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  1. Default Exploring Florida with 2 young kids

    Hey Guys,

    Most of you will probably not remember me, but you guys have been an amazing help on planning out my previous itineraries (West Coast in 2013, Yellowstone in 2015).

    Meanwhile we made a instant decision when we walked into some interesting flying tickets between Brussels & Miami. Our dates are set between September 25th and October 16th.

    The goal is to have an enjoyable trip with a good mix between experiencing Florida, nature and relaxing at the beach. Keep in mind we have two girls now, who will be 2,5 and 4 years old at that time.

    I have to be honest: I have just started with reading up in various guides and websites, so maybe I am a bit early in asking advice, but my experience learned me that a good "rough" itinerary is important before you can actually get to work and enjoy the part of planning :-).

    So here we go:

    From To
    25-sep Brussels Miami
    26-sep Miami
    27-sep Miami Fort Pierce Or something else between Miami and KSC
    28-sep Fort Pierce Kennedy Space Center
    29-sep Kennedy Space Center Orlando
    30-sep Orlando
    1-okt Orlando
    2-okt Orlando
    3-okt Orlando Tampa
    4-okt Tampa Naples
    5-okt Naples Keys
    6-okt Keys
    7-okt Keys
    8-okt Keys
    9-okt Keys
    10-okt Keys Everglades
    11-okt Everglades
    12-okt Everglades Miami
    13-okt Miami
    14-okt Miami
    15-okt Miami
    16-okt Miami Brussels

    What do you guys think? I choose a loop to have a different way back after going north to KSC and Orlando, but I am not sure why. It's kind of a habit of mine to look for an alternative "way back"...

    Please feel free to shred it to parts or to give advise for alterations / adjustments!
    A big thank in advance, both for you new feedback as for the ones that had helped us twice in the past!


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Keep It Simple

    I'll bet that if you asked your 2½ and 4 year olds what they remember of those or any previous trips, they'd say "Rien". That's just the nature of children that young. So rather than try to make memories for them, just plan on having a relaxing time and let them enjoy each day. Days on the beach will be every bit as fun for them, and a whole lot less expensive, than a day at Disney World. The same is true of Canaveral National Seashore and Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge instead of taking them through the Kennedy Space Center.

    The other essential element to traveling with small children, that you have a good start on, is to see to it that they get to spend a few nights in the same bed rather than moving from place to place to place constantly. So that would be my only other piece of advice to start your planning with. Try to cut down a bit on the number of 'stops' on your itinerary.

    And yes, be sure to come back and check in for further suggestions as your plans firm up.


  3. Default

    Thanks Buck. The mean reason for Disney is not the kids but the wife :P. I agree they will not remember anything, but that does not mean they will not enjoy a day watching Mickey and a few of the other princesses.
    KSC on the other hand, is more I stopped I planned for myself :-). I'll see if I'll cut it out, but I think we got the "beach time" covered.

    About cutting down on the number of stops, maybe Miami is a sufficient location to visit the Everglades. Then we could move from the Keys back to Miami and spend 6 days there instead of having two stops (or prolong our stay in the Keys). Not sure if I can cut back on the others without having longer driving days.

    What would you suggest is the best place to be enjoying the sun & the beach? Keys or Miami?

  4. Default

    Key West has an aquarium that is great for kids, where they can get their hands wet and touch some of the sea life.

    You'll have to hang onto your kids on the docks, but Robbie's of Islamorada is a real fun place to watch everyone feeding the Tarpon, or do so yourself. Watch out for the Pelicans!

    If you're staying on the very expensive Disney property, you might want to consider Fort Wilderness. It has a campground, cabins, and a lodge. Cute small boats come by frequently to transport you to the Magic Kingdom and other places, or you can just ride it around all day. Very relaxing atmosphere away from the crowds.

    If you're very adventurous you could take the ferry from Key West to Dry Tortugas National Park and Fort Jefferson. Get reservations, especially if you'd like to camp overnight. Like WDW, this ain't cheap. Oh, I wouldn't take the kids on the roof of the fort.

    A really cool place in South Florida is Lion County Safari and Amusement Park. Absolutely fantastic bargain and great fun for the family. I suggest you be in line well before the gates open, take your time driving through, then spend the entire remaining day at the park. You won't see it all. There are often discounts online.

    A fun place for kids AND adults is LEGOLAND, on the site of the former Cypress Gardens. Absolutely fantastic. Even has a water ski show specifically for kids.

    Hope this gives you some ideas.

  5. Default

    Thanks you very much! I have been considering Legoland as well, so that might just go straight into the itinerary. I will check out the rest.

    About the Disney lodging: Someone else already advised me the very same thing (Ft. Wilderness), but I am struggling to figure out the following: Can you spend the entire Orlando stay there, or only while visiting Disney? Or can you have a great day without even entering a park and just enjoying the campsite and perhaps walk a bit around the Disney Boardwalk or Downtown Disney? Could we visit SeaWorld from that very same location?

    Also I struggle determining how many days we would want access to the Disney Parks. We don't want to wear ourselves and the kids out by dragging them through the parks day after day, but I am not sure one day is sufficient, even for the Magic Kingdom?

    Thanks :-).

  6. Default

    Your kids are too young to remember anything, so one entire day will be fine at the Magic Kingdom. Although ridiculously expensive, staying on site makes it practical to leave the park and let the kids wind down or even take a nap for a while. The WDW transportation system is great.

    You can come and go as you please. Visit other parks if you want; no problem.

    We stayed at Fort Wilderness for three days, but spent one day just at the campground. There was a nice pool with a water slide that the kids loved. We also rented an expensive golf cart and rode around the massive campground. It is ONE MILE from one end to the other! You save A LOT of money avoiding one day of park fees.

    It was also great fun riding the small boats around the lagoon. Nice way to spend a couple hours and also check out some of the other resorts. Their public transportation is FREE but any privat boat rentals are expensive. Notice a trend here?

    Here is an informative yet irritating video

    Be careful if selecting a cabin. The cheapest cabins are far from the pool and boat docks. You could be all by yourself! The closer to the boat docks, the better (and more expensive).

    Be sure to see the nightly water pageant a the end of the video. It comes right past the dock! Another reason to get the closest cabin or campsite to the dock.

    Remember: Help keep WDW green!
    Bring money!
    Last edited by travelingman; 01-04-2018 at 07:15 AM.

  7. Default

    Thanks man. I checked the videos, and they do give a first impression, especially on how massive/huge the entire area is. I don't think it will be like anything i'v ever seen in Europe :-).

    Anyway, I underestimated the "expensive" part :D. At roughly $400/night I don't think it will fit our budget to do it for the entire Orlando stay. I guess it will be more interesting to book 2 or 3 nights so we can fully enjoy Magic Kingdom and perhaps a second day enjoying the campsite/pool/area.

    We'll see :-). I found some cool condo's outside the Disney area that look a lot more affordable and also pretty neat.

    Thanks for the help!


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