Tips for Visiting Orlando, Florida Theme Parks

Weather
  • The summer weather in Orlando appears to be unpredictable with possible hot and sunny mornings followed by torrential thunderstorms in the afternoon.
  • Bring a heavy duty poncho
  • It can rain heavily for 15 to 30 minutes then completely stop at which time activities and attractions will resume. It may be worth it to wait out the rain.
Hotel
  • Extended Stay America on Universal Blvd
    • Location is great next to the heart of the tourist area
    • The rooms are spacious with a king size bed, kitchenette with full-size fridge, sofa and dining table.
    • The bathroom lights are an ugly bright daylight white
    • Bring your own dish sponge
    • Laundry is available on site at a cost of $2.00 per wash and $2.00 per dry
    • wi-fi is weak. You can pay extra for fast wi-fi or just use your phone as a hot spot.

Parks

Universal Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios (Amusement Park)

  • If your focus is on rides and you don’t walk slow, buy a 2-park ticket with the Express Pass (single entry) and visit all rides in both parks in one day. If it doesn’t rain, it’s doable, especially since the parks are open till 9 or 10 PM during the Summer. If you want to ride a ride multiple times, you can pay the extra for the Unlimited Express Pass.

Universal’s Volcano Bay (Water Park)

  • The wave pool was not particularly fun. It runs every 10 minutes.
  • As this is a relatively new water park, the slides are more fun than at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon.
  • You don’t have to carry tubes and rafts up many flights of stairs as there is a conveyor belt that brings them up for you.
  • The lazy river was just okay. There’s only one type of tube which is for one person.
  • The premium seating cabana is overpriced at $117 if you rent at the park. If you rent online, it’s $50.
  • Get to the park early and quickly find a free beach chair under an umbrella.
  • Universal’s Aventura Hotel is in front of the water park.

Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon (Water Park)

  • If weather causes the park to close within 4 hours of you using your ticket, you can get a voucher to come back for free and use it at Blizzard Beach.
  • The slides are just okay. Not as fun as the slides at Universal’s Volcano Bay.
  • Not only do you have to walk up many flights of stairs to use the slides, you sometimes have to carry a raft or tube up with you as well which gets very tiring.
  • The lazy river is similar to the one at Universal’s Volcano Bay. They have single-person tubes, 2-person rafts, and a single-person lounge chair 3/4 tube. The latter tube provides the most fun and is most relaxing.
  • The wave pool is very fun. Instead of just creating a bunch of small waves like what you get at Universal’s Volcano Bay, Typhoon Lagoon generates one huge wave like a tsunami every couple of minutes.
  • Get to the park early and quickly find a free beach chair under an umbrella.

Disney’s Blizzard Beach (Water Park)

  • The slides are more fun than at Typhoon Lagoon.
  • The wave pool generates a bunch of turbulent waves. It’s fun with a tube.

SeaWorld’s Aquatica (Water Park)

  • This is definitely the best water park in Orlando.
  • The lazy river is not so lazy as the current moves fast which makes for more fun.
  • The rides are relatively new and exciting.
  • It is unfortunately only open till 6 PM.
  • If you had to only pick one water pack in Orlando, this is it.

SeaWorld (Amusement Park)

  • SeaWorld has some fun roller coasters and the dolphin and killer whale shows were good. It’s also a lot cheaper than Universal’s Island of Adventure. SeaWorld is also a lot less crowded than Island of Adventure.

DisneyWorld Monorail

If you want to ride the DisneyWorld Monorail without going to Magic Kingdom or Epcot Center, you can. If you are driving, you’ll have to pay for parking to Magic Kingdom. Proceed as if you are going to enter Magic Kingdom and pay for parking at the Magic Kingdom toll booth. After parking, walk to the Disney Transportation and Ticket Center. There are 3 lines:

  • one to Magic Kingdom
  • one to Epcot Center
  • one to the resorts

Take the one to the resorts which will allow you to hop on and off to visit the resorts and eventually take you back to the beginning.