Chapter 3, Planning an Orlando trip, Resorts and hotels, Travel Guide
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Ask the right questions – get the right hotel

Questions to ask when booking an off-site hotel 1. Is that your least expensive room? To obtain the lowest possible rate, scour online travel sites and also call the hotel directly. Most hotels are franchised, meaning that local reservation agents can offer lower rates than those quoted online or by the corporate chain. If you […] Read more...

Chapter 3, Planning an Orlando trip, Resorts and hotels, Travel Guide
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Where to stay within Disney World

What’s the best Disney hotel? Or, for many visitors: “What’s the best Disney hotel I can afford?” Assuming you already made a decision to stay within Walt Disney World (See “Should you stay at a Disney hotel (resort)?”), how do you pick a specific property? First, the fifty-foot view: Disney has three general levels for […] Read more...

Chapter 3, Planning an Orlando trip, Resorts and hotels, Travel Guide
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Universal Studios Resort hotels

Universal Studios has three hotels that offer park perks, free transportation, and other on-site amenities. Unlike Disney, Universal leaves hotel operations to other professionals, however. One hotel/resort is a Hard Rock, while Loews operates the other two. In general, Universal’s themed hotels don’t have quite as much follow-through on their respective themes as Disney resorts. […] Read more...

Chapter 4, Planning an Orlando trip, Tips: Save money – beat crowds, Travel Guide
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What do you want to do?

Tickets are a secondary concern. Your first decision? Decide what you want to see. If you don’t talk about that first, you’ll end up buying more tickets for one attraction and less for another based on price and not personal happiness. To figure that out, however, you have to do some homework. Check out this […] Read more...

Chapter 4, Planning an Orlando trip, Tips: Save money – beat crowds, Travel Guide
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Ticket prices: It’s all a game

July 2012: When the number of Orlando attractions surpassed the number of days in a week, the theme parks’ accountants and marketing people got creative. How, they reasoned, can I get tourists to spend one or two more days here than with my competition? In each case, they created a ticket system (or “passport” in […] Read more...

Chapter 5, Tips: Save money – beat crowds, Travel Guide
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Orlando theme parks: 10 timesaving tips

On an Orlando vacation, time equals money. If you pay $75 for a single-day admission to Disney, Universal or Sea World, you shell out 44¢ per minute for a family of four, $26.60 per hour, and $300 per day. Every second counts. On the one hand, you don’t want to turn a vacation into a […] Read more...

Chapter 5, Restaurants, Tips: Save money – beat crowds, Travel Guide
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Theme park dining

October 2011: It’s a love-hate relationship with eating in the theme parks. For many visitors, it’s fuel to keep going, and it makes little difference whether it’s a burger, hot dog, or piece of fried chicken. Many people snack their way through the day to avoid wasting time, gulping down a soda and gnawing on […] Read more...

Chapter 6, Disney World, Travel Guide
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Magic Kingdom

April 2012: It’s not a stretch to say the Magic Kingdom is Orlando to most of the world. It was the first theme park and remains the best, at least judged by visitor counts. Of all the parks, the Magic Kingdom successfully comes close to true fantasy. Mature adults know, academically, that computers and a […] Read more...

Chapter 6, Disney World, Tips: Save money – beat crowds, Travel Guide
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Magic Kingdom survival guide

April 2012: Orlando has seven major theme parks plus nearby Legoland and Busch Gardens, but everyone goes to the Magic Kingdom at least once. Consequently, the hours tend to be longer, as do the lines. No one wants to over-analyze a trip and time a visit with a stopwatch – well, almost no one – […] Read more...

Chapter 6, Disney World, Movement and scare guides, Travel Guide
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Scare Guide: Magic Kingdom

Some rides scare children, either because of the movement or the scenes along the way. Magic Kingdom rides are listed clockwise here as “None” (not scary to the typical five-year old), “Some” (scary to a sensitive five-year-old) and “Lots” (bad choice for all five-year olds due to movement or scenes). Many faster rides have height […] Read more...