Columnist: Venture off Disney property while in Orlando

Posted Monday, December 4, 2006 9:23 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Orlando hosts seven of the nation's 10 most popular theme parks, and three of them — SeaWorld, and Universal Studios Florida and its Islands of Adventure — are not Disney properties. Neither is the stirring Kennedy Space Center, where you can see an actual space shuttle being readied for a launch. If you don't leave Disney property, you're missing a lot.

Read the column in The Orlando Sentinel.

Monday, December 4, 2006 9:25 AM
Jeff's avatar This is so relevant for me right now. I was very, very tempted to do more Disney because the pricing gets so cheap after four or five days, but I resisted. I love Universal and I couldn't overlook it when they offer $90 five-day passes and annual passes for $180 (which are good for 15 months).
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Monday, December 4, 2006 11:03 AM
Relevant for me, too. We go to FL annually in late Feb/early Mar. So far, with the way the pricing works, we've been cocooned in the Mouse House the whole time. I think that's likely to change in the not-too-distant future, though.
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Monday, December 4, 2006 11:18 AM
I enjoy Disney whenever I get down there, but the pricing is really just starting to get out of control. I was in Orlando last year and spent so much money on theme park admission for just one week. It is a bit of a shell shock as I am not used to paying that much for parks because I usually have cheap season passes or find a way to snag a free ticket here or there. The flex pass is a pretty good value that I took advantage of and used it much more than my Disney pass which at the time was like a 4 consecutive days any park deal, not to mention it was much more expensive. Disney is a great place dont get me wrong, but in the future when I get back to Orlando I will be fine with skipping out the majority of the Disney parks. I am very much a Universal fan, and for those that have been to IOA, who isn't?

Universal really has a lot to do in a small place that appeals to the entire family. With both the parks within walking distance, and the entire City Walk, you can easily spend a lot of time there and never run out of things to do. The article compared some numbers for Disney and Universal that really show the value Universal has to offer. Something that I really enjoy and is hooking me on Universal even more is the Blue Man pricing. You can purchase a Blue Man ticket including admission to both parks for 7 days for around $130. I think that this is an AMAZING deal. For those of you who havnt seen the Blue Man Group it is a really good show and will be a great addition to the Universal property, take advantage of the deal when your in Orlando!

I really hope that Universal can keep getting people to check out what they have to offer so they can see Orlando has more to offer then the Disney parks. A lot of times when people think Orlando, they really do just think Disney and they can spend a whole vacation there missing out on what is just up the street.
*** This post was edited by 12/4/2006 11:19:43 AM ***

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Monday, December 4, 2006 6:31 PM
Not all people at the paper have such a great view of USF.http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/columnists/orl-miket0306dec03,0,6470951.column?coll=orl-news-col

And while I really like USF they havent added the attractions needed to compete against WDW and adding a upcharge attraction like Blue Man Group wont change that.
*** This post was edited by Bob O 12/4/2006 6:32:23 PM ***

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Monday, December 4, 2006 8:07 PM
Jeff's avatar I totally disagree. This gets people on the property with yet another thing to do after a day at the park. It's good for the resort too.
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Tuesday, December 5, 2006 7:29 PM
Busch Gardens surpases both I think not just in rollercoasters but atmosphere. The park is almost always empty and rides are usually walk on. The animals are great and the prices are a little cheaper than any disney park.
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Thursday, December 14, 2006 5:01 PM
Each of the competing resorts has a pricing scheme to encourage return visits. IMO, to stretch your travel dollar, separate Disney and non-Disney visits.

Disney packages including airport transfers, on-site hotel, and Disney transportation are great. Admission prices that varies between $180 for three Disney park days or $210 for ten Disney park days create minimal incentive to visit other resorts.

My last visit to Florida was a non-Disney vacation. Even though we stayed just off Disney property and dined in a few Disney resort restaurants, we never paid Disney admission or parking. USO/IOA had a deal where the price of two days regular admission gets 5 days (we used 4). Both Busche Gardents Tampa (now Africa) and Cypress Gardens had a 2nd-day free options (we didn't use).

I know I'll go back again. Hopefully I'll see the Kennedy Space Center and Gatorland, but the giant mouse is reeling me in-- hook, line and sinker....

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