You might think that a fair amount of planning goes into any holiday, but Orlando holidays take it to another level. Not only can flights and hotels be booked around a year in advance, but the most organised visitors will also book dining reservations, arrange airport transfers, arrange rest day activities and even plan their days down to the hour before they step foot on the plane.
That’s what we’ve done for our Orlando holiday. The last time I visited as a guest, Fastpass+ was just an idea and the dining plan was too expensive. We hired a car so there was no need to plan meals in advance; we would simply drive to the restaurant that took our fancy.
This time it’s different.
Gone are the days of having a rough idea of what to do on each day, and now it’s more common to have a minute-by-minute plan ready. Since I’ve planned a lot, I thought I would share some of our ideas. It might help you decide what to do on your upcoming trip. And if you’re not going? Then this is the perfect chance to be nosey.
We’re travelling close to the October half term so flights from the UK to Orlando are in high demand. Prices obviously reflect this, and so the airlines were demanding at least £900 per person to fly directly to central Florida. Money does not grow on trees, and therefore we decided to get indirect flights. We’re stopping off at Atlanta on one way, and New York on the other. There won’t be enough time to get out and explore at these layover cities but it will save us £400 per person. I’d say that’s a good saving in return for a few more hours of travelling, and we still get to fly with Virgin Atlantic, who are my favourite airline by miles.
As we won’t be hiring a car (insurance for under 25s is ridiculous – not to mention I’d be terrified), we wanted to stay as close to the action as possible.
The choice for Universal was easy. Cabana Bay is 50s themed and is their version of a budget hotel, but also has two huge pools, endless eating options and lots to do without even leaving the resort. It comes with free bus transfers, or a short walking path, to the theme parks. The main bonus is that it allows guests into the parks an hour early, so we can quickly do some of our favourite rides before the queues build up. All this, and it only costs slightly more than a regular hotel.
At Disney, the choice was a bit harder. We knew we wanted to get the dining plan, which comes free with a deluxe hotel and has a small upgrade fee at the moderate hotels. Caribbean Beach was slightly cheaper and I’ve never properly explored the resort before. It was hard to decide between there and the marginally more expensive Port Orleans hotels, but I think Caribbean Beach will be a great option. I can’t wait to have an early morning run around their track and relax on a hammock on their beach.
We are going to have so much food to eat in Disney. The dining plan gives everyone two large meals per day – and that’s American-size large – plus a snack. I’ll probably be waddling from ride to ride. Find out which restaurants we chose, and why we picked them, here.
In Universal we’ll have to pay for our meals out of pocket. They have my favourite fast food chain of all time in CityWalk, Panda Express, so I’m sure we’ll be making a few stops at this Chinese restaurant for their orange chicken. Yum! I also really hope we can go to Margeritaville one night for a more expensive meal. I’ve always wanted to go but the timing has never worked out, so maybe October will be my chance.
Picking Fastpass+ times is where planning really gets serious. It’s time to take it up a notch from deciding where you’d like to eat six months in advance to where you’d like to be at every time of every day. It’s intense. Find out which rides I always recommend Fastpassing here.
The Magical Express, Disney’s transport to their resort hotels from the airport, is the obvious choice, though we’re not checking into our Disney hotel until our third day so we have to make our own way to our Universal hotel. Uber isn’t allowed to pick up passengers from the airport, so we have a choice between a Universal shuttle or a regular taxi. We’ll probably decide when we get there!
Most importantly for you is how I’m going to record all of this magic.
I’ll be live tweeting and instagramming while we’re there, making full use of all the complimentary wifi. If the connection turns out to be awful then there will probably be a bit less than I’d hope.
I will also be vlogging our days as well as taking endless photos on my new Canon G7x camera. I can’t wait to take it for a proper spin after trying out vlogging during my trip to Rome.
Then, of course, there will be the post-trip blog posts. I’ll go over the highlights, all the new things I discovered, and tell you what you can’t possibly miss on your next trip.
Are you starting to get excited? Because I’m about to jump off the walls!
Are you going on holiday soon? Have you done much planning or do you like to go with the flow?