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Cost of Holiday to Florida Theme Parks

(119 Posts)

The DC would like to go to the Florida Theme Parks in a couple of years time. They are 7 and 11 so I suggested waiting until DS2 is a bit older. This is partly a ploy to give me time to save up wink.

What is a realistic budget for a family of 4 which is somewhere between blowing the bank and watching every penny whilst there?

I plucked the figure £6000 out of the air as a saving target. Is this reasonable or unrealistic. I can price up flights and hotels/ villas but I have no idea what it costs when you are there. Any guidance and practical experience would be appreciated.

NineteenForever Sun 31-Aug-14 19:34:46

6000 isn't bad but if you're going in July or august the flights will be 3600-4000 alone for 4. 4 people's disney tickets for a fortnight is 1100 and tickets for universal are about 500. Then there's food. I recommend the for research. But go if you can!

Ps if you go to universal I recommend a night at one of their partner hotels as you get a 2 day express pass for most of the rides, and the Hotel cost outweighs paying for the express pass.

JustAShopGirl Sun 31-Aug-14 19:45:52

We went in 2010 and spent just under £8000 on everything - including flights/car hire/villa/parks/food/parking/fuel/pet kennels/coach to airport etc

We did not scrimp on anything but did not blow the bank either.

We stayed in a villa for 14 nights in October and spent 1 night at a Universal hotel for the 2 days of express line access with early access to Harry Potter 1hr before park opened.

We went to Disney/Universal/Kennedy/Busch gardens/Disney crazy golf/Airboat ride and a natural springs park.

Was fab - can also recommend theDibb boards for planning info, and mapman for a map of the area that has all the parks and restaurants, malls,supermarkets, pharmacies and villa communities on there

merlehaggard Sun 31-Aug-14 19:47:36

To stay in a villa and with 3 children and 2 adults, we needed £10k and one was only a baby.

Prizepudding Sun 31-Aug-14 19:54:55

We have booked for next year and are going end of June into July for 3 weeks and flights were £2600 (BA) for the four of us, the villa just over £1000. We have priced tickets and are looking at £1700 for the four of us as dd will be 10 when we go and has to get an adult ticket. When you add on car hire, it comes to nearly £6k and will still need to find spending money.
I have no idea re money whilst there so will watch with interest.

Hulababy Sun 31-Aug-14 20:05:28

We have just got back a week ago.

Flights: £1000 per adult, in August. We found flying Fri-Fri was cheaper than weekends

Villa: a nice 4 bed villa with private pool is about £450 a week

Car: one of cheapest bits, less than £100 a week for a decent size car (their economy size is normally a 5 seat saloon with decent boot). Gas is cheap

Parks: biggest cost after flights. We usually buy Disney direct and then get rest from

14 day Disney - £266 per adult; £251 for under 10s
14 day Universal hopper ticket - £119 per adult; £109 for under 10s
Space Centre - £29 per person

Food and drink prices vary depending where you eat. Obviously in the parks it is dearer, with sit down meals costing the most. There are quick service counters though which cost less. You can can an idea of food costs on the Disney website as most places include menus. Off park you can eat very cheap if you so wish, or could eat at the villa using the supermarkets.

Hulababy Sun 31-Aug-14 20:09:18

If going in summer holidays end of the holidays is good. Florida schools seemed to go back towards mid August. Our second week was much less busy than the first. We had planned to buy an Express pass for one of our Universal days but it just wasn't needed in the second week at all. Worth noting also that the Express passes do not inc the Harry Potter rides. The advantage of the two main Universal hotels is that hotel guests get early access into the parks - an hour early. When we were there this only gave guests access to the Harry Potter parts, the other rides - certainly in Universal Studios, not sure about IoA - were not open at that time.

waithorse Sun 31-Aug-14 20:19:27

I'll watch this thread with interest.

sarahandduck Sun 31-Aug-14 20:23:21

Ooh we are just starting to think about this for 2016, so I'll be interested in others experiences.

This is really helpful. I'll reply more fully once I've gone through things in detail but I just wanted to say a big thank you.

I had a feeling I wasn't allowing for all the costs.

