Friday, January 6, 2012

20 helpful tips for winter trips to Central Florida

1. Have plenty of change, some toll roads only accept exact change.

Here's what gets you if you don't pay the toll!

2. For the Harry Potter land in Universal Studios the lines were over 2 hours long.  We found the singles lines and all of us were on the rides either right away or in 5-10 minutes.
3.  The singles lines at Universal Studios are sometimes in odd locations, inside gift shops, instead of near the main entrance to the ride.
4.  Ask employees for directions to the singles line.
5.  Ask employees for wait times in the singles line.
6. Want to ride the ride again?  Look for the short cut stairs/path that cuts straight to the entrance.  Don't see it? Ask the employee at the exit.
Yeah, for singles lines!
7.  Want a butter beer or pumpkin juice but don't want to wait in the long, long, long lines in the courtyard?  Go to the bar instead.  We only had 4 people in front of us! Surprisingly, my favorite was the pumpkin juice.

Yum,  butter beer!

8. Meal plans are great for teenage boys and those with big appetites. Unfortunately, Rachel and I would have saved money paying individually for our meals.
9. If you go to the parks before 9:30 am ride lines are very short, 5-10 minute waits.  Around 10 am ride lines average 1.5 hours.  After 6 pm ride lines averaged 20-30 minutes.
10.  Epcot was boring for the children.

Hollywood Studios in Disney World was a blast!

11.  Want to save money on food while at Disney?  Instead of eating in restaurants get the same food for less at the food stands near the restaurant.
12. All amusement parks offer free cups of water.  They all also allowed us to bring in fanny packs with snacks and bottled water.
13.  Speaking of fanny packs, many rides now require riders to use lockers for their personal items.  Here's the exception, fanny packs.  Not once were we required to use a locker before riding the rides.
14.  Our favorite place to visit was Discovery Cove.  It was worth the price.  Save this destination for your last day because it was the highlight of our trip.
15.  If you go to Discovery Cove remember that you may keep your snorkel.  NOT the mask!  Just the snorkel.
16. Need a prescription mask for snorkeling? No problem, Discover Cove offers prescription masks free of charge at the service desk.
17. Discovery Cove included 14 days of free visits to Sea World...parking excluded.  Be sure to ask for details as this may be a limited offer.
18.  Make sure to plan ahead to get a good seat for Sea World shows.  We planned to be seated 30 minutes before the show and typically by the time we arrived the arena was 1/3 full.

19. Pick up your food before you go to the arena.  It keeps you full, hydrated, and gives you something to do while waiting for the show to begin.
20. Florida rental cars require a gas receipt within 5 miles of the airport.  The price of gas near the airport was $5.60 a gallon.  In town it was $3.18 a gallon.  On the brighter side we only had to buy 2 gallons.

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