I was recently contacted by a friend who is traveling to Florida to visit the Kennedy Space Center and go to Disney World. This friend is over 55 so not really interested in intense rides like rollercoasters (we will have posts on those rides soon). This is what I suggested…
While you are in Titusville
There are plenty of great beaches to explore. I recommend heading South to check out Cocoa Beach, Satellite Beach and Sebastian’s Inlet. If you have more time one evening and don’t mind German food, Danielle and I ate at Cafe Coconut Cove. That said, it is about an hours drive from where you will be staying. The food is awesome though.
You’ll love the Space Center! You can see a history of space exploration and all the different space craft used. My favourite part was the bus tour out to the launch site. You’ll see where Space X launches from today. You’ll also pass where they launched the space shuttles and the massive platform they used to transport them. If you’re up for it, there is a space shuttle simulator which is a real blast (couldn’t resist).
Other than Cape Kennedy, there is also a Warbird Museum (which was also the set for the Conquer Series) if you are interested in US war aircraft. There are some other Astronaut and Space museums there as well. You may also be able to find a sunset boat ride on Groupon too.
For the Disney Parks
For any high priority attractions, I would try and go straight to those first thing in the morning as the parks only get busier through out the day. Of course there are also the fast passes. You can book these through the app, but I always recommend doing your favorite attractions early, as sometimes things come up which mean you can’t use your fast pass at the slotted time.
Here are my recommendations:
Soarin’ – I have a friend who actually works on this ride. I would try and make this the first ride at Epcot as it is the most popular ride there.
Aquarium and Nemo ride – it isn’t too different to the Melbourne Aquarium but a nice cool place to escape the heat so might be good to schedule this for the middle of the day.
I’d avoid the Mission Space ride, I felt very queazy after going in it.
The different world cultures are definitely a lot of fun to walk around.
There is a place, Club Cool, where you can try different soft drinks from around the world for free – there are certainly some different tastes there! (update Club Cool has since closed).
This is our favorite park.
It sounds like the Safari is going to be one of the key things for you so I’d use a fast pass or do this first.
The Festival of The Lion King is probably the best show in all of Disney so I’d also use a fast pass for that and make sure you get there nice and early.
Apart from the Safari, there are plenty of animals to see around the park too.
A Bugs Life is one of my favorite Disney movies so I’ll naturally recommend the Bug’s Life show which is in the theatre beneath the big tree.
The most popular section of Disney World at the moment is the Pandora at Animal Kingdom. With its floating mountains, waterfalls and glow in the dark plants, it is pretty spectacular. If you enjoy the Soarin’ ride then you will probably enjoy Avatar: Flight Of Passage. Just a warning though, it is the most popular ride in all of Disney World. The only time I’ve waited under two hours is when we went first thing in the morning. The ride is a little more intense than Soarin’ as you sit on the back of a Banshee which is a bit like sitting in a motor bike. You can find out more about our experience with Flight of Passage here.
If you’re looking for something a little more laid back and less of a wait time, the Na’vi River Journey is a fun experience. You’ll go through a glow in the dark river journey and it’s a great way to escape the Florida heat for a bit.
My favorite place to eat at Disney is also at the Satu’li Canteen in Pandora. You can read about that in the blog above as well. To save waiting in line for food you can pre order via the Disney World app.
If you run out of time, you can skip the dinosaur ride as I know you mentioned you weren’t too keen on that. You could also skip the Up Bird Show – it is ok, but definitely not high priority. I think the bird show at Healesville Sanctuary is better.
At the end of the day, you can enjoy the river light show, and the projection show on the tree before heading back to the hotel. Animal Kingdom tends to close a bit earlier than the other parks.
I would try and do this one earlier in the week. It gets a lot busier as you get closer to the weekend. It also gets a lot busier later in the day as everyone with park hopper passes comes to watch the fireworks in the evening.
I think the rides/attractions you will enjoy most will be:
The Disney Friends show in front of the castle – this is a great place to see some of the most loved Disney characters on stage with the backdrop of the Disney castle.
The parades down Main Street – another great opportunity to see a whole range of characters on floats. You’ll find yourself waiting expectantly for the floats exhibiting your favourite films.
You may want to have a photo opportunity with a character – especially if your favorite character is available. I’ve met Mickey before – and my wife was thrilled to meet Tinkerbell. You’ll typically find them right near the gate in the Town Square Theater.
It’s a small world
One of Disney’s most well known rides, it’s a Small World is a boat ride that will take you on a river journey through different cultural regions from across the globe. Definitely a pleasant place to sit down and escape the Florida heat.
Pirates of the Caribbean
This ride is more intense than “It’s a Small World” but is also a river ride. You might find yourself getting slightly wet as the cannon fire can cause splashes. There is also a slight drop but you shouldn’t get too wet. Largely on this ride you’ll be taking in the sights of a ride that predated the Pirates of the Caribbean movie.
The Jungle Boat Ride
A third boat ride at Magic Kingdom is the Jungle Boat ride – this one is a guided tour with comedic commentary. None of the animals on this ride are real. If you want to see a real animal, you’ll want to head over to Animal Kingdom instead.
The Haunted Mansion
This is an interesting ride that feels a little similar to the Tower of Terror in some ways. I don’t remember the film that this ride relates to so it was really just a ghost ride. It is cool to see how they do the optical illusions, but if you had to drop something off the list it would probably be this one for me.
Monsters Inc Laugh Floor
If you are a Monsters Inc fan like me, then you will love this show. If you enjoy dad jokes then you will love it even more.
I haven’t personally been on this ride. But I hear from others that it is one of the things they want to visit the most. I tend to try and avoid spinning rides but each to their own!
I am also told that the meal plans can save you some money if you are at the parks for a couple of days, but we’ve never gotten them before.
In terms of needing an additional day for Disney, you may just want to use it to relax as three days at Disney is like running a marathon. There is also Disney Springs (used to be Downtown Disney) which is a shopping, dining and entertainment hub. There is no entry fee and there is plenty to explore there. That said, a park hopper for your last day is not a bad idea.
What would you recommend if you were visiting Disney World and the Space Coast?