Before my Annual Meeting in Orlando, the Penguin, my sister, her husband and I took three days to explore Orlando aka visit the parks. We hit up Magic Kingdom, Epcot and Universal- Islands of Adventures. Unfortunately, MK was a bit crowded. When I say crowded, I mean most rides had 45-60 minute waits. We still had fun, but being surrounded by thousands of people with no space to relax and truly experience the magic was tough.
Epcot was a lot more enjoyable. The pathways were larger and not as crowded so we were able to take a little more time to enjoy. We did spend the whole day there (9:00am-10:00pm). The wait times averaged 30 minutes and we were also able to visit all the countries and partake in some food/beverages.
We had a great time at Universal, but it definitely had more rollercoasters which aren’t my sister’s cup of tea. Harry Potter world was awesome, but SUPER crowded. They really didn’t plan that well with the size of the “shops.” We went there as soon as we got there and the castle ride was still a 60 minute wait.
My advice for first timers…
1. Get your tickets in advance (not will-call)
2. Wear comfy shoes, you will stand/walk ALOT
3. Disney- you can get free cups of water from the restaurants and not spend money on the bottled water. I was surprised at how affordable the food was though.
4. Disney- fast pass (you get three per park with your ticket), use them for the more popular rides in the middle of the day when the lines are the longest. It is definitely worth planning out your day with the fast pass and what rides you want to go too (it will save you from back tracking).
5. Universal- Islands of Adventure- you will get wet on the Jurassic Park ride and you will get soaked on the Popeye white water rafting ride (save these for last)
6. Bring snacks with you to save money! And don’t forget your sunscreen.