Best time to visit Florida parks

Saturday, August 31, 2002 2:36 AM
Hi all, I was just wondering if any of you had any views on the best time to visit theme parks in Florida: IOA, Disney, Busc Gardens etc..... Obviously, being major tourist attractions these parks will always have pretty respectable attendance :) However, there must be some periods in the year where attendence slows a bit. I would also be interested in hearing about any views on when NOT to go. For example, I've heard stories that some people have gone in Jan/Feb to find little in the way of crowds, but quite a lot in the way of closed attractions! :) Is there a time of year to visit these parks when attendence is reasonable, without a good number of the rides being down for maintainence.
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Saturday, August 31, 2002 4:44 AM

The busy times are the summer months, spring break, Thanksgiving week/weekend, and the two Christmas/New Years weeks. Other holidays and holiday weekends can be busy, but not as bad as those mentioned above. I've been there in early December several times and found nearly everything to be walk-on except at the Disney parks, which are more popular but still not too bad.

As for finding rides down, that's a problem with all parks that are open all year because maintenance must be done periodically and the parks choose their off-season times to do it. If you are concerned about particular rides, you can call the parks to see what they have to say. But there are so many parks and rides that you should still find enough to do.

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Saturday, August 31, 2002 4:46 AM

We make the annual trip the last week of Jan. or the first week in Feb. The weather doesn't always cooperate - one year we had frost on the car when we left Epcot. But crowds are light for sure. Last year, Dudley Doo Right was down at IOA, and Splash Mountain at WDW. The two previous years I think about everything was open.

I've been there in the busier seasons, and I've got to say, I'll take the off season anytime. You may miss a thing or two, but the whole thing is just so much more enjoyable.

And I have heard the very lowest attended time is after Thanksgiving to before Christmas.

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Without the chaindog, you'd never get up the lifthill...

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Saturday, August 31, 2002 4:47 AM
October is a great time to go. The weather is just right and the parks are pretty much empty. We went to IOA in 2000 in October and pretty much was done in the park in about 4 hours. We are headed down again this October.
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Saturday, August 31, 2002 12:16 PM

If you go anytime between Oct. and Feb.. not counting hollidays, You should have no problems. These parks are used to much heavier crowds durring the summer months. You will find near walkons on most attractions at most parks, not counting Magic Kingdom. MK is almost always semi-busy but the waits are bareable.

Always expect to wait around 45 minuts for Space, Slash, and Thunder Mountians, and Buzz Lightyears Space Ranger Spin, and a few of the Fantisyland darkrides, unless you want to use Fastpass. Haunted mansion usuially has around a 5-15 minut wait durring the off season.

MGM's lines are mostly short, except for Rock 'n Rollercoaster and Tower of Terror. They are usuially around 30-60 minuts. But then again, Fastpass can help.

Animal Kingdoms longest lines are Dinosaur and Kilemagaro (SP?) Safari. They aren't usuially TOO long; maybe around 20-30 minuts. But as I have said before, Fastpass will prevent a long wait.

Universals 2 parks will more then likely be close to walkons all day durring the weekdays. Exceptions to this would be P-Fliers with at least a 30 minut wait, but you may not get to ride it anyway unless you have a kid to ride with.

Some of the rides like Spiderman, MIB, and definately Posidons Fury may get up to 30 minuts durring the off season, but like I have said a hundred times before, use Fastpas-err, I mean use Express pass. Busch Gardens durring the off season has walkons almost always. I remember waiting for Gwazi for 10 minuts once.

The WORST time to go to a centrial Florida park durring these months is durring a holliday. Do not go anytime near Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Years. The Very, VERY best time to go is weekdays after Thanksgiving week and Christmas week, and weekends aren't to bad durring this time either.

I'm no expert or anything, however I did live in Orlando for exactily one year between 10/00 and 10/01 and worked for Universal. This is just what I have discovered on my own. Have fun on your trip. These parks have the very best customer service in the industry, so you will probibly have the time of your life.

