Travel Tips

10 tips for visiting parks in Orlando

Mandatory group photo at magic kingdom entrance


The month of May flew, because we were in Orlando on vacation. You know what vacation is like, that anxiety to get there, then in the first few days it seems like you have a lot of time ahead of you and when you see it's enough to pa
ck up and come back. On trips, I end up giving a break to social networks and posting very little, because focus on family and tours, really does not seem like it gives time to check the phone.
Yes, as it has become our travel routine, everything is very intense. This time, we spent most days in parks and a few days away, which sounds kind of exhausting at first (Diego was working the first few days). 
I confess that it was somewhat tiring, but at the same time very well enjoyed our time there with the girls and Diego's mother who can fly from Brazil and spend these days there with us.
I want to post many photos, but this first post is intended to gather some of the tips I would pass on to someone going in the same or similar conditions as us: 2 children + 3 adults and several days of parks in Orlando.


Packing: What to bring to Orlando?

I already consider leaving home and flying out of the whole experience. And what we do not like is to be stressing with countless suitcases, plus the girls, carts and car seat to take, so we always try to reduce as much as possible the number of bags, both the checked (because then have to take to the hotels and other transfers and pay separate many times) and also hand-held ones, because no one deserves to get on the plane with 4 carry-on bags.

We take clothes thinking that we would use the washing machines in the hotel, which does not cost expensive (we even take and put to wash and then dry) and frees us to reuse many of the clothes taken (with the florida heat at that time – there is clothes that does not last even 1/2 day … hehe). Diego had to take some work clothes, so we ended up closing the account in 1 large suitcase and 2 hand (more each with a backpack).


I usually regret some of the things I take, or more or less, but this time I think I got it right. I tried to pre match all the looks and make everything kind of go with everything. My fashion language sucks. Heheh. And b
efore I forget, we don't wear anything long-sleeved and not pants. We think it's super hot!



Rental car, but usual car seat


If you plan to rent a car in Orlando, as was our case, we prefer to take the car seats from home and avoid the cost of renting along with the car. In addition to what the girls are already used to theirs and it costs nothing to take on the plane (goes as a dispatched item).
I recommend ordering a plastic and bag the little classes before dispatching, as it protects well against dirt and tears.

#3 | Stands

There comes a time when i don't even want to get out of the cart anymore… Hehehe… Only that was the time of animal kingom's entry and not on the way out… Hehe


Essential item with children, I'd say. We take 2 umbrella style and use all day in the parks. Yes, you can rent there, but I find both Disney and Universal very uncomfortable for children (hard) and beyond the cost that does not always fit the budget (about $13/$15 for 1 child or $27/$31 for double, per day).
It is worth remembering that if you are going to take cart, take the raincoat to him from home, avoiding having to go after it at the last minute.

#4 | Hosting

It's worth a smile!


Our travel focus is almost always the tours and the place itself, when possible, not how much the hotel offers. We seek reviews and good notes, easy access and breakfast included.
In the case of Orlando, in particular, we tried to save on the hotel and focus on the parks (we only used the hotel to shower and sleep in fact), so after searching and even finding reasonable prices in the hotels within disney resorts, we chose a hotel with easy access, organized, privacy for us 5 and breakfast included, for almost half the price of the cheapest room within disney hotels. 
Some people prefer to choose to rent a house, with kitchen and everything, but we also don't think it's necessary for our plans.

#5 | Meals

Star Wars waffle at Hollywood Studios
Smoked Pulled Pork sandwich at Animal Kingdom
Dessert on Pandora:World of Avatar at Animal Kingdom
Coral Reef Restaurant Interior at Epcot


