Orlando in 4 days...
April 1, 2009 7:58 PM   Subscribe

Two girls in Orlando, Florida for four days - when to go, what to do?

So my sister has booked a trip where we get 4 days in Orlando, Florida, and then a 2-day cruise to the Bahamas. We have to book our official travel dates 6 weeks in advance... We're both in our mid-20's, just us two girls going, we're staying at some Ramada hotel in Orlando and we have a rental car.

So when's a good time to visit Orlando, Florida? Should we book asap and enjoy a mid-May visit, or what? We want nice-ish weather when it's not super busy... This is my main concern, I realize there are lots of Orlando and Disney World questions on AskMeFi and I'm going through them slowly.

But 4 days is not enough to do it all, so we need help prioritizing here (tips? highlights?) -- most people are going with kids or as a couple and we're just looking to relive our childhoods and be amused. My sister wants to see SeaWorld, she doesn't like roller-coaster rides (but i love 'em), and she doesn't like to drink or go dancing. I suppose the Epcot center and the Magic Kingdom are sounding pretty good according to previous posts and the main disneyworld website. I've also been checking out allears.net and a few other sites out there, slowly figuring it out. Just to be clear, when you get those expensive admission tickets for Disney World, are the rides free or are they still more on top of it?

What about the rest of Orlando, though? I don't know exactly where we're staying at the moment, but what's scenic in the city to go see? Any favorite places outside the parks? we have a car and we're adventurous :)
posted by lizbunny to Travel & Transportation around Orlando, FL (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
There are lots of rides at Universal Studios/Islands of Adventure that aren't too roller-coastery. There is also CityWalk (movie theater, shops, bars and restaurants) between the two parks. I'd bet your sister would still have fun there, and I suspect tickets for the two of you would be cheaper than Disney.
posted by soelo at 8:12 PM on April 1, 2009

Rides at Disney World are free once you've paid the admission for the park they're in. There is no additional cost.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 8:16 PM on April 1, 2009

By mid-May the temperatures have usually started climbing although they are nothing like July and August. In terms of comfortable weather, really the best times are late September / early October, or else mid-March as long as you avoid any spring break / Easter situations.

If you like coasters and your friend does not, SeaWorld is actually a good choice. There are all the expected fishy attractions, and also the Kraken roller coaster. There is also a new coaster about to open called the Manta. I know it is in test right now, and they are saying it will be open in "Summer 2009".

As far as other things to see in the area, if you would like to see some natural Florida and possibly see some manatees, I can highly recommend Blue Spring State Park. It is a little north of Orlando, but well under an hour's drive and easy to find if you can follow a map. Personally, as much as I love the amusement parks here, I really like to get away from all the touristy stuff and see the real Florida.
posted by Lokheed at 9:36 PM on April 1, 2009

I am going to say from experience that CityWalk at night is awesome. During the day, Seaworld is great because there are some air conditioned attractions, like the arctic exhibit. Disney is also cool, but don't go to Epcot expecting anything other than a glorified shopping mall. The "rides" aren't really worth the lines. However, if you have lots of money to blow, the steakhouse in the Canada section of Epcot is great. Best prime rib I have ever had in my life. My boyfriend and I still talk about it.
posted by d13t_p3ps1 at 7:09 AM on April 2, 2009

Best answer: If you're coming soon, come NOW. April is starting to warm up, and the rain and humidity is increasing, but it's still on the low end. Don't bother with July or August, because it is miserable out and you will hate everything.

If you can put it off, do. Come in November, which can sometimes be cool, and which is usually less humid. November is also a good time because kids are in school and parks are emptier. Early December is good too. Don't worry about cold. The last two years, it's been in the 80s on Christmas Day.

As far as "real Florida," Lake Eola park downtown is quite pretty. Blue Spring is also very nice. And in the winter, there are manatees. You can also drive south a bit and find someone to take you on an airboat ride (as long as they don't feed the gators). Visit my hometown of Sanford, which has antique shops and a neat art gallery and lots of good restaurants and bars, or the town of Mount Dora*, which has way more antique shops and other random stuff, including a shop that only sells cupcakes.

If you're staying in the area around the parks, Tampa/St. Pete isn't that far away, and the beaches are gorgeous.

If you plan to do stuff outside the parks, don't expect to see everything at the parks. It takes at least a full day to do each park-- some of them require two. If you're me, you're worn out long before that.

Feel free to MeMail me with specific questions. I grew up here, and moved back 4 years ago, so I should be able to help out.

*Not a real mount.
posted by cereselle at 8:43 AM on April 2, 2009 [1 favorite]

If they are playing a gig, you should absolutely not miss Gargamel! Their shows are absolutely amazing.

Also if you are into motorcycles at all, the stunt scene is impressive. There is a wednesday night gathering that ends with a bunch of riders showing off their tricks.
posted by thekiltedwonder at 10:18 AM on April 2, 2009

I would recommend AGAINST visiting Skull Kingdom, if it's still open. It's somewhere on International Drive, which seemed to be the "main drag" for attractions to me, and it's a haunted house that is open year-round. It was expensive and short, and not very scary at all. Schlocky, and not in a good way.
posted by scarykarrey at 10:34 AM on April 2, 2009

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