Is March/April good for Florida trip?

Wednesday, November 28, 2018 5:45 PM

I'm thinking about a trip to the FL parks next year. No way I'm going in the summer! Last trip I did was In Oct/Nov, about 15 years ago. (Can't get vacation then, due to the hunters at work.) I know enough not to go around Easter or Spring Break (whenever that is). Is the weather OK around then? Any coaster events at that time? Know of any "package deals" or reasonably priced places to stay? (Think I got a AAA deal last time -- hotel, tickets, car rental -- but don't know if it was that great of a deal.)

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Wednesday, November 28, 2018 7:50 PM

There is a ton of information regarding this on the internet; far more than what you will get in these forums.

One of my favorite third party WDW informational websites is www.mousesavers.com. If you fart around this site for a bit, it will answer just about every question that you have regarding when to visit and when the deals are. Also, if you google it, there are other sites with the same basic WDW planning info; some are better than others.

But to answer your top level question, I have visited WDW several times in the spring, usually in conjunction with a MLB Spring Training trip; the Braves play at WDW and there are several teams including the Yankees, Phillies and others who play toward Tampa which is an easy day drive away. Yes, if you can avoid the spring break crowds, I have found it a decent time to go. Watch out for the spring love bugs if you drive...

Plus Epcot Flower & Garden is going on which is Food & Wine lite and a great time to visit that park.

No the parks will not be dead; there is no longer a dead season there, those days are unfortunately long gone.

Last edited by Hanging n' Banging, Wednesday, November 28, 2018 7:54 PM
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Thursday, November 29, 2018 8:47 AM

Weather can be cold but (usually) not unpleasant in Oct/Nov. Sometimes you'll get a few really cold days, like now, in November, but only cold by local standards. You can tell how busy it will be by the hotel and ticket pricing.

And yeah, there is no real off-season anymore, but "busy" is relative. I'll be going to Magic Kingdom this Saturday, and even though there will be a lot of people there, it will be far less than you'd see three weeks from now, or most any day in summer. My favorite week is this one, the week after Thanksgiving. Early November is also solid, and in both cases, you get the Christmas decorations. The castle is something to see this time of year.

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Thursday, November 29, 2018 10:36 AM

Yesterday morning coming into work one of my co workers had 4 layers on, as well as a hat and gloves she bought at the downtown Walgreens to walk from the Church Street Sunrail station over to Central Blvd. To contrast, I had a hoodie I threw on last night to go for a walk around the neighborhood while still in my shorts and flip flops.

As to the actual question at hand - pretty much everything has been covered. One thing to keep in mind with Orlando parks is that we don't have coaster events because we don't really have coaster parks. We have year round special events that cater to a variety of interests. If you like food, wine, and seeing bands from back in the day who've still got it (usually) - come for the Epcot Food and Wine or Flower and Garden festival. If you love Halloween - come for HHN at Universal. If you are a Christmas freak, there is no better place to see outstanding Christmas lights and decorations as the WDW and UO parks and resorts (seriously - check out the resort hotels for both properties, it's fantastic). Since there is no true "off season" anymore, I say plan your trip around what event(s) you really would want to attend.

If you plan to go down to Tampa for the B&M collection at Busch Gardens, keep in mind that BGT does keep limited park hours during non peak times (think 10am-5pm/10am-6pm open hours). Plus, if you wait another year or two it sounds like we'll have two fantastic new coasters there to keep us busy.

Edit - as for weather, avoid July through late September to avoid the "I have been outside for 5 minutes and need to shower again" level of sweaty nastiness weather. In my 10 years here I have found that September can often be more brutal than June in terms of heat. We have occasional small pockets of "winter", like we had yesterday and today, where evenings can drop into the 40s or high 30s and days feel like fall jacket weather with highs ranging from 50-60. You may come in the middle of winter and need jeans and sweatshirts every day, or it may be 85 and waterpark weather. Or a mix of both.

Last edited by BrettV, Thursday, November 29, 2018 10:39 AM
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Thursday, November 29, 2018 12:14 PM

Ha! I work in Church St. Exchange building and park on Central. That's weak. Then last night came back down for a show at DPC and had to walk across the street all the way to the City Commons garage! In a hoodie!

I concur about September, but I'm not sure how much of that is just wanting summer to be over. July to September is definitely swamp-ass season, and it seemed to bleed well into October this year.

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Thursday, November 29, 2018 12:34 PM

While the secret has gotten out over the past decade or so, and the crowds have measurably increased, I still think the best time to visit WDW is the two weeks following thanksgiving, perhaps three if Christmas falls later in the calendar.

While still crowded, they are still typically manageable during this time. The weather is usually decent and it is right in the middle of dry season, so you won't see much rain. I can deal with the cold spells, but a rain out can really damper your day. Plus, all of the Christmas crap is up which in and of it self is worth the price of admission.

I really miss my early December trips a decade ago when it truly was a dead time for WDW.

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Thursday, November 29, 2018 4:53 PM

Jeff said:

Ha! I work in Church St. Exchange building and park on Central.

