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2017 Theme Park Planning Guide

2017 Theme Park Planning Guide

TOOLS YOU NEED FOR A GREAT VACATION!

cedar point

GateKeeper at Cedar Point

Welcome to the Theme Park Planning Page where the mission is to help you maximize and enjoy your Florida Theme Park vacation.

Many of the tips listed here are essential to making the most out of your time in Orlando.

 

Before digging into the incredible tips for vacation planning, check out an important disclosure.

You’ve decided to take the leap and jump into the Florida theme park world. While on your internet search you’ve learned that planning the perfect vacation is becoming a bit overwhelming with conflicting advice from all sources.

Don’t worry anymore.

ThemeParkHipster is here to help guide you to planning your 2017 theme park vacation.





Theme Park Planning Tips

weather

 

Best Time to Go

The best times to visit Walt Disney World, Universal Studios Florida, and many of the Florida theme parks are:

  • 2nd week of January
  • Late February
  • Between the 2nd week after Easter and the week before Memorial Day
  • September
  • Mid-late October
  • 2nd -3rd week of December

Weather

Weather plays a big role when deciding to play in the parks. Central Florida has a humid subtropical climate with an average temperature of about 74 degrees Fahrenheit.

The rainy season peaks in July and usually slows down in October.

Be prepared to always have sunscreen, a backup poncho, lots of water, and possible waterproof shoes when packing for the attractions.

What to avoid!  Always try to avoid the parks during major events, major holidays and some minor holidays too.

 


Purchasing Tickets

Purchasing park tickets doesn’t have to be such a hassle as one might think. Today’s technology gives us the power to shop around for the best theme deals right at our finger tips.

theme park tickets

Here are some quick steps when hunting for the best theme park ticket prices:

  1. Shop the Internet. Many theme park websites are available to help you find specials and discount coupons.  ThemeParkHipsters can sometimes receive a discount for purchasing advance tickets online.
  2. Don’t Forget the Special Deals and Discount Clubs. Companies offer special ticket pricing when their product is purchased, such as a bottle of soda or a fast food meal. Florida residents can also receive discounts just for residing in Florida, which are usually significant in price savings.  Discount Clubs such as AAA, offer exceptional reductions to many attractions that can save Hipsters 10% or more on admission tickets, selected merchandise and dining.
  3. Save with Vacation Packages. Many resorts and hotels offer discounted theme park and attraction tickets through a package deal when booked in advance.

theme park fun

 


Vacation Packages

The current vacation packages for Disney will help Hipsters SAVE UP TO 25% on rooms at select Walt Disney World Resort hotels.

This deal includes stays for most nights August 26–November 5, 2016 (Book through August 31, 2016).

When you stay at a select Walt Disney World Resort hotel, you’ll enjoy benefits like:

  • First access to Disney FastPass+ planning
  • Complimentary MagicBands
  • Additional theme park time to enjoy select attractions with Extra Magic Hours
  • Complimentary transportation and parking

Budgeting

In order to make the vacation happen without breaking the bank, take note of the tips listed below so that your vacation leaves you happy with money to spare!

  • Set a food budget
  • Pack snacks
  • Remember that a cup of water is FREE at any service counter
  • Two ThemeParkHipsters can easily split one meal
  • Instead of a water park, find a motel that has a nice pool with a slide
  • Purchase rain ponchos at the dollar store and keep them with you at all times during the rainy season of Florida (mid-June to late-September in Orlando)
  • Use coupons as much as you can

Remember!  Always remember that Orlando can truly be done on a budget as long as you stick to it.

Hotels and Resorts

The wide array of hotels in Orlando can be comparable to the quantity of hotels in other destination cities. For the amount of hotels here in central Florida I recommend researching the many specials out there before committing to a reservation.

orlando hotel

Always remember that due to the large amount of hotels and resorts, there is always a better deal available. Staying off site from the major theme parks in areas such as, International Drive, can offer constant specials to lure guests away from the competition.

For a longer trip, the smartest solution may be to split your stay between two hotels or consider renting a vacation home, which is much cheaper than many extended stays at the major resorts.

Great Perks for your Walt Disney World Vacation at Destinations in Florida

 

The Walt Disney World Resort has over twenty hotels, including Moderate, Deluxe, Deluxe Villas, and a campsite for theme park guests to choose from. The perk of staying onsite is the ability to skip the hassle of baggage claim with free transportation from the Orlando International Airport to Disney World.  Hipsters are also able to experience extra magic hours in Walt Disney World theme parks, allowing for more time to conquer the must do attractions.

