At first my family and I were apprehensive about going to the Orlando area in July, especally 4 of July week. I read on the web at different sites how the crowds at Disney were really heavy, and the heat and humidity would be oppressive. We got very lucky we left Virginia, Hampton Roads area, on June 28
at 3 am and drove straight through to Orlando. Florida has been getting a lot of rain, and some unusally cool tempatures this year. The area of VA we live in had temps in the mid to upper 90's the whole time we were enjoying temps in the lower to mid 80's in Orlando. It rained for a hour or so every day
we were here but heck it's Florida so we just put on our ponchos and continued through the parks. I have to give credit to the Disney park designers, I am not one who likes to be around crowds, thats why I don't go to theme parks often, however Disney parks are so well laid out the crowds weren't bad until July 4th when every body crowded in to see the fireworks, and that was only for 20 to 25 minutes. Parking wasn't a problem either the cast members handle that well. We went down for a Soccer Tournament so we got special tickets to the Disney parks (3 Day Park Hopper passes good for only 14 days from start of event they were $116.00 each). We did all 4 theme parks and bought tickets to Disney's water park Blizzard Beach(tickets were $31.75/Adult $25.44/Child 3-9 including tax) We all enjoyed the water park, my kids stayed on Mount Gushmore most of the time riding the Slush Gusher and the Summit Plummit (a 120 foot drop at speeds of 60 mph). We also went over to Universal Citywalk and toured the stores and had dinner a Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville and my wife an I had a Cheeseburger in Paradise $7.95, my 16 year old son had a Bacon Cheeseburger in Paradise $8.50, and my 8 year old son had a child's Cheeseburger in Paradise $5.95, they are served with lettuce and tomato, french fries, and a kosher pickle, Heinz 57 is on the table and you can order a side of mayo if you like. We walked around Citywalk taking in the sites and enjoying the music and atmosphere, we visited a few shops and bought a couple of shirts.
While in Kissimmee we bought our grocerys at the Super WalMart on 192 they have the lowest prices and don't seem to take advantage of being in a tourist area by raising prices. We cooked in the Condo most of the time, We did have breakfast in the Raddison on Parkway Blvd. one morning the breakfast buffet was great, you can get omletts made to order on the buffet also.
We stayed in Vacation Village at Parkway, a RCI affiliated Timeshare, and fully enjoyed it. The resort is fairly new and the amenities are not all in yet, but you can use all aminities at Vacation Villa at Parkway, which is their sister resort just 2 blocks away. The pool was open from 8 AM - 11 PM and my 8 year old spent most all time we were at the resort in there.
All people we delt with, from the resort, theme parks, resturant, stores, tourist, and residants in and around Orlando were as nice as could be. Would we go back again? YOU BET, as a matter of fact we are planning on going back in 2004, and we hope to be able to get Vacation Village at Parkway again. There is so much to do around Kissimmee that a week is just not enough time. If you are planning a trip to WDW Orlando and are going to stay offsite I recommend Vacation Village at parkway, It only took us 15 minutes to get to any Disney park from our condo. Take plenty of sunscreen and plenty of water go to the theme parks and enjoy being with your family, and get plenty of picures of your kids having fun.