Yes, we went back to Florida--Universal and Disney World.
Yes, things are changing--mainly, WDW, but I gleaned a few more pieces of wisdom while on vacation. I'll break the rides and stuff down in a couple other posts.
1--If it is humanly possible, DO NOT GO TO FLORIDA DURING THE SUMMER! Yes, we had no option since we can't take our kidlet out of school to hit the parks during the off season. Suffice it to say, we were there with all the other parents who have to vacation during a very short window of opportunity during school breaks. . . It almost made this parent want to start homeschooling just to have the option of going at a different time.
2--If you must go during peak season do as I suggested--study the maps, know your families likes and dislikes (don't waste your time standing in line for the Beauty and the Beast show if everyone wants to ride rides), plan your day, park hop if you can. We usually did two parks every day, but did manage three parks one day. Yes, it was tiring, but sometimes you have no choice.
3--Find current maps online. Disney switched up their maps (HATE IT) by printing a map of the park by placing an image of the park with true North at the top of the map, which means you have to figure out where the park entrance is in relation to the maps and work from there. This is instead of previous incarnations of the map where the entrance is at the bottom of the map.
4--Disney also messed with the details of the map. The park looks like an artist's rendering of an aerial picture of the park with numbers on each building. This makes it difficult to figure out a) where you are, b) where you want to go, with out stopping and opening the map to figure out what all the circled numbers are in reference to. Did I mention that I HATE this new map?? And what makes it really bad is that I'm very familiar with the parks and I was very confused looking at these maps! But they never asked my opinion. Sometimes change is just change, and not necessarily for the better!
5--Pick up a Times Guide at every park. If you are at a park over a weekend, get a new Times Guide on Sunday. Yes, sometimes there are drastic changes with rides that are closing for refurbishment, or the night time parades and fireworks will change, or even the park closings. Many times Magic Kingdom was open until Midnight or later, but then when school starts and attendance lags, they close the park earlier. When they have Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween, they will shut the park down, UNLESS you have paid to attend the Halloween Party (you have to get a special wrist band).
6--The earlier you get out of bed to get to the park, the fewer people there are. . . . This is true, BUT remember there are tens of thousands of people in these parks, fewer doesn't mean none, it means less humanity in your near vicinity than there will be when you are wandering around the park at 11:00 AM. Take advantage of the Early Magic Hours if you are staying at a hotel on site. The Extra Magic Hours in the evening aren't as good since everyone from the other parks will converge on the one park with later hours.
7--People will simply stop in the middle of the walkways. Seriously, if you need to have a family consultation pull off to the side.
8--People are rude, clueless, and will use their kids as battering rams. TRUTH. If kids aren't available, they will use electric scooters, empty baby strollers, wheelchairs, or their fat grandma to push through a crowd . . .and into your shins or Achilles tendon depending on which way they are going.
9--Florida is freaking hot in the summer. The temps aren't bad, usually in the lower 90's, it's the 100% humidity that will get you. You will sweat in body places you never thought it humanly possible to sweat. Keep hydrated. Most of our crankiness was due to dehydration.
10--Again, parents please school your children--or husband--to NOT FART IN AN ENCLOSED RIDE. This is just gross and rude. Yes, I'm talking to the kid who let one rip while sitting in the simulator while waiting for the Star Tours ride to start . . . there was a reason Yoda was staring at you!