Anyone who has been researching knows that food options know that there are many, both in Disney parks and universal. I even point out that I elected the best pizza I've ever had in universal park. 
I confess that the options for children who do not have a very diverse palate are few. Chicken fingers (breaded and fried chicken), mac n'cheese (pasta with cheese sauce), burger, pizza and hot dog are the most popular options. The girls overdosed on this type of food and halfway through the trip we were preferring to share a child's meal between them two for lunch and spend the rest of the day with healthier things like fruits, juices and yogurt (some of them we took in the bag/backpack for the day). At night, when it was no longer too late, we dined in restaurants near our hotel, examples are Olive Garden, Red Lobster, Outback, Apple Bees, Chilli's, Fridays, Buffalo Wild Wings etc.
Some people asked me about the character meals and after having booked a dinner at Arkersus through the Disney app, we gave up on the value. We saw virtually all the princesses and thought it wasn't worth the investment, since the girls had already been satisfied with the princesses they saw.
We had dinner with reservation only one night at Coral Reef Restaurant in Epcot. The restaurant is surrounded by windows to the large marine tank (aquarium) attached. I give a score of 7 for the restaurant (on a scale from 0 to 10). I found the service left a little to be desired, I found the interior a little old (but the entrance hall is nice) and we did not stay at the tables next to the aquarium (so the girls just saw the fish from afar). 

#6 | Climate

One of the hottest days we've ever caught…


I found Orlando already extremely hot this time of year. In 10 days, we took only 1 rainy day and in the others almost only sun with any clouds (and drizzles of a few minutes). Most of the time it was under strong sun, so I'd like to bring everyone a cap/hat and sunscreen (you find all this in the parks, but you'll probably pay a lot more than bringing in "home").
We also bring reusable bottles to fill in the various drinking fountains of the parks (usually at the entrance of the bathrooms). Sure, you can buy cold water in stalls all over the park, but it will cost you at least $3 per 600ml (and I'll say, we'd refill our bottle with a little more water than that, about 5 or 6 times a day on average).

#7 | Queues

Universal Orlando Boardwalk Entrance


Again, I found the movement intense after May 20. They say that the high season starts well at the end of the month even and we have actually seen many people circulating. 
We use Disney's Fastpass directly and pre-select the tours as soon as we define the days of each park. Super important, but it's worth remembering that you can only book more fast-passes through the app after using the first 3 previously booked for a given day. After that you can go on booking more and more until the day (or the energy of the group) runs out. 
The few attractions we went without fastpass, we tried to enter where the queue was with 30min or less not to tire the group. The good thing is that the app gives you the wait time in real time and you can go planning your day.
At Universal, you can add the Universal Express Pass to the basic ticket and use the fast line for all park attractions. We didn't buy the additional pass and tried to adjust our day to avoid the long lines (we only took a half-long – 45 min).


Dear-seuss-sel at Universal Islands of Adventure


Alice, at the top of her almost 6 years, managed to go in so much thing within the minimum height of 44"/113cm). Only a few roller coasters and a couple of simulators she wasn't tall enough. She loved some simulators, 3D shows and roller coasters.
Diana, of course, didn't enjoy it so much, but still, I think she had a great time. It could go on everything that required at least 36"/92cm, which included some roller coasters, some simulating and rides. I don't think there were any things left for her to do.
We use child-swap in Universal parks, which is basically a little room for parents/family to stay with the child who can't even enjoy that attraction. Everyone queues together and only there when it's time to go that the group splits. The person who stayed with the child in the room first while the other went to the attraction, can simply leave the room and enter the attraction in the next cart.

#9 | Characters

Second date with Daisy – this time at magic kingdom


We've scheduled some fastpasses to see characters in Disney parks, others we'll wait in line if it wasn't too big. The cool thing is to see the location of the various characters in each park in real time. So you can run and see some that you still haven't got the autograph. At
Universal, we saw several superheroes in the Marvel Super Hero Island area. Spider-Man is a corner of the main store in the area and the lines were not too long to go take pictures with him. The other superheroes were in some spots on the street.



At The Boneyard at Animal Kingdom

Both Disney and Universal parks have playgrounds/playgrounds where children can run wild, burn their energies, without waiting in lines. Despite so much cool to see in the parks, our two adventurers are only by the playground at the end of the day (or at some point that nothing else solved cases of tant
rum). We really liked The Boneyard at Animal Kingdom, circus play inside dumbo the flying elephant's "queue" and If I Ran the Zoo playground, behind Caro-seuss-el at Islands of Adventure.

Soon comes many more pictures, about each park… Who's up for it?


Check out the posts already published about Disney Orlando and Disney California here on the blog: