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Help with Florida!

(29 Posts)
CountryLovingGirl Wed 31-Aug-16 22:07:48


We are thinking of going to Florida next August with our two children (who will be 13 and 9 by then). I have looked at the Thomson holidays and would, ideally, like a villa. I priced up flights on their own (with a villa separately) and it was a lot more expensive so it seems sensible to book a villa holiday with flights included.
My problem: we don't want the Disney Ticket that Thomson sell. We don't want to go to waterparks. Hubby isn't a fan of theme parks so I know he wouldn't tolerate 14 days in one (or a waterpark). So, I was hoping to find a Disneyworld ticket for fewer days and a day or 2 in Universal. Is there a ticket out there for this? I can't find anything less than a 7 day Disney ticket. We plan on going for a fortnight but we would have to mix the fun stuff (for me and the kids) with other stuff (for the boring hubby).

Any ideas?

CountryLovingGirl Wed 31-Aug-16 22:09:13

Oh, we have never been to Florida! Hubby and I have been to California a few times and done Disney and Universal there (but only one day at each).

CiderwithBuda Wed 31-Aug-16 22:12:03

If you go n the Disney US site (click US on the top right had corner I think) you can get tickets for however many days you like. We got four day tickets - there are four parks. Didn't do waterparks.

There is also a uk travel agent who sells the tickets which is where we got them. I'll try and remember the name!

CiderwithBuda Wed 31-Aug-16 22:25:51

Agent is called Toucan Travel. I don't think that's what I initially searched for but that is who the tickets came from. Got both Disney and universal tickets from them.

We did a week in Orlando in a villa and did the four Disney parks and some shopping and rest days. We then travelled around for a few days and did a week at the beach before heading back to Orlando to do universal. We stayed at a universal hotel which gets you into the universal parks and hour early which is really worth it for the Harry Potter rides. We stayed at the Royal Pacific and also got Express Passes which are worth having.

Plaintalkin Wed 31-Aug-16 22:36:26

It answering your question but just a reminder that it's horribly hot and super humid in August . I've been going to Florida for over 20 years and after one visit in August swore never again.

May is fabulous as is June, sept is great but it is rainy season so you would get an afternoon showers most days. Nov after thanksgiving is very quiet and cheap , days are warm but evenings a little cooler.

You can get Disney Tickets for a single day or more usefully a Hopper ticket so you can do all the best rides in all the parks in a day ( hard work though ) .

You can get a 1/2 or 3 day universal ticket , or use one of those days for Seaworld.

Have fun x

PlugUgly Wed 31-Aug-16 22:43:10

Are you sure you can't do it much cheaper if you arrange it yourself?
It can be much cheaper to fly to TAMPA airport instead, if you then get a villa south of Disney it is not a long drive at all, also don't necessarily fly on a Saturday as other days are usually cheaper if you don't have to check out with the masses doing a package deal.
Then you can get the exact tickets you want
Many villa owners will negotiate on rental and can be flexible on arrival days - don't panic that you won't find a villa, supply is far greater than demand so book flights first.

CiderwithBuda Wed 31-Aug-16 22:50:29

I agree about the heat. We had been before in July but this year was hotter than normal apparently. It was a struggle.

Easter is nice. Not quite as hot as opening the door of a hot oven!

rookiemere Fri 02-Sep-16 12:21:35

Hi for Disney you can buy single day tickets or two day tickets etc. in the USA You just need to work out how many days you want to spend there to see if it is cheaper than just getting the pass in advance. The advantage of the fortnight ticket is that you don't have to squeeze in your visits, so if you wanted to go along for a couple of hours then that's fine.

When we went the Universal 14 day pass was less than going to the parks for 2 separate days, so I'd suggest that you check out the prices for that, but it's probably worth getting the 14 day one here, based on the ages of your DCs they'll probably prefer Universal to Disney.

Fleurdelise Fri 02-Sep-16 16:23:03

You can get 2/3/4 days tickets on the undercover tourist website, good price and more flexibility. We have been in end of July beginning of August for two weeks, first week in Orlando, second week on the Gulf of Mexico. We did two days at Magic Kingdom (more DD focused as she is 9), 2 days at Universal (DS focus as he is 15) one day at Sea World and one day at Discovery Cove. We had tickets for Aquatica and Busch gardens also, they come with Discovery Cove, but didn't go in the end as we had enough of the theme parks by then.

We all had an amazing time, busy but lovely and the second week was more relaxing, typical beach holiday.

I highly recommend Discovery Cove in the middle of your parks experience as it is a very relaxing day.

We've rented a villa via AirBNB first week and a condo with swimming pool on the beach the second week. All booked separately. Worked out the same as a package holiday but it gave us the flexibility to do what we want.

rookiemere Fri 02-Sep-16 16:56:29

By the way would your DH like the idea of the space centre at Cape Kennedy. DH isn't a wild theme park fan - nor am I to be honest but I knew DH would enjoy it - but he was blown over by his space centre day and wants to go back to Florida so he can go again twice - once with us as DS will be old enough to enjoy it a bit more now and once on his own so he can take his time round it.

CountryLovingGirl Sat 03-Sep-16 08:00:40

Thanks for the advice :-)
Yes, I definitely think we are the type to book stuff ourselves to get what we want so I will have a look around to see what is available. Flights seem very expensive so I don't know if they will drop.
We are stuck with August as hubby has fixed holidays and he gets 3 weeks together (next year in August). Also, we will be frowned upon if we take the children out of school. I am a little worried about the heat in Florida during August. I don't want to fry! I am also looking at California instead. We have been a few times before, pre-kids, but never in August. I wonder if it will be too hot then? We went in November and I remember walking around Disney in short and t-shirt.
My eldest child (a boy who is just entering the 'hormonal' stage) is very anti-Disney so I am a little worried about taking him there (another reason why a 14 day pass is out of the question). He will prefer Universal.
I had a look at the Hollywood Universal site last night and a day pass is $99, a 2 day pass is $119 and a season pass is also $119. It makes more sense to buy a season pass I think!
A villa would be best for us. My son is a tall boy and we can't use kids beds for him anymore. We would also like our own swimming pool.
I think this is going to take a lot of planning!
How hot is CA in August?
Anyone know any good flight deal websites?

NicknameUsed Sat 03-Sep-16 08:07:16

California doesn't have the humidity that Florida does, so even if there are similar temperatures you won't feel the heat as much.

We were in Florida in July and I didn't realise it had been hotter than usual. It was 33 - 36 degrees most days with high humidity. One morning my glasses even steamed up when we left the hotel!

Chrisinthemorning Sat 03-Sep-16 08:08:05

I would book separately- heard some horror stories about villas through Thomson etc.
does your DS like Star Wars- they are at Disney now.

CountryLovingGirl Sat 03-Sep-16 08:13:14


I would like to go to the space centre :-) I am going to have a look at that too! DD (9) is a huge dolphin fan and wants to see Winter, the dolphin, at Clearwater Marine Aquarium. Not sure how far away that is though!

easterlywinds Sat 03-Sep-16 08:15:18

We were in Florida for the first 2 weeks of August. Yes, it was hot but it wasn't unbearable. There is lots of shade and air conditioning around. We had a few rainstorms. I found the Dibb web-site really useful for planning. There's lots of advice on putting together your own package and reviews on ticket-selling sites etc.

Fleurdelise Sat 03-Sep-16 09:18:05

It is hot but not unbearable, we were there 22 July to 9th August. DS is 15 and as you can probably imagine he was a bit hmm at the thought of going to DisneyWorld but I bought tickets to satisfy the entire family (as I said above) and explained to him that we will all have a great time if we ease off a bit and just enjoy. If you ask me DS actually enjoyed Disney quite a lot. He did prefer Universal probably but loved Disney also, against his will I may say. There are so many adults and teenagers actually having a great time inside Magic Kingdom that I don't think anybody can resist it.

If you PM me I can send you the Airbnb details of the villa we stayed in, two bedrooms, one with single beds one with double bed, pool and very clean and nice.

It is worth renting a car and also go to the coast for a week or so.

Fleurdelise Sat 03-Sep-16 09:19:55

When you say flights are expensive, what have you been quoted? We paid £3.6k for the four of us with Thomas Cook but if you are willing to stop somewhere in New York you can get them for about £2.5k for 4.

