Staying About an Hour Outside of Orlando Need Advice

Hello, I am so glad to have found this site and the forums. They have provided me with lots of information and ideas. We are planning our first family trip to WDW for this summer (i know bad timing, but it was the only way we could get work schedules ironed out). We have a DD12 and a DS9. I have been to Disney 4-5 times as a kid and my husband was there once as a teenager but neither of us have been there in the last 20 years… So we are all very excited and looking forward to this trip.

We have decided to take advantage of a free place to stay, my parents have a retirement home about an hour outside of Orlando. Again, not ideal, but how it will be for this trip (we hope to stay in the park during a future trip).

Ok so here is my question. Luckily I am an morning person so doing the driving in the morning to be there for rope drop will not be a problem for the family. But we would like to know some tips or pointers for those who cannot go back to the hotel for a nap during the day. Are there recommendations for a quiet cool break spot at the various parks where we can camp out and just rest our feet and minds for an hour or so each day?

Also would you recommend buying the magic bands if we are staying off the park?

Thanks in Advance


First, be sure to create a my Disney experience account and link your tickets. At 30 days out you’ll be able to reserve up to 3 FASTPASSes each. This will help when figuring out those in the park breaks.

As for the MB’s, that’s up to you. They are fun. If anything, maybe get a special edition one. If you stay on property the next time you go, the basic ones will be free.

My family often tours “commando” or without resort breaks. And we often have to go at those peak times (like spring break and summer).

Although it can add up, a table service lunch is a great way to get in from the heat and sit and relax. don’t limit yourself to just inside the parks, head to a nearby resort to eat. Some people forget or don’t realize they can do that. You can leave and enter the same park on the same day with the base tickets.

For instance, head over to the grand Floridian cafe on the monorail for lunch on your MK day.

we like to hit up the shows if we need a break. COP, HOP, country bears…

There are some lovely shaded gardens and courtyards around EPCOT. Grab a cold beverage and find a nice spot.

Have fun!!


I hadn’t thought about the resorts for lunch. Good idea! Do you need reservations for most of these?

We purchased the park hopper and water parks, so I figured if everyone was too tired and grumpy a change in scenery might perk us back up as well.

I thought of another question. After we arrive at the parking lot (at MK for instance) how long does it take to get to the gates? I want to make sure at least a couple mornings we are there for the rope drop. Then other days we can sleep in a bit.

You’ll need reservations for table service restaurants. So start looking and booking now. The popular ones/times (character meals esp) tend to book up at 180 days prior to the date.

MK parking is at the ticket and transportation center (TTC). It may take you some time to park and tram it to the center, where you can take a monorail or a ferry to the MK. I would allow yourself 45-60 minutes to park and get to THE park. Monorails start running an hour before park opens, but keep an eye on any changes to the schedules (which does happen).

Give yourself about 30-45 minutes (from entering the parking lot to reaching the gate) for all the others, depending on when you get there.

If you decide to get to the parks later, it could very well take longer.


You’re welcome!

I went to the world last summer ad I must say I had a great time! I would also look to go to in door shows at peak times. For example some of the movies in world showcase or Nemo in helps just to get out of the sun and into air conditioning on a regular basis.

I just love this group of people. Everyone here is so helpful and friendly. Makes planning much less stressful!!!


[quote=“colthart909, post:1, topic:10591”]
But we would like to know some tips or pointers for those who cannot go back to the hotel for a nap during the day[/quote]
@DarthDopey covered this very well. I’ll add that just looking around the different resorts can be a lot of fun. There are lots of places to sit inside Grand Floridian if the kids want to be off their feet while you look in different shops. If the parents want to sit, then the kids might be interested in the video arcades at Grand Floridian or the Contemporary. Some families also enjoy afternoon tea at the Grand Floridian (though it can be a little pricey and you have to make a reservation for this). If you can get your son to buy into the idea, then the rest of the family might enjoy that. Wilderness Lodge is also a short boat ride away and offers a fun dining location in Whispering Canyon Cafe, and lots of seating areas in the lobby.

Since you’ll have a car, you could also drive to a resort farther from the Magic Kingdom if there’s something else on property you wanted to see. Animal Kingdom Lodge offers a variety of good dining options in one of the more interesting hotels on property. There’s also a lot to see in the different resorts near Epcot.

[quote=“colthart909, post:1, topic:10591”]
Also would you recommend buying the magic bands if we are staying off the park?[/quote]
No. Your park tickets do everything that MagicBands can do. The band is a little easier, since you don’t have to reach into your pocket for your park ticket at the turnstiles or when using FPP, but I don’t see $15-$25 worth of value in that. If you do, then as a Disney stockholder I appreciate it!


Great information! Thank you! I didn’t realize you could tour the resorts without being a guest. That is a good option. Afternoon tea may be fun as well.

We tend not to go back to the hotel mid-afternoon. We do our table service meals as a lunch instead. That usually gives us a nice mid day break. At the same time, that’s when we hit up the shows too since the lines for rides are much longer then.

As you have wp&m tickets you could get to a park early break at lunch go for a swim at BB or TL. get showered and changed there and the hit Wishes/ Illuminations or Fantasmic.