Orlando Journals

Two Weeks in Orlando

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A May 2008 trip to Orlando by Joy S

Collecting character autographs Photo, Orlando, Florida More Photos
Quote: 2 weeks in Orlando doing all things Disney, with trips to Seaworld and Aquatica thrown in for good measure

Two Weeks in Orlando

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Overview

Collecting character autographs Photo, Orlando, Florida
Quote:
As significant as air-conditioning, Walt Disney World turned a wedge of Florida farmland into one of the world's most lucrative destinations. Disneyworld is the pacesetter amongst theme parks. It stretches across an area twice the size of Manhattan with 4 main theme parks which are quite separate entities.It is hard to believe that Orlando was once a sleepy little southern town surrounded by farmland. Since the opening of Walt Disney World in 1971, it has grown to become one of the world's top holiday destinations.50 million people each year visit to sample the host of activities. If you have children, a trip here is almost a requirement. This was our 4th visit - the first tim...Read More

2202 Wyndham Palms Way

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Hotel

Kitchen / dining area Photo, Orlando, Florida
Quote:
We stayed in a 4 bedroom villa on the Windsor Palms estate in Kissimmee. We booked directly through the Windsor Palms website and after that conversed directly with the owner - who happened to live in England.Windsor Palms states on its website it is 10 minutes from the gates of Disney. This is probably true, but from the gates to the actual theme park can take a further 10-20 minutes, depending on where you want to visit. Realistically it takes about 25 minutes from door to car-park. It is however an easy drive.The complex is gated, very well maintained and landscaped with lots of very similar looking villas. It has a clubhouse, tennis courts, swimming pool and shop, but we d...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 24, 2008

Walt Disney World's Blizzard Beach

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Attraction | "Blizzard Beach"

Walt Disney World's Blizzard Beach Photo, Orlando, Florida
Quote:
The Discovery Channel ranks this as the second best water park in the United States. According to them, Schlitterbahn in Texas is number one.Blizzard Beach is designed for speed and great rides. It has been themed as an Alpine ski-resort and the theming, as is normal for Disney, is very clever.Mount Gushmore is the "snow-covered" mountain you see from all points in the park. There is a chair-lift with snazzy overhead umbrellas which provides continuous 1 way trips up the mountain throughout the day.The park is open 9am-7pm. We arrived at 11am on a Tuesday and had no problem finding loungers in a shady spot. They take the theming very seriously - by our seats and thro...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 24, 2008

Walt Disney World's Blizzard Beach
1534 W Buena Vista Dr
Orlando, Florida 32830
(407) 560-3400

Walt Disney World Resort Epcot Theme Park

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Attraction | "Disney's Epcot"

Walt Disney World Resort Epcot Theme Park Photo, Orlando, Florida
Quote:
Epcot has 2 sections - Future World and World Showcase. We visited on 2 different days. On day 1 we got there early and explored Future World. On the second day, we arrived late afternoon, spent our time at World Showcase and stayed for the 9pm fireworks.Inspired by Walt Disney's creative vision, Future World is dedicated to the exploration of tomorrow and divided into 3 main areas. World Showcase has different pavilions representing countries around the world - each one staffed by native citizens and providing eateries, shops and entertainment with authentic merchandise and menus.Epcot is a huge park - it is really a good idea to bring a stroller for younger children....Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 24, 2008

Walt Disney World Resort Epcot Theme Park

Orlando, Florida

Downtown Disney

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Attraction

Downtown Disney Photo, Orlando, Florida
Quote:
This is an entire district of shops, restaurants, cinemas, a virtual reality interactive themed area and Cirque du Soleil.Disney Marketplace is a collection of shops set around the Buena Vista Lagoon. It provides some of the best shopping opportunities at Disney World.We spent ages in the Lego Imagination Centre. It has an activity centre just outside the front door that allows hands on play. We had to drag our son away from here. The shop has lots of really clever Lego sculptures including a huge T-Rex. There is a Build a Lego character station and Pick a Brick wall. The green Lego serpent rising out of the lagoon is also great.World of Disney and Once Upon a Toy h...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 24, 2008

Downtown Disney
Walt Disney World Resort
Lake Buena Vista, Florida 32821
+1 407 828 3056

Walt Disney World Resort Magic Kingdom

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Attraction | "Walt Disney World Resort: Magic Kingdom"

