Has Anyone Taken Young Children (2-7) to Florida Attractions?

Updated on April 02, 2008
K.V. asks from Mount Vernon, OH
49 answers

We are considering taking a family vacation to Florida over our Spring Break. I have 5 & 7 year old daughters and a 2 1/2 year old son. The girls have begged to go to Disney. We checked into it and then saw about Sea World. Now they don't care about Disney and want to go to Sea World. I saw they also have a deal with Busch Gardens. My kids all love animals, particularly ocean animals. They all have long attention spans and I think would really enjoy the parks. Has anyone been there with younger children? Any suggestions? We also plan to visit family and go to the beach. We do not want to do any resorts, just the park. Are you allowed to take your own stroller in or do you have to rent theirs? It has been a lot of years since I have been to any of these places. I want to make sure we have a good experience, particularly with paying out that much money. Thanks!

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So What Happened?

Thank you for all the great suggestions! I researched a lot of your ideas. Due to the jump in gas prices and the busy time of Spring Break, we have decided to wait until maybe October to go to FL. We are still leaning toward Sea World and now also Silver Springs. We'll see. We've decided to just travel around more locally during Spring Break. We are going to Eggs, Paws, and Claws at the Columbus Zoo then heading to my parents' in Indiana. We plan to go the Children's Museum in Indianapolis (I haven't been there in years but I remember loving it) and probably the Newport Aquarium down just past Cincinnati. Thanks again for all the great advice. We'll revisit it in the fall.

K.

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L.

answers from Indianapolis on

The first time I took my daughter to Florida she was 5. We went to Disney and she has never been better. The experience was great. We went back when she was 7 and it was just as much fun. She is begging to go back again.

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K.B.

answers from Indianapolis on

I have taken my children and grand children to Disney World every year for as long as I can remember. it is very kid friendly and had loads of animals. I think Bush Gardens would be a bit much for kids that age. If you choose disney consider staying in the park at one of their hotels, you take a bus every where and is a great way to go to and from and not have to fight traffic, just be with the kids. There are endless things to do at Disney with and for kids. Enjoy them which ever decision you make.

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L.S.

answers from Cincinnati on

I took mine to Sea World & Disney around 2yrs, and again to Sea World at 4 yrs. Sea World was a huge hit with the kids! They have plenty to do with young children. They can feed the sealions and dolphins, there are shows where they make otters, seals and walruses do silly stuff. (great hit with the kids!) They can be splashed by the whales. If they like animals, it's a fun place. And watching the sea animals is a different experience than just going to the zoo or the aquarium. They also have a huge playland with climing, slides, etc. for the kids to run off some energy and the parents to take a break. My kids always loved Sea World.
Disney - I rented strollers, but I also did not have my own with me. It's been some time since we were there. It was fun to be there, but not an experience the kids really remember. I think that is better for the 6-10 year old group than the smaller ones.

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J.B.

answers from Columbus on

We took our 4 year old daughter and 6 year old son to Disney World last September and we also went to Sea World in San Antonio last May. They loved both. With Disney, we spent the most time in the Magic Kingdom. My kids loved the rides, Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain railroad as well as the Fantasy land rides. Our daughter loved the princesses and was a great age because she felt she was truly meeting Belle, Cinderella, etc. Our son was just beginning to realize that these were costumed characters, but did a great job of being discreet about it. As for the other sections, our son loved Epcot (again some rides), but it didn't hold too much appeal for our daughter. They weren't too crazy about MGM studios (I know they are now calling it something different) or Animal Kingdom. While they enjoyed many parts of those parks and the animals especially, they were kind of worn out by all the shows. One of the best things at Animal Kingdom was the dinosaur play area. They loved running around and digging in the sand for dinosaur bones. My kids did enjoy the shows, but did end up on overload by the end of the day. You kind of have to know your children, because I have a friend who took her kids in February (same ages) and they really enjoyed MGM and Epcot. But her kids aren't as into rides and loved the crafts they could do at each country.

As for Sea World, I'm sure it is close to the one in San Antonio. The kids had a lot of fun there. They loved the animal shows, especially when they went down and were splashed by Shamoo. Additionally, they have some areas where you can feed the seals and sea lions and feed and pet the dolphins. That was a great experience for them. We didn't do too many rides, but they rode a little coaster in the kid area and played on the boat. One thing we didn't do was take a swim suit. I wish we had because it was a hot day and the children's area has many fountains and water features that squirt out of the ground. They were really into that.

I think it is all what you make out of it. Don't try to do too much and let your kids kind of lead you to the things they enjoy. Nothing says you have to do absolutely everything in every park to have a great day. Even though we stood in line for 45 minutes to see Ariel, it was something my daughter still talks about.

They do let you take your own strollers in. We personally rented a double stroller which saved the kids a lot of walking, but we also didn't have a littler one with us. We took in our own water bottles that we could fill up at drinking fountains and even some snacks for the kids (although you're not supposed to technically do that, they seem to be pretty lenient.)

Hope you have a great time!

