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Old 02-04-2020, 03:47 PM
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One day to kill in Orlando - is Disney worth it?


I live in So Cal so we could theoretically drive up to Disneyland whenever, so I guess I assumed Magic Kingdom wouldn't be all that unique or interesting. Instead I suggested going to Epcot, but a friend just told me he was "unimpressed" by Epcot.

So I leave it to you to influence my decision... which (if any) of the parks should I bother to visit?

Thanks in advance
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Old 02-04-2020, 04:03 PM
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It really depends on what you're interested in. There are Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom, plus two water parks. Galaxy Edge (the Star Wars area) is in Hollywood Studios if that interests you.

There's also Universal Studios with the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and more fun roller coaster style rides. What interests you?
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Old 02-04-2020, 04:21 PM
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Epcot is pretty dated IMHO. Universal is better for adults (again IMHO) if it’s an option for you.
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Old 02-04-2020, 04:24 PM
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Thank you for the comments so far -- I should note that there is a work event at Universal Studios planned for earlier in the week so I will already have been there.

I don't like rides (my husband doesn't share my opinion). I guess maybe a good question is, how different is the Magic Kingdom from Disneyland, for anyone who's visited both?
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Old 02-04-2020, 04:36 PM
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The main thing I have to share - the time of year determines how much you can see or do. Certain times of year, the parks are packed stupid full.

And even tho it's been a few decades, I found both Magic Kingdoms to be really similar, so you might want to check out a different park. In the interest of full disclosure, I'd rather be disemboweled than go to any of the parks, but I am an old grouch, so there's that.
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Old 02-04-2020, 04:36 PM
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Epcot is undergoing a massive renovation, which is scheduled to be completed by 2021. I don't know when you'll be there, but some things are already closed, with more closings scheduled. I would hate to go to Epcot, only to find that something you really wanted to do is unavailable.

The new Star Wars stuff at Hollywood Studios looks impressive, but is pretty crowded and hard to get into right now (my wife and I were just there over Christmas). I've never been to Disneyland, so I can't compare the two.
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Old 02-04-2020, 05:10 PM
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We go to Walt Disney World (WDW) fairly frequently (week-long visits more or less annually since 2007). Note that WDW consists of four main parks (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom), plus two water parks and a shopping district.

I haven't been to Disneyland since the 1980s, but my understanding is that it is fairly similar to Magic Kingdom. While Magic Kingdom is probably our favorite park at WDW, I can understand skipping it if you live close to Disneyland.

We also love Epcot, but I second what others have said: Epcot has been long overdue for a renovation, and it is currently undergoing a lot of construction. They are hoping to finish by 2021 (50th anniversary of WDW). If you're only going for one day, I would probably not recommend going there until they finish the current round of construction.

So I would therefore probably recommend going to Hollywood Studios or Animal Kingdom for the day.

Hollywood Studios has some pretty great rides (Toy Story Mania, Rock 'n' Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, plus the new Star Wars area and rides). Even if you don't generally like rides, you would probably like Toy Story Mania, which is a mild arcade-type ride that is a lot of fun. It's one of my wife's favorite rides, and she doesn't like most rides.

Animal Kingdom has some good rides as well, plus animal exhibits. One of the rides is a safari ride with real African animals. The Lion King stage show is also great.

P.S. We spent one day at WDW this past October, and spent most of it at the Food & Wine Festival in Epcot. We then moved over to Hollywood Studios for the evening, and I was pleasantly surprised that the Galaxy's Edge area (i.e. Star Wars area) was not particularly crowded.
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Old 02-04-2020, 05:31 PM
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Sad to hear that Epcot is going through construction, as that would have been my suggestion. If you are an adult, and rides aren't an attraction for you, Epcot is laid back and they serve adult beverages throughout the park.
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Old 02-04-2020, 05:47 PM
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I was in the same boat about 10 years ago.

I had been to Disney Land a few times and the conference I was at rented out half of Universal Orlando so I didn't know what to do on my free day.

