3 Reasons to Plan a Late-Summer Trip to Orlando

The Boardwalk
Getty ImagesThe boardwalk at Disney World in Orlando.
Orlando overtook New York City as the country's top tourist draw last year, and summertime is the peak travel period to the world's largest collection of theme parks. However, with schools starting back up and tourists starting to head back home, this might make it an opportunistic time to check out Disney World, Universal Orlando and other area attractions.

Let's check out three reasons that trekking out to see what Disney (DIS) and Universal parent Comcast (CMCSA) have to offer in the coming weeks is a good idea.

1. Off-Season Rates Are Kicking In

Theme park tickets cost the same all year round, but lodging is an entirely different story. Hotels will mark down their vacancies after the peak summer crowds head out. Even Disney has already started to offer Florida residents and passholders discounts of as much as 35 percent off its rack rates from now through late September.

If Disney is discounting, you can be sure that off-site properties will be even more aggressive in filling up their rooms. Keep tabs on MouseSavers.com for any promotions and discount codes that can make your last-minute getaway that much cheaper.

2. Some Attractions Are Going Away

Disney and Universal do a great job of announcing new attractions, but they're not as vocal in letting you know the ones that are going away. With all of the changes coming to Disney's Hollywood Studios, it's a safe bet that more attractions will be closing in the coming months to make way for the replacements.

Sometimes you don't have to guess. Universal Orlando announced that the popular Incredible Hulk roller coaster will close on Sept. 8 -- the day after Labor Day -- for a long refurbishment. Universal promises that when it opens again in time for next summer's crowds, it will offer new story-line enhancements and ride vehicles, and a new overall experience.

Another Universal Orlando attraction that is reportedly closing on that day is Disaster, the earthquake simulator that pays tribute to disaster movies. Online reports claim that it will close to make way for a "The Fast and the Furious"-themed attraction that would open come 2017. Either way, this is your last chance to ride Hulk in its current state, and possibly your last time to enjoy Disaster.

3. Shorter Lines Mean Wider Smiles

Many families don't have a choice in deciding to hit up Disney World when school's out, and that's a shame. The parks are crowded. The lines are long. Afternoon thunderstorms are common.

Heading out to Orlando's theme parks during the final few weeks of summer may still be hot and potentially stormy in the afternoon, but at least the crowds are bearable. The parks may have shorter operating hours than they do during the summer, but you will be able to accomplish a lot more by flying through the shorter queues. You may as well go now before conventions and Halloween events draw crowds again come October.

If saving money on lodging or saying farewell to departing attractions doesn't sway you, a shot at saving time with shorter lines may do the trick.

Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz owns shares of Walt Disney. The Motley Fool owns and recommends Walt Disney. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. Check out The Motley Fool's one great stock to buy for 2015 and beyond.
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