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V.C.

answers from Elkhart on

Hi,Our boys were born in Florida and, yes, they LOVED Disney World! Everything you buy will cost four times the cost at home, such as water, soda, drinks, snacks. Most people take their own strollers and stuff it with lots of goodies for the kids. You have to leave them outside for some of the stuff, but people really don't mess with them. You see them everywhere. You can rent strollers also. The Disney Characters will be around in certain restaurants and sometimes walking the streets. My son, then 3, was terrified of Tigger, though, and I had to ask Tigger to stay away. LOL We always focused on Disney. I know Seaworld and Busch Gardens are great as well. I don't think they are as big, or have the kiddie rides like Disney does. Disney has a whole separate kiddie section with appropriate rides and attractions. It is a fun time. Just plan on lots of tanning lotion and drinks! Watch out for the jellyfish on the beach, as they still have the stingers.

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J.B.

answers from Dayton on

We went to Tampa for spring break when my son was 3 and my daughter was 5. We spent the time on the beach and drove to Disney for 1 day. You can bring your own stroller or rent one there. I rented one bc I didnt take the stroller with me for the flight.

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J.M.

answers from Cincinnati on

Hi,
I have a 4 1/2 yr. old son and 10 yr. old daughter. We went to Sea World in May 2007. The kids were 3.5 and 10 then. I recommend this. We, too, had considered Disney or Bucsh Gardens, but the age/HEIGHT difference would keep us seperated or waiting because one would be too tall or the other too short to ride the same rides. At Sea World we picked the shows we wanted to see (ie,sea otters, Shamu, dolphins, etc...) We spent two days there and did stay at thier resort. That was nice because we simply walked across the street, instead of paying $10 to park. I think stroller could be taken in, I know we took back packs in with drinks (water bottles and juice boxes) and snacks (friut chews and granola bars, apples and bananas) We had rain jackets on top threatening overcast weather that day. Overcast was perfect, not too hot and sun burn wasn't a problem. They checked the bags, but let us take them in. I think it was looking for bombs, alcohol etc...) There are many exhibits set up like walking thru a zoo as you go to the stadium areas for each show. I recommend getting to shows about 30 minutes before. This gives rest time and better chance of getting a good seat. You must wait outside the ropes but if not waiting will be high up or in less desired areas. This was the hardest for my 3.5 yr old, but we played games and ocassionally would have Dad stay in line and we'd wonder a short distance and go back then switch so he wasn't just standing/sitting there. He asks about every other day when we are going back to Sea World again. There are a few rides there, but only Makayla was tall enough for the log ride. I was able to send my husband and son back to the hotel while Makayla and I waited about 90 minutes for the log ride. Be prepared to pay a lot for meals. Kids meal was $5.00 or more. The 4 of use spent over $50 just for lunch with drinks. My kids favorite part was feeding the dolphins (we paid $5.00 - $10, I think for this) I have some great pictures of them to remember this. Erik was afraid to touch them, but Makayla loved it. They also had other touching ponds Sting rays, and more that was free). The time we spent was well worth it and we'd like to go again sometime.

Enjoy your vacation where ever you decide.

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M.P.

answers from Columbus on

Hello! I personally have not gone to Disney with my boys, but a friend took her 3 year old twins to the park and they had so much fun! They both talked to me about it for weeks after! My friend rented stollers, but you can use your own. I have taken my kids to the beach in South Carolina and Michigan and they always have fun.

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J.M.

answers from Lafayette on

We have been to both Sea World and Busch Gardens with our son at age 5 and 8. He loved both. Busch is good because you can get a Fun Pass good for a year so you can go in and out as much as you want. One time we unexpectedly got to go back for New Year's Eve and used our pass one more time. We spent the extra money for a safari which also included some meals, a stroller, a tour guide with front of the line access to some attractions and discounts in the gift shops. It was a great deal for us because the savings in the other areas offset the price of the safari and made it much more affordable. Plus the up close with the animals was great.

We also loved Sea World and again did a special dinner with Shamu which was a great experience. Feeding the dolphins would have been fun but it was so crowded that we couldn't get close to them. Once the food is gone the dolphins are out of there and there is no chance to touch them! Have fun!
JJ

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A.K.

answers from Lima on

Yes I have. We took our son who was 5 then to all of the FL things. MGM, Universal, Disney, Epcot, Animal Kingdom. He loved them all. He is now 9 and remembers it all.
I plan on going back when my 3 year old turns 5 too. It will take me that long to save up! LOL
FYI... check into staying at Disney All Star Resorts. The prices are reasonable for Disney and the kids love it! So did I !
We rented their stroller. It was great. Better than carrying your own around. And if you park hop, you can leave the stroller at the one stop and just pick up another one without paying again at the other.

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B.W.

answers from Cincinnati on

We took our then 2 year old to Disney with another family that had two children ages 4 & 6. It was a wonderful time. We rented the stroller that they provided, which I think is a decent deal and a good choice. Your little one and even the bigger ones will want to ride because it is A LOT of walking. Rent the double stroller, that way all three can ride, because it's a step into stroller with room for a third child to sit on the flat "step" portion. You don't have to worry about ruining your stroller with spills or about someone taking it because you will end up leaving it "parked" in designated areas while you ride rides or visit attractions. They also have a flip down cover over the seats to protect from elements such as sun or rain. I think you and your kids would really enjoy a vacation like this! If I remember correctly, we purchased our tickets online which afforded us a multi day pass (and I think we saved a little money purchasing them ahead of time).