Oblomov16 Sat 03-Sep-16 09:30:12

Watching with interest.
We have exactly the same needs, same dh who isn't ride keen, older ds1 who I think would prefer universal. Watching with interest.

I too read that the cost of park day passes was so much that you were better off to buy a 2 week pass. Plus I read there are certain times of the year, is it November, when these 2 week passes are at their cheapest? Not bogof, not half price, but a lot cheaper. Is that still true?

CiderwithBuda Sat 03-Sep-16 09:56:17

Countrylovinggirl - we went to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. It was ok. A bit underwhelming as we hadn't seen or even heard of the movie. My niece is animal mad though and she enjoyed it. It's small and is more a rescue rehab facility than a visitor aquarium and its obv they are making the most of their movie fame. I refused to consider SeaWorld but felt better about spending my money to fund the Clearwater Aquarium. So actually thinking about it from that point of view I'm glad we did it!

We stayed at a beach resort area called Indian Rocks Beach (as did Fleurdelise!) and that was nice. Clearwater was about a 45 min drive from there.

HRHlikeahornyponywould Sat 03-Sep-16 10:08:11

You can't see the Florida Disney tickets here because they aren't sold here.

Disney want you to buy the 7 day tickets. You can get the one day, two day tickets on the door at Disney with park hopper.

Universal tickets are better to buy here, from places like Florida tix and Orlando attractions direct or something . They offer a 14 day ticket for universal parks, which is better than the gate price
Universal are opening a new water park next year in June , which has bumped up their ticket price
A villa is a good idea but they are a distance from universal and all are nearer Disney
I'd expect to pay at least £800 each for flights in August. The end of August is better as the American schools have gone back by then

My boys enjoyed universal more than Disney, but they are 8 and 5 and they really enjoyed space Kennedy, where you are able to see space shuttle Atlantis up close.

NicknameUsed Sat 03-Sep-16 10:14:50

"Universal are opening a new water park next year in June"

Our hotel was right next to the building works. Luckily our room was the furthest away. I felt sorry for those in rooms near the building. By all accounts it was pretty noisy.

woodhill Sat 03-Sep-16 10:23:44

We bought tickets for universal in the hotel last year. Not cheap.

I have stayed in villas in Orlando with a very good company that we paid for when we arrived or you could pay in advance.

I like going to the Gulf coast and Busch Gardens

MozzchopsThirty Sat 03-Sep-16 10:28:32

In response to a PP I have done May and end of August and actually preferred August.
The weather and humidity was the same but end of August much quieter

We booked a villa through florida4less who were amazing and our villa perfect

This year we did it cheaper, booked a package for May with British airways with hotel, car & flights for £1900 smile

rookiemere Sat 03-Sep-16 15:03:04

Mozzchops - how many folk was that for and did you book it directly through BA? That's a brilliant price. We're thinking of going back next October when DS has a fortnight off school, but because of the exchange rate it's only worth doing if we can get everything at a good price.

CountryLovingGirl Sat 03-Sep-16 16:31:22


When the 2 of us went to California we paid no more than £500 for a return flight each. It was a while back so I am coming to terms with the fact they will cost us £800-£1000 each. Pity kids can't fly free (I wish)!

Yes, Clearwater Marine Aquarium is old and dated (we have seen both movies). I wouldn't go to SeaWorld though. I doubt we will get to CMA as it is at the bottom of the list. We have taken DD to Malta to see the dolphins and she was happy with that.

Our holidays are at the beginning of August, unfortunately. Hubby has fixed hols so I always have to book mine at the same time. The childminder is also off the same 2 weeks (she tends to take week 3 and 4 of the summer hols). It's a shame we weren't planning on a trip at the end of August as, like someone said, the US kids will be back at school.

Our 25 year endowment matures in March and I it will be used against the remainder of the mortgage. There won't be enough to pay it off as (a) we doubled our mortgage when we moved 6 years ago and (b) endowments haven't performed well. BUT, I have been overpaying for a while and I inherited money last year (that is still sat in the bank) so I am hoping that most will be paid off. I am trying to squeeze in this holiday too!

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