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July 6, 2004
Well, after a hectic June, I felt like taking a vacation. America West had some very cheap flights available to Orlando, so I figured, hey, why not check out Disney World?
For a hotel, we chose the Ramada Plaza Hotel & Inn. It was more than decent, with clean rooms, 2 nice pools, and best of all it is really close to the Disney resorts.
We paid $39 a night on Expedia.com, which is about a good a price as you're going to get for a half-decent hotel this close to Disney.
For our rental car we went through Dollar and used the coupon codes available on MouseSavers.com to get the best deal.
Before we left we ordered the Orlando Entertainment Coupon Book from Entertainment. They're on sale for 10 bucks because the coupons expire at the end of the year. They have excellent coupons for Orlando restaurants and attractions.
The best book to learn about the overwhelming number of attractions in the Disney Kingdom is The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World 2004. Do yourself a favor and grab this book.
The best thing in the book is a 'strategy guide' that tells you which order to do all the rides in to avoid lineups. Even with the incredible June crowds we hardly stood in any long lines.
The major 'theme parks' in the Orlando area are: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney MGM, Universal Studios, and Universal Studios Islands of Adventure. There is also the Disney Animal Kingdom, and 2 Disney water parks.
The Magic Kingdom is classic Disney, and you have to go there, but as an adult wanting the most thrills, it's certainly not the best park.
We never made it to Disney MGM, but my favorite park was Universal Islands of Adventure. This park is full of the most thrilling, adult rides, including the Spider-man ride (unbelievable!) and the Hulk roller-coaster.
My second favorite park was Universal Studios. It's WAY better than the Universal Studios in California.
The Magic Kingdom is still fun, but it's two best rides are Space Mountain and Splash Mountain, neither of which are the most thrilling for adults. It's still Disney though, and it's still fun. You HAVE to see Mickey's Philharmagic show, in my opinion it's the best attraction at the park.
As for the water parks, we only made it to Blizzard Beach, but we heard Typhoon Lagoon was excellent as well. I don't think you can go wrong with either. Blizzard Beach has a water-slide that gets you up to 60MPH.
If we had more time I would have checked out Wet N Wild as well, it gets overlooked since it's not owned by Disney, but it's supposed to be awesome.
Epcot isn't all that exciting, with the exception of the Mission: Space ride, which is incredible, and Test Track, which is really good. It's more of an educational experience, and it's a LOT of walking.
Epcot also has a great fireworks display on the lake at the end of every night, called Illuminations. If you want the best seat in the house for the show, call the Disney Dining Reservations line at 407-WDW-DINE and make a reservation for 7:30PM at the Rose & Crown Pub. (The show starts at 9:00)
If you don't make a reservation, you definitely won't get a spot on the patio, which is the best place to watch the show from. It's good food, and reasonably priced.
Taking a break from the parks, we headed to Cocoa Beach which is about an hour east of Orlando. Very nice beach area, with great restaurants too.
Speaking of restaurants, a nice choice in the Orlando area is Pebbles. The price was moderate, but the food was excellent and very classy. It's a nice place to go before Disney's Pleasure Island, because it's in the Buena Vista area, which is very close.
Pleasure Island is another extension of Disney, catered to adults. It has a bunch of dance clubs, a comedy club, all in one area (you can take your drinks from place to place) and every night is New Year's Eve as they count down at midnight. It's a lot of fun, Universal has their own version of it called CityWalk.
Anyways, that's my brief summary of the trip. If you have any questions about the Orlando area, or the theme parks, give me a shout, maybe I can help!