After doing some research I took a charter bus to the Kennedy Space Center. I think it cost me ~$60. It picked me up at my hotel about 7:00AM, we drove to small space museum on the way and stopped there for about 45 minutes. Then we went off to Kennedy Space Center. I think there was a 3 hour tour, then we had an hour or so to do our own thing then the bus took us back to our hotels and I believe I go back early evening.

Being a minor space nerd, it was an UNBELIEVABLE experience and I can't recommend it enough!

So that's one option for you.

Another option that I'd wish I was able to pull off was a airboat tour of the Everglades. I thought that would be pretty cool as well.

Good luck!

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Old 02-04-2020, 06:53 PM
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For something very different than Disneyland I would suggest Animal Kingdom rather than Epcot. I like Epcot but it does feel a bit dated. Glad it’s being renovated
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Old 02-04-2020, 06:53 PM
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When you say you don't like rides, do you mean roller-coaster type thrill rides? Many of Disney's rides are slow boats or track vehicles meant to simply convey you past interesting things to look at. So there may be more for you to enjoy than you think.
With a modicum of research you can find the specifics of what each park has to offer and see what most appeals to you. I would bet that even during construction, Epcot will have plenty enough going on to fill a day's visit. While some like your friend are "unimpressed" by Epcot, others absolutely love it. Don't dismiss the idea based on one person's opinion.

I've found that Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios are the most do-able parks in a single day (though the new Star Wars attractions and expanded Toy Story area at HS may have changed that.) And if you don't feel like a theme park at all, Disney Springs (formerly Downtown Disney) is definitely worth a visit. You can browse the shops, have a quick lunch, stop for a cocktail here and there, and pick a nice restaurant for dinner, and before you know it you've killed a whole day.

Enjoy!
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Old 02-04-2020, 06:59 PM
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I'm 37. A friend of mine about my age was just at Walt Disney World, and said the Millennium Falcon ride was very immersive. Take that for what you will.
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Old 02-04-2020, 09:39 PM
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If you're close to Disneyland, then the Star Wars stuff is also available there, and both Tower of Terror and the Swirling Saucers ride have Disneyland versions under different skins (and Disneyland has its own Fantasmic). So that leaves mostly shows at Hollywood Studios, which can be fun, but not something I'd go to Hollywood Studios just to do.

Epcot does have a lot of construction, but there isn't really a whole lot "down" long-term. Though that is because the park was rather neglected for so long, so there were a lot of un or under-utilized buildings. So a lot of walls, a lot of construction, but all you really have lost are a fountain, Ellen's Energy Adventure, and all the free Beverly you can drink.

Still, I'd probably look at Animal Kingdom. Only one thing I can think of there that's the same as Disneyland (Dinosaur is pretty much a reskinned Indiana Jones). Depending on your tolerance for motion simulators, Flight of Passage was by far the best ride in Disneyworld pre-Star Wars Land, the Safari is cool and unique, and there are some good shows like the Lion King and Finding Nemo (and maybe the bird show. I don't like it after the changes, but if you're there and have time...)
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Old 02-05-2020, 10:32 AM
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I agree Epcot is pretty dated in terms of rides, but I believe the International Festival of the Arts is going on, so there is a lot of artsy stuff to look like, and they have the foodie booths open at many of the countries in the World Showcase, which we always enjoy. It can can pricey but IHMO it's the most adult friendly park and sampling the foods is a lot of fun. Plus you can now ride the skyride to Hollywood studios.

If you go and want to do any rides, get the app as it will let you book three fast passes in advance (and three more after you use those).
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Old 02-05-2020, 10:34 AM
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I agree Epcot is pretty dated in terms of rides, but I believe the International Festival of the Arts is going on, so there is a lot of artsy stuff to look at, and they have the foodie booths open at many of the countries in the World Showcase, which we always enjoy. It can can pricey but IHMO it's the most adult-friendly park and sampling the foods is a lot of fun. Plus you can now ride the skyride to Hollywood studios.

