Planning an Orlando vacation

Edited: July 23, 2016, 1:37 PM

Hi you all,

We're from the Netherlands and planning to visit Orlando this October for 2 weeks (first time). We'd like to visit the Disney parks and both Universal parks.

Our exact dates will be either week 42 and 43 or week 43 and 44. We know during our trip the Halloween events are being held. We don't really feel much for Halloween so this means we only want to visit the Universal Halloween event for 1 night. Will we need to buy a seperate ticket for this? In terms of buying tickets, we're thinking to buy a Combo ticket from '', anyone experience with this? Also, will the Halloween events affect our normal day at the parks? I do know the Universal Studiso park closes earlier because of this, will we be able (when having the park to park ticket) to travel from the early closing park to IOA?

In terms of our accommodation, we're thinking of staying on-site at one of the Universal hotels. Another option is renting a villa nearby the parks. When choosing which Universal hotel to stay, we need to consider having an express pass. Does anyone recommend having one during our trip? Our last option is staying at Disney. But we're thinking we will be spending most of our trip at Universal since we're more into thrill rides. Keeping that in mind, most people say Universal scores better at that stuff, is this really true or is it just a myth?

Last, I know some 'Dining plans' are available. I don't know really what they mean. When staying for 14 days, I can't imagine eating every day at a restaurant sice this will be way too expensive. We're used to all-inclusive hotels in Turkey, but I can't imagine it works like that in the Orlando parks. So will we have to do the groceries in nearby supermarkets? In order to do that, we'll need a rental car. Is driving in Orlando a big deal for first timers? We would also like to do other activities in Florida, any recommodations? Are for example the Everglades and KSC worth it? Also, how many days should I plan for resting? I don't think our feet will appreciate it if we go non-stop to the parks.

Also, are the water parks still open in October? The combo ticket that I mentioned above doesn't give excess to Wet 'n wild. But we definitly would like to spend 1 day at Blizzard beach.

Our budget is around €4000,-. Will we be able to keep within our budget? Or is there no way we (4 persons) will make it considering the cheapest flight I can find is €1800,-.

Thanks in advance for your help.
As you probably already noticed, we're very inexperienced with Orlando and the theme parks so any help is appreciated ;)

Replies (2)

Edited: July 24, 2016, 7:05 AM

I've never been to the parks in October but as far as I know, yes, some days (but not all) certain park closes regular admission early due to Halloween events and you need a separate event ticket if you want to stay at that park for the rest of the evening.

For buying tickets, I recommend undercover tourist.

For accomodations, maybe you should consider staying at Disney because it has more stuff than Universal. Also staying at one of Disney's "value" resorts might be good for your budget.

Finally, Disney's fastpass+ are very important in Orlando. Since you are inexperienced in Orlando, please consider getting help from an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner (maybe Be Our Guest Vacations). This guys take their comission from Disney, so it's not like you'll be paying extra.

Edited: July 24, 2016, 2:45 PM

Not sure about Disney, but during Halloween horror nights, they close the Universal Studios side at 5 or 6 for regular patrons unless of course you have the separate ticket to stay in the park. Islands of Adventure stays open for their regular hours. HHN's are pretty fun if you are into that type of stuff although I would not recommend it for small children because some of it is intense especially the haunted houses. As for accommodations, you may want to consider stay off site somewhere between Disney and Universal Studios like maybe a condo. The further you stay away from the parks, in most cases, it's cheaper, but the trade off is that you will have to rent a car or take a taxi which could get expensive. My family and I just recently went to Universal for a week and ended up booking a little too late and didn't get to stay at our hotel of choice and we stayed at the Comfort Inn and Suites. Now this is by far not a four star hotel, but it had two queen beds, a hide away bed and free breakfast. And it was only a mile from the park, so it only cost $10 a trip including tipping the driver. Also, most hotels around the parks have free shuttles that will take and bring you back. You will also register your name at the front desk the day before so you and your family will get a seat.

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