Here are my questions:
1. How many days are needed to see the parks? When we have traveled to Disney, we usually get to the park when it opens, leave around lunch time and return in the evening.
2. Do any hotels nearby offer children's activities or an indoor pool?
3. Can anyone explain the meal plan to me? I read it on another post and am not quite sure I understand it.
4. Considering the ages of my kids and the fact that the younger is not a fan of roller coasters, would the water park be a worthwhile option?
I am sure I'll have more questions as I move along with the planning phase, but I appreciate any insight you can offer. Thanks for your help.
I would recommend getting to the park about 9ish because it will take some time to tram over to the gate. If you already have tix great, if not, plan on waiting in line to get them. Getting to the park when it opens is key, as you will be able to get in mulitple rides on Griffon, AC, Darkastle earlier in the day. Different countries open at different times in the morning, but hitting those three ASAP will ensure no/minimal lines.
The shows are very good there, so you will probably want to catch at least a few of them. They are now running Illuminights, which I haven't seen yet but hear is good. This takes place at the end of the night.
If you get there when the park opens and don't go on a Saturday, you may be able to knock everything out in a day.
Water Country USA is okay I suppose. There is a lot of walking, and of course, you half to climb a bunch o steps to ride most of the slides. They don't have any super thrilling rides, but they have your general run of the mill slides/tubing sort of deal.
The lazy river isn't very scenic, and you can plan on having bratty kids bumping into you while you try to relax, but I guess that's true of every lazy river ride I've ever been on.
The Hubba Bubba Highway is a little better. You throw on a life vest, and a jet stream carries you around on a course. There are a few sprays of water that hit you. It feels weird but kind of cool. I'd say it's a run of the mill water park. If you love them you should go, if you have been to any really nice ones, you may be disappointed. Parking is $13 and a small locker is $10, so be prepared to be rung up with other charges after you enter the park.
I never do the meal plans at Busch Gardens.
There is a Wolf Lodge near there that has an indoor water park. It's pretty nice but very expensive so not sure how much money you are looking to spend on your trip.
I noticed that you said you don't purchase the dining plan. I just purchased it & now I'm wondering if I made a mistake. What are your reasons for not purchasing it?