Holidays are that one thing we look forward to every year that even before its booked we start mentally preparing ourselves, and I’m not even talking about the booking and choosing flights/hotels I’m talking about the mental preparation like outfits, packing and if you are a blogger/YouTuber what content you can create whilst you’re there.
This September me and my fiance are off to Orlando. Yup DISNEY WORLD and I am beyond words can explain excited! I used to go to Florida a lot as a child and the last time I went I tagged along with my Auntie and Uncle for two weeks in a villa right in the heart of Orlando and this year will make it 6 years since I’ve been and that really has flown past.
Growing up going to Orlando was such a magical experience and me and my family made memories I will never forget and for that I will always be grateful that I was fortunate enough to go as a child, but anyone that has been to Florida before no matter if it was when you were young or way past your teenage years you will know that its just a once in a lifetime all-around magical experience. Its hard to explain to someone who has never visited before by it really does bring out the child within you.
So 140 days ago if I’m going to be very precise me and my fiance booked up to go to Orlando this September and I still can’t quite believe we are going, we booked up to go about 3 years back but sadly had to cancel our trip, but this year its all paid off and we are actually going! and even though I’ve been plenty of times I’m going with my fiance who has never been before and that just makes me triple excited, it’s so nice to go with someone who has never experienced the magic before and I think its safe to say I’m more excited for him then I am for myself.
So with only 30 days to go till the big day I wanted to make a little Florida checklist that has helped us a lot while booking and after booking our holiday, and although we are not 100% set to go these little tips and tricks really helped us when preparing for our holiday of a lifetime so here it goes.
Research research research
When booking a big holiday like Orlando I think its super important to do your research before booking, so many travel companies offer amazing deals and every travel site is different, I looked and called so many travel agents before booking our trip because there was just so many options and hotels to pick from i spent countless time on the phone talking with different people so I could really plan our holiday right, because booking to go to Orlando isn’t like booking to go to Portugal or Spain I normally just book them holidays online and job done, but so much detail goes into booking your Florida holiday to make it special.
I think from the time we agreed that Orlando would be our big holiday of the year it then took us about 3 weeks to finally book it after we had spoke to countless travel agents and spent time online looking at reviews. in the end we decided to book our holiday with Virgin, I have flown with them in the past so they were my first option when we decided to go but I didn’t wanna pay 10x more money for the sake of an airline but in the end we ended up getting the best deal from Virgin and I’m so happy we didn’t just impulse book.
Look at the hotel reviews before you book!
There are so many hotels in Orlando and I’m talking 100’s you have everything from on-site park hotels to villas and motels you would literally be looking on trip adviser all day if you were to sit there and go through them all.
A lot of the hotels in Orlando seem to be quite new or have been given a makeover since I last visited so it did take me a while to know what I was looking at when doing my research but my number one bit of advise when booking a hotel in Orlando would be to get a good location, if you are more of a Disney person your best bet would be to stay somewhere in lake Bonavista because this is the closest to the Disney parks, where if you are a more Universal type of person then maybe international drive is your best bet. International drive has so many hotels because that area is quite popular amongst tourists, they have so many restaurants just a stone throw from the hotels so you will never go hungry, and its a good location if you want to get to the parks as when I was doing my research quite a lot of the hotels in international drive offer shuttle bus service to the parks ( if you don’t have a rental car ) some you have to pay for but some are free when staying at the resort so make sure you check before booking because the free shuttle bus services come in handy when you don’t have a car.
We decided to book a on-site hotel at Universal Studios for our trip this year purely based on the fact that its our first big holiday as a couple and we wanted to make it special so we didn’t mind paying the extra £££ when booking this holiday, sometimes you can get a good deal for the on-site park hotels but you really do need to keep your eyes peeled and just keep looking, if we were to go back again we probably wouldn’t book the on-site hotels each time as this obviously makes the price jump up compared to if you were staying on International drive so it really all depends on what sort of hotel you think will fit your needs/occasion most.
