Guide To Disney World Orlando
After visiting Disney World Orlando (Florida) this March, I felt it was necessary to put together some form of blog around how to make the most of your visit. There were a few things I would have done differently, which I will outline, but on the whole the group of us who visited had an amazing adventure.Plan, Plan, Plan & Plan Some More
When I go on holiday, I tend to plan only the basics, preferring instead to ‘wing it’ once I reach my destination. There are only rare instances where it’s worth booking events and activities in advance – for example where significant advance discounts are available. When it comes to Disney World, planning is your friend. In fact, it’s one of the very few circumstances where I’d strongly recommend planning as much as possible.
You’ll find that planning in advance will mean you can eat at the restaurants you want to eat in (some book out earlier than others, in particular the ‘Be Our Guest’ Beauty and the Beast themed restaurant), enjoy the rides you want to go on, visit the shows you are looking to see and stick to an itinerary that suits your needs. The less planning that is involved, the harder it will be to stick to your schedule.
It’s particularly important to plan the days you visit the park, especially if you are visiting during a major holiday or busy period. The Undercover Tourist Crowd Calculator (https://www.undercovertourist.com/orlando/crowd-calendar/
) is particularly useful for this; providing you with all the information you need about which park to visit on which date. This includes information about Extra Magic Hours (which can be in the morning or night) that on-site guests can utilise, as well as expected crowd levels for each park.
The final way to plan for your trip to Disney World is to get into shape! The parks are large and if you are intending to make the most of your visit, being as fit as possible is ideal. You’ll likely spend a lot of time on your feet whilst here – particularly if you are looking to enjoy the top rides multiple times as you’ll need to queue for lengthy periods of time. It provides a great opportunity for you and your group to get fit before travelling, which is something you’ll reap the benefits of both during and after your visit!Use Fastpass+
Fastpass+ will be your best friend and worst enemy during your visit to Disney World. Whilst it can be frustrating to see swarms of park-goers filing past you at a rate of knots, whilst you stand with aching feet in blazing sunshine, when it’s your turn to utilise the system, you’ll be laughing. (ideally not literally, that’s probably a good way to annoy the standby queue…)
Fastpass+ allows you to book what is effectively the ability to jump to the front of the queue for up to 4 rides/events/shows per day – you’ll be able to book 3 in advance and then book a 4th
on the day once you’ve used the other three. If you are strategic around booking these, you can enjoy the best the parks have to offer with the minimum amount of fuss and queuing necessary.
There are also some opportunities for you to pick up extra passes, such as through the Fantasmic Dining Package. You’ll be able to eat a delicious 3 course meal and then you’ll receive a special ticket that will allow you to sit right in the centre of the arena to watch the amazing light show. We ate at Mama Melrose’s as we felt it was the best value for money option.Try To Take Your Time
It can be so easy to try and pack as much as possible into your holiday to Orlando – which is certainly a mistake we made. We visited for 11 days, which included 5 days of Disney, 2 days at Universal, a day at Sea World, a day trip to the Kennedy Space Center and 2 days in Miami; the last of these involving a surprisingly relaxing 8 hour round trip by car. We visited the Universal parks on our last two days in Orlando and we were honestly so exhausted by this point that we barely went on any rides and instead spent the day looking around the parks and saw some shows.
If I was to book the ideal Disney trip, I would want to visit for at least two weeks. This would allow you to visit other parks, make the most of the Disney parks and also enjoy some time for relaxing. If you had the budget, I would absolutely recommend allowing 2 days for EACH Disney park, allowing you to fully utilise the Fastpass+ system with 8 passes for each park, as well as a further 11 days to visit other attractions including the city of Miami & the Everglades, Sea World, Universal, the Kennedy Space Center and Silver Springs. This should allow for a minimum of 3 very much need rest days – 1 per week.Don’t Forget Essentials
Whilst we planned our Disney adventure very well, there were a couple of times we found ourselves in a sticky situation. The first time was when I was stood in a queue with the sun burning down on top of me and realised I’d forgotten to bring anything to help with the situation – a handheld electric fan, a bottle of water, anything. That wasn’t pleasant. The second issue occurred when the heavens opened and a small waterfall of rain decided to dump its load on the park for about 2 hours. We’d taken ponchos with us, but after 7 beautiful days of weather, had finally foolishly left them at our holiday home. Upon enquiring on the cost of a Disney Poncho ($15!) we decided to just wait it out, which certainly knocked our itineraries back for that day.Consider Staying Off-Site
Finally, whilst Disney World is incredible, it’s important to remember that Orlando and the wider state of Florida consists of far more than this magical place! There are a wide number of natural and man-made attractions to visit across the state, as well as interesting cities and fabulous food to sample. It’s even possible to head across to the Caribbean for a day or two if time allows.
The easiest way to stay flexible whilst visiting the Disney World area is to consider staying off-site, using a site such as AirBNB. (https://www.airbnb.com
) Whilst you do miss out of certain benefits, such as being able to book Fastpass+ passes further in advance, you’ll also have a lot more flexibility to explore Florida. This option won’t be suitable for everyone, but if you are travelling as a couple, group of adults or a group of adults and older children, you may wish to make the decision to choose flexibility over the inclusive nature of staying on-site.… A Final Word
Most importantly, have an amazing time on your journey to Disney World! My personal favourites:
Favourite Park – Magic Kingdom (this was truly magical at night)
Favourite Ride – Toy Story Midway Mania (so much fun, I could easily ride this once a week as a minimum!)
Favourite Show / Event – Fantasmic, although the Magic Kingdom light show and fireworks were spine-tinglingly good