Loews Portofino Bay Hotel

There are 4+ Universal Studios Hotels to best fit your theme park vacation plans and budget.  If you choose to stay at one of the Universal Studios Hotels, you can receive pretty cool free perks including Universal Express.  For Universal Express, all you have to do is show your room key to ride attendants to get front of the line access at both Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios.  

 


Dining

Walt Disney World is currently offering FREE DINING for guests who buy a non-discounted 5-night/6-day Walt Disney Travel Company package that includes a room at a select Walt Disney World Resort hotel and ticket with Park Hopper® or Water Park Fun & More Option.

theme park dining

When guests stay at a select Disney Moderate Resort, Disney Deluxe Resort or Disney Deluxe Villa Resort, you get the Disney Dining Plan with a variety of delicious dining options!

 


Beyond the Parks

When you arrive into the Orlando area don’t be distracted by only the glitz and glamour of the theme parks. Orlando offers so much more for visitors to enjoy way beyond the parks.

downtown orlando

 

Downtown

You can find locals dining, drinking, and relaxing in many offsite restaurants and bars.

Downtown Orlando is also a must do for anyone who wants to let loose and have fun on a Friday or Saturday night.

Winter Park

Located outside downtown Orlando is a wine, food, and nature lover's destination known as Winter Park.

Here you will find more than 70 parks with various events, festivals and celebrations throughout the year.

I-Drive

The International Drive Resort Area provides visitors to the Orlando area with popular attractions, entertainment, dining, nightlife, and shopping fun for the entire family!

Shopping

Orlando offers an array of shopping for anyone, from boutique lovers all the way to massive outlet mall enthusiasts. You can find any type of store here.

A local favorite is the Artegon Marketplace, which combines the perfect blend of rustic charm and an eclectic array of shopping and dining fun.

Nightlife

Find your groove in Orlando. With so many things to do for nightly entertainment, Orlando is the perfect destination for Hipsters looking to luxuriate after the parks.


A Few Last Minute Tips!

  • Bring older, broken-in shoes.
  • Pack flip-flops/Crocs in case it rains.
  • Bring Ziploc bags of many kinds and sizes (will keep items protected from water)
  • Do not underestimate the Florida sun and heat.
  • Prepare to drink lots of water.
  • If you buy a souvenir and are staying on grounds, use the package delivery service.
  • Bring a portable phone charger.
  • Don’t schedule late night magic hours, coupled with early morning breakfasts (you will not be a happy vacationer).

Universal

  • Buy the dual park pass

  • Buy the Express Pass

    NOTE: I only recommend this if you have room in your budget and would really like to optimize your time at Universal Studios or Islands of Adventure.

    I also only recommend buying this pass in the peak season ONLY.

Disney

  • Buy a multi-day one park ticket

    Spending an entire day in each of the Walt Disney World Parks is a great way to discover and optimize your visit with the Mouse.

    Park Hopper tickets are good if you’re on a tight schedule and you want to hit the main attractions at each park. However, if you truly wanted to dive thoroughly into the Disney theme parks, then I’d advise you to do one park per day.

  • Make your Fast Pass reservations in advance, especially for the top priority rides and attractions on your list.

  • Make Restaurant Reservations ASAP

    Try to book at least one restaurant on your vacation.

    Disney does a wonderful job in the dining industry and it will only add to your theme park vacation memory.

    Please note that these get booked early so be sure to RSVP at least a few weeks in advance.


Remember!  For your Orlando vacation, you want to have a general idea of what you want to do and where you want to go. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me and I will get back with as soon as I can!

2017 Disney World Vacation Packages

The 2017 Disney World Packages offers free perks and plenty of options. You will need to do is pick your resort, tickets, and dining plan.

2017 Disney Vacation Packages

Save Up to 25% on Rooms at Select WALT DISNEY WORLD Resort Hotels

Enjoy Disney Resort Guest benefits and amenities like:

  • Early access to Disney FastPass+ planning
  • Extra Magic Hours
  • Complimentary Resort transportation
  • Standard parking
  • Onsite entertainment

Offer is available most nights August 1st through October 7th 2017 when you book by August 31, 2017.

