Monday, 13 October 2014

My 10 Tips for the Ultimate Disney World Holiday

And points for the longest blog post title in the world goes to...

You guessed it!

But it's Disney World related so you'll forgive me, right?

As you may or may not know, back in May I went to Disney World Florida with my boyfriend on what ended up being the BEST. HOLIDAY. EVER. But, it only turned out that way because I'm pretty much the biggest perfectionist in the world; this includes holiday planning. So I thought I'd share my top tips in what made my holiday incredible, and also some of the things that I didn't do, but will be sure to do next time!

1. Get a Disney Dining Plan
Yeah, I know, the food tip is coming first, but I swear to God the dining plan is a lifesaver for a Disney holiday. Food in Disney World is mega expensive and of course in America tips are a must. A decent dinner can set you back at least $100. Our final evening meal would have cost $250 had we not had the dining plan. 
Not only does it save you a ton of money, but most holiday companies have deals on throughout the year where the dining plan is included for FREE if you stay in a Disney World resort hotel. The package I booked with Virgin included the Quick Service Dining Plan, but I upgraded to the Regular Dining Plan & I'm so happy I did. We had 1 Quick Service Meal, 1 Table Service Meal, 1 Refillable Mug and 1 Snack Credit per day. 
I cannot stress how much the plan is a must and makes getting food something you don't even have to think about. 

2. Stay in a Disney World Resort Hotel
This is actually a matter of preference, but for me, staying in a Disney hotel is what it's all about. There's a ton of themes to choose from and they are all magical. Plus you get free transport to anywhere in the resort. You also get transport to and from the hotel included (another thing you don't have to worry about) and as I mentioned above, if you book into a Disney hotel you often get lots of free benefits you wouldn't have otherwise received! It's a no brainer really.

3. Book EVERYTHING in advance.
By everything, I mean everything. Especially if you're going in peak periods. I went in May when it was less busy due to American schools being open, but if I hadn't booked fastpasses and dinner reservations well in advance I literally would have been devastated. Some dinner reservations are more sort after than others (Be Our Guest Restaurant reservations for dinner go in 10 minutes when the 180 day pre-booking period opens), so make sure you're on it. You can book fastpasses in advance if you're in a Disney hotel (another perk ;)). 

4. Research your restaurants.
I went through about a hundred different reviews to find the very best selection of restaurants that were on offer in Disney World. A holiday is all about the food and I wanted to find the best ones for my boyfriend and I. Even some of the highest rated restaurants weren't actually all that, so be careful with your decisions. Be Our Guest for lunch, for example, was pretty disappointing, but I've heard dinner is incredible. Also, two best restaurants are The Flying Fish Cafe and The California Grill by far. Just sayin'. 

5. Take more spending money than you think you'll need
I took around £400, which was literally just for souvenirs, and it still wasn't enough to buy everything I truly wanted to get. The shopping experience in Disney World and Florida in general is incredible and if you are a Disney fan you will want to buy all of the things. Next time, it's going to be more like £700. 

6. Have a strategy for the parks (and get there early!)
Ideally, you want to get to the parks for when they open. That way, you can hit the big attractions before they get piled up with queues. You can usually only get a fast pass for one of the big main attractions in a park, so head to the other one you're desperate to go on first. That way, it's done and dusted and you don't have to stand in the heat for hours. Then, you can fill in the gaps between your fastpasses with the other rides (or food, if you're me!).
Some parks are also busier on some days than others. A book I really recommend is The Brit's Guide to Orlando which actually tells you which parks are busiest on which days.

On this day, we got to Magic Kingdom when it opened and rode Splash Mountain four times. This was the third photo attempt. 

7. Buy a Memory Maker
This is actually something we didn't do, mainly because we thought we wouldn't need it. But we were really wrong. The pictures that the photographers take are really something special, one of which you can see at the top of the page, but to buy separately they are mega bucks. If you buy a Memory Maker you get all ride photos AND photos taken by Photo Pass Photographers all over the resort. Also, buy this BEFORE you go away online, because it doubles in price as soon as you're in the States. This will be a must have for the next time!

8. Ask where you're going, before you even realise you're lost
Another thing we didn't do. We hired a car for two of the days so we could get to Universal Studios, and we thought it would be easy to go to Epcot, then get the bus to Disney Dolphin to pick up the car. Unfortunately, what we didn't realise was that there isn't a bus to the Dolphin from Epcot, you have to walk all the way to the other side of the park to get a ferry there. This was probably the worst day of the holiday, as we trudged for a good hour in the heat trying to find our way to the resort. Really, we should have just asked where it was in the first place. 

9. Have a break
Once you've waltzed your way through all four parks, not going to lie, you're going to be pretty parked out. There's only so much queuing/crowd pushing/coaster riding you can take, so it's good to have a day where you just relax by the pool and not worry about anything. It is a holiday, after all!

10. Have the most magical time of your life
That's why you're at Disney World, isn't it? Everyone at the parks will do everything they can to make your holiday as magical as possible, but the only person who can make your holiday truly special is you. I am the biggest self-confessed planner in the world, but in the end we just relaxed and went with the flow. So just relax and enjoy yourself, because you're in the happiest place on Earth! 


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