Saturday 22 June 2019

My Florida Theme Park Guide

Hey there!

I have recently come back from an amazing holiday in Orlando! And while I would normally do a travel diary, but I have actually already got one from the last time I went and it's pretty similar to what I would've wrote about for this time. So instead I thought I'd do a theme park guide, as I have learnt a lot of tips and tricks over the times I have been to Orlando, plus I am itching to write about something Florida related. I absolutely love theme parks, and with Orlando being the theme park centre of the world, I absolutely love going there, plus there is something brand new and different every time you go. Plus the weather is a bonus.
My Top 3 Parks

Universal Studios/Islands of Adventure

Universal Studios is by far my favourite park of all time. Although in Florida you get many hardcore Disney fans, I am absolutely crazy for Universal. I love the rides and the range of them they have, from hard-core rollercoasters to out of this world motion simulators, there's something for everyone. And of course, one of the main reasons I love it so much is Harry Potter! Both Diagon Alley in Universal and Hogsmeade and Hogwarts in Islands of Adventure, I am absolutely obsessed, the rides, the theming and everything in between. But overall the parks have such amazing theming, rides and all the staff are so helpful and friendly. Plus, they have just opened the new Hagrid's Magical Creatures ride, which was amazing! We was lucky enough to be there for the opening and ride it!

Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom is such a beautiful park, and while most people will choose Magic Kingdom as their favourite park, it just isn't as appealing to me as Animal Kingdom is. It's such a stunning park, filled with gorgeous nature and animals, with amazing theming and rides. They have spectacular shows throughout the day, including Lion King, Nemo, and the Up bird show. Animal Kingdom has some amazing rides, and is home to probably the best ride I have ever been on "Flight of Passage" in the Pandora area of the park. Plus Animal Kingdom is an amazing place to get those amazing instas!

Busch Gardens

While the Disney parks and Universal parks have a variety of rides for everyone, if your looking for just rollercoaster overload, then Busch Gardens is the place to go. They have some amazing coasters, and there's something different with every single coaster. It is around a 2 hour drive from Orlando, but is 100% worth a day out too, and theres lots of transfers available from your hotel. Or even if you have a car it super duper easy to find!

My Top 5 Park Tips

If your not staying on site at Disney World, when you visit the parks, buy a cooler bag and take your own bottles of water, cans of pop plus snacks like crisps and sweets. You can get a standard size cooler bag from Walgreens or Walmart for around $10 and if you fill it and take it with you, you'll save a hell of a lot of money. As a bottle of water in the parks are around $3.50 and for that you can get a huge pack of the same brand water from Walgreens or Walmart and you can take a couple a day in your cooler bag. This goes for fizzy pop and stuff too. Plus its also handy to take your own snacks, just incase your peckish as Disney days are long days! But be sure to try some of the unique snacks and treats in the parks and not restrict yourself too much, but it always comes in handy, especially if there is a lot of you.

2. A sort of a similar tip to the first one, but for the Universal Parks and Volcano Bay. In both parks you can buy a re-fillable cup for around $15 with tax, and you get free refills all day! And you can bring it back and use it again for just $8! This is such a great thing to save you from spending lots on individual drinks. Plus there was just two of us, and we shared just one cup as you get unlimited re-fills, so just share a cup rather than having one per person! It saves a bit of dollar and you'll get your moneys worth on re-fills.

3. Take advantage of your Disney Fast Pass +! Now, I have done a whole other post on booking a Florida holiday - and I always, always tell everyone to grab their park tickets beforehand from ATD (Attractions Tickets Direct). And with the Disney tickets, you get fast pass with them, so you can of course shorten the long waiting times - because they can be so so long! For those staying on site at Disney you get a long 60 days in advance to fast pass some of your favourite rides, whereas those who aren't staying on site get 30 days, which is still fab! It can be really difficult to grab fast passes for new or popular rides, but you only get 3 fast passes in advance per day so make sure you use them wisely! Top ones to look out for would be Avatar Flight of Passage, Slinky Dog rollercoaster, Seven Dwarf mine train and Test Track! There we go, one from each park! You can do all of this through the app!

4. Download the apps! Im talking specifically about Disney and Universal, but having the apps on your phone come in super handy! Mainly to check ride wait times and you can get updated on rides that have broken down etc. You can keep up to date and book your Disney fast passes I was talking about in the last tip on the app and if you have the specific pass (it comes with the ATD Disney passes) you can store all your professional Disney pictures that you take around the parks too! Also with both of the apps you can link up your bank card to make paying for various things in the parks a lot easier! Especially in Volcano Bay waterpark, the Universal app links up to your Tapu Tapu band that you get on arrival at the park and you can just tap it to pay for drinks, lunch or whatever else you may buy. And it is so much easier, as all your stuff is in lockers and saves going back and forth. So a lot of great reasons for having the apps on your phone during your trip! I normally have all my phone apps in a little travel category.

5. Don't feel you have to stay from open to close. In Orlando, with any theme park, there is this overcoming desire to do absolutely everything and use every single moment, although that's not a bad thing to think, it can be so tiring. Majority of parks in Orlando, from Disney to Universal to Busch Gardens, are open from around 9am - 11pm or even later, that is a super long day! We stayed on International Drive, so a lot of the time we had a pool morning and spent the afternoon/evening at the Universal Parks. Or if it was Disney, we'd get the later shuttle bus at around 11:30 am and park hop to make the most of the trip to the resort. It's so important to rest on this type of holiday and relax, as that's what your on holiday for. My final tip - HAVE FUN but HAVE TIME TO RELAX!

I think that is everything from me. I hope this post was helpful and you found it interesting - and if your going to Orlando or anywhere on holiday soon for that matter, I hope you have the most wonderful time! And as I said earlier, I haven't done another Orlando Travel Diaries post as I didn't see the point but I will link a few piccies below!

See you on the next post!

Amy Shipley

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