2019 Florida trip

Summer or Fall 2019
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2019 Florida trip

Postby mckayj93 » Tue Aug 28, 2018 11:34 am

I am planning to take a trip to Florida sometime in 2019. It will be in June, July or October. I have some flexibility on when I go with my work schedule. I've had a bunch of friends move to Florida, so I thought I would make a combo friends and theme park trip. Here are some ideas, just wanted some people to tell me if anything needs tweaked. Places I'm going are Tampa (Sarasota), Lakeland, Palm Coast (near Jacksonville / St Augustine), and Orlando. I will be solo for my time in Orlando. Also let me know if there is anything else that is must see, like any cool historical, natural hikes or water areas etc.

Day 1- Fly in Tampa or Sarasota. Hang out with friend #1.
Day 2- Busch Gardens Tampa with friend #1
Day 3- Drive from Sarasota to Lakeland, spend day with friend #2. Drive on to Orlando.
Day 4-6?- Orlando parks. More on that below. Still debating how many days. Hotel in Orlando. Last day of park drive to Palm Coast
Last day- hang out in Palm Coast with friend #3 and fly home

Flight- I live in Nashville so I'm hoping to get a good deal on either Frontier or Southwest. I'm looking to fly into probably Tampa, fly home from Jacksonville. I'll rent a car, looks to be under $300 for a week. I'm also open to starting or ending from Orlando and switching up my trip days, will just depend on if there is a large cost difference in flights. I've only flown once, so not an expert in this category.

Parks- I know I want to go to Busch Gardens Tampa. I will probably do SeaWorld because you can get a combo ticket between SW and BGT. I'm debating which other parks to hit. BGT will probably be the only park I have a friend at, so I will be solo / single rider the rest of the parks. Legoland Florida is sort of on my way, didn't think the price warranted the cost for what it is so I didn't include it. Is Fun Spot worth the money to tack on to the the travel day or SeaWorld day? Both or which one?

My main debate is which Disney / Universal Parks to do. I will have probably 3-4 days in Orlando. SeaWorld being 1, what should I feel the rest with? I haven't been to Disney since I was 8 in 2003, and didn't see much of Animal Kingdom at all due to only being half day. Epcot was my favorite as a kid. I went to Islands of Adventure right when Harry Potter opened, but didn't ride anything due to just about every major ride breaking down. I thought about sticking to just Universal so I can see rest of Harry Potter and actually ride things. Would 2 days be enough or need 3 for both parks? Not too interested in the water park, but correct me if I'm wrong. Also will be by myself in Orlando and could use single rider lines and not have to worry about keeping up with Fast Pass. It seems Disney would be better saving for a future trip and doing it all at once. Thoughts on that?

Hotel- I will stay to utilize my Wyndham rewards in Orlando. If I did Disney I'd probably stay at the Wyndham at Downtown Disney. I don't want to redeem points for anywhere because I won't be in the room much, really just need cheapest clean Wyndham option. Ideally it would be somewhere that had shuttle that got me to parks before opening to avoid parking fees. Or is Uber better or just driving and paying the fee?

I'm opening to adding days or moving stuff around, just seeing what yall think about the rough plan and what I should add. Thanks!
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Re: 2019 Florida trip

Postby A.J. » Wed Sep 05, 2018 11:19 am

Hey! I can do one of these now!

The Fun Spot parks are the exact opposite of full-day affairs, and they're open until midnight. You can literally get off of Interstate 4, pop in, ride one of their wooden coasters for $10, and then leave, all in about fifteen to twenty minutes. I personally prefer the Orlando park (White Lightning) over the Kissimmee park (Mine Blower) but it's your call. Both are good coasters.

Right now I personally would tell someone to get to Disney's Animal Kingdom and ride Avatar Flight of Passage, it's really that freaking good. But you might have a better motivation to experience the Universal parks considering you were there most recently and missed out on everything you wanted to do. Though a lot has changed since the time the Wizarding World was introduced - for example, Dueling Dragons / Dragon Challenge is now gone. You may or may not get as much out of the Universal parks as you would have several years ago.

One advantage you have at Walt Disney World is that if you stay at the on-property Wyndham locations, you get two big benefits normally only for resort guests - extra magic hours and 60-day FastPass Plus reservations.
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Re: 2019 Florida trip

Postby Hilltopper39 » Mon Sep 10, 2018 8:07 am

A.J. wrote:One advantage you have at Walt Disney World is that if you stay at the on-property Wyndham locations, you get two big benefits normally only for resort guests - extra magic hours and 60-day FastPass Plus reservations.


I thought I read that privilege was going away at the end of the year for the Non-Disney resorts in the Disney Springs area. If it's a privilege that's still available when you travel absolutely stay at a property that allows it, if not you might be able to find a Wyndham property that's considerably less points just a few miles off of property. You might have to pay for parking at the parks, but avoiding the parking fees at the on property hotel and the lower rewards points rates should kinda cancel it out a bit.

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Re: 2019 Florida trip

Postby coasterbill » Fri Sep 28, 2018 12:57 pm

You want to hike in Florida in June or July?

