The plan was to visit Disney World for three days, then go to Cocoa Beach for 3 days. What we ended up with was 4 distinct portions of the trip, and what follows is a brief description of each:
1. Disney: The first day was Epcot. I was less than impressed. But I had been to Six Flags just a month earlier, and was ready for some thrilling rides, and Epcot's not about that, although Space Mountain was pretty fun. I had been told that Magic Kingdom was better, and it was, as we found out the next day. Our last day, we went to the Hollywood studios park, and although I am sure I'm in the minority, I have to say I liked it best. It had two rides more like thrill rides: The Rock n Roller Coaster, and the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. Most Disney rides were inside and failed to meet the criteria that is most essential to a good ride: At some point during the ride, you must believe you might just die. I only experienced this with 2-3 rides at Disney.
That said, Disney had a lot to teach Six Flags about how to treat people who are waiting for rides. They offered the Fast Pass, which enabled you to get a guaranteed place in line for a ride later in the day while you explore other things. And when we did have to wait, most lines were inside air-conditioned buildings. That directly addresses the one thing that keeps me from going to Six Flags more than I do.
2. Cocoa and Daytona Beach. We didn't know much about Florida, so we picked Cocoa Beach because it was close to Orlando and because I had heard it was close to NASA. Problem was, it was overrrun by jellyfish. In fact, we tried to go out into the water and work around them, but one of them stung my 9-yr-old son. So we called a hotel at Daytona Beach and found that they were not experiencing jellyfish issues. We booked a room at the Daytona Hilton, and left Cocoa Beach a day early. And I have to say, Daytona was a beautiful beach. It was pretty much the opposite of Cocoa Beach in every way.
The kids loved it, never having been in the ocean before. With their inflatable surf board, trying to fight the waves, I just saw hours and hours of smiles from them, and that was a joy to see.
There are two more parts to the trip, much more interesting than the first two. Read here.