Download the Disney App
I haven’t been to Disney since I was a little girl and I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am! when I went back 6 years ago I didn’t get to visit any of the Disney parks so I really can’t remember them much at all. But since booking this trip I’ve become a religious watcher of Florida vlogs and I have become more and more excited every day.
I downloaded the Disney app a few weeks back because I found out that you could make breakfast, dinner or lunch reservations at the Disney parks quite far in advance before your trip, I’ve always wanted to do a character breakfast and booking breakfast with Winnie the Pooh was on the top of my list! so I quickly downloaded the app and got the booking, we are only in Orlando for 10 nights so I went through every day we are there and only one of the days towards the end of our holiday had one space left for breakfast at crystal palace! obviously, this must be one of the most popular breakfast attractions so I’m so happy I got to book it even if it is towards the end of our holiday! so my advice would be if your trip is coming up or you are looking to book for the future download the Disney app and get your dining reservations booked because they seem to go pretty fast and you don’t want to not get your dining experience whilst you’re there.
Grab some merch before you fly!
Who doesn’t want to visit Disney world wearing something Disney related? hold on let me rephrase that. Who goes to Disney world without wearing something Disney related.
Buying your Disney merch at the park is something you will eventually end up doing anyway ( Hello rose gold Minnie ears) but buying ears, T-shirts and bits and bobs soon adds up as the park prices can be quite pricy so this is where Primark comes in.
As you have probably been made aware over the last year or so Primark have gone Disney mad and I must say I am a fan, they are stocking everything Disney, from T-shirts to backpacks and PJ’s and i even saw a few weeks ago they have Minnie mouse sliders and suitcases and I just want to throw my money at them, but even though you are going to want to be buying things other then Disney merch before your holiday try and get a few bits while you’re still in the UK because you will kick yourself when you want to get a mickey mouse T-shirt in the park store that has a price tag of $29.99 when you could have got a cute Micky tee here for £8 in Primark and believe me the Disney range is CUTE AF.
Dollar Dollar bills yo.
Another thing that’s going to set you back on your Florida holiday is not only the booking the flight and hotel but the spending money, normally in the past when me and my fiance have been on holidays we just book our all inclusive holiday and just bring a bit of spending money with us in case we fancy having dinner outside the hotel one night or two and it never sets us back that much, but going to Orlando is a whole diffrent ball game my friends!
I’m just going to come out and say it Florida is expensive! everything you do is going to cost you money, the park tickets are going to set you back quite a bit so be prepared for that no matter if you get your park tickets before you go or whilst you’re there its going to take a chunk of money to pay for them this isn’t an accurate estimate but I think for me and my fiance to get the 14 day park tickets for universal and Disney is going to set us back a good £1200 for both of us!
A lot of the time when getting your park tickets you can get 14 days for the price of 7 so it doesn’t make a difference in price when booking. This year although while we are there we are going to look into getting the yearly passes for both parks just purely because we want to go back next year and if we can get a good enough deal it will work out so much cheaper in the long run, because when we book to go back next year we will only have to pay for our flights and hotel and the park tickets will already be paid for and that will also bring down how much we have to save leading up to the holiday for spending money because our parks are already paid for.
And don’t quote me on this but when I was young my family used to get the yearly park tickets because we did use to go back quite often so when we used to get the yearly passes you also got great discounts throughout the parks on certain restaurants and stores which also makes life a lot cheaper when there because most parks stopping for lunch alone is going to set you back a good $30 each time and believe me it adds up real quick.
so there you have it just a few tips before booking your holiday to Orlando, admittedly there isn’t a lot but these are just a couple of tips and tricks that I’ve learned over the last few months, and I will be doing another Orlando tips blog post before I go and after I return!
I also want to film a similar tips video on my youtube channel so keep your eyes peeled!
so let me know in the comments have you been to Orlando before? or planning to go soon? I would love to know and also if you have any tips let me know in the comment section.