If you go and want to do any rides, get the app as it will let you book three fast passes in advance (and three more after you use those).
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Old 02-05-2020, 10:47 AM
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Thanks everyone for your comments, I appreciate it!
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Old 02-05-2020, 10:58 AM
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Re--Kennedy Space Center--I never saw a Bald Eagle iin the wild, until I took the bus tour at Kennedy.

Then, I saw two. And a giant, ball-shaped nest for em.

Go Kennedy.
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Old 02-05-2020, 11:19 AM
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If the new Star Wars attraction at Hollywood studios holds any appeal, I caution you not to get your hopes up about the Rise of the Resistance ride. It's the big ride there and I've heard many people say it's the best amusement park ride they've ever been on -- if you can get on it.
I was there a couple weeks ago and didn't even get close to riding it. Didn't even the opportunity to stand in line for hours. They use a system in which you must use the Disney app to sign up for the ride, then you're assigned to boarding groups for specific times throughout the day. The deal is you cannot sign up on the app until you are physically within the park, past the entry gate. Sign up starts at opening time, which on my visit was 7 am. When we arrived at the entrance gate at 7:05 am, they were putting out the sign boards saying all slots for that day had been taken and no more would be available.
It was a big disappointment, but apparently it's been like that since the ride opened. Seems like a bad system and unlike Disney to disappoint so many people from the first moment at the park, but maybe it will have improved by the time you get there.
The rest of the Star Wars land was very cool though. They've done a great job with it.
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Old 02-05-2020, 11:38 AM
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If the new Star Wars attraction at Hollywood studios holds any appeal, I caution you not to get your hopes up about the Rise of the Resistance ride. It's the big ride there and I've heard many people say it's the best amusement park ride they've ever been on -- if you can get on it.
I was there a couple weeks ago and didn't even get close to riding it. Didn't even the opportunity to stand in line for hours. They use a system in which you must use the Disney app to sign up for the ride, then you're assigned to boarding groups for specific times throughout the day. The deal is you cannot sign up on the app until you are physically within the park, past the entry gate. Sign up starts at opening time, which on my visit was 7 am. When we arrived at the entrance gate at 7:05 am, they were putting out the sign boards saying all slots for that day had been taken and no more would be available.
It was a big disappointment, but apparently it's been like that since the ride opened. Seems like a bad system and unlike Disney to disappoint so many people from the first moment at the park, but maybe it will have improved by the time you get there.
The rest of the Star Wars land was very cool though. They've done a great job with it.

Bwhhaaa Huh? That must be something new. I was there in Nov. and we just got in line and waited (and waited and waited). The line was long as hell but there's not all that much to do in that particular park.
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Old 02-05-2020, 12:10 PM
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Bwhhaaa Huh? That must be something new. I was there in Nov. and we just got in line and waited (and waited and waited). The line was long as hell but there's not all that much to do in that particular park.
It may vary with how busy the park is (it was in place when we were there at Christmastime), but it's definitely a thing. See this explanation at Disney's website.

Some quotes:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Walt Disney World
After entering Disney's Hollywood Studios, you will become eligible to join the virtual queue...

When you join the virtual queue, you will be assigned a boarding group...

Admission into Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is subject to capacity. Being assigned to a boarding group does not guarantee entrance to the land, its attractions or its experiences.
So you can get there bright and early, sign up for a group, and still not necessarily get on.
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Old 02-05-2020, 12:48 PM
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“One Day to Kill in Orlando” would be a good title for a Tim Dorsey novel.
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Old 02-05-2020, 12:55 PM
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“One Day to Kill in Orlando” would be a good title for a Tim Dorsey novel.
With the sequel, "In the Shadow of the Mouse".
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Old 02-05-2020, 03:02 PM
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If the new Star Wars attraction at Hollywood studios holds any appeal, I caution you not to get your hopes up about the Rise of the Resistance ride. It's the big ride there and I've heard many people say it's the best amusement park ride they've ever been on -- if you can get on it.
I was there a couple weeks ago and didn't even get close to riding it. Didn't even the opportunity to stand in line for hours. They use a system in which you must use the Disney app to sign up for the ride, then you're assigned to boarding groups for specific times throughout the day. The deal is you cannot sign up on the app until you are physically within the park, past the entry gate. Sign up starts at opening time, which on my visit was 7 am. When we arrived at the entrance gate at 7:05 am, they were putting out the sign boards saying all slots for that day had been taken and no more would be available.
It was a big disappointment, but apparently it's been like that since the ride opened. Seems like a bad system and unlike Disney to disappoint so many people from the first moment at the park, but maybe it will have improved by the time you get there.
The rest of the Star Wars land was very cool though. They've done a great job with it.
It sounds like it's nearly impossible to get on the new Rise of the Resistance ride. (Which is why we were going to give a year or so to calm down.)

