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Theme Park advice for group of First-timers!

Galway, Ireland
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Theme Park advice for group of First-timers!

Hi guys, im looking for a bit of advice on my plan for my first trip to Orlando in February. There is a group of 6 of us, all in our mid-twenties.

I am thinking of spending a day in Universal IOS and a day in Disney. Is a day enough time for each of these parks or do I need longer? I would like to see Universal Studios as well as Islands of Adventure but im guessing that is too much to do in one day?

Can anybody recommend a good site for discounts for entry to these parks or is buying direct from Universal/Disney the best option.

Finally I believe February is low season in Orlando. Does this mean that buying fast passes is not needed. Is it still advisable to go to the parks mid week if possible instead of going at the weekends?

Thanks for the help, I really appreciate it!

London
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1. Re: Theme Park advice for group of First-timers!

For a calendar of the expected crowds go to undercover tourist or your first visit websites. They will give an indication of the crowd levels.

The parks are big, we spent a day each in 2 of the disney parks (Hollywood Studios & Animal Kingdom) and 2 days in Magic Kingdom. It really depends on what you want to see there. If you want to see the shows in the parks as well as all the rides it will be a very busy day.

In regards to the fast passes at Disney there is no extra fee payable. It is included in all the tickets.Have a look on the disney world website for further details. It is very important that you use the fast pass effectively it can save you a lot of time on the more popular rides.

Minneapolis
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2. Re: Theme Park advice for group of First-timers!

Don't try to do it all.

Altamonte Springs...
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for St. Augustine
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3. Re: Theme Park advice for group of First-timers!

"I am thinking of spending a day in Universal IOS and a day in Disney. Is a day enough time for each of these parks or do I need longer?

One day at Universal/Islands of Adventure is the absolute minimum. You will have to skip some things, but you can see the highlights in each, if you are organized and disciplined. One could easily spend seven days at Walt Disney World.

New York City, New...
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4. Re: Theme Park advice for group of First-timers!

Personal experience. I went August of 2011 and like the person above... it only took me one day to do Animal Kingdom and Epcot. IOS takes more time then the Universal park... but I finished both in ONE day. it really depends on your movement and the crowds. Magic Kingdom however is very big and always jumpin with crowds ..... I agree two days with MK

UK
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5. Re: Theme Park advice for group of First-timers!

I don't know about February - never been to Florida then. However, I will say this.

MAKE SURE YOU PLAN!

Seriously. This is your first time and, as others have said, you can spend DAYS in Magic Kingdom itself. You're after doing Magic Kingdom (I assume - Disney has four parks and two water parks) and Universal's IoA. Download maps. Find out what rides are there that you want to do. Get opening times. Look into how you're going to get there in time. As SG1974 said, check out the Undercover Tourist site (just Google it). In fact, Google Earth and Streetview help as well, at least in Universal's IoA as that's in Streetview.

One thing to remember is that both Magic Kingdom and Universal's IoA take a fair bit to get to, even once you've parked up! At the Magic Kingdom you'll have to get a tram from your parking lot (remember the character!) to the ferry/monorail station, then go from there. At Universal, you've got to walk through the car park structure to the entrance to Citywalk, then through from there. Budget probably 45 minutes from parking up to getting to the Magic Kingdom entrance, and 15 minutes from parking to Universal IoA, at least (to get to IoA, go into Citywalk and, when you get to the end, turn left).

Next, if you're going to each park for one day only, the cheapest and by far the best way is to get tickets through the parks themselves. Go on their websites and book - they'll send you the tickets so you've got them ready and don't have to queue to buy them at the gate. Saves time.

DO NOT BUY FROM UNOFFICIAL VENDORS! People will have stalls in Florida advertising cheap tickets. These tickets are used and, 90% of the time, cannot be used again, You'll just be wasting your money and enabling these people even more.

Now, what can you do in a day? Again, as said before, make sure you're at the park for opening time. Magic Kingdom - you'll have enough to keep you busy all day and is likely to be busy any time of the year. Universal's IoA - only if you know what you're doing and the queues are good can you do it in less than a day (and given that the Harry Potter section is still very popular and bringing in crowds, that may not be too likely). I wouldn't risk getting the ticket for Universal Studios in case I didn't use it and spent most of the day at IoA.

Galway, Ireland
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6. Re: Theme Park advice for group of First-timers!

Thanks for all the feedback. Its been really helpful. I looked up undercover tourist for expected crowd levels in the parks. Luckily IOA and Magic Kingdom both have a green day during the time im there so I will aim to hit each park on those days. How do they calculate the crowd size? It seems to be random as to which days of the week are marked red.

It looks like I will just about get Islands of Adventure done in a day and will struggle to see everything in Disney but will at least get the highlights. I plan on driving from the villa and reaching the parks shortly after opening.

I still have to figure out if it is worth the extra money for the Fastpass in Islands of Adventure for February though?

Kelso, United...
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7. Re: Theme Park advice for group of First-timers!

There is a public holiday in the US in February which will impact on crowd levels

London
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8. Re: Theme Park advice for group of First-timers!

I'd assume the crowds are based on prior year attendances? Whilst you are in the parks good to have the undercover tourist & Disney apps for information on ride wait times. They have free wifi in the parks, it works ok. But not consistent, it is helpful though.

UK
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9. Re: Theme Park advice for group of First-timers!

I would probably try to get to the parks before opening. It'll be more hectic, but at IoA this will give you the opportunity to try and go straight to the Harry Potter & The Forbidden Journey ride (even on a quiet day, I think queues for that ride can still top 30 minutes - again, download a park map so you know where you're going) and, at Magic Kingdom, I think they put on a bit of a show-and-dance for the rope drop each day.

Orlando, Florida
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10. Re: Theme Park advice for group of First-timers!

Universal/IOA base their express pass on anticipated crowd levels.

If the price is low indicates park attendance will be low as well.

universalorlando.com/Theme-Park-Tickets/Univ…