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10 Great Tips for a Fun-Filled Orlando Family Vacation

A trip to Orlando is one of the most wished-for family vacations. Parents spend countless hours and hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars planning the perfect trip that will create life-long family memories. Expectations for such a trip can run just as high as the cost, however, and can be easily dashed by poor planning. To make sure that your Orlando visit makes all your family's dreams come true, Travelers Advantage and the Family Travel Network offer 10 great tips for planning a fun-filled family vacation to one of America's best-loved destinations.

"Most of us don't take our families to places like Universal Studios, DisneyWorld(R), Epcot(R) Center or SeaWorld(R) that often," Travelers Advantage Vice President Julia Ryan said. "So, we don't know the special strategies that can make a trip to Orlando into a perfect family vacation."

If you're planning to visit Orlando, take a look at these 10 quick and easy tips designed to make your family vacation one of the best ever.

1. Go to the parks early. That way you can plan to leave early so your children can nap or play in the pool. At night, you can return to the park or have a special dinner.

2. Experience the most popular attractions first. Universal reports their premier rides tend to have the longest lines beginning at noon, so it's best to ride first and watch shows later. Be on the lookout for boards throughout the parks that post wait times for various rides as these can help with the decision-making process.

3. Bypass the lines. To avoid spending too much time standing in lines, utilize "Universal Express at Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure or Disney's Fast Pass. Universal Express allows guests to reserve a time to experience an attraction Instead of waiting in line, just make a reservation and show up for the appointment at a designated time.

4. Dine with a character. Some children love character dining like a Princess meal, Winnie the Pooh meal, or dining at Chef Mickey's. There's also the Alice in Wonderland Tea Party and the Pirate Cruise at the Grand Floridian. Be understanding if your child is initially afraid of fantasy characters -- from a child's perspective, Goofy and Woody seem huge and very different.

5. Stay at an onsite resort or conveniently close. Onsite hotels or ones with a free shuttle are convenient, and parks like Walt Disney World offer resorts in a wide variety of price ranges. Especially during this summer, you can find great deals on accommodations online (check www.travelersadvantage.com, www.expedia.com. www.travelocity.com, www.orbitx.com and www.hotels.com). Also, check to see if your park offers an early entry for resort guests on certain days. If so, it can make staying at the park very worthwhile.

6. Bring the right stroller. A reclining stroller with plenty of storage is a must if you are traveling with small children. Be sure your stroller protects against the sun and bring plenty of sunscreen. Many theme parks rent strollers and this may be convenient unless you need a stroller when getting to the car or hotel outside of the parks.

7. Be flexible and go at the children's pace. One of the most important tips is to know and respect your family's limitations. Orlando has a lot of things to do and you can always see more next time. But don't wait until your children get older -- some of your children's best times may come when they believe they are meeting the actual characters.

8. Be sure to wear cool, light-colored clothes. Comfortable shoes are a must. Many experts recommend dressing children in distinctive clothing (red kerchief, bright hat) so that they will stand out in a crowd.

9. Don't miss the parade. Parades can be a highlight of a kid's day so be sure not to miss the electric light parade at DisneyWorld. At any age, your kids will absolutely enjoy this -- and so will you.

10. Purchase park passes before your trip. You can save time and some money if you purchase your pass before you leave home. Some passes allow you to go to a series of parks and can be purchased to cover 4- to 7-day periods.

Members of Travelers Advantage ( Travelers Advantage or 1-800-458-1028) can save money on air travel, cruises, car rental and hotel accommodations, as well as earn 5 percent cash back on eligible travel booked through the service with preferred providers. A three-month trial Travelers Advantage membership can be enjoyed for only $1. The trial membership can be canceled at any time during the three-month trial period by calling toll free and owing nothing further. Unless the member calls to cancel, the membership will be extended automatically for an entire year at the $89.99 annual fee and automatically renewed annually upon expiration at the then-current annual fee, billed to a credit card account, without the member having to do anything further. Additionally, members may call toll free to cancel at any time and receive a pro-rata refund of their current membership fee.


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