Written by Jennifer Piccione (Webb)
If you have gotten a chance to listen to our recent podcast, our host, Bill, provided our Top 10 list of what to do and what not to do when coming to Orlando.
10 - Get a locker early!
If you are coming to central Florida and going to a theme park, it is highly recommended that you get a locker early, whether you use it or not. As the day develops you may realize you need more space and lockers will be sold out.
9 - Bring a backpack
We know it's not the most appealing of ideas, but it's better than having to carry everything around in your pockets. Then if you want, you can just throw it in a locker later.
8 - Bring extra phone chargers
We definitely recommend using the theme park apps because they are full of nothing but awesome information, they are convenient to use for fast passes and dining reservations, etc. The downside is they will suck your battery dry quickly. There are vending machines in the parks that sell fuel rods for around $30 a piece if you forget yours.
7 - Keep an eye on the weather
The weather changes in Florida very rapidly as the day progresses. You want to be prepared for whatever mother nature throws at us! And yes it does get cold in Central Florida; depending on when you are traveling a light jacket might be necessary as well.
6 - Plan ahead
Buy your tickets in advance, sign up for photo pass, reserve your scooters and strollers. These things sell out very quickly. You will also want to confirm your reservations in advance, as well as make sure you have an ample supply of any necessary medications. In addition, you will want to link your credit card to your Magic Band. This way you can pay for things with your Magic Band without having to always reach for your wallet. There's extra security doing this, a pin is required with the Magic Band as well as the card so it's double protection.
5 - Take advantage of the buses and other free transportation
Everyone wants the excitement of riding the monorail or the ferry or other water transportation; however the lines for these forms of transportation can get ridiculously long! The buses run constantly and you can get pretty much anywhere in the parks.
4 - Bring sunscreen
Don't be that person! If you come to Central Florida and don't wear sunscreen, you will fry like a lobster. There's a reason you see locals wear long sleeve shirts in the summer time - we are trying to protect our skin. We recommend at least 30SPF spray 3 times a day.
3 - Bring rain gear
As we mentioned above, weather in Florida is crazy. Pro tip - bring a zip lock bag and keep it in your backpack. In the event it starts to pour down rain you will want to keep your electronics dry. Pack your ponchos and umbrellas in your backpack.
2 - Take Breaks
You aren't superheros! The average person will walk 10-12 miles in a day at the theme parks. If you aren't normally doing that now you are going to regret it. We recommend 10-15 minutes per hour if spending all day in the parks; you may want to bump up to 15-20 minutes per hour. This will prevent exhaustion and other physical limitations that will make your trip miserable.
1 - Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
The #1 reason why people have problems in the parks is because people do not drink enough water. If you aren't from here you aren't going to be acclimated to the weather. It takes anywhere from 7-10 days to get acclimated to the weather you are in. We recommend 16-20oz of water per hour. Bring refillable water bottles and refill as you go. It's a good reminder that you need to drink.
10 - Avoid eating at peak times
Granted it is very very good to have set times that you eat. Just keep in mind that when you come to the parks everyone else is on that schedule too. Our recommendation is about a week before you trip to Central Florida, start eating on off times so you are ready to eat during the off times in the parks. Then when you come down you eat during the off times while everyone else is in line for rides and vice versa, while everyone is waiting in line for food you can hit the rides that normally have the extensive lines. Also bring snacks. Both Disney and Universal allow you to bring in your own snacks and water so take advantage of it. Park food is expensive and sometimes you just need a little power snack to keep going.
9 - Avoid the Holidays
Lots of people are motivated to come during the holidays. Regardless of your planning skills do not come during the holidays. The parks are insanely packed during this time. Wall to wall people everywhere. It may be great that you are there during the holidays but the wait times are going to be 2-3 hours. You won't get to ride more than 4 or 5 rides during your day.
8 - Don't just come to the parks when you come to Central Florida
Florida is very rich in history, it has amazing architecture and beautiful beaches. Check it out outside of the parks. We have the #1 beach in the world - Clearwater Beach. Sugar sanded beach, the sunsets are breathtaking! It is definitely worth the hour and half drive. NASA is about an hour away. St. Augustine is just south of Jacksonville (The Fountain of Youth) and is also only an hour and half away.
7 - Don't sleep in
We know you are on vacation right? We get it. But the early bird gets the worm. Getting up early and going to rope drop or extra magic hours in the morning gives you time to enjoy the parks before the masses flood the gates...and it even allows you to ride some of your favorites without much of a wait so take advantage of it!
6 - Do not buy tickets from unknown or third party vendors
This is becoming more and more of a problem. If somebody says the can get tickets for $35 a day...run!! They are only trying to rip you off. If you are looking to get discount tickets we recommend www.visitorlando.com they have a tab called deals...you will see discounted tickets. Outside of that website don't do it!
5 - Don't pay extra for a premium view room
You're on vacation - you want the nicest room, awesome view. Doesn't make any sense to spend the money on a premium view room if the majority of your time will be in the parks. If you are doing it right you are going to be exhausted when you get back to your room and just need a place to lay your head.
4 - Selfie Sticks
In America selfie sticks are pretty much gone. Been there done that. LEAVE THEM AT HOME. Disney and Universal have banned them. Why? If you are standing in line in a big crowd and you are trying to take the perfect picture with your camera up high on a selfie stick, the people behind you are trying to get the same perfect picture are just getting a picture of your selfie stick in the middle of their picture. It's not fair and inconsiderate. Not to mention they are extremely dangerous on the rides.
3 - Do not wear flip flops or sandals
You are going to be in these parks all day, walking 10-12 miles a day. Your feet are going to be killing you in flip flops or sandals. Wear a running shoe or other type of walking shoe that provides great support.
2 - Don't be a superhero
Orlando has amazing things to offer - over 100 attractions. You are never going to see everything in one vacation. Pick certain places you want to experience during that trip and then book another trip and do different ones.
1 - Do not over plan
One of the worst things you can do to ruin your vacation is making an over ambitious agenda. some planning is essential, yes. But to do lists get you no where. People get down here with a rigid schedule that never works out - why? Rides break down, plans change. People who over plan are the ones who are miserable and the families you see standing in the corner arguing. Be spontaneous. Vacation isn't about checking off boxes on a to do list.