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Recommendations for Kennedy Space Center

Recommendations for Kennedy Space Center

Old May 22, 13, 12:19 pm
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Recommendations for Kennedy Space Center

Gang,

Checked before posting but no recent advice.

We are going down to the Orlando area for a conference and wanted to add some vacation before it.

I thought we would spend two days doing Kennedy Space Center... and wanted to get advice on which tours and what deals might be out there. We would be spending Saturday, June 8th and Sunday, June 9th. We would then be driving over to Orlando for a week.

Any advice would be appreciated.

Last edited by wharvey; Apr 1, 19 at 1:10 pm
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Old May 22, 13, 5:21 pm
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There are a variety of tours available, we did the VIP tour. It was the normal tour with a couple of additional stops added. I did not feel it was worth the extra cost.
One day is certainly enough unless you'd like to see most everything.
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Old May 24, 13, 8:38 pm
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Originally Posted by wharvey View Post
Gang,

Checked before posting but no recent advise.

We are going down to the Orlando area for a conference and wanted to add some vacation before it.

I thought we would spend two days doing Kennedy Space Center... and wanted to get advice on which tours and what deals might be out there. We would be spending Saturday, June 8th and Sunday, June 9th. We would then be driving over to Orlando for a week.

Any advice would be appreciated.
Versus what Bud Florida stated, I would recommend purchasing the Up-Close Mega Tour which takes you on your own bus (with others who've purchased this tour) to close to Pad 39-A, the Launch Control Center and specifically the Vehicle Assembly Building. If you are a space geek, this is fun for everyone. The regular tour you get with admission takes you to the Apollo/Saturn V Center as well as a few other items you can find on the website (www.kennedyspacecenter.com). However, it isn't the cheapest tour but I found it the most inclusive & interesting and is only $40/adults and $30/kid more than the regular admission.

If you go to the posting on the Kennedy Space Center thread, I've posted scans of tour schedules - at least current to last spring.

In terms of two days in the KSC/Cocoa Beach area, if you've not been before, two days would provide flexibility to go to KSC and then do other things. The tours and activities @ KSC will likely take the better part of a day so you don't have to rush to get out of the area and drive to Orlando in the dark. Also, depending who's going with you (assuming kids), they may want to go places such as Ron Jon's for clothes shopping, any beaches, etc. I'll defer to others in terms of deals in that area.

Two other things to note: the grand opening (assume unveiling) of Atlantis won't be until June 29th, so you'll probably not get to view it on your trip and there are no launches scheduled the weekend you've indicated that you'll be there.

Have fun!

David
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Old May 25, 13, 1:03 pm
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Just my partner and I... we will arrive at our Orlando hotel late Friday night... thought we would drive over on Saturday morning to do KSC.

He has never been there... and we both love the space sciences.
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Old May 27, 13, 12:39 am
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Originally Posted by wharvey View Post
Just my partner and I... we will arrive at our Orlando hotel late Friday night... thought we would drive over on Saturday morning to do KSC.

He has never been there... and we both love the space sciences.
From your reply, you've been there before - but not clear on how recently. With the installation of the new Atlantis display building, you'll be able to tell us here how different the Visitor's Center is versus your previous visit(s) as well as how many souvenirs the two of you brought back from the many gift shops.

The other question is - will you be staying Saturday night in the KSC/Cocoa Beach area or driving back and forth between there and Orlando? If you do have two days, you can break up the time you spend @ KSC to go other places and do other things - some idyllic (Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, Canaveral National Seashore), many others that are not.

David
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Old May 27, 13, 7:52 am
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David,

I was last there in 2001. So, been a long time.

We decided to just stay in Orlando... so we did not have to switch hotels again... we have to do it in Orlando due to a conference he is attending.
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Old May 28, 13, 1:45 am
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Originally Posted by wharvey View Post
David,

I was last there in 2001. So, been a long time.

We decided to just stay in Orlando... so we did not have to switch hotels again... we have to do it in Orlando due to a conference he is attending.
2001...Things are probably going to be a little different. So, I would stand on my prior recommendation on getting the Up Close tour to provide the greatest opportunity to go around KSC.

Given that you are commuting to/from Orlando, I'd see as much as I could on Saturday and then decide on Sunday if there was something that you want to go back for - such as the Astronauts Hall of Fame. Again, be mindful that while the drive back to Orlando is fairly straightforward, after a long hot day the drive gets long and tiresome. If you know that you'll have other opportunities to get back to Central Florida, then taking some time to spend in/around Orlando might be less stressful than heading back to KSC.

