Tuesday 13 November 2018

My Tips On Booking A Florida Holiday

Hello everyone!
So today I thought it'd be a great time to give my tips and tricks on booking a Florida holiday, as I get questions about it all the time and it is exactly 200 days until I am off to Florida again, so I got excited and thought "yay" lets talk all things Florida, haha. I have done various Florida holidays so to speak, so I have stayed in the Disney resorts and I have also stayed on International Drive etc, so I feel I could help with people who would rather do a full on Disney holiday or those who want to do a bit of everything and be central to that etc. Of course I am only here to give my personal tips and talk about my own experiences and I hope it helps some of you achieve booking that dream holiday the best way for you, but I am in no way an expert.
So I am lucky enough to have been to Florida three times soon to be four, I have been twice with family and once with my boyfriend, but soon to be twice, yay! And like I previously stated I will try and cover all different Florida holidays and hopefully there will be something for everyone. So without further or do lets jump into it. Eeeek I love talking about Florida.

Travel Agents

So I have been to Florida with my boyfriend in October 2017 and we will be going again in June 2019, and we booked both these trips through a travel agent. So there are many travel agents who will do Florida package holidays, including Virgin Atlantic, British Airways etc. But we have always booked ours through Thomas Cook, the reason being that we found it was the most cost efficient travel agent to book a Florida holiday with, and they also do a 0% interest payment scheme with a £0 deposit, so we love that. I have flown to Florida before with Virgin Atlantic, however I have always loved flying and booking our trip with Thomas Cook and I have never had any problems.

So my first tip if your interested in the scheme of paying your holiday off monthly with a travel agent, is to give yourself time to pay it off and make sure you can afford the monthly payments. So for example, me and my boyfriend booked our June 2019 trip in April 2018, so it gave us 13 months to pay off our holiday. So it works out for us at £85 each a month which is around £20 a week, which I don't think is too bad, and I know with it going out every month I don't have to worry about paying any outstanding balance nearer to the holiday. We are staying on International Drive as we wanted to be central to do lots of things around Orlando, but of course the monthly payments will differ depending on the price. So normally it is slightly more expensive to stay in Disney compared to say International Drive, but giving yourself time to pay off your holiday is the main thing to think about. So this amount for me covers our hotel, flights, transfers, insurance etc, but does not include any park tickets, but I'll get to that in a minute.

So with travel agents you can book any Florida holiday, so you can book to stay in the Disney resorts, in a villa in Kissimmee, a hotel on International Drive, so there really is a holiday for everyone. In regards to Disney, my main tip would be to book your trip around the time they offer the "Disney Dining Plan" which in essence means in your price you will have all your meals, snacks and drinks included throughout your stay within the Disney resorts and parks. It will save you so much money in the long run, and they are so handy to have and you don't have to worry about paying for dinner or for a treat in one of the parks. You can just tap away on your magic band and use your credits. They have this available every year but there are deadlines, so make sure you get in there quick! You can find information on the dining packages on the Disney website.

If your staying in Kissimmee, I would highly recommend hiring a car, as there is no free transportation buses like you would find on International Drive, or in the Disney resorts and it could add up to be quite costly in the long run with cabs and such. But staying in a villa in Kissimmee is amazing if there is a big family or a big group of people going as there will be enough room for you all and you could save money on snacks, drinks and food as you'd be provided with a kitchen in a villa which you can stock up on. Just as an example. But there are various hotels located in Kissimmee too, but I would only suggest staying here if your only really interested in spending most of your time in the Disney parks as its close to there. But like I said these are only my opinions and what I have experienced, you can stay wherever you like! Hehe!

And finally you have International Drive, and this is pretty much slap bang in the middle of everything, so a very good place if your interested in doing lots of different things. So me and my boyfriend love staying on International Drive as we love doing everything like Disney, Universal, Busch Gardens, sports games etc. And we also love trying new foods, and new restaurants and bars and just love being central to everything. We normally stay in a hotel called The Rosen Inn International and it is literally slap bang in the middle of International Drive. There is a regular bus that takes you from the hotel to the Universal Studios resort and parks, you can get an uber from as little as $12 to Disney. There is also an iRide that goes up and down International Drive and drops you off at Aquatica and Sea-World, also the outlet malls that are a must when your in Orlando and the iRide is only $2 a person, amazing! And there is so many restaurants and bars to enjoy around International Drive too, there is also lots of little bits to enjoy such as mini golf, museums, shops etc. Yeah International Drive is my favourite place to stay when taking a trip to Florida.

So if you are wanting to go through the route of a travel agent, the best thing to do is research online, shop around different travel agents and get some prices in mind. Then you can go into the actual travel agents and speak to someone and they will talk you through various options and the best package for you. And once your happy you can then book and get that countdown started on your phone and go "eeeeek" every time you see it and of course binge all the Disney vlogs. So this method could be an option for you when booking your dream holiday, but just make sure your 100% happy and do your research.

