Orlando Trip Planning Aids

It all started with Walt Disney World, but today there’s a lot more to do and see in Orlando.  Yes, there are theme parks galore:  four in Disney World alone; plus Universal Studios features two theme parks; then there’s Sea World; and also Legoland.  In addition, you can visit the Kennedy Space Center, and on May 4th the Orlando Eye opens.  A handy tool in planning an Orlando stay can be found at the website visitorlando.com – a great source of information.  It also has discounts available for restaurants, hotels and several attractions.

Walt Disney World:

Four magnificent theme parks on 48-square miles of land – Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom.  On property are also 23 Disney resort hotels, two water parks (Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon).  Whereas Disneyland in California is a weekend getaway, Disney World will require at least a full week.

Lasts year, Disney started a new program at the Walt Disney World Resort called “My Magic Plus,” which will enable you to plan your entire vacation before leaving home.  You can reserve your free “fast-pass” options 30-days in advance of your vacation.  Fast-pass lets you reserve a time for up to three rides – show up without waiting in line.  If you are staying at a Disney on site hotel, you can start reserving 60-days prior to travel.  You can reserve three fast-passes per person per day.  After you use your three fast passes, you can reserve three more at any of the fast pass kiosk’s located throughout the parks.

Guests staying at a Walt Disney Resort hotel will receive a “magic band.”  The magic band is programmed to contain your room key, Disney admission pass, your fast-passes and your dinner reservations.  You can actually set up your “magic band” to charge all your purchases if you would like.

Get the ball rolling by registering at startyourdisneyexperience.com.  From this website you can select the color for each family member’s “magic band” and have them sent to your home prior to your vacation.  You can also sign up for your fast-passes, make dinner reservations and, for select hotels, pre-register and bypass the front desk by going straight to your room.  Your magic band will be your room key.

You can also get an app for your smart phone that will show you your fast-pass reservations, wait times and the different attractions.

Universal Studios Orlando:

Here you will find two parks:  “Universal’s Islands of Adventure” and “Universal Studios Florida,” of which the former is home to “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.”

Add a second week to your vacation and get an “Orlando FLEXTICKET,” which will give you park to park admissions at Universal, as well as “Wet n’ Wild,” “Seaworld” and “Aquatica.”  Purchase a ‘FLEXTICKET PLUS” and you can add Busch Gardens in Tampa Bay (about two hours away).

Kennedy Space Center:

Located about an hour outside of Orlando, but well worth the drive, the space center offers several tour options, as well as astronaut experiences.  Also on display is the space shuttle Atlantis.

The Orlando Eye:

This will be a 400-foot tall observation wheel (like a giant ferris wheel, but with enclosed gondolas) similar to the London Eye and the Las Vegas High Roller.

Photos are taken in person or provided by the supplier except where credited.

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