As I mentioned above. My wife and I went to WDW last summer(2011) and we just had a blast.We actually stayed for 14 days and only did all the WDW parks not any non Disney parks.
Now I need peoples advice about 'managing' this trip in December(2012).
We got a 7 day hopper, waterpark pass. I did do some research and it seems that Disney closes down one waterpark for maintenance and lets the other stay open during the winter months. Is this true?
Secondly, we will be heading to Orlando(Dec 1) and coming back on Dec 11.
Basically we have Dec 2-Dec 10 to do stuff in WDW(7 day park hopper/waterpark) and 2 days extra to do what? We love rides and am wondering if Universal would be a great place to hit for one day? Also we are interested in going to the ocean to swim, is the water really cold? What other parks are in the vicinity that have great rides?
Thirdly, to travel outside of WDW do they have shuttles that take you from the Disney resort to other non Disney theme parks? We rather not rent a car but it is not top priority.
We are not into sight seeing but more into fun/thrills.
Yes, one water park closes every winter, but I can't remember which is closing this year.
Sea World is closest to Disney. Universal is a jaunt down the interstate. Both are great experiences. I can do what I think are the best rides in both Universal parks in one day.
There are no buses or shuttles other than city buses and taxis to outside of Disney. In reality, Disney doesn't not want you to leave property at all, so they don't make it easy.
I would disagree with those who talk about a long hike to the ocean. It's worth every minute of travel.
If I had a choice, I would get up early and be on the road to the Gulf of Mexico by 730. I-4 west to I-75 south to the exit for Brandenton/Anna Maria Island. It's a 2-1/2 hour drive to Holmes Beach ... but it is the most beautiful slice of beach in the state. And depending on where you are from, no, it won't necessarily be too cold to swim.
Disney is a great time for the Holidays. One thing my family enjoys is visiting the resorts and looking at the trees. This is both unique to each resort and completely free! Grand Floridian is the best IMO.
As for the other parks, I would rent a car. Its likely not to be extremely expensive (for FL, which is saying alot) plus you have the flexibility to leave and enter the parks as you please (you should get free parking during your stay)
It's not easy to get there from Disney (you can pay from 60 to 100$ for a cab, book with Mears for a 19$ per person round-trip --we didn't because we heard mixed reviews-- or go to Disney's transportation center, take the 111 Lynx Bus to the Florida Mall, then the 37 to Universal... it's gonna take 1hour45mins to get there but you will only pay 2$!! (That's what we've done and we're still glad we saved our money!...) With any option you choose, it's gonna take at least 30 minutes or more to get there.
But totally worth it!
Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom
Disney's Animal Kingdom
Disney's Hollywood Studios
Disney California Adventure
Universal Studios Florida
Universal's Islands of Adventure
Universal Studios Hollywood