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VacationWiser.com Guide to
Winter in the Theme Parks
Winter time is a great time to visit
some of the US better known theme parks in Florida and California. Crowds are smaller – except around holiday
weeks. The weather in Orlando and Los
Angeles is generally pleasant. There are
plenty of new attractions this year, especially if you haven’t been to a theme
park in a few years. We are going to go
on a quick coast-to-coast tour in the next pages as we explore what the parks
have to offer over the winter.
All prices listed
include the cost to finance and are based on 26 bi-weekly payments.
With 4 theme parks – Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios
and Animal Kingdom – and 2 Water Parks – Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon –
Walt Disney World is always changing and growing.
It is not too late to attend Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas
Party at Magic Kingdom Park which runs through December 22. You will need to purchase a separate ticket
to the “Party”. Be prepared for more
events than you can handle in one evening – from shows and parades to extensive
character greetings and many of the rides remain open through the night.
Below is a recap of some of the new “stuff” that is
happening at Disney World.
Galaxy Edge – opened in September 2019 featuring Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s
Run as the main attraction. Now, get
ready for Star Wars: Rise of the
Resistance opening December 5, where guests will be taken hostage and a
battle between the First Order and the Resistance follows. One of the most anticipated openings of the
last few years featuring the next generation of all-electric life-like
animatronics called A1000s. For more
info go to https://vacationwiser.com/star-wars-galaxy's-edge/
– opened January 18, 2019. Hometown of
The Incredibles with a party in their honor
Inc. Mike and Sulley Meet-and-Greet
McQueen’s Racing Academy – NEW - rides namesake showcases his tricks of the
World of Animation – honoring 30 years of Hollywood Studios, a new nighttime
-- an artisan, table-service restaurant in the Japan pavilion.
opening winter 2019 – dine in a space-station themed table-service restaurant
next door to Mission: SPACE.
Forever -- fireworks show
Eagle Smokehouse – fast casual barbecue restaurant replaces Liberty Inn
Disney Imagineering presents the Epcot Experience – see Disney’s future
plans for Epcot in a new experience center
Light: We are One – updated version of regular
nighttime pageant with imagery from Disneynature films and animated films.
Destino Tower – in Coronado Springs Resort, a 15 story tower that serves as
the main entrance and adds 545 guest rooms, including 50 suites.
Bobiddi Boutique – now open in the Grand Floridian Resort. The place to transform your 3-12 year old
into a princess or knight
Rose – a “Beauty and the Beast” inspired bar and lounge
Riviera Resort – opening December 2019.
Offers 300 family-friendly vacation homes of various sizes, some that
can sleep up to 12 guests.
Disney World Transportation
Disney World Skyliner – now open. A
gondola system that connects Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, Disney's Pop
Century Resort, Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort and future Disney's Riviera
Resort to Disney’s Hollywood Studios and the International Gateway at Epcot.
Universal is often considered Disney’s little brother. And just like in the family, the little
brother must work harder to outshine the older brother. Universal has been adding numerous
attractions to put it on a par with Disney for multi-day fun.
Universal has taken the “park-within-a-park” concept to new
heights when they opened The Wizarding World of Harry Potter a few years
ago. (See our Guide to Universal Orlando
Islands of Adventure Is made
up of: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade; The Lost Continent;
Seuss Landing; Marvel Super Hero Island; Toon Lagoon; Skull Island: Reign of
Kong. Universal’s Islands of Adventure
has been named the #1 amusement park in the world by TripAdvisor for 5th
year in a row.
Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure – now open, this wild roller coaster
ride fully immerses guests in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – including
the Forbidden Forest! – and at speeds up to 50 mph.
Universal Studios Florida contains:
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley; Springfield: Home of the
Simpsons; New York; San Francisco; Hollywood.
Café—now open inside a recreated Studio 1A, home of the TODAY Show live
Stuntacular – all new live-action stunt show coming Spring 2020 will blur
the lines between stage and cinema
What’s new at The Wizarding
World of Harry Potter
Potter Vacation Package
Stay at one of any Universal Orlando hotels
Early admission to all 3 parks and park-to-park
Breakfast at an iconic eatery
Special Themed Keepsake Box – Harry, Ron and
Hermione luggage tags; Hogwarts Railways Lanyard; Travel Planning Guide
Shutterbutton’s Photography Studio – choose from
12 iconic scenes and unlock an exclusive background; receive a complimentary
Holiday events at Universal
– you do not need a separate ticket for any of the holiday attractions
in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – both lands are covered in
Christmas decorations; special concerts with Christmas songs from the spell
books and a projection mapping show on Hogwarts Castle “The Magic of Christmas
Parades – straight out of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade featuring some
of your favorite Universal characters and, of course, Santa Claus to light the
beautiful Christmas tree.
at Universal’s Islands of Adventure – a Christmas Who-liday Spectular at
Food & Drinks – Hot Butterbeer is only served during the holiday season
Mardi Gras Parades
from February 1 to April 2 – come party New Orleans style, join the parade,
feast on Cajun specialties and party to the sounds of the Bayou.
