Jump to content


Disneyland Florida trip

Recommended Posts

Hi all, would like some advice from the experienced and knowledgble people on here. I have decided it is time to take my 2 kids (12 and 9) to Florida and Disney. Now i know there is loads of stuff on the 'net but would like to hear first hand from people who have been, and what's the best way to go about it, eg where, when, tour operator or plan it myself?, what to do. Thanks in advance BD.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How long is a piece of string? How much do you want to spend, do you want to stay at Disney/Universal, do you want to visit other parts of Florida do you want to rent a car? Think of the things you want out of the trip and make a list then post again. Been going almost every year since 1991.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
How long is a piece of string? How much do you want to spend, do you want to stay at Disney/Universal, do you want to visit other parts of Florida do you want to rent a car? Think of the things you want out of the trip and make a list then post again. Been going almost every year since 1991.

 

Well I did have a look via the travel operators and it came out between 3 and 5 grand. But i have been advised to rent a house in kissimee and a car, and get half price Disney tickets from local shops. We would prefer to use public transport rather than drive but is that a realistic option?

I am treating this as a one off, so want to make sure I/we don't miss out on anything.

We haven't even been abroad for years, as we usually go to Jersey or Cornwall. The only starting point in my mind is Disney for the kids and try and build from there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Well I did have a look via the travel operators and it came out between 3 and 5 grand. But i have been advised to rent a house in kissimee and a car, and get half price Disney tickets from local shops. We would prefer to use public transport rather than drive but is that a realistic option?

I am treating this as a one off, so want to make sure I/we don't miss out on anything.

We haven't even been abroad for years, as we usually go to Jersey or Cornwall. The only starting point in my mind is Disney for the kids and try and build from there.

 

Been a couple of times with children, when they were a similar age to yours. I booked flights - once on Virgin from Manchester to Orlando (not Sandford, Orlando International), once on BA from Manchester to Orlando via Gatwick. There's regular Disney coaches from Orlando International to the Disney hotels, free too I think.

 

First time we stopped in a mid-level Disney hotel, Port Orelans I think - second time in the cheapest option, All-Star Sports, and to be honest, not much to pick between them, certainly wasn't worth the extra.

 

We spent 10 days at Disney, then picked up a hire car and stayed in a rented villa on the Gulf Coast for a week.

 

10 days gives you chance to do most things without feeling the need to spend every minute in a Disney park. We hired a car and took a trip to Kennedy whilst at Disney, which was great and worth doing, but didn't feel the need for a hire car other than that at Disney. Plenty of taxis knocking about too, if you want a trip to International Drive. Plus coach trips to Kennedy from Disney are easily available and can be booked when you're there.

 

I can see the attraction in having your own villa/pool and driving to Disney each day though. It's nice to have a bit of peace and quiet in your own space, and I would seriously consider it if I ever went back. I think you would need to hire a car to make that work though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for your replies. Your personal experiences are very useful for giving me ideas.

One thing i would really appreciate is advice on when to go. I hate busy-busy and do not want to fly if there is the slightest risk of storms ( I am a proper lightweight flyer). My thinking is that i will take the kids out of school for this one occasion and suffer the consequences rather than visit when it is heaving. BD

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Well I did have a look via the travel operators and it came out between 3 and 5 grand. But i have been advised to rent a house in kissimee and a car, and get half price Disney tickets from local shops. We would prefer to use public transport rather than drive but is that a realistic option?

I am treating this as a one off, so want to make sure I/we don't miss out on anything.

We haven't even been abroad for years, as we usually go to Jersey or Cornwall. The only starting point in my mind is Disney for the kids and try and build from there.

 

We're going in August for our third time.

 

This time we're staying in a villa in Kissimee - very nice with kids, as staying in a hotel on iDrive means sharing a room. It's not bad sharing a room with the kids, but it means sharing their bedtime and limiting err adult time :hihi: The rooms we've stayed in on iDrive before have all been two king beds in one room, so unless your kids stay up as late as you do, that can be tough.

 

Don't get park tickets over there. Ever. Two main reasons. First is that the Disney tickets come with fast pass+, so if you want to pre book your fast passes (guaranteed slots on rides, avoiding long queues) then you do that as far out as possible, ideally 30 days before. I'm waiting eagerly for next week to book ours. That's very important. Buying over there stops you doing that and I guarantee you will miss out.

 

Also the "discount" tickets over there aren't entirely guaranteed. Some are ok. Some require you to attend shows on holiday villa sales to get the discount, and some are just fakes. Bearing in mind Disney use fingerprint recognition in the parks, you want genuine tickets and not part used ones (have seen that happen to people - tickets still in date, so say 5 out of the 14 days used, but they're part used and fingerprint locked). Not worth it.

 

Planning is vital, and I mean vital. Book restaurants at Disney 180 days before you go, literally. I booked Be Our Guest on the 180th day before, and later that day, it was booked up. Book fastpasses 30 days before if off site, and 60 before if on site. If you don't, you will miss out, I assure you.

 

Weather wise, summer is hot. Very, very hot. Think 40 degree hot. Check Disney crowd calendars online (they apply to Universal too) to get an idea of busiest times and likely temps.

 

The flight over is long, but fine. Recommend Virgin, but they're expensive. When you fly with them though, you soon realise why - by far the best.

 

Disney parks and Universal are amazing. Seaworld is very good, and Busch Gardens is fantastic, and will particularly suit kids the age yours are. It'd be my number one park choice.

 

I'd hire a car (often included) personally, for the freedom to do other things, just beware the parking charges at the parks ($20 a day!).

