Weather and Time-to-Go Tips
The best time to visit Orlando is when other people aren't. This would be when U. S. schools are in session, typically September through May, with the exception of school holidays (Christmas, Easter, etc). The weather is still very hot through the end of October, with more moderate temps being November through March. The first 2 weeks of December is a great time to go, especially to Disney World's Epcot, because you get to experience all of the different countries dressed in their holdiay best. Also in the same time period, the days are warm and evenings are cool, so bring a sweatshirt if you are planning a sunup to midnight day out.
Some general info & factors about WDW
Free things @ Disney World during Thanksgiving & New Years:
At the Contemporary Resort & its 14th floor California Grill about 1/2 hour before the Magic Kingdom fireworks start. You have to go to either the 2nd or 4th floor to catch an express elevator to the restaurant. Tell the check-in desk that you don’t have reservations but are going to the California Grill for drinks (you really don’t have to buy anything) & to watch the fireworks. It is Disney's tallest building with large windows & 2 outdoor view walkways - 1 on each side for a unique view! Bonus: the martinis are quite nice but pricey.
After fireworks, take the lobby's monorail on the 4th floor & ride it around to The Grand Floridian & Polynesian Village resorts. You can go inside each resort to see their Christmas decorations. Kids will think the monorail is an “adventure” & it’s free!
The monorail also goes to Epcot & it runs above parts of Epcot so you can see how large Epcot & World Showcase are. To get there from the Contemporary resort monorail station, ride to the transportation center, disembark & board the Epcot monorail.
Check the Wilderness Lodge lobby. They usually have a great gingerbread house collection & outside @ the pool area, follow the sidewalk down to the geyser area also to a boat dock. Take a Disney boat to another resort or just stay on the boat for a roundtrip. It’s free.
During the day, go to Animal Kingdom Lodge resort & after you check the pool & lobby, go out back thru the lobby & view live animals roaming the area (free) from 3 viewing areas on both sides of the lobby and 1 around the pool. At night there's an African-born guide with night-vision binoculars so you can view animals roaming the grounds. The guides are extremely helpful & friendly as are all Disney employees (they are called cast members). Some WDW observations & experiences:
WDW, in the midst of summer, can be difficult at best due to the heat & humidity if you are not used to it. My favorite time to visit is between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
One advantage about staying at a Disney “Value Priced” property is that they have value-priced food courts with cafeteria-style café & deli-priced food for the whole family on-site. They also have children’s play areas and themed swimming pools.
Suggestion: buy a foam cooler ($5.00) & milk, juice, cereal, finger foods at a local grocery store & fill the chest with ice (free) if your room does not have a refrigerator.
You don’t have to stay on property to be able to take the Disney transportation system of boats, monorail, buses, etc. free-but they always have the right to ask for Disney guest ID.
Every Disney resort has a gatehouse with security & they will ask for your photo ID unless you have a Disney car pass on your dashboard. Tell the guard you're checking the resort or going to dine. Show ID & drive to a self-parking area.
All Disney’s Resorts are decorated for Christmas-time holidays, so resort-hop just to look at the beautiful special themed decorations in the grand lobbies. Their gift shops can be sensory overload for the kids.
Downtown Disney & Pleasure Island are free now. Park at one end of the parking lot & walk all of the shops- a Lego store with an outside play area, & all sorts of Legos that children can just play with as long as they want. The stores are all child friendly & have toys, candy & clothes. Boats the Rainforest Café station go from Downtown Disney to other resorts.
Anyplace near a theme park or Downtown Disney provides a nice viewing of fireworks displays.
If you are at WDW during January, you can watch the annual Disney marathon like I did this year. Events occur year-round and checking the Disney websites for special events at a time you are considering is advisable.
Walt Disney World
In honor of Walt Disney's 100th birthday, the Wall Disney World Resort has launched a grand, yearlong celebration as big and broad as Walt's imagination. Each on of the four Disney Theme Park features something special for everyone, including spectacular new parades, new attractions and entertainment.
BEST OUTDOOR DINING
BEST OUTDOOR DINING
4201 S. Orange Ave., (407) 240-2557,
Herons, raccoons, gators and hapless waterskiers … what else do you need to look at while you're scarfing down dishes from Julie's surprisingly diverse menu? Gut-busting all-you-can-eat fish fries (on Tuesdays and Fridays) will test your consumption abilities, but decent salads and wraps as well as odd treats like lobster nuggets and toasted ravioli round out a stellar surf & turf menu. And hey, you can bring your dog!
Big suitcase:to put all Disney and Univesal merchandise you will definitely get! Backpack: it is useful to carry the camera when it is raining, the 'poncho' when it is not raining and the wet clothes after rain or some rides... If you are not willing to pay 6 dollars for a 'poncho', bring one from home as you will need it for the daily rain and the wet rides...
Also: bring loose/comfortable clothes (shorts and t-shirts are great). Sunglasses and a cap will help as well.
Any clothing that dries fast will be useful: lots of wet rides and rain every day. Sunblock: don't forget it, sun is no joke here...
I found mosquitoes in Animal Kindgom, so some 'Off' can be useful. No lack of photo equipment. Loads of Kodak kiosks... However, everything is reasonably expensive, so try to bring films and batteries from home, if possible.