Deals for Florida Residents
Day Free – book a 2-Park Park-to-Park ticket and get an additional day
free. Does not have to be used
consecutively. Book by December 19 and
use by January 31,2020
Add Day at
Volcano Bay for only $25
At Universal Volcano
Bay the focus is the spectacular volcano towering over the sun swept beach.
Volcano Bay is a South Seas oasis in the heart of Universal. Home of the Krakatau Aqua Coaster and Waturi
Beach. Use your Tapu Tapu to skip the lines
– it tells you when it is your turn.
Universal City Walk
– unforgettable family fun meets “Wow” restaurants. Something for the entire family. Hit movies, karaoke, live music and Blue Man
Group shows. Choose between an
assortment of quick and full-service restaurants with everything from churros
to a celebrity chef kitchen. Great
places to shop for all your Universal merchandise. Dance the night away with celebrity DJs.
Value Hotels ($) - Universal’s Endless Summer
Inn and Suites – sunny beach-themed rooms and spacious two-bedroom suites
that sleep six. Lowest rates on site.
Inn and Suites (opening March 2020) – a cool, calm coastal retreat with
plenty of standard rooms and two-bedroom suites. A few dollars higher than Surfside
Prime Value Hotels ($$)
Aventura Hotel – great views of all 3 theme parks, mid-priced escape where
clean, open spaces and casual comfort meet sleek style
Cabana Bay Beach Resort – vibrant, retro style. Architecture inspired by the classic Florida
beach resorts of the 1950’s and 60’s.
With two massive pools, a winding lazy river, and a bowling alley
Preferred Hotels ($$$)
Sapphire Falls Resort – step into paradise in the heart of the
tropics. Blue waterfalls cascade over
lush grounds. Features numerous
Caribbean-themed dining options
Premier Hotels ($$$$)
Royal Pacific Resort – a luxurious South Seas escape. Sparkling lagoon-style pool surrounded by a
white sand beach. Enjoy a classic
luau. Includes FREE Universal Express
Unlimited Pass. Starts at $40 bi-weekly for a 4 night stay.
Hotel – live like a rock star.
Impeccable accommodations in a sweeping California mission-style
design. Swimming pools featuring
underwater music, acclaimed restaurants, incredible rock memorabilia and
amped-up recreation. Includes FREE
Universal Express Unlimited Pass. Starts
at $45 bi-weekly for a 4 night stay.
Portofino Bay Hotel – relax in surroundings inspired by beauty and the charm
of a seaside village of Portofino, Italy.
Includes FREE Universal Express Unlimited Pass. Start at $48 bi-weekly for a 4 night stay.
It's Christmas Every Day at SeaWorld's Christmas
Celebration November 23 through December 31.
SeaWorld transforms into a winter wonderland sparkling with
holiday cheer, excitement and over 3 million beautiful lights. Experience award-winning entertainment, from
the all-new Sesame Street® Christmas Parade to spectacular seasonal shows like
O’Wondrous Night and Winter Wonderland on Ice. Rub noses with Rudolph the
Red-Nosed Reindeer and pals, or head to Wild Arctic and visit with Santa
A theme park focused around the many animals that make their
home in the water. SeaWorld is best
known for its shows and exhibits where the marine animals are the stars. There are a variety of other attractions that
make this an extremely family-friendly vacation. For thrills, there is Mako, the tallest and
longest coaster in all of Orlando, or plunge down the lost jungle river of Infinity
Single park adult ticket costs about
$6 per person bi-weekly. Numerous
add-ons are available, such as All Day Dining.
Parking is extra.
Reserve an unforgettable day at Discovery Cove, an exclusive,
all-inclusive day resort where you can swim with dolphins, snorkel with
stingrays, hand-feed tropical fish, let your cares drift away along a lazy
river and more. Admission is limited to only around 1,300 guests per day. Day Resort Admission includes snorkeling and
gear, shark viewing, various animal experiences, beaches and grottos, float in
scenic river, breakfast and lunch, unlimited snacks and beverages, parking.
Tickets are sold by the day since park attendance is limited. Prices can be vastly different depending on
the day you choose and how far in advance you purchase. Discovery Cove is not generally open Tuesday
through Thursdays in December, January and February, except for holiday weeks.
Discovery Cove Day Resort Admission- $10 - $14
per person per day bi-weekly
Signature Dolphin Swim Package -$13 - 17 per
person per day bi-weekly
Day Resort plus 2-parks: $11 - $15 per person
per day bi-weekly
Day Resort plus 3-parks: $12.50 - $17 per
person per day bi-weekly
From thrilling water slides and rides to a carefree winding river
to your own private cabana for the day, Aquatica has just your speed of fun in
the Florida sun.