 

I could go on for ages about this!!! Any questions, just ask! :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Andy, this is stuff i would never have known. Have you booked the flights and villa privately or gone through an agent?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thanks Andy, this is stuff i would never have known. Have you booked the flights and villa privately or gone through an agent?

 

Through an agent (but I'd recommend against Thomas Cook after this year's experiences). If you can go through Virgin Holidays, you'll never regret it.

 

We are here - https://www.thomascook.com/destinations/usa/florida/orlando/kissimmee/highlands-reserve/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Been twice, 20 years ago and 14 years ago (IIRC), going again in 2 (or it is 3?) weeks.

 

Not done the fastpass pre-booking yet though, must get on it with it!

 

Not much to add to Andy's post, if only a practical suggestion to do amusement parks and 'quieter' places (e.g. water parks, Disney's are great) on alternate days, i.e. 1 day of traipsing, queuing, rides, <etc.> followed by a day of relaxation and swimming/slides, rinse-repeat. Or it might wear you out quick.

 

Food-wise, and of course depending on your eating habits, stock up on buffet breakfasts, then opt for big dinner, with light or skipped lunch in-park which is best time to beat queues. Somehow we never felt hungry during the day, most probably due to the heat.

 

Drink plenty of water throughout the day, though: Andy's right, the place really is hot (and still in September/early October), and it's a high-humidity heat, 'heavy'. Lots of thunderstorms in July/August, it's storm season for them...and they're like everything over there/American: bigger, brasher, louder :D

 

EDIT - did the 'attend a timeshare pitch, get a free ticket' thing on our first visit there 20 years ago (!) That was a hard sale (first salesguy, escalated to manager, escalated to VP) and a long one too (1/2 day). Depending how you value your holiday time, the 'experience' is really not worth the ticket price saving.

 

We've done a Thomson booking for flight + car + hotel, tickets online via American Attractions (again IIRC).

Edited by L00b

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Been 6 times,first time on a package and all others booked ourself.Villa/car flights will cost about £3500 for 4 of you.it is definately much easieer to get around with your own car,don't be put off by the driving,away from the main centres the roads are reasonably quiet and much wider and safer than roads in uk.Cheapest flights would be ones where you change fights in usa using delta or american airlines,if you are booking a car i would recomend alamo/brits which is a special deal just for as it says british people,10% chaper than normal alamo site.You can order all attraction tickets on line and have then delivered by hand to your villa and pay on delivery,definately don't buy them from shops or other ticket sellers when you get there.Been at all times of year and found early october still warm and reasonably quiet.Enjoy.

Edited by jackanne
spelling

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Golden rule, if you are hiring a car, do NOT hire the car at the airport, the moment you come off the plane.:nono:

 

You will be too jet lagged, even if you think you aren't, and trying to find the hotel and driving on the other side of the road and not knowing where you are going is disastrous.

 

Instead, get a hire bus, or coach from the airport to the hotel. Then pick the hire car up in Kissimmee or wherever locally, the next day.

 

I've booked with Virgin & Thomson and both great.

Edited by poppet2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We went in March/ April 2012 and are going again this August.

 

Booked a package with Virgin, flying from Gatwick and staying at Radisson Resort Celebration.

 

Buy your park tickets before you go, I've got ours from Floridatix, if you're staying on a Disney resort you can start booking your fastpasses 60 days in advance, 30 days if your staying 'off site'. We've got 14 day Disney pass and 14 day Universal pass.

 

Don't take the standard insurance that you get offered for the car, it's not enough!

 

Our car is with Alamo, they do an online check in and skip the counter so you don't get the hard sell for satnavs, upgrading to a bigger car, more insurance etc after an 8 hour flight.

 

Use a free satnav on your smartphone instead of buying a satnav and maps. Navmii and maps.me are free and don't use any data.

 

Food, last time we went to Golden Corral for our breakfasts, it's not the best, but you pay and it's all you can eat. Plan on eating a big breakfast and go as long as you can through the day on that breakfast, the food in the parks is expensive! We also tried iHop and Mcdonalds but preferred Golden Corral.

 

Drinks, it's hot and humid so you need to drink plenty, bottles of Coke, Gatorade, water etc are on sale all over the parks but they're about $3-$4 so it soon adds up. This year we plan to buy bottled water from a Walmart and those little bottles of concentrated flavours, make these the night before and put them in the hotel room fridge for our first drink in the parks. There are water fountains around the parks but the water doesn't taste that good.

 

You need to plan your days, which parks your going to and when. There's parades throughout the day at Disney parks and its handy to know what time they start so you can watch them or avoid them and get on a ride while everyone else is watching the parade. Check for planned ride shutdowns, for example our first day at Magic Kingdom is on the 5th August. Big Thunder Mountain closes for refurb soon after that so we have made it a priority to book a fastpass on the 5th. Any new rides will have big queues, so fastpass those. You get three fastpasses with an hour time slot for each fastpass, you can't book anymore until you've used your last one, so don't make that last one too late in the day! Another way of doing it is to arrive as the park opens and go straight to a ride you want to go on before the queue builds up.

 

Go to the water parks, these are my kids favourite bit, Typhoon Lagoon in particular. Get some wet socks (neoprene socks), the floor gets hot and the bottom of the big wave pool is like Artex! They wont let you on the slides with pool shoes or flip flops on in case they catch and suddenly grip on the slide,glasses are allowed if they are secured.

 

I could go on, but there's loads of sources for information about a holiday in Florida, check out The DIBB forum, everything is on there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.

X