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Topic: Help and tips on various topics please

  1. #1

    Default Help and tips on various topics please

    Firstly sorry if all of these questions are covered in other posts. I'm hoping that as you all enjoy going to Orlando you're a kindly, fun bunch who won't grumble at me too much.
    We're planning out first family trip to Orlando - 21 days across July and August - and I'd love help with a few queries.
    1) we're thinking of doing a two centre thing - most days in Orlando with a few days in St Petes or Clearwater at the end - how do people usually break up a 21 day trip in terms of number of days in Orlando and number of days by the beach - 17 and 4 or 18 and 3? We're flying in and out of Tampa.
    2) which is better for a few days relaxing, St Petes or Clearwater? Nicer beach? Places to visit? Shops?
    3) what are your recommendations re tickets? We're thinking Disney and Universal only (not keen on Seaworld these days). I'm thinking that the Disney and Universal Combo ticket is the way forward but my worry is how to get the best value out of them before we move to the coast. Do most people just do each Disney Park a couple of times before moving on to Universal or do you chop and change between the two? I know that as soon as you start using the Disney ticket then your 14 day usage starts ticking by
    Many thanks,
    Rob

  2. #2
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    Hi enfield21, and welcome to the ATD forums! You never have to worry about anyone here grumbling over a question (or several questions). You've found the friendliest forum on the internet, and everyone here is very happy to help!

    We have a lot of members who do or have done exactly what you're thinking of doing, so you'll get some good answers.

    My answers would be:

    1) Given that you're flying out of Tampa, I'd save the final few days for St. Petes/Clearwater. I would probably take at least 3-4 days to enjoy the coast and relax a bit after the hectic pace of Orlando. But you won't go wrong no matter when you choose to visit.

    2) Clearwater and St. Pete's are only about 18 miles from each other (about 35-40 minutes drive, with the slower speed limits along the coast), so I'd do both, frankly. There is more to do at Clearwater, but we think St. Pete's has the better hotels. Again, having said that, both are terrific. One thing to bear in mind is that Clearwater tends to be busier. But that's a somewhat minor point.

    3) If you plan to do Disney and Universal only, I'd do a week at Disney, then start your Universal pass, then pop back to Disney before that pass ends, then finish at Universal and head to the beach. You'll need 4-5 days at the MOST for Universal (if you do Volcano Bay), but Disney can easily absorb 8 days or more, at a minimum, if you do the water parks. The parks at Disney that require at least 2 days are Magic Kingdom and Epcot. But you can't really get too much Disney, can you?

    Enjoy! And do ask all your questions. We're delighted to help!











    Midlife: when the Universe grabs your shoulders and tells you Im not messing around, use the gifts you were given.

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    And Hi! from me, too I can only echo Susan's responses, but do feel free to post all and any questions you have. Some things are not necessarily obvious, hence there's no such thing as a stupid question (unless the question is, Is this a stupid question!!).

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    Sorry for the confusion, folks! The post went into moderation for some reason (it shouldn't have), so it should be visible to all of you now. My apologies for the weirdness!











    Midlife: when the Universe grabs your shoulders and tells you Im not messing around, use the gifts you were given.

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    Hi and welcome to our ATD family enfield21.

    I see that Susan has given you good answers to your questions, so all I can add is to get yourself THE best guidebook on all things Orlando - The Brits Guide to Orlando, (or as I call it, my Bible), written by our very own Simon & Susan Veness and for a different way of doing/viewing the Disney parks, get yourself The Hidden Magic. Lots of secrets and tips in there.

  6. #6
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    Hi and welcome, some slightly tounge in cheek answers,

    1, rest on the flight home, no need to visit either boring beach then.
    2, There is absolutely nothing relaxing about shops, see point 1 above.
    3. Check how much extra the 21 day Disney ticket is, normally it is only a few pounds and then your whole trip is covered. As Susan says above you'll probably only want a few days at Universal. I'm not sure how many of you there are, but seriously look at booking a night in one of the deluxe Universal hotels to give you 2 days worth of early park entry and Front of the Line passes for everyone in the room.

    One other point, the later in August you get the quieter the parks get.
    5 Trips to Florida, Christmas in LA, Disneyland Paris twice and odd days here and there.

    All my trip reports are now HERE.




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    Hi and welcome from me. Of the two Gulf coast beaches we prefer St Petes. We stayed in a lovely hotel called the Grand Plaza in 2014 right on the beach. Just a short drive away is a place called Johns Pass where there is a very nice restaurant called Sculleys. Lots of seafood if you like it but if you don't like us they do extremely nice steaks. You can wander around the Boardwalk there browsing in the shops.
    Another thing to do there which we have done a few times is a yacht cruise for 2 hours at a place called Dolphin Landings. You get to see dolphins in the natural habitat (and last year we saw a newborn) It is very relaxing and you can sit under the canopy as we do (I can't sit in the sun) or out on the aft or foredeck, just slap on lots of sunscreen as you won't realise how much sun you are getting....
    As for Disney and Universal all I will say there is take it slow, try not to rush around especially as it will be very hot and humid. Not sure if you are staying in a hotel or villa but sometimes it is nice to take some time out of the parks. If you have kids they normally love having some pool time!
    And I would second what Tinkerbelle's Sis has said about getting the Brits Guide, it is totally invaluable and is packed full of info. I have been to Orlando 16 times and buy a new edition each time and still learn new things..

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    Hi enfield21 and welcome to the forum, you will find loads of useful knowledge here and people are happy to share their experiences, so keep asking your questions. You didn't say what size your party was or whether you are staying on or off site (Disney that is).

    I would also agree with TBS's recommendation about the Brits Guide, loads of useful info on the theme parks, surrounding area and farther afield.

    As Susan says, as you are flying in and out of Tampa I would do the beach at the end, less driving up and down the interstate and much easier to get to the airport on the last day. Just be aware that the traffic around Tampa can be awful during the commuter hours.

    We tend to do the beach at the start of our holiday, but these days we don't do the parks much. My advice though is to pace yourselves, take rests, drink lots of water and enjoy the surroundings in the parks. It isn't a competition to see how many rides you can do, Disney and Universal have much more to offer. And you will be back! We came on the "holiday of a lifetime" and we are now at 21 visits.

    Clearwater and St Petes are both nice, enjoyable places and a both worth a visit. You could consider a hotel halfway between them at somewhere like Indian Rocks?
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    Welcome, just to agree with the team so far. Also you can get some cash back for tickets via the likes of Topcashback. Agree re point on 21 day it is often not much more and adds so much flexibility. The combos are often very little difference. You may wish to factor around any busy park days verses beach etc

  10. #10
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    Hi and welcome to the forum as others have suggested go for the 21 ticket if you can leaves plenty of options for visiting the parks make the most of the 21 days and have rest and chill out days
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