Amaguri, if you do decide to go, I recommend doing a little research beforehand, even for a one-day trip. In particular, learn how the Fastpass+ system works (it uses an app and is free for everyone), and if you want to eat at a decent sit-down restaurant, you should make a reservation in advance.
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Old 02-05-2020, 08:57 PM
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Bwhhaaa Huh? That must be something new. I was there in Nov. and we just got in line and waited (and waited and waited). The line was long as hell but there's not all that much to do in that particular park.
Rise of the Resistance opened on December 5th, so if you got in line in November, it must have been a long line indeed...

You may be thinking of Smuggler's Run, the Millennium Falcon ride, which opened at the same time the overall area did
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Old 02-05-2020, 09:46 PM
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I don't mean to hijack the thread, but is skipping Disney completely an option for the OP? Because that would be my choice. I would sooner cut off my own ballsack than stand in the lines, pay outrageous prices, and walk those long distances. Give me a Hampton Inn, a fifth of Jack Daniels, and a balcony room just to unwind for one day instead.
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Old 02-06-2020, 02:32 PM
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FWIW, UltraVires, I used to feel similarly back before our first family trip in 2007. Prior to that, I'd gone to WDW a couple of times in the early '90s, mainly because I was living in Orlando at the time, and visitors always wanted to go there. Living in Orlando, you get really sick of the tourists and the theme parks, so after I moved away I really had no desire to go back.

"Been there, done that," I said to my wife when she suggested taking our then 10-year old son. Also, "Why would I do Disney's fake version of something (like whitewater rafting, for example) when I could do the real thing?"

But my wife persisted, so we finally went...and had the best family vacation we'd ever had. Our dozen visits since have largely been an effort to recapture the magic of that first family visit.

There were a number of things that made it such a great vacation for us, including the fact that we did some planning beforehand. I think the people who go and don't have a good time often just show up at peak times (and peak crowds) with little or no planning, which is a mistake. WDW is too big, too complicated, and more often than not simply too crowded to just show up, unless you already know what you are doing. Go without a plan, and you will likely find yourself paying too much and doing little more than standing in lines in the hot Florida sun.

Go with a plan (and a reservation) and you can find yourself sipping a cocktail at Oga's Cantina in the new Galaxy's Edge at Disney's Hollywood Studios.
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Old 02-06-2020, 02:57 PM
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FWIW, UltraVires, I used to feel similarly back before our first family trip in 2007. Prior to that, I'd gone to WDW a couple of times in the early '90s, mainly because I was living in Orlando at the time, and visitors always wanted to go there. Living in Orlando, you get really sick of the tourists and the theme parks, so after I moved away I really had no desire to go back.

"Been there, done that," I said to my wife when she suggested taking our then 10-year old son. Also, "Why would I do Disney's fake version of something (like whitewater rafting, for example) when I could do the real thing?"

But my wife persisted, so we finally went...and had the best family vacation we'd ever had. Our dozen visits since have largely been an effort to recapture the magic of that first family visit.

There were a number of things that made it such a great vacation for us, including the fact that we did some planning beforehand. I think the people who go and don't have a good time often just show up at peak times (and peak crowds) with little or no planning, which is a mistake. WDW is too big, too complicated, and more often than not simply too crowded to just show up, unless you already know what you are doing. Go without a plan, and you will likely find yourself paying too much and doing little more than standing in lines in the hot Florida sun.

