We have just returned from an amazing family holiday in the ‘land of mouse’ so wanted to blog about our 10 Top Tips for Disney World Florida.
Friends advised us to go during the Easter holidays when the weather would be really warm and not the summer when the heat and humidity can be stifling. It was great advice!
We had trouble getting direct flights to Orlando because we didn’t book them early enough – only 6 months prior!
Kissimmee is the place to book your accommodation as its close to all the parks and full of lovely villas with pools.
The Disney park passes are very expensive on the gates in the USA however we booked in the UK and managed to buy one week and get second week free.
If you are thinking about visiting the ‘land of mouse’ we thought you might appreciate our 10 Top Tips for Disney World Florida…
10 Top Tips for Disney World Florida
- Eating Out: On holiday we love to get out of the kitchen and so eat out lots. The American buttermilk pancakes are fabulous and can be sourced at most eateries, our regulars were Denny’s Diner and IHOP (International House Of Pancakes). One of our favourite places for dinner was Celebration Town a place designed by Walt Disney as the perfect town. We found two fabulous restaurants, the Tavern and the Bohemian Hotel and after dinner ice creams at Kilwins were a knock out. Note to self: Take lots of dollars for tips!
- Jumping the Queues: During peak hours it’s not unusual for queuing times on the most popular experiences to reach 120 minutes! British people have the reputation for an aversion to queuing and the Bird family (particularly daddy Bird) are no different. The Disney FastPass service enables any park guests to book three fast passes per day in advance. The FastPass places you in a queue which speeds you in front of guests in the main queue otherwise known as ‘Stand By’. Simply download the ‘Disney World’ iPhone app and book away. Note to self: Contact mobile telephone provider before departure and agree a preferential international data package!
- Wild Animals: Our favourite Disney park was Animal Kingdom, one of the reasons was because of the amazing wild animal experiences. Our highlights were seeing an 8 month old gorilla being carried by its mum, a bird standing on the back of a sleeping hippopotamus whilst tropical fish swam around it and a Commodo Dragon who has 60 poisons with which to kill their prey. For these experiences visit the Kilimanjaro Safari, Pangani Forest Exploration Trail and Maharajah Jungle Trek. Remember wild animals are most active early morning and at dusk when the sun is cooler. Note to self: Check there is plenty of storage space on the smart phone for taking lots of photos and videos!
- Water Fun: The Disney water parks are AMAZING! At ‘Typhoon Lagoon’ we loved the 6 foot waves that you could surf and the Lazy River which we meandered around on inflatable rings. ‘Blizzard Beach’ was brilliant for the Team Ride water ride which we did as a family numerous times and also the super fast Tabogan hill racing. At the non-water parks we also loved the log flume at Disney Magic Kingdom and the Kali River Rapids at Animal Kingdom. Water parks in the UK are such a poor imitation – never again! Note to self: Pack sun cream & t-shirts to wear in the water as the Florida sun is very hot!
- Fast & Furious Rides: Even though Disney is for children and families it also boasts some fast and furious rides. Of our party of eight people three of us loved fast and furious, our favourites were: Rockin’ Roller Coaster @ Hollywood Studios, Space Mountain @ Magic Kingdom, Everest Expedition @ Animal Kingdom, Mission Space (Orange team) @ Epcot and Summit Plummet @ Blizzard Beach. Note to self: Best to do these rides a couple of hours after food!
- Action Adventure: Disney Hollywood Studios takes the prize for action adventure. The Indiana Jones show provided incredible behind the scenes demonstration of show business stunts. For some shoot ’em up action adventure we loved the Buzz Lightyear ride at the Magic Kingdom, a couple of our party nearly exceeded 100,000 points
- Outer Space: The Kennedy Space Centre is about an hours drive from Orlando and well worth the trip. My highlights were the Apollo 8 control centre and then walking into the hanger holding the rocket and also the Atlantis space ship ‘reveal’ – I won’t say any more. The scale, technology and determination involved in exploring deep space are simply breathtaking. Note to self: I need to bring my fish eye lens in order to be able to photograph the entire space ships.
- Big Bangs: Every evening there are street parades, firework displays and laser shows, our favourite of which was illuminations, reflections of the earth at Epcot. We found that the UK village was a great spot on the lake from which to watch the firework and laser show. The ‘Rose & Crown’ pub served a great British pint and fabulous fish and chips! Note to self: Don’t leave this to the last night as you will want to do it twice.
- Period Dramas: We are not big TV watchers however we love a period drama and found our holiday punctuated a series we were watching. The likes of BBC iPlayer and ITV Player block international IP addresses so that people overseas cannot use UK catch up websites. We discovered that downloading Hola provides a rerouted Internet connection via a UK IP address and so we were able to keep up to date with our favourite period drama! Note to self: Pack travel speaker the Bose SoundLink to enjoy great sound on catch up and for listening to music.
- Shopping: Disney is full of plastic souvenir tat and there wasn’t much that tempted us. We chose to spend our dollars on clothes as the result of a good exchange rate, lower costs of living in USA and ‘factory outlets’ selling last seasons designs or slightly flawed clothing at reduced prices. We used the Orlando Premium Outlets which hosted brands such as Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Crocs and Converse. Note to self: Next time leave plenty of room in bags to bring new clothes home!