Disney Florida is never going to be a cheap holiday but this post will assist you in planning so that you can reduce on the expenses. If your bank balance is not bulging at the seams, then you need to read the tips below as they are based on personal experience and extensive research.
Planning in Advance:
Depending on affordability, start planning a year or two in advance. There are so many elements to this trip beyond accommodation and tickets. Florida is 170km of pure entertainment and Disney is the main theme park but there are others. Lack of planning will cost you quite a bit so it is worth deciding in advance which parks to visit and which to leave out. Trust me, this will be a big decision for you as there is so much to see. Planning will give you time to explore affordable options for flight tickets and accommodation. Some buy a package holiday from vendors like Ocean Florida and Thomas Cook Holiday, while others buy everything separately. I usually do the latter.
This trip is so much more exciting and cheaper if you engage family and friends to go with you and while you are at it plan some tshirts for the group!
When to go:
If you can squeeze in a visit to Disney at Easter or Christmas, it is at least 30% cheaper for flights, hotels and the all-important Disney tickets. It can be up to 50% cheaper when done during term-time but you know the issue with that. It is also 30% cheaper if you go at October half term. You however need a minimum of 2 weeks to be able to visit a good chunk of the attractions at all the parks. Temperatures are hot all year round but it is almost unbearably hot from June to September so factor that in.
Your children should be aged 7 and above, this is my view.
It will make your life a lot easier especially with all the walking and queuing involved.
Flights and Hotels:
The convenience of buying from vendors is attractive but flexibility with plans is very much limited if you choose that route and it can work out to be more expensive. Please consider buying each element separately as it will end up cheaper. Use Sky Scanner to check for flights but if possible buy directly from the airline just to be sure.
Accommodation choices are many from apartments to villa’s in Kissimmee, Lake Bueno Vista (LBV) Clermont or Davenport. Kissimmee and LBV are closest but whatever you decide – you need a car! I highly recommend Blue Heron and Grande Villa’s if you are looking for accommodation. To book use Booking.com – the free cancellation option- as this gives you the option to cancel and rebook if prices fall. You can only do this up to a certain point though so make sure you check the condition attached to each booking.
Deconstructing Walt Disney World (WDW) Resort:
WDW is made up of 4 theme parks – Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studio and 2 Water Parks – Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon. There are 3 additional sites to visit namely Disney Springs, ESPN -Wide World of Sports and Disney’s Boardwalk.
Disney springs presents a unique shopping and dining experience set within Florida’s architectural beauty. The shopping neighbourhood retains historical architecture and natural beauty with its Town Centre built around bubbling springs.
ESPN Wide World of Sports is “230 acres of run, state-of-the-art facilities hosting over 60 sports and thousands of events for athletes of all ages and abilities”. You can come to train, compete or just be a spectator in this grand contemporary sports setting.
Disney’s Board Walk is a quarter-mile promenade of exquisite dining, shopping and nightlife – it shuts down at 2am! Very picturesque, it makes for a perfect stroll particularly along the waters edge.
For tickets, my suggestion is Attraction Tickets because you get the treasured FastPass which enables you skip the very long queues and the Disney memory maker which gives you access to free digital photographs taken by professional photographers. Click Attraction Tickets above for more information on tickets for Disney and every other attraction in Orlando.
After you buy your Disney tickets which ranges from £170 – £500 per person depending, you will be given access to the My Disney Vacation planning tool. It helps you plan your itinerary and will enable you book your shows or rides at Disney. Start booking as soon as possible. The Frozen Ride at Epcot has queues lasting for 6 hours and 3 months wait on FastPass selections.
It costs not less than $20 to park for a day at Disney Parks but I discovered a secret. If you park at any of the Disney hotels you can hop on a Disney bus to any park you so desire. Please don’t tell anyone so I don’t get in trouble.
Lost or forgotten tickets or any issues:
Go to any Disney hotel and speak to the concierge and they will direct you.
Please buy them before you get to Disney. All children will want the mickey sunhats, hairbands, tshirts, outfits and more as everyone else will have them on. These things are 50% – 70% cheaper in neighbourhood shops. The quality might not be as top notch as the ones in Disney’s but they’ll do for this trip trust me. All our gear are in the bin as I write this. Kids will be kids.
Buying food at Disney:
When buying your Disney tickets you should be given a free dining card for children 9 and below with a paying adult. If all your children are more than 9 then it will cost you. Ice creams are $5 dollars, food is $15 -$18 for the basic burger and chips. Therefore pack a nap sack with sandwiches and snacks. Buy as little as you can. I see families with coolers on wheels and this is grand idea. Water is free, don’t buy. Walk into any dining area and ask for water if there isn’t any fountain nearby.
Fireworks or parades commence at about 9pm on most days, make sure you are out early enough to get a sitting position. It is quite spectacular.
Ride the mono-rail at least once, it connects all the parks and Disney Hotels.
Hope you find the information helpful. Happy holidays.