Go with a plan (and a reservation) and you can find yourself sipping a cocktail at Oga's Cantina in the new Galaxy's Edge at Disney's Hollywood Studios.
Let me just upvote this 1000 times. I really truly understand that people like to just wing it or go with the flow, but 99% of the time planning is the key to an enjoyable vacation. No one is saying that a plan has to have the precision of a military drill or can’t be flexible, but showing up without any clue will often lead to a miserable time. And I think this philosophy applies to a Disney trip, a trip to Paris, or a national parks trip. Heck, I’d even suggest some planning for a cruise.
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Old 02-06-2020, 03:22 PM
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If you're not that into rides, and you'll already have been to Universal that week, it's probably not worth going to Disney too.

Gatorland is easy to do in one day in Orlando and is relatively unusual and Florida-specific.

There are vineyards and breweries you can visit for something a little different. I haven't actually been to this one,, but it looks pretty good and is free, so you wouldn't be losing out much even if it wasn't great.

Kennedy Space Centre is definitely worth visiting, though it might feel like a long day at the end of a working week.
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Old 02-06-2020, 03:59 PM
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If you're not that into rides, and you'll already have been to Universal that week, it's probably not worth going to Disney too.
My wife is not that into rides, but she loves WDW. (My son and I do like rides, and we also love WDW.)

In any event, it's not actually all about the rides. If all we cared about were rides, we'd go to our local Six Flags (which I haven't visited in over a decade, and have no desire to ever go back).
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Old 02-06-2020, 04:03 PM
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Personally I would go to LEGOland. Granted, I LOVE LEGO, but it's also a smaller park that you can actually see and do everything in one day.
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Old 02-06-2020, 04:42 PM
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My wife is not that into rides, but she loves WDW. (My son and I do like rides, and we also love WDW.)

In any event, it's not actually all about the rides. If all we cared about were rides, we'd go to our local Six Flags (which I haven't visited in over a decade, and have no desire to ever go back).
Agreed, there is more to Disneyland than rides - same with Universal Studios. But they're fairly similar, so if they're not really your thing, and like the OP, you live near enough to go to Disneyland in Anaheim if you want to but don't often go to Florida, then it's probably better to use the time to do something different.
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Old 02-06-2020, 10:58 PM
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No one is saying that a plan has to have the precision of a military drill or can’t be flexible
I've found that thoroughly planning a WDW vacation leaves you knowledgeable enough to be pretty flexible.
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Old 02-07-2020, 04:06 PM
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Disney World is HUGE. If I were you, if you only have a day, I'd go see some other Florida attractions, like Leu Gardens, Bok Tower Gardens, even Gatorland. The Orlando Eye is near some nice shops and restaurants.

To do Disney properly, I'd say you should plan on going for a week.
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Old 02-07-2020, 04:40 PM
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If you want a restful day and a light dose of Disney, I'd recommend going to look at the resorts. Park at the Grand Floridian or Polynesian or Contemporary and take the monorail from one resort to another, enjoy the lobbies, grounds, theming, bars and restaurants.

Or go to Animal Kingdom Lodge and as well as the grounds, animals, spectacular lobby, they have tours of the resort and great restaurants
https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/re...-lodge/dining/
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Old 02-07-2020, 05:14 PM
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Heck, I would do SeaWorld before Disney. Second choice: Kennedy Space Flight Center. Third choice: LEGOland (if you see my 7 YO nephew there, please tell him to come home, it's been five months, already!).

Bok Tower and Gardens is nice, too.
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Old 02-07-2020, 09:22 PM
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Rent a car and drive to the Keys. You’ll have to drive REALLY FAST, because you only have one day.

The Keys and the Everglades are really the only things a grown-up person should want to do in south Florida.
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Old 02-08-2020, 03:05 PM
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When I was there, Disney struck me as a series of gift shops all selling essentially the same thing surrounded by interminable line waits for a few rides.
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Old 02-08-2020, 03:59 PM
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Rent a car and drive to the Keys. You’ll have to drive REALLY FAST, because you only have one day.