Single park adult ticket costs about
$3.00 per person bi-weekly. Add All Day
Dining brings it $4 per person
Busch Gardens Tampa
Busch Gardens Tampa Bay is the ultimate family adventure,
combining world-class thrill rides, live entertainment and more than 12,000
animals. Challenge a 335-foot drop tower, Falcon's Fury, or race like a cheetah
on Cheetah Hunt. Cobra's Curse is a one-of-a-kind spin coaster.
Single park adult ticket costs about
$6.00 per person bi-weekly. Add All Day
Dining brings it $4 per person
Multi park pricing for SeaWorld,
Aquatica, Busch Gardens and Adventure Island (Tampa)
Florida 2-park ticket would be $7 per person
per day bi-weekly. Good for 2 visits to
any of the 4 parks.
Florida 3-park ticket would be $8 per person
per day bi-weekly. Good for 3 visits to any
of the 4 parks.
Florida 4-park ticket - unlimited admission and
free parking would be $12 per person per day bi-weekly.
Awaits at LEGOLAND Florida Resort
Resort is the ultimate vacation destination for families with kids, located
just 45 minutes from Orlando and Tampa. The resort includes an interactive,
150-acre theme park featuring more than 50 rides, shows and attractions
inspired by popular LEGO® and DUPLO® brands and
based on family favorites like “LEGO NINJAGO®: Masters of Spinjitzu,” LEGO NEXO
KNIGHTS™, LEGO City, LEGO Technic and LEGO Friends.
LEGOLAND Water Park
is open seasonally for fun in the sun and includes a wave pool, lazy river,
water slides, multiple water-play areas and lots of food and beverage for
In 2019, guests can
visit the all-new THE LEGO MOVIE World where the immersive world of THE LEGO®
MOVIE™ comes to life! Experience new rides, including a flying theater and
family-friendly Unikitty-themed drop tower, grab a bite to eat at Taco Everyday
or meet Emmet and Wyldstyle at the only Central Florida theme park built just
kid-focused events take place throughout the year and are included with
admission, such as Brick or Treat, a “lightly frightful” Halloween party, and
Holidays at LEGOLAND, a holiday celebration featuring a giant tree made out of
thousands of LEGO® and DUPLO® bricks.
Extend the fun with
a stay just steps away from the park entrance at one of these LEGO
Legoland® Beach Retreat
Features a village-style layout of brightly colored,
beach-themed bungalows, each centered around an outdoor play area, with fully-themed
rooms designed around relaxation and fun! Each bungalow sleeps up to five
people and includes an outdoor patio, a separate kid’s sleeping area and
picturesque views of Lake Dexter throughout the resort. Located less than a half mile from the LEGOLAND®
As low as $73 bi-weekly for a 3
night stay in January, or $90 for a 3-night stay in May, with 2 adults and 2
children, includes park ticket for length of stay.
Legoland® Florida Hotel
Located steps from the main entrance of LEGOLAND Florida,
this hotel features MORE interactive areas, MORE entertainment and MORE
surprises around every corner. All stays at LEGOLAND Florida hotel
include interactive LEGO features throughout the property, a FREE hot breakfast
buffet, nightly children’s entertainment and an in-room treasure hunt that
leads to even more fun for the kids. PLUS meet a Master Model Builder and
follow step-by-step instructions as you build your own LEGO souvenir in the
Master Model Builders’ Workshop – an experience exclusive to hotel guests!
Features 5 “themed” room types – Kingdom, Adventure, Pirate,
Friends and THE LEGO MOVIE
Rates as low as $76 bi-weekly for a
3 night stay in January, or $108 for 3-night stay in May, with 2 adults and 2
kids, includes park ticket for length of stay.
Legoland® Pirate Island Hotel
(opening April 17, 2020)
New, fully-themed hotel will soon open its doors to LEGO
fans and mischievous seafarers alike! Pirate Island Hotel will transform your
family vacation into a unique pirate adventure with immersive themed rooms, a
resort pool (with a massive deck for the pirates’ sake, of course) and a
boat-load of interactive activities and live entertainment for the kids (and
parents) to experience during their stay. And, in true LEGOLAND style, we take
the theming to the next level with an in-room treasure hunt – swashbuckling
young pirates will discover treasure daily IN THEIR OWN ROOM!
The Pirate Island Hotel will be located adjacent to the
LEGOLAND Hotel, and that means just 130 kid-steps from the LEGOLAND park front
As low as $108 bi-weekly for a
3-night stay in May with 2 adults and 2 children, including LEGOLAND/Water Park
combo tickets and PirateFest Weekends.