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V.G.

answers from Cleveland on

I have taken my 3 year old daughter to Disney 2 times already and I have no regrets- excpet the money we spend on Sea World! I was not at all impressed with Sea World and thought that it was a huge waste of money. The second time we went to Disney, we traded a day on our schedule and instead of going to Animal Kingdom (which would have been a part of our Disney package) we spent the extra money and went to Sea World. I will never go back and I believe that the animals, the attractions, the shows and everything about Animal Kingdom is better than Sea World. Obviously, the only thing you cannot recreate at Disney is Shamu, but that alone was not worth the money. I grew up in Cleveland where we had a Sea World practically in our backyard (until about 3 years ago) and I honestly believe that our Cleveland Sea World was better than Sea World Orlando.There is SO MUCH for kids to do at Disney of all ages. My advice- get a Disney package and stay onsite. Everything you need is already there!

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M.D.

answers from Indianapolis on

I lived in Florida most of my life. I took my daughter (at 2, 4, & 5 yrs old) to Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom and she had a blast, but when I took her to Sea World, not so much. It is nice and there are animals to see, BUT it is very hot and ALOT of walking to see very little. If you do take your children, try not to linger too much on each section and leave the Killer Whale for last. When you get splashed, the water has salt so you will feel miserable walking in the extremely hot sun and sticky! Your kids will not like it either. Not to mention sunburns. Take lot's of sunblock! Busch Gardens is for an older crowd. Children so small do not get to enjoy it as much. You could always try Wet n Wild...its for kids all ages. Also, depending on what part of Florida you go to, Key West, Hallandale, Hollywood, Ft Myers have the best family oriented beaches. Miami Beach and South Beach is for an ADULT crowd, too many half naked men and women (lot's of boobies) for any child's eyes. There is also a place called Theatre of the Sea in Marathon (Florida Keys) where you can swim with dolphins and there is alot to see. Glass bottom boats and all. Well I hope this helped at least a little.

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J.J.

answers from Indianapolis on

My daughter was 2 and my son was 5 (a small 5) when we went. Yes, you can take strollers, and we did. We took two!!! They were small umbrella strollers, and they made the trip for us, as no one got tired and whiny from walking, and the small strollers were quick and manueverable. Now, your 7yo is probably too big, but that was just my experience and I would advise anyone the same! It is 4 yrs later now, and I'm itching to go back but we might wait a couple more years. Then we will all be old enough to walk for awhile. Plan to be tired. I have never been so tired as I was on those evenings back in the room. So we spent Mon-Tue in the parks, took a break and slept in Wed, and then did Th-Fri in the parks. It was more enjoyable than cramming in something all week until we dropped. We also only picked a few things to do each day, not running from dawn to dusk. HAVE FUN!!

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W.B.

answers from Toledo on

Although my youngest just turned 10, we just (over Christmas) went to Magic Kingdom, MGM , Animal Kingdom and Sea World. How many days do you have, and... how much money? Sea World is great and has enough to spend a couple of days there to see everything! We didn't go to Busch Gardens though. Animal Kingdom has a neat African Safari you can go on. Whatever you decide, have fun! One thing is not better than the other, just different! If your children have long attention spans, they can go anywhere!!!! Oh, you can take your own strollers in anywhere!

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S.T.

answers from Columbus on

GREAT advice to rent the stroller - definitely get a double one because you'll be walking quite a bit and both your children will get tired (my 7 year old did). In fact, we were able to get three kids on our stroller, all big. They just scooted over. They are like jogging strollers and can be pushed easily and while you push you can put your backpack or whatever on top. ONE IMPORTANT THING: If you are going to a park for more than one day, rent the stroller in advance for 2 days or however many days you will be at that park. Don't rent new each day. This way, there is a savings, and each day you come to the park you can just pick it up (shorter line than the line that people must stand in to rent each day). SAVES BUNCHES on time. Are you staying at a Disney Resort? If so, there is a great MEAL PLAN you should look in to - the hotel can explain it but it saves on meals throughout the day. And read up on FAST PASS - you'll be able to use these at the parks so you don't have to stand in line for certain rides. Have fun.

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B.M.

answers from Cleveland on

Hi K.,

I'm a grandmother of 4, ages 6,5,11months,7months. My husband and i taken our children and our grandchildren last year to Disney in Orlando. We have a condo at Westgate lakes resorts.. The grandchildren 6-5 really enjoyed the Magic Kingdom, we also went to island of pleasure in the same complex as universal studio, there side by side. but two separate parks. If they like to ride rides i would suggest the park next to universal studio. As far as the stroller, you can take your own or you can rent them. My girls took there stollers we check them in at the airport. They were happy they did it was really convenient for them to get around in orlando.

You will really enjoy sea world. When are you planning on going. I have a 4 days/3 nights coupon for $99. If your interested let me know i can tell you more about it.

Even though i am a grandmother, my husband and i are very active with our grandchildren. We run rings around them. lol..........