The two or three times I have been inside that building I absolutely love it. Reminds me a lot of the Cleveland Arcade I used to walk through with my dad as a kid. I wish there was more on the first level to give me a reason to go inside.

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Friday, November 30, 2018 9:00 AM

It's not nearly as cool as the old arcade, but it would have been interesting to see it in the 80's when it was all retail. It even had escalators up the middle back then. But our offices on the third floor include Lou Pearlman's old space, and we've preserved the gaudy private bathroom he had. JT may have showered there once.

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Friday, November 30, 2018 9:51 AM

I remember Orlando in the 80’s (kind of...) and Church Street Station when it was a destination for Orlando visitors. During the day one could tour the historic street and shop, eat, whatever, but at night they would gate each end of the street and for the price of admission the over-21’s could visit a variety of nightclub/bar/restaurant attractions. There was something for everyone, and my favorite was a beautiful, elaborate “saloon” with old-timey stage shows. On nice days a skywriter would advertise Church Street and everyone in Orlando could see a huge beer mug with cloudy foam pouring from the top. It would make its way through the sky and go right over WDW.
It was always very busy, (all you could drink specials do it every time), and Disney must’ve taken notice because eventually Pleasure Island with a similar but fancier concept came to be, and Church Street Station finally petered away. I guess in their infinite wisdom, and not to be ignored, Disney figured out a way to keep people from leaving. And in the meantime they’ve gotten really good at it, haven’t they?

Last edited by RCMAC, Friday, November 30, 2018 11:24 AM
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Friday, November 30, 2018 10:22 AM

There's no doubt it spawned Pleasure Island. Disney didn't want busloads of people leaving to spend money downtown. Church Street still has a bunch of bars and restaurants, and they do close it some evenings, primarily when there are events at Amway Center.

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Saturday, December 1, 2018 10:24 AM

I've never visited Florida in Mar/Apr. But have done a couple of trips down there in Feb and loved it! Of course, I did not do Disney. Spent a little over a week doing Busch Tampa, Universal, Sea World and Aquatica. During the entire trip, the only lines were Harry Potter attractions. Other than that, we walked on everything.

For places to stay, I've learned to take everything into consideration. Don't go with cheapest. Look at what is included in price. Last time there, we picked a hotel about 20-25 min walk to Universal which eliminated the parking fees every day. Plus they provided shuttle service to Disney, Sea World and Aquatica. It wasn't the greatest hotel but at $40/night, it was fine for us.

I can't speak about anything Disney as I haven't been there in 40 yrs.

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Saturday, December 1, 2018 12:02 PM

Speaking of hotels in Orlando, beware the hidden fees. Resort fees (biggest load of BS anywhere), parking fees, etc. That cheap hotel can damn near double in price when you factor in fees, which usually don’t pop up until you try to make a reservation.

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Saturday, December 1, 2018 1:32 PM

Just the other day I made a res for a week in Orlando this coming February and I always stay at the Clarion on/near Major across from Uni. The fees were over a hundred bucks, even at that cheap-ass doors-to-the-outside hotel. It’s nice though, for the price, and right across the bridge from I-Drive/Fun Spot. (And Sweet Tomatoes and Del Taco.) During that time of year there’s not a lot of traffic and should I do a theme park or two it’s pretty painless, crowd-wise.

Last edited by RCMAC, Saturday, December 1, 2018 1:33 PM
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Saturday, December 1, 2018 2:03 PM

ShaneDenmark said:

Speaking of hotels in Orlando, beware the hidden fees. Resort fees (biggest load of BS anywhere), parking fees, etc. That cheap hotel can damn near double in price when you factor in fees, which usually don’t pop up until you try to make a reservation.

But you have to remember, you get free local calls included with your resort fee and some properties even include a bottle of water...

Last edited by Hanging n' Banging, Saturday, December 1, 2018 2:04 PM
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Saturday, December 1, 2018 2:53 PM

We didn't say the bottle of water was free. It is complementary. It complements the room quite nicely.

And now I can't remember what that is from.

We did a quick weekend to Orlando back in September. The first Marriot property we looked at was $47 a night for the resort and parking fees.

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Saturday, December 1, 2018 6:11 PM

ShaneDenmark said:

Speaking of hotels in Orlando, beware the hidden fees. Resort fees (biggest load of BS anywhere), parking fees, etc. That cheap hotel can damn near double in price when you factor in fees, which usually don’t pop up until you try to make a reservation.

Yeah, I learned that. Luckily the resort fees weren't high at that time. I think it was $6-7 per day. I have learned to look at the fine print when booking online. Especially Las Vegas!

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Saturday, December 8, 2018 1:08 PM

I went to Disney World last March. The weather was pretty decent (compared to where I came from). There were plenty of crowds but such is life these days. Whatever you do, avoid the school vacations and try tg go mid-weeks (Tues-Thurs) because crowds are slightly less. Try to avoid the Extra Magic Hours park as that will always be more crowded. Check out a Disney crowd calendar before you make any plans. They tend to be somewhat accurate (better than nothing).

Last edited by Anthro, Saturday, December 8, 2018 1:09 PM
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