...have fun with that :lol:

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Re: 2019 Florida trip

Postby mckayj93 » Mon Apr 01, 2019 8:29 pm

Hey everyone- starting to solidify more details for my trip. I'm looking at traveling June 9th - 15th. My goal for the trip is visiting friends that live in Jacksonville, Lakeland, and Sarasota , while also fitting in as much theme park time as possible. It's possible I might have friends that go to the parks with me, but I might be solo.

Travel- Planning on flying in and out of Jacksonville, as flights and rental car are considerably cheaper there compared to other 4 airports I looked at. (also can stay with friends free day of flights)

Parks- I'm debating which parks to do. Trying to spend as little as possible while doing a lot. Looks like best deal is 5 days of Universal for $250ish, or some sort of combo ticket for Busch / Seaworld for like $150ish. Varients of that included perks like waterparks, parking, or dining. I'd love to go to Disney, but the others are higher on the bucket list for this trip. Will probably go to both Fun Spots as well. I probably have 4 full days between Mon - Fri that week for parks.
-Should I do all or stick to just 1 chain for the amount of time I have?
-How many days would you allow for a 1st timer at Seaworld or Busch Gardens? I like walking around and enjoying, not just rushing to get credits. I'd also enjoy a lot of the animal shows at Seaworld, and possibly Busch Gardens too.
-Is timing bad for Unversal? I know the new HP coaster opens the 13th. I didn't plan it that way, just coincidence with when I'm off work. Everything will be basically new for me at all the parks. Is lines going to be nuts everywhere, or do you think it would be tame the 14th, or earlier in the week? Riding the new one would be cool, just don't want to spend all day in line to do so when time is limited.
-If I picked 1, I'd say Universal if crowds wouldn't be too crazy. If I repeat this trip, I know RMC Gwazi is coming next year.

Travel- In Orlando, depending on hotel, would it be stupid to walk to Universal if hotel was close? I know some offer free shuttles, and I know if I make near SeaWorld base, there are the Lynx bus routes, have no experience with that though. Or would Uber be fairly inexpensive in town, or do I just need to suck it up and pay the fee to park the rental car?

Anything else I should be thinking of? Thanks!
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Re: 2019 Florida trip

Postby robbalvey » Tue Apr 02, 2019 2:01 pm

mckayj93 wrote:Parks- I'm debating which parks to do. Trying to spend as little as possible while doing a lot.

This just isn't a philosophy that works for Orlando. Maybe ten years ago when you could get the 4-day "locals" park hopper at Disney or a Universal Annual pass for $99, sure, but in 2019, if you're looking for a "cheap" Orlando vacation, you're really not going to find that much simply because there are plenty of people willing to pay what it costs to visit some of the best parks in the world. Especially if you do want to visit Disney. There are no "cheap" options.

Even Universal, as you said, is $250 for their 5 day ticket. And since they are no longer park of the Orlando Flex Ticket that includes Busch & SeaWorld, that IMO is a lot of Universal for one visit.

You also didn't give us much to go off either as to what you like to do. You mention Busch and SeaWorld, and you mention that you've been to some Disney and Universal parks, but what do you personally LIKE?

Are you a Disney fan? Is not doing Disney going to be a dealbreaker for you on this Orlando trip?

If you skip Disney you can probably do Busch, SeaWorld and Universal for about $350 and have access to Universal for 5 days. IMO, that "Buy two days, get three free" is just Universal's ploy to get people to stay longer at a park they probably don't need 3 extra days at instead of going to the other Orlando parks.

I would get that Universal ticket and then buy the $100 Busch/SeaWorld Combo ticket. Yes, it's $350 for one person, but IMO that's the best "deal" you're going to get here in Orlando if you're looking for the most "stuff" to do for your money.

If you want to do Disney, basically assume it's $100 per day. You really don't see a break in pricing at Disney unless you are doing more than 4 days at the parks. And then it's about as much money to do 10 days at Disney parks as it is to do 5 days at Disney parks. And THOSE parks you need the extra time at! :Pr

So in summary - If you're a Disney fan and you don't want to spend that much money, do three days at Disney and your one day at Busch. If you're not a huge Disney fan and you are looking for quantity over quality, then I'd go for the Universal + SeaWorld + Busch option.

That's my advice for you.

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Re: 2019 Florida trip

Postby coasterbill » Thu Apr 04, 2019 12:39 pm

mckayj93 wrote:Hey everyone- starting to solidify more details for my trip. I'm looking at traveling June 9th - 15th. My goal for the trip is visiting friends that live in Jacksonville, Lakeland, and Sarasota , while also fitting in as much theme park time as possible. It's possible I might have friends that go to the parks with me, but I might be solo.

Travel- Planning on flying in and out of Jacksonville, as flights and rental car are considerably cheaper there compared to other 4 airports I looked at. (also can stay with friends free day of flights)


Since you specifically mentioned Frontier, the optimal strategy when flying them is usually to work around their schedule and not the other way around. For example, if you shift it by a few days and fly Nashville to Orlando from 6/5 (likely after work so you don't lose a day since it's an evening flight) to 6/12 it's $111 round trip with Discount Den which will likely crush whatever price you found to Jacksonville. The savings alone is basically a one day park hopper to Disney (assuming you're eyeing the same June 9th - 15th Delta flight that I am for $279 round trip).

I only bring this up since I know that you're on a budget. I also expect them to run a promo and for this price to get even lower since it's a midweek flight and they like to run promos on those.


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