Eastpoint Mon 01-Sep-14 07:27:34

We haven't been to DisneyWorld but do you really have & use 14 day passes? Do you not just go for one or two days? I'm just curious.

merlehaggard Mon 01-Sep-14 07:49:33

The best use of your time is to be able to pop in and out the parks as you feel like it. It is very tiring and hard work though absolutely fantastic. I rally think we would go every year if we could afford it. You may want to have a day shopping but go to the park in the evening for a parade or fireworks. You may want to go to one park in the morning and another in the afternoon. The cost is not much more to have a 14 day pass but the flexibility it allows you is well worth it in my opinion. It also includes the water parks and Disney Quest. We had £2000 spending and found that to be about right for a family of 4 plus a baby.

merlehaggard Mon 01-Sep-14 07:51:59

Incidentally, I read somewhere yesterday that it is cheaper to book an overnight stay in a Universal hotel and get passes included than to buy separate passes. We just have always bought separate passes, so don't know how true it is, but just worth a consideration if you are looking.

angelohsodelight Mon 01-Sep-14 07:57:50

East point - there are 2 water parks and 4 or 5 separate theme parks just for Disney, so yes, you need a 14 day pass!

Toastandstrawberryjam Mon 01-Sep-14 07:59:02

Much cheaper to book an overnight stay at Universal (def in August). Plus the express passes you buy can be used once per ride. With the hotel you can use them as many times as you want.....
14 day disney tickets are not that much more expensive than a 4 day ticket and 4 days if you have never been will be a very small amount of time to take it all in.

BeckAndCall Mon 01-Sep-14 07:59:33

We've been 3 times, but we are a family of 5 and its a few years now, but the first time we went for 10 days, then 12 days then 14. the second two included a trip to the coast and then a week in the Keys, so not comparable. But if i remember correctly we spent £8k then £9k then £12k. So id think you can do this for £6k

first two times we stayed in a resort complex on I Drive - third time we hired a lovely villa - the villa was by far the cheapest way to do it.

Def fly mid week if you can - cheaper flights.

And when you get there, get the local paper for coupons - for buying groceries but also for 2 for 1 deals for meals out

And buy your souvenirs at Walmart rather than in the parks - your holiday money goes much further there!

CeliaFate Mon 01-Sep-14 08:00:40

We went to a moderate hotel, had a deal where we had park tickets for 14 days for the price of 7, Universal tickets, quick dining plan. It came to about £5,500.

Frogisatwat Mon 01-Sep-14 08:40:10

Is it at all possible to 'do' florida without driving? I feel sick at the thought of driving in the states

BeckAndCall Mon 01-Sep-14 08:48:04

Re driving frog - if you don't want to drive you are probably best staying in a Disney hotel where they have buses to and from all of the parks. Or staying in a budget hotel on IDrive which is well served by buses. And just like here, there are taxi companies! You'll be fine.

JustAShopGirl Mon 01-Sep-14 08:49:44

You can do Disney/Universal without driving - not "Florida" though, so it would limit you a bit...

even I drove over there (passed my test at 35 and had not driven more than 2 miles at a time down known routes since). Every junction seems to be traffic light controlled, there are no roundabouts. Drivers seem to be much more "polite" too. Driving over there is easy and everything is set up for drivers. Walking anywhere is less easy. Park transport is easy enough, but busy.

I think I will increase the budget to £8000+. This might be the only time we go so I'd like to be in a position to do what we want.

All the tips are really useful.
Fly midweek
Universal partner hotels for early access to HP rides
14 day tickets to the parks so you can dip in and out rather than rush.
Check out Walmart for souvenirs - DH will like this (total bargain hunter)

I will check the dibb boards which are new to me.

I am learning a lot from this thread.

Anyone else who has questions feel free to join in. I'm sure there are things that haven't even occurred to me. A bit like Donald Rumsfeld and his unknown unknowns wink

Frogisatwat Mon 01-Sep-14 08:53:27

Thats reassuring and if there are no roundabouts that would be doable. . All I need now is a lottery win!

CeliaFate Mon 01-Sep-14 09:14:37

Another tip - take one less suitcase than you need, buy a cheap one from Walmart to fill with all the bargain clothes at the mall. We bought Ralph Lauren polo tops, Tommy Hilfiger dresses and t-shirts, Levi jeans etc. all at 66% less than you'd pay here.

curiousgeorgie Mon 01-Sep-14 09:16:38

We're going very soon and for 2 adults and 2 children it's about 10K including spending money.

The clothes shopping is a good idea - I think I'll have to factor that into the budget too. It would be good to stock up for the DSs as well as for me and DH.
I doubt we would need our full baggage allowance so we could bring back a suitcase full of new clothes.

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