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Saturday, August 31, 2002 2:38 PM

A couple more things to note - on Feb. 4 and 5 this year, we walked on Space Mountain, Tower of Terror, RnRC, and everything at both Universal parks on the 6th.

The other thing is airfare and hotels - I found Dertroit metro to Orlando round trip this year for $98 on Travelocity. It's never been more then $150 in previous years. Rooms for $25 are available, with "three diamond" rooms for $40 if you look hard enough. I try to start checking rates around the end of September. Once the airfare drops to it's lowest, it dosen't stay for long.

Hope I'm not getting too wordy here - it's just that with the season winding down, Florida is the next bright spot until May 2003.

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Without the chaindog, you'd never get up the lifthill...

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Saturday, August 31, 2002 5:10 PM
Best weekend of the year is usually President's day Weekend. Don't go to IoA during Mid Jan.- thru Mid- Feb., Dudley is usually closed for maintnance around then.

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I'm sitting shiva for CCI.

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Saturday, August 31, 2002 5:53 PM
I'd go in September or October. I went there around September 15th and we didn't even have to get off the rides since there was no line. We went 3 times in row on Splash Mountain (Yey!) and that ride usually has 2:30 hour lines. Besides that, you don't have to worry about weather at all, maybe a passing thunderstorm that just leaves after 10 minutes.

*** This post was edited by daniel74 on 8/31/2002. ***

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Saturday, August 31, 2002 6:49 PM
Just after the Holidays are the best times to go to Disney and the like. But remember, the parks use this time to refurb. Big Thunder Mountain will be down in Jan, and the Haunted Mansion will be down in September. Other than that all of the other "E ticket" rides should be open.
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Saturday, August 31, 2002 7:07 PM
I have gone in February for the past two years and both years the parks were all walk ons all around. It does get busy the Saturday before the Daytona 500 but other than that it is really dead. Both times I have gone in February the weather has been impecable. 70s and 80s with absolutely NO rain. I have seen several mention September and October but those months are during the hurricane season so every Tropical Depression that even comes near Florida makes Orlando a monsoon zone. I went to Disney once in September for a week and it rained almost the entire day, every day we were there. Our parking lot at our hotel had a foot of water in it for most of our vacation. The parks were empty but that was because it was monsoon season.

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Bob Hansen

A proud CoasterBuzz Member

Operation Wicked Twister - Goal: Lose 50 lbs by next season to ride it! (updates soon)

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Monday, September 2, 2002 5:08 AM
Just a note to all contributors to say thank-you for your comments, you all have, no doubt, given me some valuable advice that will make my prospective trip to Florida more enjoyable!
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Monday, September 2, 2002 5:14 AM
I went to Orlando the last week of September, and the longest line that I waited in was about 25 minutes at any park. The only bad part was they had reduced hours. It didn't really matter though cause the crowds were thin.
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Monday, September 2, 2002 5:24 AM
Daniel74, Splash Mountains lines never reach 2:30 hours.

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I'm sitting shiva for CCI.

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Monday, September 2, 2002 11:03 AM
If anyone's heading to IoA/BGT/Disney over the Winter, the best time to go is about a week after you let me know you're comin'....;)...I can usually get a day off sometime during the week.....
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Monday, September 2, 2002 2:31 PM

Middle of November! No more than 30 min for any ride, Incredible Hulk: Walk On Go on rides @ Disney during PARADES

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Out of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most!

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Tuesday, September 3, 2002 7:09 AM

We went to WDW in January in 1998, 2000, and 2001. Short waits for everything all day. The only thing we ever saw down for maintenance was It's a Small World. Blizzard Beach is also seasonally down in January.

We did USF, IoA, SWO, and BGT in January 2002. The only major things down were Python and Akbar's Adventure Tours at BGT, and Journey to Atlantis at SWO.

The only problem is that the weather sometimes gets a little cool (in 2000 we ran into 2 days with a high of 45!)

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Revised projection for 2002: 37 parks & 140 coasters. 27 & 105 through 8/11

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