Also, not sure on your flexibility to split on a Sunday/Monday into KSC - there might be a few less families to contend with.

David
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Old May 28, 13, 7:10 am
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Thanks David, sure we will probably do the Mega Tour.... thanks for the advice.

Yeah, only one day at KSC.... want to maximize time in Orlando before his conference. Since I have park hopper passes... sure we will have enough to do there....
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Old May 28, 13, 9:37 am
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I agree the VIP tour is not worth the extra cost and just a regular ticket is expensive enough!
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Old Jun 3, 13, 1:23 am
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I recognize that people value money differently, but I think the KSC Guided Tours are an incredible value. The last one I took was: Cape Canaveral Then and Now. For $25 extra, you visit parts of the military base that very few people ever see. Unlike the general tour, you get to visit the actual launch room for the Mercury program. I also was quite moved when we stopped at the Apollo 1 launch pad.

But, the best part of the tour was the guide. Instead of the slick videos played on the regular tour, you get a guide explaining things and answering questions. On my tour, we were lucky to have a former NASA engineer. After he retired, he started giving tours a few times each month. This man knew dozens of astronauts. His stories were pretty amazing.

Of course, you can't guarantee that your guide will be that much of an insider. But, I'm certain the amount of information you'd learn from a "regular" guide is still ten times more than you pick up on the regular tour.

I used to work at Disney World. The KSC tours are arguably better than what we used to sell at Disney. And, they are a fraction of the price.
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Old Jun 13, 13, 2:05 am
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How did it go? What did you decide to do?

David
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Old Jun 13, 13, 4:44 am
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We did the mega tour last Saturday and had a blast! Of course, we regret that we missed the Atlantis exhibit by a few weeks. Thanks!
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Old Jul 4, 13, 4:30 pm
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Originally Posted by writerguyfl View Post
I recognize that people value money differently, but I think the KSC Guided Tours are an incredible value. The last one I took was: Cape Canaveral Then and Now. For $25 extra, you visit parts of the military base that very few people ever see. Unlike the general tour, you get to visit the actual launch room for the Mercury program. I also was quite moved when we stopped at the Apollo 1 launch pad.

But, the best part of the tour was the guide. Instead of the slick videos played on the regular tour, you get a guide explaining things and answering questions. On my tour, we were lucky to have a former NASA engineer. After he retired, he started giving tours a few times each month. This man knew dozens of astronauts. His stories were pretty amazing.
We kind of stumbled upon this tour around 1999 when it was free with other ticket purchase and just kind of had one 8x11" piece of paper by the ticket booth announcing its existence. And it was by far our favorite part of KSC, so I'm glad to hear it's still offered, complete with NASA retiree who likes to talk as tour guide.

There's just something utterly awesome about how they just locked the door for Mercury launch control and left it essentially exactly as it was at that point, complete with heavy cigarette smoke stains on the ceiling tile. I came away with a very real and very intimate sense of the history or the place and how crazy the original astronauts had to be to do what they did.
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Old Mar 25, 19, 12:49 pm
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Sorry for the necrobump, but I figured this is still the best thread for my question.

We are spending the week in Orlando at the end of December. We would like to combine a KSC visit and a little time on Cocoa Beach. The three things we will most likely do is the KSC Explore Tour, Space Shuttle Atlantis, and the IMAX films. Any other exhibits would be an added bonus.

Would it be better for us to wake up early and have our beach time in the morning? Then head over to KSC after lunch and prioritize the KSC Explore Tour while it's still daylight, and the rest of the exhibits after dark. If we go this route, does anyone know of any hotels on Cocoa Beach that offers a day pass so that we have access to showers and a changing room?
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Old Mar 26, 19, 12:57 pm
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My wife and I (senior citizens - we remember the space program) went last month to the KSC. I would say the Explore Tour (2 hour bus ride) is not worth it. The stops get you closer up views of the SpaceX launch pad and the Vehicle Assembly Building. You can also get pictures of them on the shorter tour out the window. We got lots of pictures of the VAB just driving by it. The tour takes time that you might want to spend on other things. We had to skip the IMAX films and had to basically run through the Atlantis. Speaking of which, the Atlantis is spectacular. They make you watch two boring movies, but when the wall goes up and you come face-to nose with the space shuttle it is an holy s--t moment. As I said,we had to rush through there to make our tour time. Were there for about 20 minutes, could easily have spent 2 hours. Another must-see is the Astronaut Hall of Fame. The artifacts and exhibits there are great. The display of the Apollo - Saturn is also amazing.

An interesting (and sad) note: we figured that for about 60% of the people at the KSC the moon landings are nothing but a page in a history book.
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