I am traveling next week to Central Florida. I am planning a stay in Orlando with day trips to St. Augustine, NASA Space Center and a trip to the beach. However, I am interested in other things to do in Orlando that are not simply Disney, Sea World and the big parks. We will do some of those too but what would be interesting other than that to an 8 - 5 yr old girls. Any thoughts? What about getting discount tickets? Any ideas?
My husband and I just spent a week in the Orlando area. In addition to the time we spent at Disney, we enjoyed a morning at Gatorland. I'll be writing a review and posting some pictures soon. We also took a sidetrip to Manatee Cove on Merritt Island. It is located on the way to Cocoa Beach. The cove was full of manatees, however, they were too far away to get good pictures. We also took a trip to Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge; however, I doubt that the girls would really enjoy that.
Time is short, but you could sign up for Mousesavers.com. They send out a monthly newsletter with loads of information about Disney.
You can pick-up flyers/magazines at grocery stores, convenience stores, etc. with discounts to all sorts of stuff (restaurants, miniature golf, etc.).
I was able to buy discounted Disney tickets online through AAA. We printed a voucher that we exchanged for tickets at will call.
I was able to buy a voucher through the AAA website. We exchanged the voucher for the real ticket at a will call window when we got to Epcot. When we buy through AAA we get a parking pass that enables you to park pretty close to the enctrance of all 4 parks. Parking is $14 a day. We had tried to buy the tickets at the AAA office near the Galleria in Houston when we were there but they told us only the offices in the Disney area actually sell the tickets.
Disney also has water parks that the kids seem to really enjoy. They are not part of the Disney Theme Park program and require a specific ticket to the water park for entry. They can be purchased as part of an overall Disney package but the water park tix are an addition. I know my nieces and nephews absolutely rave about the tidal waves and beach waves and the water slides they have at these parks. They just HAVE to go there as part of an Orlando adventure.
There are discounts that can be had from the hotel concierges at certain Marriott properties in Orlando. The properties in the Marriott Village in Lake Buena Vista are some of the places where you can get discounted tix. Check the hotel web site and it will tell you if they are a Disney discounter for tix.
For other things we could recommend, what do your youngsters like to do?
The property is very clean and well managed.
Sonny's is a great place to dine, just down the street. There is also a very nice Durango Steak House close by as well!
Air boat rides are awesome BTW...
My family had a reservation at the Harbour Lake Vacation Club in Orlando starting 6/29 for 4 nights. I planned to use points for the stay and booked a studio for 120000 pts. We arrived at 6pm Friday and went to check in. I got to the desk and asked if upgrades were available. The clerk told me that Vacation Clubs work differently and they do NOT upgrade. I told him that I have stayed at the Newport Beach Villas, Sabal Palms and Royal Palms and I have been upgraded at each location. He looked at me like I was an Idiot!!! He again told me that at Harbour Lake, Upgrades are not allowed. They put us in a Studio about the size of a cruise ship room on the side of a building with a street/wall view. I called to ask if any other rooms were available to move to and they told me NO. I called Platinum Customer Service and they tried for over an hour to pursuade the hotel to help and the hotel refused. I immediately cancelled the reservation and moved to the Residence Inn Seaword which is across a field from Harbour Lake. The Residence Inn upgraded us and is a great facility with free shuttle service to Seaworld. We will never Think about staying that the Harbour Lakes facility ever again and we will also try and deter anyone from staying there as well. I have never felt so unimportant as a Platinum Elite!
Unfortunately the associate at the Harbour Lakes location was correct in that complimentary upgrades are not offered at Vacation Club properties. What you considered to be an 'upgrade' at Newport Coast Villas, Royal Palms and Sabal Palms was not really an upgrade to a 2 bedroom villa because all they have at those locations are 2 bedroom villas. Harbour Lakes has studios, 1 bedroom and 2 bedroom accomodations. You booked a studio and unfortunately during the busiest time of year in Orlando when the kids get out of school.
Here is the info regarding upgrades under 'ADDITIONAL PLATINUM AND GOLD MEMBERSHIP BENFITS' and see Item #6.
I'd really like it if they upgraded at the MVC villas also but I've never gotten one.