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Old 22 Feb 20, 04:56 PM  
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kirkie11
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Orlando without the Mouse - August 2020

Having done purely WDW 2 years on the trot (not mention several trips to DLP), we decided it would be a good idea to have a Disney free year (absence makes the heart grow fonder right?).

Our initial plan was to have a holiday in Europe, but the prices for what you get during the school holidays is pretty terrible, so we started looking at whether it would be possible to do a 'cheaper' trip to Orlando, especially if we forgo WDW. There are so many other things to do in Orlando that we've always and prioritised Disney over, plus I like a good holiday I can plan.

We've always been fans of Universal but gave it a miss as our daughter was only 5 / 6, however we now feel she is taller and brave enough. We have also read the first 2 Harry Potter books to her and she has seen the first film.

The first challenge to making this a 'cheaper' trip was to find a cheaper flight. Thanks to theDibb we looked at Tampa Airport and we've managed to get a really good deal direct from Gatwick with BA. We chose a Fly drive so we've got the car included to. Whilst the location of Orlando airport is better, the journey won't be too bad and hopefully immigration is less busy.

We then looked at accommodation and decided on a Villa, so we could have proper rest days with our own pool. This also worked out nicely budget wise. The villa is located in Indian Wells which means we are close to most attractions and restaurants we'd like to visit..

This is out current plan:

Day 1 -Travel day.

Day 2 -Pirate Cove mini golf, Wonderworks, Lunch at Bahama Breeze. Pool time at villa.

Day 3 -We usually start flagging on day 3, so we will have a full rest day around the pool. Most likely including a breakfast out and then we've booked a reservation at Homecoming, Disney Springs (yes we had to scratch that Disney itch a little).

Day 4 -Aquatica until early afternoon and then dinner out late afternoon.

Day 5 - Full day at Universal Studios / Island of Adventure. Meal at Toothsome. One night stay at Royal Pacific resort (for the express passes)

Day 6 - Full day at Universal Studios / Island of Adventure

Day 7 - Wild Florida airboat tour in the morning. Evening Date night at the Polynesian resort including O'hana and Trader Sam's (my mother in law will be looking after our daughter).

Day 8 - Another rest / pool day. Evening at City Walk hopefully eating at Cowfish.

Day 9 - Kennedy Space Center

Day 10 - Sea World

Day 11 - Rest day with breakfast out. Kobe steakhouse in the evening.

Day 12 - Legoland Florida

Day 13 - Discovery Cove with Dolphin Swim

Day 14 - Final rest day with evening spent in City Walk.

Day 15 - Drive to Tampa Airport with a meal before our flight.


We have a list of restaurants we plan to fit in, and are contemplating booking Blue Man Group tickets (we loved it back in 2011 on our Honeymoon).

We also want some flexibility on our rest days so may go to cinema or do some shopping.

We have hopefully balanced some rest time with doing lots of fun things. I have a feeling we will miss Disney, but can't wait to try some different stuff.
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Old 28 Feb 20, 08:40 PM  
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debsym62
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Looks like a good plan, have you sorted tickets yet? It might be worth putting DC in your first week in case of bad weather then you have more chance to move it.
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Old 28 Feb 20, 09:10 PM  
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Beth_Disney
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Looks like a great plan. We stayed in a villa over New Year and it was a much more relaxed holiday than onsite. I loved going back in the evening and having an hour or two in the pool.

Is Busch Gardens included with your Discovery Cove ticket? Iíve not been before but we're planning to go in April.

The thing Iíve learnt about Orlando/Florida is that you can keep going and have a totally different holiday each time.
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Old 2 Mar 20, 08:38 AM  
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kirkie11
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Originally Posted by debsym62 View Post
Looks like a good plan, have you sorted tickets yet? It might be worth putting DC in your first week in case of bad weather then you have more chance to move it.
Thanks. How easy is it to move the DC day if needed after booking? We plan to get there for 7am and book our swim early doors before any chance of bad weather. We've already booked our tickets for pretty much everything bar Blue Man Group as we saved a lot in the January sales!
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Old 2 Mar 20, 08:42 AM  
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kirkie11
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Originally Posted by Beth_Disney View Post
Looks like a great plan. We stayed in a villa over New Year and it was a much more relaxed holiday than onsite. I loved going back in the evening and having an hour or two in the pool.

Is Busch Gardens included with your Discovery Cove ticket? Iíve not been before but we're planning to go in April.

The thing Iíve learnt about Orlando/Florida is that you can keep going and have a totally different holiday each time.
Yes we get SeaWorld, Aquatica and Busch Gardens with the DC tickets. We plan to do SW & AQ but will give BG a miss as it's quite a way (albeit a very easy drive, we did it for our honeymoon) plus my mother in law wouldn't be bothered, and our daughter will only just be 7 so not as much for her to do (not a coaster queen yet!). I'd recommend it though if you've got older kids/teens and adults.

We had our honeymoon beginning of May which was great for the weather and grounds, I imagine April will be similar unless it's Easter, when apparently that's super busy?
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Old 2 Mar 20, 01:46 PM  
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Beth_Disney
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Originally Posted by kirkie11 View Post
Yes we get SeaWorld, Aquatica and Busch Gardens with the DC tickets. We plan to do SW & AQ but will give BG a miss as it's quite a way (albeit a very easy drive, we did it for our honeymoon) plus my mother in law wouldn't be bothered, and our daughter will only just be 7 so not as much for her to do (not a coaster queen yet!). I'd recommend it though if you've got older kids/teens and adults.

We had our honeymoon beginning of May which was great for the weather and grounds, I imagine April will be similar unless it's Easter, when apparently that's super busy?
We're in Tampa for the first 4 nights of our holiday as we're going to Wrestlemania and it's at the NFL stadium there. We've only ever been to Orlando at Christmas and Easter so we've only known busy! We're there at Easter again this year. It's good to know the drive from Tampa to Orlando is easy, it looks like a straight road on the map!
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Old 11 Mar 20, 02:12 PM  
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BallroomMom
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Hi, just curious did you get 14 day tickets for universal ?

We are planning something similar and were thinking of 14 days tickets so we could pop in and out when we feel like it ?
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Old 11 Mar 20, 02:32 PM  
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Have you looked at the Rainbow river at Dunellon?

You will find plenty of piccies in my trip report attached to my signature.

It was one of the highlights of our last vacation.
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