2 week holiday to florida - which park tickets should I buy

Found 14th Oct 2009
I am planning a 2 week holiday to florida next year using my tesco clubcard vouchers.

Which park tickets should I buy, have 2 girls aged 9 and 13.

I am on a budget so don't want to fork out for tickets that wont get used much, how many days can you spend in each park. I will probably buy the 14 day disney tickets, what can you guys recomend
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The way WDW tickets work is the more days you buy, the cheaper the deals. So you could get 14 days at WDW but IMO, that's overkill as there is so much more to Orlando / Florida than just Disney - especially parks liek Sea World and the 2 Universal parks, Studios and Islands of Adventure.

If it's your first time, I'd say go for the 14 day WDW tickets as these will allow you to come and go as you please. If you got one of the 7 day passes you'd have to cram Disney into a single week. To see the other parks, Sea World often to deals where you pay for one day but get another day free. Universal / IOA do two day passes as well.

The thing is, you need to decide (with your daughters) what you want from the holiday. Islands of Adventure is a great park but there are a lot of big thrill rides and might not be suitable whereas Universal Studios is great for all ages. Whatever you do, you must spend at least one full day in Sea World, experience an end of day firework show at The Magic Kingdom and visit Muppets 3d .... I've seen this show 8 times and it still makes me laugh.

Not sure if I'm allowed to post a link (but I will) but the best site for WDW / Florida information and help - the forums are superb - is here: thedibb.co.uk/

Good luck with your planning!
Sea world, disney and discovery cove for me
(obviously the WDW parks) especially epcot for hte firework displays (if they still do them, last time i was there was 2002 and it was epic) i would recommend sea world etc. but it also depends on whether or not your girls like rides, if they do then busch gardens and both universals (islands of adventure is more like proper rides whereas universal studios is more like film rides like you sit down and it takes you through with good visual effects etc. if you get that) but as mentioned above there is far more to do than the theme parks
I would say there is plenty to do in each park for 2 days, or even 3. Epcot for example is huge and we went there for one day only and only saw half of it.

But the problem is, it is not a good idea to spend EVERY day in a theme park. So you may want days where you chill out and maybe hang around the pool in the hotel, or go shopping, or go into central Orlando.

If you are going to get the 14 day ticket for Disney why do you think you need more tickets?

Basically their are two competing orgaizations: Disney and Universal.

Disney have their numerous parks (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood studios, and Animal Kingdom) plus 2 water parks.

Universal have Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, Wet and Wild and Sea World (plus Busch gardens in Tampa).

If you are going to buy Disney 14 day tickets not sure you need Universal tickets (if you were buying Universal tickets I would say you did not need Disney tickets).

I think the Disney 14 days is enough.
By the way, if my append above sound like I am more in favour of Disney than Universal that is not true.

Universal are certainly better value than Disney (they have to charge less as they are playing catch up).

And my favorite park I went to there was Sea World, and Islands of Adventure is also an amazing park, and both are part of the Universal package.

In fact when we went in 2000 for two weeks we bought a 7 day Universal ticket (had to be used seven days running) and we went to the 4 Universal parks every day for the first week (alternated "theme park" with water park or Sea world to break it up a bit).

The only Disney parks I went to in second week was Epcot (amazing) and Blizzard Beach with my kids. My wife went to Animal Kingdom with her sister while we were in Blizzard Beach.

The problem is that the individual day price for these parks is very high (to encourage you to buy the 7 or 14 days passes) so going in on a day ticket is just not worth it (plus you have to queue when you get there to buy your ticket).

So as I said, if you already have the 14 day Disney pass then you can either buy NO other tickets, or buy the 14 day Universal tickets also.

Do they do 7 day tickets any more?, if so you could buy 7 day Disney and 7 day Universal.
You sound as though you have not been to Florida before, so a few general comments.

Think VERY carefuly when you go. The summer in Florida is VERY hot and it is no fun walking round a theme park in high heat and himidity. We went for 2 weeks in February 2000 and the weather was lovely, t shirts and shorts and 80 degrees (and no crowds). Certain times of the year the parks are packed and you will spend all day queueing which is no fun.

Think carefully where you stay. The theme parks are not all nicely next to each other, they are scattered all over the place, and getting to them can be difficult without a car. The Disney complex alone is the size of MANCHESTER and has its own motorway network and flyovers to get from the hotels to the parks.

The parks are huge, and it can get very tiring walking round a theme park all day. Plus you get very hungry and thirsty so you can finish up buying lots of food and drinks inside the parks (which can add up). You can take in your own food and drink, but if the weather is hot it wont stay cool for very long so you will want to buy cool drinks.

As I said, you may not want to spend every day in a theme park, so hunt out other things to do in the area. There are some amazing "crazy golf" over there which are like film sets, which stay open till about midnight, and some good shopping malls.

Crazy golf picture

My favorite "secret" place in Orlando is Winter Park, a small town

This town is built round some lakes, and many rich people built huge houses on the edge of the lakes (multi millionaires). You can now get boat trips round the lakes which is a lovely way to spend an hour or so.



Plus the town is full of "rich" people in their BMWs so it is a great place to go an "people watch".