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M.T.

answers from Muncie on

K.,
We just got back from Florida two weeks ago. We visited all of the Disney parks and Sea World. I have a 9, 5, and almost 2 year old. We had a GREAT time. I think it is a great time to take your daughters. The toddler is a little harder. My daughter loved Sea World and was great there. Disney was a little harder. As soon as I would put her in the stroller, we would get to our next destination and I would have to take her out again. But, it went a million times better than I thought it would!!
You can take your own stroller in, and I recommend it. Their strollers aren't very comfy for naps, and the dont have much storage. If it calls for rain that day, I would rent one because they are plastic and dry a lot faster than the cloth ones do. Also, It says no food in from the outside, but we bought a soft cooler that we could hang on the back of the stroller and every day brought bottles of water, friut and snacks for the kids and nothing was said to us.
I hope this helps. HAVE FUN!!!

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T.

answers from Cincinnati on

Now i have not read any of the posts but we just got back from Florida 2 weeks ago. I have a 28 month and a 10 month old. We went to the beach. My older did not like the ocean but she did enjoy beong there but not the water itself. After we left to go back to the house we rented she kept saying she wanted to go back to the beach. We also went to Sea World and she loved it. She loves sharks, penguins. Now i do want to to be aware that if you go see Shamu you will get wet if you sit in the bottom section. I mean the whole bottom section. I would try to sit at the top. We sat in the handicap section and still got drenched. It was fun for me but it did scare my oldest for a little while since we did not know or prepare her for it. We took our own little umbrella stollers. We also went putt putt which our oldest loves to golf. Now last year we went to MGM and my oldest had fun there as well. She loved the Disney Playhouse show ( i think she would have loved it more this year since it has Mickey Clubhouse in now) but she also loved the Beauty and the Beast Show they had. Probably different this year as well. She just loves singing and dancing so anything like that is great. Have a good time what ever you choose.

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K.H.

answers from Dayton on

I have taken all 3 of my kids to WDW and to Sea World -- we have been 3 times --- when each child turned 1 we packed up and went. Now, not because they turned 1, but because there is no greater place to be than WDW, Sea World, the beach. You name it. But... Spring break is not a good idea. Head to the library and look at the busiest times for all these parks and Spring break screams "NO WAY WITH LITTLE ONES". Now if your heading to a quiet beach - okay. The one thing we always remembered is to take a stroller, or rent one. Head for the hotel after lunch, or the quiet park at WDW like Mary Poppins at Magic Kingdom or Tom Sawyer's park. Sit under a shade tree, lunch and allow the young to nap, (and the adults to be able tokeep up). There are great books at the library to teach you all the ins and outs of WDW travel with little ones.
Good luck to you!!!

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K.V.

answers from Cleveland on

Hi, we were just there this past summer. We have two boys one 7 and one 4 now 5, loved Sea World !! and Universal studios also they did not want to go to Disney or Epcot. you can take your own stroller and my suggestion is if you have a disney store buy your park tickets for disney if you want they and pay the extra money so that they don't expire. say you go to one of the four parks ex. MGM and the other's you don't you can use them years from now.check with the store. also if you belong to triple A get the Sea World tickets from them. Have Fun!!

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V.P.

answers from Canton on

We took our daughter to Disney when she was a little over 2, we also went with my niece and nephew who were 5 and 7 at the time. They LOVED every minute of it- even our two year old, who I was a little concerned about. There is so much for everyone to do, even the little ones. If they love animals- be sure to spend a day at Animal Kingdom- some people don't take a lot of time there, but my daughter especially loved it. There is also The Living Sea at Epcot... buy a Disney for Kids book and take a look through it- you will be surprised at how much has been added- and how much there is for the little ones. We will definitely be going back after my son turns two. Many people down there with little kids also spent a day at Sea World, which I thought was a great idea, and we will try to do next time. You can take your own strollers to the park, which I would recommend because renting them is pretty expensive, I thought. It would have been cheaper to actually buy one of the strollers they have for sale at the stroller rental place. You have to leave the strollers outside of many attractions- so just be sure not to leave anything valuable on it. Your kids will love Disney- it is totally worth it to go there- tons of memories that they will never forget.

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J.L.

answers from Dayton on

We are planning a trip next month with our 2 girls ages 5 and 21 months to Disney and Sea World. I have been trying to do as much research as possible before we go and I would definitely buy the tickets to Sea World online at least 7 days in advance. You can get the adults price for the child's price. Also, we are planning to do a behind the scenes tour at Sea World. If you go to Sea World's webpage and click on Behind the Scenes you will find different tours you can do (we are doing the "pet a penguin" tour) that your kids might really enjoy if they are animal lovers.

I was planning to take my own stroller so I hope you can! I hadn't really thought about not being able to take it.

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E.J.

answers from Columbus on

My brother and his wife just took their family to Disney World in February. Their kids are 8, 6, 4, and 2. They loved it. Everything from the characters and rides to the Star Wars Jedi training for their 4 yr old boy.

