Orlando Overview ~ I give it a "C" for adult vacationers! We liked Orlando. We have both been to Florida before and of course we love Florida. I would be interested in retiring there in about 20 years ~ one can dream, right?? We loved the weather in Orlando in May. I will highlight the good and the bad but overall, we have decided to not travel to Orlando again. This was our least favorite vacation so far. I apologized to hubby on several occasions, even while we were there, for picking such a destination without thinking it through. In the end, we discussed the top six items we want on a vacation and that is what we will keep in mind the next time I decide to waste our hard-earned money and precious annual leave on a vacation. Seriously. I know that sounds like I am "complaining about vacation" but... we didn't have a very good vacation for us. We travel well together ~ very well ~ and we know what is right for us. Amusement parks?? Nope. Not going to cut it ever again. We like a different type of travel, for sure. Frankly, this is the first vacation I am sorry we took and I feel like I need a vacation from our vacation. Eh. 😞 The more I thinka bout it, the more I think a cruise is more our style of travel ~ this way hubby can read and relax and smoke on the balcony and I can run all over the ship buying pictures, playing games, and acting goofy.... cruises also offer all-inclusive entertainment, meals, and a beautiful view 24/7. I have a hunch our future vacations will not be land based vacations.
So... Orlando from what we saw in a week, from our British friends, our DOD friends, and a few other Michigan and Kentucky visitors we met throughout the week... here are our observations and opinions..
The Goods... *Orlando is very clean ~ at least I-drive, where we were at and the Universal Studios area were kept nice. *The I-drive (International Drive) area is incredibly safe, constantly swarmed with police on bikes and in cars, and very well lit. *The weather in May is fabulous ~ nice and below 80 until after 10am, hot during the day (too hot somedays), and completely cools down and becomes fabulous around 6pm ~ and by 9pm, you might need a jacket because of the wind. The mini golf courses that line I-drive are packed with tourists in the evening. Everyone is out walking. It is nearly perfect weather. Our cab driver, however, told us in June or July it stays hot all day from morning to night and there is no reprieve. Eh. *Our hotel was new and beautiful. Despite the initial blunder at check-in, we did get the room we had reserved and we felt the entire staff at the hotel were very friendly ~ especially the staff at the waterpark. *Being able to purchase I Ride Trolley passes and tickets to any amusement park at the hotel concierge desk (and get a discount) was incredibly convenient. *The I Ride Trolley is fantastic and a complete Godsend in Orlando if you are not staying at a Disney property. Cheap, clean, well-lit, and full of other nice looking tourists. The wait is never more than a few minutes.
The Bads... *I-drive shuts down at 10:30/11:00pm. I mean EMPTIES. Everyone is gone gone gone. There is no trolley after 10:30/10:45pm (they start their last trip down the strip, each way, at 10:30pm). I know the Lynx buses run later than that but we only used those one time from Universal because the driver told us he was going to I-drive. Lynx buses were everywhere and painted colorful colors but they were always empty. I don't know why unless it is for the same reason we didn't use them ~ no maps, no idea which bus to take where, no instructions, no clue where you might end-up. *Universal Studios was fun but it's just "okay" ~ sorta like an overgrown, overpriced Six Flags. If we had kids, we would definitely take them to Disney where there are characters and more of a "magical" feeling (apparently). My Humble Opinion.. *Orlando is geared toward kids, kids, and more kids. *If you want to do something special for your kid... take him/her to Disney between the age of 5 to 10 years old. Several parents have complained they took their child when he/she was too young to remember and it was a waste. From what I observed on this short vacation, most of the kids were about this age. Makes sense to me. From what research I did prior to traveling, I would suggest you stay at a Disney property. They are just as expensive as our Hilton ~ if not less expensive with the combos Disney sells that include ticket prices, free transportation to and from the parks, and the added conveniences and excitements that come along with a Disney property (characters, etc). If we were ever to do Disney again for some strange reason, we would stay on a Disney property. *Don't take your kid to Universal Studios. You would be wasting your money. I did read where Universal had some really neat resorts and they also offer transportation to and from the park and a package deal ~ but once you get in the park ~ what is there???? Not much. Universal may have been dead ~ which meant they didn't have the strollers and long lines everywhere ~ but there is a reason. It is clear. The park is overpriced, outdated, and generally doesn't offer enough options. Maybe we are spoiled by Silver Dollar City in Branson but there is 10X more to do at SDC than at Universal Studios ~ and a season pass at SDC is equal to a one day admission at Universal. That boggles my mind. I'm thinking the new Harry Potter World will be awesome, however. Well, enough of the negatives. We had a good vacation and we thoroughly enjoyed our time away...we got out of town, met a few neat people, checked-out an area we hadn't visited together yet, and we learned a few lessons... we are going to stick to adult vacations with our tastes, our wants, our needs, and our preferences in mind in the future ~ not just the incredibly cheap ticket prices from Allegiant Air, no matter how wonderful an airline they may be!! :-) For now... we are going to focus on our house, continue to build our savings, pay-off some bills, and probably stick close to home for a bit... we have a garden and two fur babies that need our attention!
Wondering about our names? These are our travel names - because everyone calls us by our first names on flights, tours, etc... and they pronounce our names "Eee-duh" and "Jaw-un" ...Every. Single. Time. We joke around and call ourselves this from time-to-time at home when we want to feel as though we are on vacation.
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