt...or a handful.  I agree with ven a lot.  Daytona is a very nice beach, not nutty like you see on TV during Spring Break - it's only like that at that particular time.  I second the suggestion to go to Kennedy Space Center if space/science stuff interests you.  And, yeah, Orlando proper is just another big city.  I've not taken an airboat, but I have done the river tour thing - it's pretty neat, but I have a fear of poisonous snakes, and I had nightmares about it raining poisonous snakes from the trees for weeks afterward!  Not that everyone would have that problem, maybe it was just me.

    Epcot was fairly new when we left (I remember when the opening made front page news!) so I can't comment on all the new fangled parks and probably shouldn't comment at all about anything.  But, fwiw, there it is. 

    Have a great, warm time!!!
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from pingo. Show pingo's posts

    Re: Orlando, FL advice?

    If you are an AAA member, they offer great discounts on the entrance fees to the parks. They can also give you a lot of specifics on where to stay and what to do while there.  Even if you are not a member, a trip to an AAA office, maybe worth it. They have a lot of brochures and guides, you can pick up for free. - Pingo