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March 2012 Trip Plans/Questions

Saint Paul...
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March 2012 Trip Plans/Questions

I know March is one of the worst times to go, but we have to work with our 9-year-old son's school schedule. We're looking at 7 nights somewhere between March 8th and 17th (either Th-Th, Fri-Fri or Sat-Sat) for our first visit to Disney (well, husband and I both went as very young kids, but first family trip/making the decisions)

Should we book airfare now or will there likely be deals coming up? It's prime spring break time so I can't imagine the rates will get much better the closer it gets, but I don't know. The best I'm finding is about $380-400 each, either separately or in a package with hotel and car.

We're looking at staying at the Radisson Hotel Orlando - Lake Buena Vista. Seems to get good reviews (TA rank of #8 of all Orlando hotels). Anyone have any personal experience there?

We also considered the Caribe Royal which looks like it has fancier pools and more of a true resort feel, but it's about $200 more for the week, plus having to pay for internet access every day (which I'll need for work check-ins).

We also looked at staying at Disney and if we arrived 3/8, we could still get in on the free dining plan deal (1 snack, 1 quick, 1 table). However, staying at at Coronado Springs (we want queen beds minimum), it comes out to about $750 more than staying offsite for the same length of time with same park tickets/etc. I know the table service option on the meal plan can save a lot of money compared to paying outright for the meal, but we're really more Perkins/Applebees/etc type of diners, not big seafood, steaks, ribs every night and we also aren't really interested in having to make table reservations now in order to get in places and not being more flexible with when and where we eat. So I'm not sure we'd benefit from the Disney Dining Plan when we can just wait and eat at a chain place near the Radisson or make another choice when it works in our schedule.

We can get airfare for 3, hotel and an economy car through Hotwire or Expedia right now for just over $2000 at the Radisson. Is that something I should jump on now?

We're also planning to do Kennedy Space Center (son is a HUGE space fan - in fact, we expect him to enjoy that day more than Disney really). Also, maybe an afternoon at a nearby beach. Thought about Sea World or one of the Universal parks, but not sure it's worth the extra money on top of Disney and Kennedy. Our son is a VERY timid 9-year-old - he doesn't like anything that goes fast or makes you lean sideways or really does much of anything *grin*

Any other suggestions we should consider for activities or hotels?

Thanks!

pa
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1. Re: March 2012 Trip Plans/Questions

It's not an awful time to go, much better than the first & second week of April

The Disney Free Dining is a very good deal, IMHO. Staying at Disney Resorts is very stressfree, we enjoy it very much, the extra perks are nice ( free transport to the parks as well as to and from the Airport etc)

Coronado Springs is a Swell Resort, we have stayed there many times, just lovely

www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2568966

I would wait a bit for the Airfare, can you fly southwest ?

If booking anything with Expedia ( don't recommend booking a Disney Resort with them ) be sure to read the fine print

I would leave out Universal if you are all not into high thrill rides

Fitting in a day at the Beach might be pushing it, Disney and KSC might be more than enough to fill up a week

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2. Re: March 2012 Trip Plans/Questions

Stay on property. Use the free magic express to and from airport and the park shuttles. You can cab it to seaworld if you want it's not far. Take the meal plan and you can pick places to eat online. Be sure to be at the parks 30 minutes before opening. Leave in the afternoon to nap or relax and go back if you choose to later. Staying off property you will not have the flexibility that you would staying on. Good luck

Vero Beach, Florida
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3. Re: March 2012 Trip Plans/Questions

I assume you were planning to rent a car. It's possible to stay off-site (International Drive, mainly) without a car, and the forum has experts on how to do that.

The Caribe Royale is a nice resort/convention hotel. I liked its pool and the spacious "room", really a two-room suite.

If driving to the coast, the Kennedy Space Center is partly surrounded by Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge with a nice visitor center and a wildlife drive.

http://www.fws.gov/merrittisland/

Canaveral National Seashore includes the beaches north of Cape Canaveral. I would not expect lifeguards. In the past, there were issues with Playalinda's reputation as a "clothing optional" beach.

nps.gov/cana/…outdooractivities.htm

Toronto, Canada
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4. Re: March 2012 Trip Plans/Questions

We're travelling about the same time from Ontario. Advice from the Toronto forum says airfares will not come down any more. But we have far fewer airlines than the US does, so I don't know if that applies to you or not.

Colorado
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5. Re: March 2012 Trip Plans/Questions

You have been given great advice so far. Personally, I would probably opt for Disney (free airport transport, free dining), and then just do a one day car rental to go to KSC and beach (although beach will still be chilly in March on Atlantic side, which would be near KSC).

Whatever you decide, ENJOY!

Vero Beach, Florida
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6. Re: March 2012 Trip Plans/Questions

http://coastalclimate.org/marine/sst.php

This somewhat balky Quicktime toggle animation shows ocean temperatures for Florida during the year. By mid March, Cocoa Beach should be around 70 F.

surf-forecast.com/breaks/…seatemp

This yearly temperature graph for Cocoa Beach pier is probably not very reliable, but is worth a look for a general picture.

For reference, the short-term water temperatures for Sebastian Inlet are precise and can show quite a lot of short-term fluctuation due to upwellings or water from the Indian River.

http://www.sebastianinletcam.com/

texas
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7. Re: March 2012 Trip Plans/Questions

Since he loves space so much, maybe try for dinner with an astronaut while there? I looked at launch schedule and nothing was being launched that month, but I think KSC will be great for him. I am a 47 year old woman, and I just had a wonderful time when I visited for a Space Shuttle launch.

Chickamauga, Georgia
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8. Re: March 2012 Trip Plans/Questions

Be sure to book an airline that flies into Orlando International and not Sanford airport to be able to use the Magical Express airport bus transport if you stay at a Disney resort.

Magical Express doesn't serve Sanford Airport and many of the "budget" airlines fly into Sanford instead of MCO. Be sure to check this before booking.

Saint Paul...
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9. Re: March 2012 Trip Plans/Questions

Thanks for all the help.

We've decided to stay offsite after a lot of discussions about how much we'd really use the dining plan. We're going to just try to pick a few character dinners at Disney as special meals and pay out of pocket for them, and maybe the astronaut lunch at Kennedy. Then we'll be more budget conscious other nights.

I'd love to fly Southwest, but unfortunately they want well over $500 a ticket right now for airfare, so it's come down to Delta or Sun Country (at around $400). Probably going Sun Country as they fly in/out of a smaller terminal here in Minneapolis, so it's less of a hassle.

Thanks again!

10. Re: March 2012 Trip Plans/Questions

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