The Keys and the Everglades are really the only things a grown-up person should want to do in south Florida.
What a strange thing to say.

First, Orlando and Disneyworld are not in south Florida.
Second, I’m sure there are other “acceptable” activities for adults in South Florida as well.
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Old 02-09-2020, 11:20 AM
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It's about an eight hour drive from Orlando to Key West. It's doable in a day but that would be your day.
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Old 02-09-2020, 01:24 PM
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Yep, the Central Florida Theme Park region is just colossal and can be exhausting if not properly planned. But it is doable and can be enjoyed, as the millions of repeat visitors attest.

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Heck, I’d even suggest some planning for a cruise.
A. Arrive at departure city the day before.
B. Bring cash for tips. Don't bring the good jewelry.
C. Bring extra pants two waist sizes larger.
D. Swimming lessons and shark repellent?
E. Hazmat suit and gallon jugs of sanitizer.

Last edited by JRDelirious; 02-09-2020 at 01:25 PM.
  #41  
Old 02-09-2020, 03:10 PM
dalej42 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRDelirious View Post
Yep, the Central Florida Theme Park region is just colossal and can be exhausting if not properly planned. But it is doable and can be enjoyed, as the millions of repeat visitors attest.

A. Arrive at departure city the day before.
B. Bring cash for tips. Don't bring the good jewelry.
C. Bring extra pants two waist sizes larger.
D. Swimming lessons and shark repellent?
E. Hazmat suit and gallon jugs of sanitizer.
And look at shore excursions in advance and decide if there’s things you can do independently. Just give yourself plenty of buffer.
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  #42  
Old 02-09-2020, 06:11 PM
jaycat is offline
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There's a cool manatee refuge somewhere nearby, I don't remember quite where, but it's definitely worth a visit.
  #43  
Old 02-09-2020, 07:26 PM
D'Anconia is offline
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Originally Posted by jaycat View Post
There's a cool manatee refuge somewhere nearby, I don't remember quite where, but it's definitely worth a visit.
Maybe this one?

https://www.tampaelectric.com/company/mvc/
  #44  
Old 02-09-2020, 09:18 PM
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I think it's on the east coast. But I could be wrong, it's been many years since I was there.
  #45  
Old 02-09-2020, 09:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amaguri View Post
Thank you for the comments so far -- I should note that there is a work event at Universal Studios planned for earlier in the week so I will already have been there.

I don't like rides (my husband doesn't share my opinion). I guess maybe a good question is, how different is the Magic Kingdom from Disneyland, for anyone who's visited both?
If your work event is in the evening, there will be limited things open to you. Assuming it's a private event and the park is closed except for your event. I did a Shell Oil thing where that was the case, and I went back during the day my next day off, I had seen so many things I wanted to experience that were closed off for the event.
  #46  
Old 02-17-2020, 01:48 PM
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In case people appreciate closure for this sort of topic.........

We went to Universal as part of the work event. The Harry Potter area was reserved for our group; not everything was open, but there were still plenty of things to do. Free butterbeer (not the frozen kind)! I got strong-armed into riding the new Hagrid motorbike thingie and got hella sick.

I asked hubby to look at what was available at each of the parks and decide which one was worth visiting. He neglected to do so (lol) so we ended up going to Epcot after all. Yes, there is definitely a lot of stuff under construction. But for someone who's never been (and might never go again) it was still a perfectly enjoyable way to spend the day. The art fair was nice. We had no problem just wandering around and eating/drinking our way through the various countries. Pretty good pastries in DisneyFrance, pretty awful fried rice in DisneyChina. I have no idea why exactly but we waited in line for about an hour for the Frozen ride. Overall, a good time was had by all. Thanks again for all of your feedback and suggestions!
  #47  
Old 02-17-2020, 04:23 PM
sachertorte is offline
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I’m glad you had fun. That is the most important thing.
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