The one thing they did that they loved was to purchase their trip in a package deal and pay for the Disney dining plan. It includes meals and snacks for the day and I think each meal came with a drink as well. They thought it was so worth it because then when the kids ask for a $10 bucket of popcorn it doesn't dig even deeper into your pocket....you've already paid for it and that is their snack for the day. Also, it is seperated into meals not prices, so if you want New York strip steak for every meal you can. It is all the same whether you get steak or a hamburger. The package they purchased also had park hopper passes so you didn't feel like you had to cram everything into one day no matter how the kids were doing. If the kids were tired they would ride the tram back to the hotel, take naps, and then head back to the park later in the day. I think their package was around $2000 but that was hotel, food, park admission and transportation to and from the airport and to and from the hotel and parks. They didn't even have to rent a car, Disney takes care of everything.

The kids loved it and are already asking when they get to go back. Of course the older ones will have more memory of it later on, but I think the younger ones enjoy it while they are there!

Just a side note.....my husband and I went to Disney World for our honeymoon in March of 2005 and it was so incredibly crowded. I think Spring Break is a crowded time, simply because many people are still trying to escape the cold, but according to my brother he thinks it is just plain crowded no matter when you go.

Good Luck planning and have fun!

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K.D.

answers from South Bend on

Wait until the youngest is 5 to go to Disney if you can. Staying on the grounds can be cheap if you stay at one of the economy resorts it has alot of advantages to staying on the grounds. If you can afford to stay at one of the hotels on the monorail it is really convenient with younger kids. Uncle Walt has his hand in your pocket from the get go but it is a right of passage that eventually you have to go through. Save your $. We have also been to universal studios and stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel, really cool, the kids loved it but the parks are for bigger kids, have a height requirement. Whatever you do will be awesome, memories that get better over time. Also, when my girls turned 10 I (dad) went to Disney one-on-one with them. This is something that is absolutely PRICELESS and when my youngest is 10 he'll go with my wife. The girls, and Dad, felt really special, worth every penny. Good Luck

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T.S.

answers from Lafayette on

Hi, I lived in Florida for 22 years and have taken my grandchildren many times to Disney, Sea World and Busch Gardens.
I think Sea World and Disney would be the best. Busch Gardens I personally think is for older children and adults.
You can take your own stroller without any troubles. Be sure to take some bottled water. It is always needed and most of the parks do not allow you to take coolers.
If you do Epcot fight the urge to start at the front and walk to the left and go around the park ending with the big sphere.
Knowing the sphere is a very dark ride.
The Magic Kingdom is a park the children that age will always remember and love their trip there. It is just special everyday to everybody.
Try to pace your trip so you can go to a park every other day instead of several days in a row. Just too tireing.
Please remember to put sun screen on everybody often!!! Every day. The sun can burn even if it looks overcast....and near the water the burn is in a very short time. The TV usually tells the UV index for the days.
Travel is one of the loves of my life also. Feel free to ask any other questions about Florida. I was a travel agent there for over 13 years.
T.

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L.G.

answers from Lima on

They are perfect age to take to Disney. Seaworld is great, but it only takes one day at the most to see.
Disney does have one of their parks that is animal related more than the others. There are 4 parks to Disney. If you've not been there before, be prepared it is expensive. You can either do all the Disney parks, or do a 3 park pass. Some families go with the 5 DAY pass which gets you in to all parks unlimited for 5 days.

We were just there this past year in July (July is miserably hot and humid, didn't think about it when we went, May or June is better) and we had a then 5 yr. old and a 1 yr. old. Don't think you have to pay for your youngest yet. A lot of the rides, you will still be able to take him on too. There will be a few that you can't.

Do your girls have favorite cartoon characters?? At Disney they do breakfast with characters and that is totally awesome. It seems expensive ($25 for adult, $13-$15 for kids), but it is big buffet breakfast and they get to meet their favorite characters and get their autographs. Buy the autograph book there, you'll want it the whole time you're in the parks. My daughter got to meet some of the playhouse Disney characters, Little Einsteins, Jo Jo's Circus. I've never seen her so excited. There is a breakfast with the Disney princesses, and it costs more, but gets booked up in advance!!!!!!!!!!!

Take your own stroller for your son. Even if he doesn't ride in one anymore take one, you will use it for other things too. You want to get to the parks at the hour they open and to see everything, or do everything, you will be there until close.
We stayed at a near by resort but it was not on Disney. When we go in a couple years again, this time we will stay in a resort in Disney. You might want to take snacks in the park with you as the food there is very high priced.

Go to your AAA office (or most any travel agency) and they can get you lots of info on Disney and their on property resorts, and package deals with hotel, entrance tickets etc.
There are NUMEROUS things within 5 mile area of Disney too that are neat things. If you have the luxury of taking two weeks, do so.

L. ([email protected]____.com)

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J.W.

answers from Dayton on

We took our then 8 month old and 5 year old to Disney. It was ok for the 5 year old. We took a plane down and packed gifts for our son so he could play with new toys on the flight. I recommend trying to get a room with a small kitchen so you can have sandwiches there. The cost is crazy for everything. Have fun.

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C.L.

answers from Indianapolis on

Yes we have taken he was 4. It was a blast. The attraction they like the most was Disney and Sea world. Animal kingdom is fun too but the more popular ones are disney and sea world. You can do a package deal where you pay to stay on the resort and hop different attractions. When everyone is tierd, you can go back to the hotel, take a rest and then hit the parks again after lunch or so. It takes the pressure off you to get your money's worth all in one day w/ little people. That was the best deal. Also, One of the days we drove off to the beach. Let me warn you, you will have a blast and so will the kids; but reserve one or two days to come back and rest and catch up with your self and clothes washing etc. Good luck and have a great time.

