Tampa or Orlando?

Old Sep 14, 19, 4:29 pm
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Tampa or Orlando?

Backstory: somehow, don't ask me how, we have got through the first 16 years of our children's lives without a trip to mouse-land. I consider myself blessed.

However that time has now come, and for all my expertise about the Caribbean, Middle East and so on, this is uncharted territory. So have started looking at flights for next summer, as at least I'm on safer ground here. What I've found so far is that Tampa seems to have better pricing than Orlando - this is BA specifically as I want to go direct and at least PE.

I also have a zillion other questions, for example it sounds like Universal better than Disney, Hard Rock best hotel and so on, but this will quickly stray too far OT for this board

So questions:

1) Apart from TPA, are there any other good priced BA (or OW) alternatives to MCO? This would be school hols next summer. And yes I know thunderstorms happen! I'm seeing about £1k for PE for multiple dates to TPA , not sure if it dips much below that...

2) Any good independent resources on theme park land that you can point me towards? I really am a novice here...

Appreciate any help and steer you can give...

RC
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Old Sep 14, 19, 4:48 pm
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My family and I go about every 3/4 years. We've got a fairly normal plan we stick to so not much help on the second front, but we stick with Disney far more as more to entertain the kids there.

We always fly direct into TPA and then drive the distance back towards Orlando, but tend to stay on a villa west of Disney. Universal is much much closer to MCO and if you want to go there then personally I think you'd be better off flying into there. We've never had an issue with thunderstorms stopping play into either airport although have had some minor delays. The going rate seems to be about £1.5k in CW and £1k in WT+ that we've seen in the sales.
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Old Sep 14, 19, 4:51 pm
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Hi

There is disboards for everything disney which includes other theme parks
You may get some deals to miami or atlanta but you would need to add the cost to get to Orlando from these airports
Regards

Tbs
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Old Sep 14, 19, 4:53 pm
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Tampa is a very easy airport few international arrives so immigration is normally very quick.

August is quiter than July and the later the better.

It takes about 1.5 hours across to Disney area. And you will be in your car and out within about 40 mins after landing. Use avis and use preferred so no queues.


Busch gardens is defenently worth visiting great coasters and less crowded. Universal is also better than Disney for older kids.


There are so many places to stay, I used an Airbnb this year and had a house 10 mins from universal. Super easy.
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Old Sep 14, 19, 4:53 pm
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we've flown to both mco and tpa and it was dependant on availability of rewards. MCO definitely more convenient but TPA is only a short drive away 90mins max. If the price works its a good alternative.
In terms of airports i personally lean towards TPA as being friendlier.
park tickets from americanattractions.co.uk gets you actual physical tickets delivered to your address. there are multiple different options to suit what your requirements are.

Personally if its first time i'd go for the disney parks, there's plenty of variation and parking is free. (universal is $26 a day)

re thunderstorms - they're usually around 2-3pm so go to the parks earlier on days where it may rain as its not every single day (although this year it felt like it was every day as it was a particularly wet summer) most florida schools go back 11th August so after that the parks are less busy.
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Old Sep 14, 19, 5:07 pm
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Food for thought already, thanks all. The tip about going late August to avoid the local school children is very welcome, as was thinking of late July.

Also good to get a baseline of typical flight prices, so £1k PE is a decent ballpark.

One other thing I'm picking up is that the experienced money is on renting a villa/apartment rather than going for a resort hotel - which I was leaning towards because of the early entry, proximity and fast track benefits - is that all smoke and mirrors relative to what you save by staying beyond the borders?
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Old Sep 14, 19, 5:18 pm
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I always find the resort hotels to be very useful, esp. at Disney & Universal, as you can get access to the parks before the general public on certain days. I do this schlep/holiday annually and probably wouldn't ever stay off site.

As far as flights are concerned, I've never done TPA onto Orlando, but have no issues with arriving into MCO anymore (especially as the CBP queues are much faster than they used to be) and have also done MIA then an AA dom to MCO for a cheaper fare than direct to MCO. Just make sure you have plenty of time to clear CBP in MIA.
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Old Sep 14, 19, 5:59 pm
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If you want a few days at universal with fast passes (definatally a must or harry potter, maybe the new Hagrid ride will take them by next summer). you can book 1 night at one of the universal hotels arrive at 8am checkin, you won’t get a room though at this time, but you will get 2 days of fast passes for 5 people (room dependent)
its far cheaper than buying 4 or 5 for 2 days. on most rides you can expect 20 mins max with the fast pass’s so no need to rush around too much. sometimes the rides are just walk straight on.

If you goto Busch Gardens arrive for the opening you always get about 1-2 hours of empty park, we did 7 big coasters in 2 hours. There is also a waterpark by busch gardens not been to that for a few years, but it was always empty in the mornings, filling up after lunch. in August it will be very quiet. Much easier than the orlando ones.

Seaworld has a few good rides but the killer whales (missnamed they are really whale killers and are dolphins not whales) are a problem for me, they are pushing the environmental angle more and more, and at least have no polar bears there now. At least the penguins seem happy, that have a great frozen enclosure that’s actually quite good.

also https://orlandokartcenter.com/ is a great place to goto, big track not much waiting in the day and much better values with faster karts than the fun spot or indoor karting places off international drive.

If anyone has an autistic kid please pm me for tips on universal, been so many times with my son. They are way better than Disney for autism.

Last edited by joejet; Sep 14, 19 at 6:25 pm
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Old Sep 14, 19, 6:08 pm
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Originally Posted by ratechaser View Post
Food for thought already, thanks all. The tip about going late August to avoid the local school children is very welcome, as was thinking of late July.

