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Can you advise a newbie?

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McGregor, TX
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632 posts
3 reviews
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Can you advise a newbie?

Hello all!

I am in need of advice about Orlando/WDW/Universal etc. I have never, ever been there and I'll be up front and honest; I've never had the desire to go. Here's my situation:

My husband wants to attend a conference at the Ritz Carlton Grande Lakes March 15-17, which happens to be during the kids' spring break. I have two kids, a boy (11) and a girl (10). Not wanting to mortgage the house, but also not on a tight budget.

Now, most sane people would be jumping for joy but alas, our family is the strangest family in the USA.

All four of us hate crowds. We hate standing in line for stuff. Walking around doesn't appeal to us much. We also prefer short vacations - three or four days away from home is the max before we get antsy. My husband has limited tolerance for "family" activities (he likes to be alone a lot). Neither of my kids like thrill rides (son has sensory issues). My girl is a tomboy and runs screaming from anything Disney princess-ish (as does my boy). "Disney", in my kids' minds, is "Disney Channel" (television - Hannah Montana) and not any Disney character (Mickey, Minnie, Goofy etc.). No one in our family is into movies a whole lot (yes we've seen Shrek and Toy Story, but don't care about the paraphenalia type of thing).

Our family's ideal vacation is laying on a beach for a couple of days - kids playing in the ocean - or a resort type of place (The Hyatt resorts in Kuaui and Maui = our favorite vacation). We liked Destin and liked -gosh can't remember the name of it, but it was a beach near St. Petersburg.

My kids DO like water parks, but Wet "n Wild may be a little too "adventurous" for them. No 76 foot drops for us! LOL. They like mild water slides but are too big for the kids' area (48 inches). We have been to the Sea World in San Antonio and liked it okay, but didn't stay at the park for more than a couple of hours per day. (we got a multiple day pass)

At this point, everyone reading this is shaking their head saying "Stay home!". However, all of my friends who are Orlando affecionados insist that we go. They insist that there's something there for everyone, and I'm inclined to believe them.

One friend says we'd like Epcot, while his wife says it's not that good anymore. Another friend says the kids would like swimming with the dolphins, but added "good luck getting reservations". Personally, I'm a dweebie type who would drive to Cape Canaveral to see what NASA type things I could see.

So... LOL, anyone have anything to offer besides "stay home"? TIA!!

Eugene, Oregon
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26,810 posts
19 reviews
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1. Re: Can you advise a newbie?

Why not just go and enjoy the resort? I've never been to that particular Ritz Carlton but I've been to others and I'm sure it's just lovely.

Before you write off swimming with the Dolphins see if you CAN get reservations, then if you can't call the Concierge at the RC - they can do miracles getting people into sold out things. GO to the Kennedy Space Center if you would all enjoy that.

If you truly hate the theme parks, don't go, but don't miss out on a free stay at a lovely resort.

McGregor, TX
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632 posts
3 reviews
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2. Re: Can you advise a newbie?

Warmwinds - you're an angel! Do you really think that's possible? I'd feel like such a weirdo (not that I don't already!)

Yeah, the Kennedy Space Center does sound cool to me. I can hear my kids whining already "Awwww... MOM!! That sounds educational!!"

And to all other posters... I don't mean to come across as having a bad attitude - I just figured y'all can help me the most if I'm completely honest. :-)

P.S. This forum is awesome! Y'all are really active!

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11,355 posts
19 reviews
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3. Re: Can you advise a newbie?

I think you should just go and find stuff to suit you when you get there. personally I would avoid SpaceshipsRus like the plague and EPCOT is the pits but if that is what squuezes your zits go for it. There is a lot to do and it does not have to cost loads. The best thing in your favour is that you will be staying in a GREAT hotel and getting the kids away from the pool area will be your first problem. Take them to Sea World and a day at a beach and another at Wekiva Springs.

You will be fine - think positive.

McGregor, TX
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632 posts
3 reviews
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4. Re: Can you advise a newbie?

Thanks Vegas.:-) Yeah, I'm feeling better already. I think you're right - my kids will have to be dragged away from the RC's lazy river kicking and screaming.

Okay. So... now that I've received some kind encouragement...

How feasible is it to do something like go to Disney JUST FOR something like a Wild Kingdom tour? We all have the shortest attention spans known to mankind and do best if we focus on one thing, get in, and then get out. (I get overwhelmed shopping at WalMart - I swear.. it's bad! LOL).

What about Discovery Cove? Has anyone ever booked a "swim with the dolphins" package and had a kid (or husband) freak out when the time came to get in the water?

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11,355 posts
19 reviews
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5. Re: Can you advise a newbie?

Dolphin swim - This is an expensive jaunt and you need to be booked up soon. You pay even if you watch the kids do it - so my friends said.

Shopping that takes days!!!

McGregor, TX
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632 posts
3 reviews
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6. Re: Can you advise a newbie?

Don't mind the expense so much... this is, after all, the "once in a lifetime" thing for the kids. I checked the website and polled the family - two with dolphins, two without. Amazingly, they still have availability - possibly because of the prices? I do think Discovery Cove looks like something we'd like.

Believe it or not, shopping that way is much faster (more efficient?). ;-) Not too much browsing, not so many impulse purchases, lots of on-line point-and-click. :-) Not many people's cup of tea. My friends tell me I shop "like a guy". LOL. It works for me, so I can't knock it.

scotland
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8 posts
32 reviews
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7. Re: Can you advise a newbie?

typhoon lagoon at walt disney world is a cool water park as is blizzard beach....... you would hardly know that you were in disney - i am sure the kids would have a whale of a time..... i know that my kids who are now slightly older than yours love the above water parks.

Atlanta, Georgia
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4,651 posts
7 reviews
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8. Re: Can you advise a newbie?

You like spring training baseball, or would you be willing to check it out? There are games both at Disney (Atlanta Braves) and on the other side of Kissimmee (Houston Astros) during March, and plenty of other games within a two hour drive.

You or your husband (or kids) like golf, or Tiger Woods? The Arnold Palmer Invitational PGA tournament will be going on that weekend (formerly called the Bay Hill Invitational). Tiger Woods has won the tournament 4 times.

You like art? The Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival will be going on that weekend; one of the most acclaimed festivals of its kind in the USA; Winter Park is the "uptown" of Orlando, located north of the Downtown Orlando area. There will be some crowds, though, but there's no charge to attend.

And there's plenty of touristy stuff to do, and there's also non-touristy stuff to do (check out my Go-List "Orlando Off the Tourist-Beaten Path in the Go-List section on the Orlando Overview page).

chesterfield,va
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1,146 posts
37 reviews
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9. Re: Can you advise a newbie?

Try Typhoon Lagoon. They have milder waterslides and you can swim with the sharks there. They also have a great wave pool and a nice lazy river.

IL
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7,205 posts
18 reviews
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10. Re: Can you advise a newbie?

Hello Owl,

I do recommend a day at Discovery Cove as it's a beautiful park, to relax, swim and snorkel for the day! Check it out at www.discoverycove.com There maybe still availability. Also, a day at Typhoon Lagoon would be a possibility for your family.

BTW we LOVED the Hyatt's on Maui and Kaui!!