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D.W.

answers from Jacksonville on

I hope my kids are like that when they get older!! Sea World over Disney is gonna save you LOTS of money!! My family is moving to Florida soon and we have been there lots in the past few months. Public beaches are free!! You may have to pay to park if you want to get near the beach, but with 3 kids, it's worth it to not have to walk. You can take your own stroller, lunch, drinks EVERYTHING!! Have fun!

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T.W.

answers from Dayton on

We actually just got back from a week long trip to Disney World with our daughter who just turned 3. It was a perfect vacation! She enjoyed everything and the timing was perfect. We hardly ever had to wait for any ride/attraction due to the low crowds. The weather was perfect too. If you are going to be going to celebrate a birthday or something, there are so many extra things that the cast members will do to make your trip special. Our daughter had a card from Cinderella along with balloons and a stuffed Minnie Mouse waiting for us at our hotel room. In addition, at every meal, there was something special for her (tiara, placemat, birthday card, balloon, etc.). I would definitely recommend staying on Disney property and get the dining package. We saved all of our receipts to see just how much we saved. We paid a little under $400 for the dining plan. When we added up what the food would have cost us, it totaled over $850 dollars! Definitely worth the up-front cost! Contact me privately if you want more tips. I did a lot of research to see how much money we could save as we are on a very tight budget now that I'm as SAHM. Have fun!

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T.M.

answers from Cleveland on

Hi K.,
I've not been to Sea World and Busch Gardens since I was a child. However, we went to Disney World when my daughter was 2 and she loved it and seeing the characters. We were only there for two days and then went to our friends condo in Destin for the rest of our trip.
We just went back in 07 with all of my family (my parents and sister and her kids etc...) My daughter was 3 and 1/2 and my son was 8 months. We stayed on the property and were there for a week. It was a little long but nice to go to all the parks and not feel rushed. However, my daughter was 1/4 inch too small to ride some of the rides so there were a few we had to sit out. She didn't seem to mind especially the Jerassic Park:)
The girls had lunch with Cinderella, Bell, Ariel and Sleeping Beauty one afternoon in Epcot and loved it. They went to Bibbiti Bobbiti Boutique first which is in Downtown Disney. They got their hair and makeup done and picked out a new dress to wear for the day. This can be expensive depending on the package you choose but the girls you see in Disney are so adorable and it is a day my little girl will never forget!
We took our double jog stroller with us and were able to take it into all the parks. It was nice to have for the kids to rest or sleep if needed. They all did well in the heat.
So, if you change your mind and want to do a day in Disney, I would recommend it I think you would want to take your girls before they get too big and won't enjoy it!
Check on the height requirements for the rides ahead of time so your son won't be dissapointed if he has to sit out.
Some friends of ours took their two boys to Sea World and the beach and they had a blast.
Have a safe trip!

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L.C.

answers from Columbus on

We love Sea World! We've been there twice. The first time the kids were 3 and 5. The shows are wonderful. My kids love to feed the sharks and the seals. Shamu's Happy Harbor is a great place for the kids to play. There are fun rides for them too. My kids love all of them, including the roller coaster. Any Sea World single day ticket allows you to come back a 2nd day for free. Just make sure to stop by the customer service desk on the way out to get your next day tickets. We'd go for about 5 hours and then head back to the hotel. We'd finish up what we missed on the next day. We have not done the dinner with Shamu but a friend did and said it was wonderful. The strollers are more like low carts. Easy for the kids to hop in and out of. We got them both times. There's a lot of hiking and we didn't have to listen to the kids complain how tired they were. The first day we went we ended up carrying the 3 year old all over. We were exhausted! Have a great time! We're going to Orlando later this spring and for the first time might not do Sea World. They have a new water park (Aquatica) that opened that we want to try. I also want to take my daughter to Disney while she still loves princesses.

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S.M.

answers from Kokomo on

We have been to Disney twice. First time, our son was 15 months old & our daughter was 4. Both had a great time. We took our own stroller. We went again last summer. The kids were then 4 & 7. No need for a stroller this time. We all had a great time, but we were only at Disney & the ajoining parks. We did not go to Sea World.

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P.M.

answers from Indianapolis on

Hi K. V
I lived in FL for many many years and yes, Sea World is an excellant choice for your age of your babies. When my sister came down to visit when my newphew was little (2 yrs) he still to this day.... Busch Gardens is fun yes, with out an doubt. But did seem like Brad got worn out when we went there.

In Orlando you do not have to do all the resorts to have fun. There is alot of fun things to do there, Ripleys' Museum was somewhere we had alot of fun with too. Brad too had fun...

Animal Kingdom is still going too, that was one of the funest places I had gone and had wished the kids would have been with me that day... That is very family friendly oriented towards younger children. They had a great big tree you go into and there is an theater you go into and the had a wonderful performance of "A BUGS' LIFE" in 3-D it was awesome... It took me back to when I was a kid... I loved it. They too had a wonderful safari family friendly adventure...
I do see it noted in this site address I added...if kids are afraid of dark.... but this can give them a door way to enjoy the imagination in a positive manner... all the kids when I went loved it ... you ck this out http://www.disneyaffordablevacation.com/disneyanimalkingd... It is a part of Disney but is more animal focused... I always said it was a best kept secret... I did not even know it was there til a friend ask if I wanted to go... I am so glad I went.

