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Top Tips for Planning Your Orlando Holiday

How to plan your Orlando holiday!

A holiday to Orlando requires a LOT of planning. That’s why we’ve put together a handy guide filled with top tips to take the hassle out of organising your trip…

Choose which parks you want to visit:

Orlando theme parks

When you think of the Orlando parks, Disney, Universal and SeaWorld might be the first that come to mind, but of course there are lots more. The first thing we’d recommend when planning your trip, is to choose which parks you want to visit. Check out our Expert Guide to find out more about each park.

Top tip- If you want to visit several parks, combination tickets give you admission to multiple theme parks and save you money!

 

Are they any other attractions you want to experience?

Swim with dolphins at Discovery Cove Orlando

There are lots of exciting parks to explore in Orlando that you might not have considered. Did you know, you can meet astronauts at the Kennedy Space Center, swim with dolphins at Discovery Cove, learn ninja skills at LEGOLAND Florida and zoom along a zipwire above a pool of alligators at Gatorland? It’s worth doing a bit of research beforehand to see if there are any other parks you want to go to, so that you can make time in your schedule to visit.

Top tip- If you’d love to swim with dolphins it’s really important to book in advance. The park only allows a maximum of 1,200 guests each day to ensure a relaxed environment, so book early if you don’t want to miss out.

 

Decide when you want to go:

If you’re visiting with little ones, you might be restricted to travelling during the school holidays. Even though we think it’s always a good time to visit Orlando, if you have a bit more freedom with your dates, it’s worth considering visiting off-peak. There are plenty of perks for the off-peak season, such as shorter queues for the rides, fewer crowds and cheaper hotel rates to name just a few.

Walt Disney World at Christmas

While the holiday seasons like Halloween and Christmas are much busier, it might be worth visiting at this time if you want to experience the parks spectacular special events.

Top tip- January, February, September and November are generally quieter months, which are great for those wanting to avoid the crowds. You can expect the summer months, holiday seasons, Thanksgiving and Memorial Day weekend to be particularly busy.  We’d also suggest checking the American school holidays before you visit, as the parks are much busier during this time too.

 

Book your theme park tickets in advance:

Orlando theme park tickets

Booking your theme park tickets in advance is the best way to save money on your Orlando holiday! Buying tickets on the gate is much more expensive and there are always long queues at the ticket booths. When you book your Orlando theme park tickets with Orlando Ticket Deals, you’ll be sent real tickets (not vouchers) which allow you to walk straight through the gates- hassle free!

Top tip- Did you know you can secure your tickets with a small deposit and you won’t have to pay the balance until 28 days before your holiday! We always have a range of amazing special offers too, so make sure you check them out.  

 

Choose where to stay?

Off-site or on-site? That is the question! The perks of staying off-site are that accommodation is cheaper and if you’re visiting in a big group or with the family, a villa will give you much more space. While this is a good way to save a bit of money, being further away from the parks means you’ll either need to rent a car or pay for transport each day.

Universal's Cabana Bay Orlando

Staying on-site might be a bit pricier, but there are lots of fantastic benefits. One of our favourite things about staying on-site is that the hotels have incredible theming! If you’re staying at a Disney or Universal hotel, you’ll also be able to benefit from free transportation to and from the parks, as well as early park admission, which means you can get on the most popular rides before the public are allowed in!

Top tip- If you’re staying on-site, make sure you get up early and make the most of your early admission. You’ll be able to ride your favourite attractions with no queues!

 

Make a rough plan:

Orlando holiday planning

Once you’ve figured out which parks you want to visit, we’d recommend making a rough itinerary for your trip. This encourages you to think more about what you want to see and do, and an organised plan will help make sure you’ve got time to do everything on your list. It doesn’t have to be too detailed and of course you don’t have to stick to it if something else comes up, but you’ll feel much more relaxed if you have a rough idea of what you’ll be doing when you arrive. If you haven’t been to Orlando before it can be hard to know where to start, but a good plan will put you more at ease.

While having fun in the theme parks is probably at the top of your list, it’s worth planning a day off from the parks. After all the walking you've been doing, a day spent by the pool will be a welcome break. 

Top tip- Remember that with most tickets (including Disney’s Ultimate Ticket and Universal’s 3 Park Explorer Ticket) you can park hop, which means you can visit several parks in the same day. Disney have lots of great night time shows, so if you’ve been to a different park in the day and are looking for a fun way to spend the evening you can head to a different park to watch a dazzling firework show.

 

Use Disney’s FastPass+ system:

Once you’ve got your Walt Disney World tickets, make sure you download the My Disney Experience App. This app is so useful for planning your trip as it lets you make FastPass+ reservations up to 60 days before your holiday if you’re staying on-site, or 30 days before for those who are staying off-site. You can make up to 3 FastPass+ selections for a single park per day and these allow you to make restaurant reservations, skip the lines and reserve character greetings. You can do all of this from home, before you even step foot on the plane!

Disney's FastPass+ Walt Disney World

The app will also come in handy when you arrive at the parks, as you can view live waiting times for the rides and make changes to your FastPass+ reservations as well as additional bookings.

Top tip- Most of the theme parks offer skip-the-queue passes, with some starting from as little as £27 (SeaWorld Orlando). If you’re visiting during peak season, it might be worth investing in one of these passes to save yourself some time- you’ll be able to ride your favourite attractions as many times as you like!

 

Do you want to go shopping?

Orlando shopping malls

Orlando is a shoppers’ paradise, so if you fancy indulging in a bit of retail therapy, you’ve come to the right place. The Orlando Premium Outlets and the Florida Mall are just a short distance from the theme parks and have everything you could want. Both shopping centres are huge, boasting hundreds of shops (including designer brands) with huge discounts up to a staggering 65% off!

Brands include Calvin Klein, Diesel, Michael Kors, Reebok, Ugg, Abercrombie and Fitch, Victoria’s Secret Mac Cosmetics and even Disney’s Character Warehouse, so you can pick up some souvenirs for the kids. With so much to see, you might want to plan some shopping time into your schedule.

Top tip- If you want to do some serious shopping, the outlet stores are the best place to go to get great deals and more value for your money.

 

Prepare for the weather:

The weather in Orlando can be unpredictable, so it’s a good idea to plan for all occasions. We’d recommend packing a few extra items just in case. It’s a good idea to bring a lightweight jumper/cardigan for the evenings when the temperature lowers. This will also come in handy when you’re inside and the air-con is turned up!

Weathe rin Orlando

Packing a rain mac is essential, as you never know when you might need one. They’re lightweight and easy to carry so it shouldn’t get in the way either. Plus, if there’s a sudden downpour or you get soaked on a water ride, you’ll be grateful that you planned ahead! One of the most important items to pack though, has to be a pair of comfy shoes. While the Floridian sunshine might encourage you to put the flip flops on, you’ll be doing so much walking that a comfortable shoe is vital.

Top tip- Make sure you do a bit of research before you book your holiday to see what the weather will be like when you intend to go. This will help with your decision and give you an idea of what to expect.

*Please note prices given in this post are subject to change.

 

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