Booking Separate

So of course, you have the option of booking your holiday separate, so booking your hotel, then your flights and such. And this could work out better for some and be more beneficial. I personally haven't done this, but my family has when they booked flights and then booked our Disney hotel through "Attraction Tickets Direct".
So with hotels, if your wanting to book to stay in a Disney hotel, the best place to book is through Attractions Tickets Direct. So you pop in all your information, your dates, how many adults, children etc. They have a very detailed guide on the different hotels, so you can see which one is best for you and what is in your budget etc. And with the booking of a Disney hotel through ATD, you get your own customised magic band, extra magic hours in the parks, you get the Disney fast pass which is amazing, and if your staying in a Disney resort you can fast pass rides from 90 days in advance, so you can get those fast passes on the new rides like Avatar and the new Toy Story land rides and beat those queues. I love the fast passes! Don't worry if your not staying in a Disney resort because you get the fast pass feature with any Disney ticket. You can also choose dining plans in Disney resorts, they have various different ones, but the most popular is the "quick service dining plan" but be quick as they do have deadlines for this option! But the dining plans are only available at Disney resorts, no hotels outside the Disney resort offer this type of service. So if your not wanting to worry about meals and paying for meals, especially if there is a few of you, its all in your package and this could be the route for you.

If your wanting hotels that aren't in Disney, my personal favourite app and go to is Booking.com. I love Booking.com as you can see so many different hotels, apartments etc, and you have the option to pay at the property or pay in full on the day of booking and majority of the time Booking.com have some amazing deals. And once you use the app a few times they upgrade you to a genius member, is you then get discounts on most accommodation - its amazing I love it, I bragged about the app on my Thailand blog post. But there is so many other places to look into such as Expedia, Hotels.com etc. So my advice would definitely be to shop around, but Booking.com is my go to for any trip!

Flights are rather easy to book. But my go to place to find great prices is Sky-Scanner, it just saves you trapsing through loads of websites and gives you all the best deals from so many different airlines in one place. I find that of course the earlier you book your flights, normally means the more cheaper they are and we all want to save that coin!
In my opinion, I would only go down this route if you was looking to stay in a Disney hotel as Attractions Direct sort everything out for you with hotel, dining, park passes etc, as it may work out better to do this then book your flights separate. But with any holiday check both routes and see which one works best for you, I personally prefer to go with a travel agent as its all sorted and together, but like I said everyone is different and some routes may work best for others!

Park Tickets

So you've got your holiday booked! YAY! So exciting. So the next best thing is to book your park tickets as there are many theme parks you have to visit whilst your in Orlando!
If you booked your trip through a travel agent, more than likely you will be able to book your park tickets, I know that Thomas Cook definitely does, and I am 100% sure that most travel agents do. And with this you will normally be able to add the ticket prices on top of your overall holiday price.

But my go to place to buy my park tickets is Attraction Tickets Direct definitely. They offer so many packages of tickets, for example they do a Disney package, Universal Studios package, a Disney and Universal combo package, they do everything and there is definitely something for everyone! These packages last 2 weeks and allow you unlimited access to each of the parks in your package. And every package comes with so many gifts and freebies its amazing! So when we went in 2017 we got a "Dine 4 Less" card which came in so handy as we got discount on various restaurants in Orlando, we got a voucher book for the Outlet Malls, and we had a free day out to Gator Land which was a lot of fun and something different from the theme parks! And that was only a few of the freebies we got with our package ticket. It was so amazing! Like I emphasised earlier, every Disney ticket package comes with FastPass, so you can FastPass all your favourite rides and beat all those long long queues. And I think you are able to start fast passing rides 60 days in advance if your not staying in a Disney resort, and 90 days if you are. You can see all the packages on the website! We normally do the "Orlando Freedom Ticket" which allows us access to the Disney parks, Universal parks, Seaworld, Aquatica and Busch Gardens! So amazing! And it's handy to have, as you could go to Universal Studios one day and then decide to pop over to Disney for the afternoon and the evening fireworks and you can as you have all your passes to hand!
The best thing also about ATD is you can pay off your tickets in instalments, and you only have to put down a £25 deposit and you then have until 4 weeks before you go to pay off your tickets!
If you are planning a Florida holiday or even just thinking about one, I would definitely have a proper look through their website, as they're amazing! I've always gone with them.

So thats all for this post, I hope it has helped any of you planning an Orlando trip or wanting too! I am planning on doing related posts to this, including park tips, the best places to go on International Drive etc. So let me know what you want to see, but be prepared for more Florida content. Yay!
Thank you so much for reading my post and I will see you on the next one!

Amy Shipley


key said...

I've read a lot of travel tips today and I wanna freak out coz I really want to go places 😭 Florida is beautifulful btw 💖


Van Rental Malaysia said...

Florida is the most beautiful place in the world as there are many souvenir things to do and well the city has many sites to visit and there are many adventurous activities to do like hiking, paint ball, bunge-jumping and many more and which forces visitor to visit the place once in a lifetime.