I've been asked a lot of questions about our trip to Florida such as how we booked and who did we book with? We've also been asked where we are staying, if we are getting a villa and why we chose Disney property for our stay? I decided to film a video, which you can watch below, answering all of these questions from our point of view which hopefully will help anyone who is considering booking a holiday to Orlando but in particular a Disneyworld resort hotel.
Here are some of my tips for booking a Disneyworld Florida holiday:
- Consider what time of year you want to go. Florida can have pretty tropical weather and the summer months tend to be their rainy season. Whilst this should affect or spoil your trip too much if you choose to travel (or have to due to school holidays/job) in these months, it's good to be prepared for a few rain showers and thunder and lighting storms and be aware that these can impact the rides at the park.
- Get your ESTAs sorted either immediately after booking or even before booking. The ESTA is a mandatory travel requirement for anyone wanting to travel to America. It is essentially a mini VISA and everyone needs one. If you need to renew your passport before you travel, do this first and then apply for your ESTA as it is only valid for 2 years or until your passport expires; whichever comes first. If you are declined an ESTA you will need to make an appointment with the embassy to obtain a VISA and this can be a lengthy process.
- Consider booking the elements of your holiday separately. Flights go on sale 11 months in advance (at the moment) if you are booking flight only with any airlines and these can also include a flydrive where you can hire a car from the airport. There are also lots of car hire companies in Florida and you can book the car before you travel. We used Alamo. You can book a villa or a hotel directly with the owner or company and buy park tickets from places like Florida Tix or Attractions Direct, both of whom issue actual tickets and not paper vouchers for you to collect upon arrival, saving you time when you get to Orlando. Always buy tickets before you travel from the UK as they are considerably cheaper.
- If you are considering staying on Disney property and are travelling between April to just before Christmas then hold off booking until Disney release their Dining Plan Deals. If you are looking at a moderate or deluxe resort for your stay, booking from April the year before you want to travel, you will be able to have the Disney Quick Service Plan (moderate) or the Disney Dining Plan (Deluxe) included for free in the price of your hotel. This will save you lots of money as you don't then need to account for food spending money. This is something Thomas Cook failed to mention to us until it was too late to change the booking but I am aware that places like Virgin and Thomson will contact their customers who have expressed an interest beforehand to arrange for a quote as soon as Disney release their deals. You can also book this deal direct with Disney and include your park tickets meaning you only need to book the flights and car hire if required.
Those are just some of the tips I have from our experience. If you have been before then please do add any hints or tips you have in the comments section.