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Kennedy Space Center side trip? Possible?

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Hello friendly cruisers!

Our family (3 kids, two parents and a grandma) have a cruise on Fantasy in October.


On the day we disembark, our flight out of MCO doesn't leave until about 5pm. We have an astronomy-obsessed 8-year old and thought it might be fun to spend some time at the Kennedy Space Center that day if possible instead of bumming around the airport all day.


For those who are familiar with the area, does it seem realistic to disembark early, take a cab to Kennedy Space Center, spend some time there and arrange transportation back to MCO in time for our flight? Would renting a car best the most reliable option to do that, or a car service like Mears? We will have one child that needs to be in a car seat if that changes things at all.


Thanks for tips and advice!

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Car rental is going to be your best bet.


If you are a US citizen, contact your senator to see if any free tickets are available. Each senator has a limited number to hand out. And remember that you'll want to be at MCO at least 2 hours before your flight. It is an airport that can have long lines.

Edited by moki'smommy
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Car rental is going to be your best bet.


If you are a US citizen' date=' contact your senator to see if any free tickets are available. Each senator has a limited number to hand out. And remember that you'll want to be at MCO at least 2 hours before your flight. It is an airport that can have long lines.[/quote']


Sadly, they don't do the free tickets any longer. :( This was posted last June when they stopped (answer someone received when requesting tickets):


We regret to inform you that there are no complimentary tickets available in 2014 for the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex (KSCVC) in Cape Canaveral, Florida. In addition, OLIA (Office of Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs) will cease taking requests for complimentary tickets, effective July 1, 2014, which is when tickets for early 2015 would have become available.


The complimentary tickets are the same exact tickets as those that can be purchased online or in person at the KSCVC, and we encourage you to visit this website for more information: http://www.kennedyspacecenter.com. In addition, we encourage you to visit NASA Visitor Centers across the country. More information is available on NASA’s website at: http://www.nasa.gov/about/sites.

Edited by Shmoo here
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Its doable, but like above, youll miss a lot. The bus tour alone is 3-5 hours, depending on how fast you move. Its 3 different stops, and each spot is at your own pace.

You will be able to see Atlantis in her new home, ride the Shuttle simulator, and most of the other exhibits at the center itself.

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  • 2 weeks later...

We visited the Space Center pre-cruise with our 7 year old and enjoyed it. I am not sure if you'd have enough time to enjoy it on disembarkation day. MCO airport is always busy with long lines. You need to count on time to drive back to Orlando, gas up the car and plenty of time to wait in the security lines prior to your flight. That will take a good portion of the afternoon. You could squeeze it in, but it might not be worth the cost of the tickets to just be there for a few hours.

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Let's break this down.


Get up early and get off the ship at 8:00 am or as soon as they start letting people off.


You should be through customs by 8:30 or earlier.


The big challenge is getting your rental car before they begin to run out--this happens because they use cars being turned in by people getting ready to board as you get off. You want to be one of the first in line at the car rental place of your choice. It might even be worthwhile taking a cab to beat the rush. Join the rental car "Club" before you rent so they already have all your info including DL and CC# and the car will be ready and waiting.


From Avid/Budget/Hertz to KSC is about 20 minutes. It will take under 10 minutes to park and get your tickets and be inside--there is never a line unless it's a launch day or something.


Hopefully at this point it's only 9:30.


You can see the highlights in about four hours, but that will mean you'll be doing a lot of touch and go. The highlights are Atlantis--which is an absolute don't miss, and the Saturn V Center accessible by bus. The included bus tour doesn't make the aforementioned three stops.


Be walking out the gates by 1:45. It will take a little under an hour to get back to the airport area. When you get to the exit, go NORTH on Semoran, cross Butler National, the next intersection make a left onto Lee Vista and a right into WaWa for gas. (They won't rip you off like some of the other stations around there--especially the SunCoast with the Wendy's inside who will gouge $7+ a gallon!)


Come back out and head south on Semoran and it will take you right into the airport. Follow the signs for rental car return from there.


That should get you to the airport by 3:00 pm which will be adequate time to check bags and clear security. It's a five minute walk from the farthest point of the parking deck where they keep the rental cars to the check in counters.


All that said, I'd have a back up plan if you won't be driving away from the rental car place by 9:00 am. Anything less than that is just not enough time at KSC.

Edited by ducklite
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