Winter Park is a great place to have a break from the theme parks.
Seaworld is my fave park, I have been to florida 4 times now and seen shamu's show umpteen times and it still makes me cry!
Like others have said it does depend on what you want out of your holiday.
Back in 2003 we bought a 14 day universal pass did mostly universal parks, seaworld, busch gardens and wet n wild and drove to KSC and cocoa beach, in 2005 we did the same but included discovery cove and also pulled in single days tickets to Epcot and MGM studios as we went for 3 weeks, both these holidays we had teenagers with us. Our most recent venture in 2008, again for 3 weeks was slightly different as we now have a 3 year old daughter so after spending 9 days in clearwater (lovely place, defo one for relaxing) we moved onto a villa in Davenport and again had 14 day universal passes which we used for Busch gardens whilst in Clearwater and then seaworld, Aquatica and the 2 universal parks. There was plenty for both our 3 yr old and her teen sister. We did do Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom and i have to admit they were the highlight for my littlest, definately aimed at the younger age group but enjoyable all the same. I would say do as much as you can!!! plan every day beforehand and stick to it, it is hard if you only have 2 weeks to plan in some rest days but parks are generally open till late so you don't have to be up at the crack of dawn to get a decent 'days' worth.
One last thing, definately do Aquatica water park, it is fantastic, we loved it so much we went 3 times, and its much better than wet n wild imo.
Enjoy yourself!
Another great "free" thing is Old Town in Kissimmee


The has been built like and old western town (with loads of shops of course), plus a fun fair and so on.

They have live bands, and on Friday and Saturday they have a load of old cars doing a parade (even if you are not into cars it is an amazing sight), plus on Thursday a Bike parade.

>and seen shamu's show umpteen times and it still makes me cry!

I am in my 50s now, and have to say the Shamu show in Sea World is one of the most wonderful things I have seen in my life (funny too at times).

We went into Sea World twice and saw the show 3 times.

The Americans certainly know how to put on a show.

Shamu videos


Thanks for the tips, forgot to add we haven't been before.

I have been looking at Best Western Lakeside, has anyone used shuttle buses rather than hiring a car?
I've been to Orlando 4 times and always had a car as its our holiday and I don't want to spend time planning my trips around buses - or waiting for them. As pointed out by Guilbert53, WDW alone is the size of Manchester and whilst there are lots of buses, it's much nicer to be able to get into an air-conditioned car and go where you want, when you want.

For example, on our last trip in '07 we went to IOA first thing in the morning, drove to I-Drive for lunch (the superb Friendlies restaurant) did Sea World in the afternoon before driving to MK for the fireworks. We had the tickets to be able to do this but would have struggled if we had to rely on hotel / public transport. Going shopping (an art in itself in Orlando) at the malls is also easier with a car.

Driving in Orlando is easy, in many ways, much easier than over here. The roads are big, wide and there are plenty of signs, especially for the tourist places. Personally, I think you'll get more out of your holiday if you have a car than if you don't.
... and the Best Western Lakeside is the hotel I had to drop my wife off at at 05:30 in the morning for a balloon rip for our wedding anniversary. I didn't go as I hate heights!

My Mrs before lift off

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Other balloons

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She passed over the house we stayed at - that's me and my kids waving!

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I just wish we could afford to go again!

I agree about the car hire. My other half hates driving in this country in places he isn't familiar with, and he was dreading the driving when we went in '03, BUT he will tell you that it's actually ok and once you know what your doing your fine. One thing we took with us last year was our Tom Tom, we downloaded the maps for the states and it was brilliant especially as we were headed to unfamiliar territory i.e. clearwater.
I think you could do without a car if you stopped on International drive as the I ride trolley goes from sea world right up to universal and there are several hotels with complimentary shuttle buses to WDW.
But if you want the freedom of doing what u want whenever, and going to places like Walmart and Target (a must imo) then a car is essential.
The beauty of being in a car is that if you see a shop / restaurant etc that takes your fancy you can just stop there - if you're being shuttled to and from parks it takes away this spontinaity(sp).

The beauty of being in a car is that if you see a shop / restaurant etc … The beauty of being in a car is that if you see a shop / restaurant etc that takes your fancy you can just stop there - if you're being shuttled to and from parks it takes away this spontinaity(sp).


PS nice avatar.... blue army! big game tomorrow.
Yep - I'll be there in the West Stand (B2) hoping for a Silence Of The Lambs!
Went there last year, got the all access pass to Universal and Disney which included Busch Gardens in the Universal tickets. If you are going to do anything else like swimming with the dolphins, do not do it at the parks, it isn't that great, there is a trip which goes down to Key Largo (dolphinsplus.com/) i think that is the company i used not too sure, but that trip will take you down to Key Largo in a Luxury air con bus, spend the night there (its a 4 hour drive) have a all you can eat buffet and all you can drink (soft drink) then the next day, after staying in a 5* hotel, you swim with the dolphins, then go to the Everglades air boat tour (this is amazing!) and then you go shopping in miami, after that you get dropped back at the pick up point, its really worth it, it is about £100 PP but its really worth it HTH
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