Pete & I outside of Germany at EPCOTThe themes parks I've been to are Sea World, Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom, Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, and Wild Adventures (if you can call it a theme park). Living in FL over 20 years, I somehow never got over to Tampa for Busch Gardens....weird. I've had many experiences at theme parks...from my first time to Magic Kingdom in 8th grade, to first time at EPCOT in 11th grade...and then again to Magic Kingdom at Grad Night (lived in Ft. Myers area)...and then Spring Breaks in college to all the parks (lived in Tallahassee)...and then to living in Orlando and getting season passes. Mostly all good experiences! Though with heat and lines there's always cranky moments and imperfect moments! I've probably been the most to EPCOT, Sea World, and Magic Kingdom, and less to Hollywood Studios (it was always MGM Studios until some time while we had passes...it just changed...and temporary signs were everywhere), Animal Kingdom, Universal, and Islands of Adventure.
I've had a 3 month pass to Universal/Islands of Adventure. I've had 2 Silver year passes to Sea World. And I've had 3 seasonal year passes to Disney. All while living in Orlando...lived there for just over 5.5 years. Woo...passes. LOL. I did overlap Sea World & Disney once...and yes...there were some months with no passes. Theme parks are absolutely amazing to have nearby. When you want someplace to go with fun things to do and lovely scenery...it's so great to have passes and drive on over. We lived about 30 mins from Sea World and 45/50 mins to Disney...not too bad to go spend a day or even 2 hours!
Seriously, so worth it. But, now I can't stand in a line for more than 20, maybe 30 minutes at Disney...seriously some fun rides there, but NOTHING is worth standing in line FOREVER! When the Toy Story Mania ride came out..first time we went by 220 min wait...what? Next time 160 min wait...uh no. 120 min wait...seriously? Next time, 90 mins....no thank you. One magical day...it said 30 min...we went in...and in 20 min we were on the ride. Oh it's so fun...but no way would I ever have been happy to stand in line for 4 hours. Living nearby, you know...and you know when to go...you learn..and with having passes...it's OK to skip and go back another time. I understand if you can't go back another time...but keep in mind...check back later or get fast passes for the rides you really want on early in the day (as they run out of them). I remember a time when fast passes didn't exist...lol... Sea World seriously had a lot less issue with line waiting than Disney does. Universal/Islands also had less issues, but wonder now w/ Harry Potter (want to see, haven't seen, now live in SC).
Pete & I w/ Cinderella's Castle in the background.This picture was taken last fall during Thanksgiving weekend. I can't even express how beautiful Disney does it up for the holidays and it starts the week before Thanksgiving...so don't feel like you have to wait for Christmas...go sooner than later...because it only gets busier that week of Christmas to New Years. Seasonal Pass members have black out dates for a reason! :)
I highly recommend going to check it out during the holiday season for their decorations. Animal Kingdom is my least favorite, as they are more subdued and outdoorsy, favorite is Magic Kingdom for their decorations. My golly...that castle! EPCOT and Hollywood Studios do it up nice, also. And then of course check out all the hotels - that's free! They are all decorated differently and gingerbread houses in Boardwalk and Grand Floridian. WOWSA. The first time I saw was 2 yrs ago. So, even someone going a lot, new things can be found, with so much there. Disney is absolutely beautiful for the holidays! The week before Thanksgiving through the beginning of Jan. :)
**Don't get me wrong Disney isn't cheap! Do expect to spend money! Tips in will be in another post. **