 

Disney summer vacation

FREE Perks for 2017 Disney World Packages

You will receive a Magical Extras card to save money on dining, shopping, and recreation during your Disney vacation.  Also, you will receive vouchers for mini golf and the ESPN Wide World of Sports.

Things to Do

Miniature Golf:  

Four vouchers, each valid for one (1) round of miniature golf before 4:00 p.m. on one day. Choices: Disney’s Fantasia Gardens or Disney’s Winter Summerland Miniature Golf Courses.

ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex:

Four vouchers per package. Each valid for one general admission on one day for one guest. Valid only on event days. Some events are extra.

Splitsville Luxury Lanes™:  10% discount on:

  • Bowling
  • Food and nonalcoholic beverages (dine-in only)
  • Non-discounted price of merchandise

Sammy Duvall’s Watersports:  10% on non-discounted price of all activities including:

  • Parasailing
  • Water skiing
  • Wakeboarding
  • Tubing trips at Sammy Duvall’s Watersports Centre in Disney’s Contemporary Resort.
Places to Eat

House of Blues™:

  • 20% off food and non-alcoholic beverages during lunch or dinner.
  • 10% off the price of non-discounted merchandise (excludes CD’s art, sundries and sale items).

Joffery’s Coffee & Tea Company®:

20% off non-discounted purchases at the following locations:

  • Magic Kingdom® Park
  • Epcot®
  • Disney’s Hollywood Studios®
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom®Theme Park
  • Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park
  • Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park
  • Disney Springs
Places to Shop

Something Silver®:

15% off the non-discounted price of merchandise located at Disney Springs.

Arribas Brothers:

10% off purchases at Disney Springs, Magic Kingdom Park, Epcot.

Curl® by Sammy Duvall:

10% off the price of non-discounted merchandise. Located at Disney Springs (excludes watches, sunglasses and electronics).

Pop Gallery:

10% off the non-discounted price of merchandise. Located at Disney Springs.

The Hair Wrap Company:

One charm with a value of $5.00 and a purchase of a hair wrap at select Walt Disney World locations.

Ticket Options

You can pick and choose the tickets, best for your Disney World vacation.  For example, start with the Base Ticket and add options like:

  • Park Hopper Option
  • Water Parks, Fun and More Option.

Base Ticket:

This ticket allows you to visit one park each day. You can visit this same park more than once that day. This only counts as one visit.

You can select 1 day to 10 days on the Base Ticket, based on the number of days you want to visit the main Disney Theme Parks.

Walt Disney Vacation Package

Other Ticket Add-Ons:

Park Hopper Option:  

The Park Hopper Option allows you to hop between Disney Theme Parks on the same day.

Water Parks, Fun & More:

This ticket allows you to visit extra attractions such as: water parks, the Wide World of Sports, and a golf course. The number of visits for this option is based on the number of days on your tickets.

Disney Dining Options

You can add one of the Disney Dining Plans to your 2017 Disney World Package to save time and money. Your Dining Plan Package can also connect to your MagicBand.

 2017 Quick Service Dining

For each PACKAGE NIGHT, each person (ages 3+) will receive:

  • 2 Quick-Service Meals: One entrée and one non-alcoholic beverage OR one complete combo meal
  • 2 Snacks: Frozen ice cream, popsicle or fruit bar, popcorn, piece of whole fruit, medium fountain soft drink or juice
  • Resort Refillable Drink Mug: One per person, per package

2017 Basic Dining

For each PACKAGE NIGHT, each person (ages 3+) will receive:

  • 1 Table-Service Meal: One entrée, one dessert and one non-alcoholic beverage OR one full buffet
  • 1 Quick-Service Meal: One entrée and one non-alcoholic beverage OR one complete combo meal
  • 2 Snacks: Frozen ice cream, popsicle or fruit bar, popcorn, piece of whole fruit, medium fountain soft drink or juice
  • Resort Refillable Drink Mug: One per person, per package
Disney Dining Waffles

Best Frozen Summer 

2017 Deluxe Dining

For each PACKAGE NIGHT, each person (ages 3+) will receive:

  • 3 Meals ANY combination of Quick-Service and/or Table-Service Restaurants
  • Each Table-Service meal includes: One appetizer, one entrée, one dessert and one non-alcoholic beverage OR one full buffet
  • Each Quick-Service meal includes: One entree and one non-alcoholic beverage OR one complete combo meal
  • 2 Snacks: Frozen ice cream, popsicle or fruit bar, popcorn, piece of whole fruit, medium fountain soft drink or juice
  • Resort Refillable Drink Mug: One per person, per package

Walt Disney World Planning Guidebooks

Get The Solo Theme Park Traveler’s Guide

Birnbaum’s Walt Disney World


2017 Universal Orlando Vacation Packages

Customize your vacation package with benefits such as Early Park Admission. You can book Universal theme park tickets that include transportation from Disney World area hotels.

Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Splash, Stay and Play Vacation Package

SAVE UP TO $100 when you see all three theme parks.

Vacation Package Includes:

  • 4-Night Hotel Accommodations
  • 3-Park 4-Day Base Ticket to Universal Studios Florida™, Universal’s Islands of Adventure™ and Universal’s Volcano Bay™
  • Early Park Admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ and Universal’s Volcano Bay™ one hour before the park opens.
  • Access to select live entertainment venues? at Universal CityWalk™
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Exclusive Vacation Package

Admission to both Universal Orlando theme parks, hotel accommodations, Early Park Admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™. Breakfast at the Three Broomsticks and the Leaky Cauldron™.

Universal Harry Potter Vacation Package

Vacation Package includes:

  • 4-Night Hotel Accommodations
  • 2-Park 4-Day Park to Park Ticket to Universal Studios Florida™ and Universal’s Islands of Adventure™
  • Breakfast at the Leaky Cauldron in Universal Studios Florida – one per person
  • Breakfast at the Three Broomsticks in Universal’s Islands of Adventure – one per person
  • Early Park Admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
  • One (1) Shutterbutton’s Photography Studio session in Diagon Alley
  • Access to select live entertainment venues?? at Universal CityWalk

For Package Arrivals after June 1, 2017: Package will include a 3-Park 4-Day Park to Park Ticket. Includes admission to Universal’s Volcano Bay™.

Universal Orlando Vacation Package
Create Your Own Vacation Package

Vacation Package includes:

  • 3-Night Hotel Accommodations
  • 2-Park 3-Day Park to Park Ticket* to Universal Studios Florida™ and Universal’s Islands of Adventure™
  • Early Park Admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ and Universal’s Volcano Bay™.
  • Access to select live entertainment venues?? at Universal CityWalk

For Package Arrivals after June 1, 2017: Package will include a 3-Park 3-Day Park to Park Ticket. Includes admission to Universal’s Volcano Bay™.

Universal Savings Package

This 4-night vacation package starting from $89. Includes admission to Universal Studios Florida™ and Universal’s Islands of Adventure™.

Vacation Package includes:

  • 4-Night Hotel Accommodations
  • 2-Park 4-Day Base Ticket*** to Universal Studios Florida™ and Universal’s Islands of Adventure™
  • Early Park Admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™.
  • Access to select live entertainment venues? at Universal CityWalk™
  • 3-Night Vacation Packages Also Available.

 

Universal Orlando Theme Park Ticket Tips

Photo Cred: Universal Orlando Resort

Buy in Advance and Save!

  • Buy your theme park tickets and skip the ticket booth line at the gate.
  • Save up to $20 when you buy tickets in advance. After June 1st buy the 3-Park Ticket to also experience Universal’s Volcano Bay™.

Theme Park Tickets with Roundtrip Transportation from Disney

Universal Orlando Resort 2-Park, 2-Day Park to Park, or 2-Park, 1-Day Park to Park with roundtrip transportation from Walt Disney World area hotels.

Universal Dining Plans

Quick Service Plan

  • One Quick Service Meal consisting of one of each: entrée and non-alcoholic beverage.
  • One Snack (such as popcorn, ice cream or a frozen beverage) from food carts or quick service locations.
  • One Beverage (non-alcoholic) from food carts or quick service locations.

Full Service Plan

  • One Full Service Meal entrée, chef-selected Dining Plan dessert, & non-alcoholic beverage.
  • One Quick Service Meal consisting of one of each: entrée and non-alcoholic beverage.
  • One Snack (such as popcorn, ice cream or a frozen beverage) from food carts or quick service locations.
  • One Beverage (non-alcoholic) from food carts or quick service locations.

Universal Orlando Planning Guidebook

Get your no obligation FREE QUOTE!

Until next time, happy park hopping Hipsters!

NikkyJ