Also good to get a baseline of typical flight prices, so £1k PE is a decent ballpark.

One other thing I'm picking up is that the experienced money is on renting a villa/apartment rather than going for a resort hotel - which I was leaning towards because of the early entry, proximity and fast track benefits - is that all smoke and mirrors relative to what you save by staying beyond the borders?
Hi,

My wife and I are regular visitors to Disney. You will find on most sites/forums lots of people have strong opinions on the best way to do it. I would take these with a big pinch of salt. In most cases these are people trying to get the most for their money out of each trip.

is an off-site villa, or renting Disney Vacation Club points the cheapest way to do Disney? Yes! Is it either the most convenient or suitable for a first time visitor, absolutely not!

i would stay on site at a Disney resort hotel. More expensive, but save yourself renting and use the excellent Disney transportation systems between your hotel and the various parks, itís all done for you.

My wife and I tend to go for a cheaper hotel as you are only in your room to sleep, itís a tiring holiday!

Someone has mentioned DisBoards but also use Thedibb.co.uk forum for some great tips.

DM me if you want to discuss more, happy to impart some advice on what we have learnt which might inform some choices.

TMM
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Old Sep 14, 19, 8:18 pm
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Don't underestimate the misery that is summer weather in Florida. I'm a fan of buying multiple entry park tickets and staying at an on-site hotel at the park so it's easy to spend the morning at the park, the afternoon at the nicely themed hotel pool/napping in the AC kn the room, and then back to the park around dinner time when it is in theory a bit cooler.

Thunderstorms can happen at any time in the US Southeast that time of year. The airports are used to service recovery in those conditions and a direct long haul flight is the least impacted option compared to something that requires timing a connection.
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Old Sep 14, 19, 9:43 pm
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Originally Posted by Infocustv View Post

Personally if its first time i'd go for the disney parks, there's plenty of variation and parking is free. (universal is $26 a day)
.
Correction there - Disney charges now for parking at both the four parks and at the Resort Hotels - around the same amount per day as Universal, unless you're an Annual Passholder or a DVC Member.

For where to stay - either on property ("inside the bubble") or off can both be great. We happen to own a nice villa 2.5 miles from Animal Kingdom that rents out as an AirBnB type property year round, and we stay there ourselves 4 or 5 times a year - but we are also Disney Vacation Club members and love staying inside the Bubble, usually at our home resort of The Beach Club, and over the years we've stayed at most of the other resorts too - they're all fun!

Biggest tip? Find the forums, join the facebook groups, read up, and once you make your choices don't sweat whether they're the "perfect" ones, just enjoy the trip!
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Old Sep 14, 19, 11:48 pm
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Great deal of good advice on this thread.

We quite often fly into Miami, drive round the west coast and up to orlando as the beaches are amazing. It's about 3 1/2 drive from orlando to miami.

Staying at a premium on property hotel at Disney or universal can be eye wateringly expensive.
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Old Sep 15, 19, 1:33 am
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Originally Posted by ratechaser View Post
I also have a zillion other questions, for example it sounds like Universal better than Disney, Hard Rock best hotel and so on, but this will quickly stray too far OT

2) Any good independent resources on theme park land that you can point me towards? I really am a novice here...

Appreciate any help and steer you can give...

RC
I'd sugggest www.thedibb.co.uk www.disboards.com www.touringplans.com

Read all. If going to Disney then onsite hotel gives you better access to advance ride passes (Fastpass+ at 60 days away). Universal hotels also have benefits for their parks. Best advice is to read resources available and plan ahead. Some Disney eating experiences get booked up 180days in advance.

LF
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Old Sep 15, 19, 1:57 am
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I flew into TPA this summer with BA after several years of MCO with various airlines, and found it much much better than MCO. Immigration for starters, but even just the general feel of the airport and it is quieter than MCO for sure. Every aspect of the airport experience was better for me, right up to collecting our car (Avis preferred is a must) and hitting the I4.
To be fair, we were heading for the gulf coast beaches before heading to Orlando, but it is an easy 90 min drive straight up the I4 and no tolls. MCO to iDrive/192 area will invariably involve at least one toll.
After out beach trip, we headed to Orlando for a spell, then back to the beaches before flying home. Even then, TPA was a superior experience, checkin, security etc. So much so, we have booked J redemption seats for next summer !
It will be Tampa all the way for us now, and we are annual visitors to Florida. We did do MIA one year, which was fine, but quite a bit further away from the parks, we were going to south west Florida so it was OK for us. Old 747 though, quite tired. This years trip out to TPA was an un-refurbished 777 (WT) and also tired, but our return was in a re-furbished 777 in WT+ which is actually very nice.
Use BA/Avis for your car hire, all insurance and additional driver included, and with a 3 Mobile SIM, you can use your UK minutes and data allowance at no extra charge. Use Google maps, and no satnav required.
We love Florida, and you can have a fab holiday without setting foot in a theme park, as we have done several times. Disney is a very tiring experience, with jet lag and heat, but is also a great experience, as is universal and it is more suitable for older children (and grown up children ; ) ) There so many accommodation choices, but you can investigate them further out of this forum.
If you can squeeze in a beach trip I'd thoroughly recommend it, the Clearwater area is stunning, we love Indian Rocks and Shores area, and don't forget the Kennedy Space centre on the atlantic coast which is fascinating.
Have a great trip !
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Old Sep 15, 19, 2:11 am
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I’m a firm TPA fan, flew there end of August. CW is nice with the small 32J cabin, and WTP looked very comfy indeed. Great IFE on the aircraft, swift arrivals and quick and easy car collection.
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