I hope you and the kids will have a fun vacation .... take plenty of film or memory sticks for your digital camera...

Please let me know if you go and how it went.... I promise you will have loads of fun.

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K.B.

answers from Cleveland on

I don't know if this will be of any help to you but my husband and I took our two children (age 8months and 3 years) to Sea World in San Diego last summer and our 3 year old LOVED it!!! We went to the Shamu show, the walrus and otter show, and the dolphin show. Our 8 month old did great too--------the shows are not very long!
I am sure the San Diego and Florida Sea World are very similar. THey had a fantastic aquarium to walk through and plenty of fun activities for the kids to do.
We were alound to bring our own stroller and we actually packed our own lunch and snacks too! We later learned that you weren't supposed to bring your own food but nobody ever checked the basket of our stroller.
If your children love water animals they will LOVE Sea World!!!

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K.H.

answers from Cleveland on

K., My daughter is now 7 and since she was 1 1/2 she has been to Disney and SeaWorld every year. Jan 07 We went to Sea World, she loved the shows (we did too!) Cirque de Sole does a show you do not want to miss! Her attention was great, she remembers a lot and a great thing about Sea World is you can validate your tickets when you get there for I think no more than 10.00 a piece and you can go as many times as you wish the rest of the week! Or you can use them for up to 1 yr! We did this and went back this past Nov to Sea World for free! You can bring your own stroller. We did a park, then the next day was pool at the resort so she could have some down time, then a park the next day...ect. This makes the vacation really more enjoyable and restful than constantly on the go, go, go.,

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A.K.

answers from Columbus on

First I have to say, soaking in the tub with a good book and chocolate is MY favorite thing to do too!! :-)

My husband is from the Daytona Beach area so we go down to FL every year. We took our son when he was 15 months, 2 years, and we are going again this coming weekend. Our son will be 3 next week. Our son hated the beach - sand and water - at 15 months. He liked the sand at 2 years, but still hated the water. So we'll see if he likes both next week.

We took him to Disney's Magic Kingdom on this 2nd birthday, and he liked it. We took our own stroller. It's kinda a pain to have the stroller on the trams that take you to and from the parking lots, but we liked having our own.....it has cup holders, canopy, and storage underneath.....we just didn't know what Disney's strollers would be like. We couldn't ride tons of rides, but we rode enough for one day. He liked them, but didn't show too much emotion when we were on them.....he just didn't know what to think about them!

We were considering taking him to Sea World next week, but I saw it would be like $200 for just us 3. We might just take him to a zoo down there instead.

I think you guys will enjoy whatever you decide to do....the nice weather will sure be nice!
Have fun!
A.

(I also plan to homeschool our son.....)

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M.T.

answers from Dayton on

We took our 2 children to Sea World when they were 2 and almost 4. They loved it! They are now 4 and 6. We actually vacationed in the Daytona Beach area and just drove over for the day. The tickets we had were good for a second day, too. We just bought them at the door and then as we were leaving we could go to guest services and get new tickets for the next day for free.
We are also doing the 'Disney debate' at our house and have decided to wait until the kids are a little bit older/bigger so that they can do more things while we are there. I don't want to put out all that money if they can only do half of the stuff or less.

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J.L.

answers from Columbus on

Haven't been to Florida recently, but we took our son (3) to Sea World in San Diego this year. He LOVED it! Take your own stroller. We also went to the beach and had a great time there. It was free and we had just as much or more fun playing in the sand and running from the waves. Leave the stroller in the car at the beach. :-)

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A.R.

answers from Indianapolis on

We took our kids to Orlando a year ago fall, when they were 4 and 6. I'd been a little worried that they were too young to really enjoy a lot of it, but it was a fantastic trip. The kids just loved it and they did great. We did a day each at Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom and Sea World. Our favorite was Magic Kingdom. So much there for the kids to see and do, even at those young ages. Animal Kingdom was good, too. We ended up renting one of their large strollers half way through the day -- it's just so much walking! And Sea World was great. More opportunity to sit and watch the shows, which were great. Only thing I didn't like about Sea World was they allow smoking (which they don't at Disney parks) and a lot of people in the crowd were smoking. Also, the shark area at Sea World is a fairly narrow tunnel that winds down and through the large shark tank and was extremely crowded to the point where I was getting claustrophobic. It was also so hot we were sweating from all those bodies crammed in there together. I'd recommend getting dinner or even a snack or dessert in the restaurant there, where one huge wall is the side of the same shark tank and you can sit in the AC and enjoy the view without being pushed and crowded. Also, we hit it near the end of the day when I think it was probably most crowded. If you go, try to get there first thing when the parks open. Especially at Animal Kingdom, we'd been advised to be waiting at the gates for them to open the park and to make a beeline for the animal safari, which we did. We waited in line maybe 10 or 15 minutes. After we got off the safari ride, we noticed that the line was up to 50 minutes already. Also, we'd heard that the early morning was best to see the most animals on the safari ride, so that's one thing I'd definitely recommend if you go to Animal Kingdom.

