Summer holidays in Orlando, Florida are really popular with British families and travellers. With the theme parks only a short drive from Orlando International airport, most people fly into the Sunshine state for 2 weeks and spend their holiday visiting Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, Busch Gardens and more. As it’s quite a long way to travel, going to Orlando is a big deal for people and lots of planning goes into trips. In today’s post I’m going to be talking about what you should consider before booking a trip to Orlando, which will feature some key decision making questions that should help you kick start your Florida holiday planning.
1. What theme parks do you want to visit?
Most people visit all of the Orlando theme parks during their holiday, but some people just stick to Disney. If you’re a first timer, I’d recommend visiting them all, but if you’ve been to Orlando multiple times, you’ll probably want to just visit your favourites. The amount of theme parks you want to visit will determine how long you should stay in Orlando for.
2. How many nights do you want to be away?
The most popular thing to do is visit for 2 weeks, but sometimes people opt for shorter or longer than that. Personally, I like visiting Florida for 10 days. Over the last few years I’ve spent the entire 10 days at Disney, visiting the 4 theme parks but not the water parks, so I haven’t needed a full two weeks there. In 2011 I also experienced a 1 week trip and although it was crazy busy, it was a lot of fun and not as knackering as a longer trip!
3. Do you want to stay off site in hotels or villas that are a short drive from the theme parks or would you prefer to stay on site at Walt Disney World or Universal?
Staying off site gives you some time away from the theme parks and more of an authentic American holiday experience. It’s usually the cheaper option and you’re spoilt for choice with accommodation around the Orlando area.
If you choose to stay on site in any of the official theme park hotels, it is a lot more expensive, but you have access to dining offers, free transportation and sometimes additional theme park hours. These hotels are extremely special and often themed, but you have to be prepared that if you stay on site at Disney or Universal, you will be eating, sleeping and dreaming about theme parks for the duration of your stay!
4. Do you like to go to themed restaurants or are you happy to have quick meals at diners?
If you like themed restaurants, it’s a good idea to stay on site at Walt Disney World. Every year there is a free dining offer which means you can dine at Disney restaurants for ‘free’ (minus the cost of gratuities) if you’re staying at qualifying Walt Disney World hotels. With the current GBP to USD exchange rate being so poor, the Disney Dining Plan can be a great way to save money on food and drink at Walt Disney World.
Alternatively, there are classic American diners and chain restaurants in Orlando such as Denny’s, IHOP and Red Lobster, which all provide you with quick and hearty meals. These restaurants are all more affordable than the ones at the theme parks and often they’re much more relaxed. The only downside to places like this is that you will probably need to hire a car to be in easy access of them, as most of them are located on International Drive and the popular 192 road.
5. Is a car necessary for your trip?
Orlando is becoming more and more accessible to guests without cars. You can get shuttle transfers from the airport to your resorts, Uber operates in the area and lots of resorts offer free transportation to some of the theme parks. If you want to be able to go to diners, malls and supermarkets, having a car is very helpful, but if you’re going to be eating out for most of your trip and staying only at Walt Disney World or Universal, a car is not necessary. Hire cars are not cheap so definitely consider whether on not it is a cost-effective option for your family.
Hopefully this post has been helpful, whether you’re a first time visitor or an Orlando addict. Holidays in Orlando take a lot of planning and consideration, but they are so much fun for all ages!
Have you been to Orlando before? Do you usually visit all of the theme parks in the area?
Thanks for reading my blog today.