Walt Disney World Resort Magic Kingdom Photo, Orlando, Florida
Quote:
The Magic Kingdom is the place everybody automatically thinks of when you say "Disney World." It is a wonderful place for the young and the young at heart.It is divided into 7 lands, each with its own distinct atmosphere and attractions. Our itinerary and recommendations in this review are very much based around what our 4 year old son enjoyed.We split our visit into 2 days. On day 1, we got there early and left just after the afternoon parade. On day 2 we arrived in the late afternoon, did some rides, had dinner but still had plenty of energy left to enjoy the evening parade and the fireworks.The Magic Kingdom opens at 9am - we arrived in the car park at 8:15 and too...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 24, 2008

Walt Disney World Resort Magic Kingdom
Interstate 4 At U.S. Highway 192
Orlando, Florida
(407) 824-4321

SeaWorld Orlando

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Attraction

SeaWorld Orlando Photo, Orlando, Florida
Quote:
We visited Seaworld on the last Friday in May - it was so crowded and seemed to us to be a lot busier than any of the Disney parks. Because of the crowds of people there, we had to limit what we did, get to the shows around 50 minutes early and miss some of the animal exhibits. We enjoyed the park, but all in all it really was a bit too packed.Parking cost $10 and we had 7 day passes which allowed visits to Seaworld and Aquatica - their new water park.Seaworld is a 200 acre marine park which lets you explore and learn about the oceans and their inhabitants while also having fun. The grounds are beautifully landscaped and centre on a 17 acre lagoon. There are flamingo ponds and ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 24, 2008

SeaWorld Orlando
7007 Sea World Drive
Orlando, Florida 32821
(888) 800-5447

Disney - MGM Studios

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Attraction

Sorcerer's Hat Photo, Orlando, Florida
Quote:
This park has attractions and entertainment dedicated to Hollywood and the Disney art of film-making. The park opens at 9am and it costs $10 to park. We split our visit into 2 days - the first day we got there early and left following the afternoon parade, the second visit we arrived late afternoon, had dinner and then stayed for the evening fireworks and show. This worked out really well.The Sorcerer's Hat is the first thing you see when you go in. It is the park's new icon and is the hat worn by Mickey Mouse in Fantasia. Built in 2002, it towers 122 feet into the air. We saw Minnie Mouse and several other characters near the hat and got their autographs without queuing.Seve...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 26, 2008

SeaWorld Orlando

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Attraction | "Aquatica Water Park"

SeaWorld Orlando Photo, Orlando, Florida
Quote:
This park only opened in spring of this year, so everything is brand new. We arrived at 11am to a packed car park. The car park and the water park itself are small in comparison to the Disney offerings.Maps of the park were not easy to locate. We couldn't find them near the entrance and eventually had to ask a member of staff. After a bit of a search we managed to obtain one.Near the entrance to the park members of staff had exotic animals you could get close to. We saw macaws and some kind of lizard on the ground which they allowed you to touch.One real drawback to this park is the absolute lack of shady places to sit and relax. They have big areas of white sandy be...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 29, 2008

SeaWorld Orlando
7007 Sea World Drive
Orlando, Florida 32821
(888) 800-5447

Disney's Animal Kingdom

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Attraction

Disney's Animal Kingdom Photo, Orlando, Florida
Quote:
Animal Kingdom was my favourite Disney park. It has 6 regions, each one dedicated to a different ecological niche of the planet.You enter through the Oasis. This is not really an attraction, but is the really pretty entrance to the park. On both sides of the path are small animal and bird holding areas.We headed straight to the African area. Harambe represents a village in South East Africa and is the crown jewel of this wonderful park. Kilimanjaro Safaris involves a drive in a large truck through the "African" plain with a guide. We saw hippos, crocodiles, antelope, ostriches, elephants, sleeping lions, warthogs and a cheetah.Disney has done an amazing job of transf...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 29, 2008

Disney's Animal Kingdom
Walt Disney World Resort
Orlando, Florida 32830
(407) 824-4321

Disney's Typhoon Lagoon Water Park

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Attraction | "Typhoon Lagoon"

Disney's Typhoon Lagoon Water Park Photo, Orlando, Florida
Quote:
Typhoon Lagoon is themed as a beautiful tropical resort. It is more relaxed and less action packed than Blizzard Beach. The atmosphere is lovely and there is white sand, blue water and palm trees.The park is open 9am until 7pm.We arrived on a Saturday morning in June and although busy, it was not too crowded.We easily found sunloungers in a lovely shady area at Sharks Reef. We left our stuff there and headed off to explore.Castaway Creek is this park's lazy river. Over 2,000 feet of winding, shady, sometimes sunny, relaxing fun. There are 5 exit/entry points and the water is 3 feet deep all the way around. We had no problems getting tubes. There are also ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 29, 2008

Disney's Typhoon Lagoon Water Park
1801 West Buena Vista Drive
Orlando, Florida