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K.G.

answers from Columbus on

K.,
We have taken our 4 daughters to Disney many times. They have always loved it! Last time we also visited Sea World. The first time to Disney they were 3 and 1yrs old and we have gone almost every year since. Yes, you can bring your own stroller, they also have them available to rent in single and double. If your kids really like animals you may want to also visit Animal Kingdom at Disney. They have an awesome safari where you get very close to the animals. The girls loved the water shows at Sea World. Magic Kingdom is by far their favorite park to visit, even now at ages 15, 13, 9, and 9. Enjoy your trip!

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P.R.

answers from Indianapolis on

Been there, done that. Sea World is okay for the age group you are talking about only if you want to do attraction to attraction. They will not be large enough to go on any of the rides.

Bush Gardens is all right, but a long day.

Disney World is very expensive but all right, they will be to small for a lot of the attractions there.

Universal Studios is not as good as Disney World and again the sizes will prohibit many of the ride type attractions.

P. R

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C.T.

answers from Cleveland on

We travelled to Disney with our three boys (ages 5, 3.5 and 21 mo) over Christmas. They say that is the busiest time of year and it was packed! As a result, Magic Kindom was not enjoyable so we only went for one day. My 5 year old loved seeing Power Rangers, CARS and HS Musical at MGM. They also loved Epcot. They enjoyed the scientific part, Soarin, Test Track, Nemo and travelling 'around the world'. We didn't make it to any attractions outside of Disney though so I can't offer any advice. Finally though, we also went to teh Hoopdi-doo-review and everyone loved it. Lots of fun for all.

No matter what you do, I'm sure you'll have a great time! If your girls like Princesses, there is something in Magic Kindom that allows them to get dressed like princesses with the royal treatment. It was so cute to see all the girls around the park!

Enjoy!!

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J.W.

answers from Columbus on

Hi. I'm taking my 2 1/2 year old to Magic Kingdom and Sea World next week so will be interested in others responses. i'd just assumed i could bring my stroller, so if others know, that'll be good to know.

you might also not have noticed that if you buy your tickets online for Seaworld, you get a great deal -- especially if you buy 14 days in advance. they are good for up to one year - AND if you look at the small print, you actually can use the ticket for TWO days.

look forward to hearing what you learn.

all the best -
J.
[mom of a 2.5 year old girl; organizational psychologist doing part-time consulting; love to be with family]

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E.M.

answers from Cleveland on

we just got back from disney. i have a 3 yr old and a 6 week old. both did fine..the 3 yr old could have used another yr maybe. downtown disney is free and worth the trip..we rented a codo at bahama bay resort..20 minutes from disney....decent..not as small and dirty as a hotel...nice pools and a spa for mom...we are also zoo members and went to a couple of zoos along the trip..very nice and kids love it

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K.V.

answers from Columbus on

We have been to Disney and Busch Gardens. My daughter had a blast. Sea world is also very good. If you are going to be in the Tampa area you could also try Lowry Park. It would probably be something your children would enjoy since you said they love animals.

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T.F.

answers from Fort Wayne on

We just got back from Orlando with my two kiddos 3 and 18 months. We got the multipark/day pass to Universal studios for $80. There are 2 theme parks with Dora, A great Barney show, an animal show, Shrek, a water park for the kids to run around in, etc. Under 3 was free. You can take your own stroller and my daughter, age 3, we discovered, is a roller coaster junkie. There are so many fun things there. Rides, characters for pictures, shows etc. We went there for 3 days. You can go to their website and find out more details. You can purchase the tickets through Southwest.com. My husband works for GE and we got our tickets through them, but Southwest sells them as well.

We have also taken them to SeaWorld, starting at age 2 and 9 months. We are from San Diego so we took them to Sea World a couple of times. My daughter loved it at 2 and even more when she turned 3. It would be a great place to take them. You can get passes on line for (under 3 free) for $60 and they are good for the rest of the year. A single day pass is $60 so you might as well get the pass on line...you have to purchase it by April 30. We are renewing ours for our trips back out to San Diego. As far as Disney goes (having been there quite a bit) You would enjoy it, but we are waiting for our kiddos to be 3 and 5 before taking them. Your youngest at 2 1/2 might enjoy it, though.
Hope this helps..sorry to ramble on, and you can take your own stroller to all parks. Your oldest ones will have a blast at any of the parks.

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H.S.

answers from Youngstown on

Hi K.,
I have been taking both of my kids (9 and 12) to Disney World since they were babies and they adore it. We tried Sea World last year. It was nice, but nowhere near the quality that the Disney Parks offer. They are more pricey, but very worth the extra money in my opinion. If they are interested in animals, they will love Disney's Animal Kingdom. It's a one of a kind hands on animal experience. We went to Sea World because my daughter wanted to pet the dolphins, and that was nice, but other than that, we just weren't impressed. Also in Disney's Epcot there is an aquarium which I believe has been redone with Nemo involved...my kids always loved the manatees in it. This is just our opinion, but we're Disney people! Hope this helps! H.

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