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Orlando this summer. Never been to America. Help.

(64 Posts)
MsAdorabelleDearheartVonLipwig Mon 19-Feb-18 22:21:00

Dh is looking at taking us to Orlando this summer. I haven’t got the foggiest idea what to do. He’s looking at flights and villas and best time to go in August. What else do I need to know? Car hire? Holiday insurance? I haven’t even been on a plane in twelve years. Kids have never flown at all. Don’t know a thing about holidaying in America. Totally clueless. Anything I should know?

BonnieF Mon 19-Feb-18 22:33:54

You will all need a ESTA. It is an official document issued by the US govt which gives you permission to enter the US as a visitor for up to 90 days. Apply here :

You will need comprehensive travel insurance, including medical cover, as there is no NHS in the US.

Florida is very hot & very humid in August.

Tipping is expected in the US, at least 15%.

If you see a tall, fat orange man with ridiculous hair and tiny hands, avoid him.

thatgirlthere Mon 19-Feb-18 22:51:52

I second everything @BonnieF said 👌🏼

kevinkeeganlovesme Mon 19-Feb-18 22:52:27

Tipping is 20%.

PaddysMarket Mon 19-Feb-18 22:54:29

Definitely car hire if you are looking to stay in a villa.

What age are your DC's? Park tickets can be very expensive so brace yourself for the cost of them.

MsAdorabelleDearheartVonLipwig Mon 19-Feb-18 22:54:55

God lord. Right ok, thanks. And yes, will definitely avoid the fat orange man. Would that be the one with the ridiculous pout? grin

Bit worried about possibly having to drive. Can well imagine getting muddled up there.

MsAdorabelleDearheartVonLipwig Mon 19-Feb-18 22:55:50

Kids will be 11 and 9. Been warned about park tickets. Someone said to buy multiple day-multiple park tickets?

ChippyMinton Mon 19-Feb-18 23:02:08

Get yourself over to for lots of friendly and very helpful advice on all things Disney and Orlando.

PaddysMarket Mon 19-Feb-18 23:06:43

If you are feeling nervous about driving you should look at options on International Drive, 2 bedroom apartments or even just a hotel room. You then have the option of buses, Uber etc. Villas are too far out and a car is needed. If you want the Disney bubble you could stay onsite and use there transport.

Have a look at the different parks, once you know if you'd like to do Disney, Universal, Seaworld etc check out tickets on Orlando tickets direct, Attractions tickets direct etc. It's always cheaper to buy in the UK.

crispinquent Mon 19-Feb-18 23:08:10

Follow Kenney the PirateCrew on FB for Disney recommendations

BertrandRussell Mon 19-Feb-18 23:10:45

Go to the parks in the early morning. Then go and do something else in the afternoon, and go back in the evening. A whole day is too much.

PaddysMarket Mon 19-Feb-18 23:14:45

Ah I'm the opposite, I prefer full days in the parks. I can't be bothered going back and forth and prefer to sit and rest in the park for a while.

BonnieF Mon 19-Feb-18 23:19:40

The current exchange rate is around $1.40 /£, which is the highest it has been since the Brexit vote. It may go higher, particularly if UK interest rates increase further. It may go lower if the govt falls apart over Brexit.

At this exchange rate, the cost of living & shopping in Florida will be approx the same as the UK, apart from petrol which is much cheaper. Prices exclude sales tax which is added on at the till. The good old days of $2 to the £ and taking an extra suitcase to fill with bargains have gone, sadly....

You will need to hire a car. Shop around for a good deal on price comparison sites then buy your own insurance policy which will be much cheaper than the one the rental company offers.

caroldecker Mon 19-Feb-18 23:20:14

Driving in the US is simple, they have no roundabouts and appear to have traffic lights for every turn. All cars are also automatic.

BonnieF Mon 19-Feb-18 23:28:20

Driving in the US is easy-peasy. They drive on the wrong side of the road, obv, but all the cars are automatics and there are no confusing roundabouts. You can usually turn right on a red light. When you come to a 4 way stop junction, proceed in the order in which you arrived.

If you are stopped by a traffic cop, call him / her sir or ma’am, be polite and keep BOTH hands clearly visible at ALL times. Then you won’t get shot....

BonnieF Mon 19-Feb-18 23:31:41

Snap! grin

HeddaGarbled Mon 19-Feb-18 23:51:02

August isn't a brilliant time for Disney/Orlando - very very hot. I'm presuming you are tied to school holidays. Easter would be better.

Also, depending on the ages of your children, I would be wary of doing such a long flight as their first ever experience of flying. What if one of them screams for the entire flight? Your fellow passengers will hate you.

Disney is a wonderful holiday for children (and adults) but I wouldn't pick Orlando as my first holiday abroad with children and certainly not in August.

SleepingBooty Mon 19-Feb-18 23:58:36

When we went in Aug it was early 30's degrees, so sweltering. We did the early morning parks, afternoons chilling in the pool.

ChippyMinton Tue 20-Feb-18 07:33:11

If you must go in August, choose the last two weeks when it it less busy.
My advice would be to defer until 2019, book a Disney package when the free dining offer is released (probably April 2018), and stay onsite. That way there's no driving, and you can try all the different eating places. Far more relaxing smile

AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 20-Feb-18 12:12:24

I would think twice about going there in August because of the weather (it can rain daily) and high humidity levels.

If you do go there then I would stay on I Drive particularly if you are at all uncomfortable about driving there.

Your 11 year old will pay adult price for entering the theme parks (adult prices start at 10).

AJPTaylor Tue 20-Feb-18 12:16:17

We went for 3 weeks in august 3 years ago. It was cheaper to go last 2 weeks of sugust/tipping into 1st week of sept than for 2 weeks.
Dont go with James Villas.

MsAdorabelleDearheartVonLipwig Tue 20-Feb-18 19:02:55

Lots of handy tips there, thanks. Dh is determined to go this year. Last two weeks of August sounds good but can’t leave it too late as dd1 starts high school this September.

Bit shock at adult prices starting at ten years of age. Greedy sods, how is ten remotely adult?

teabag20048 Wed 21-Feb-18 11:38:34

We went end of July/beginning August it was very very hot and humid but we soon got used to it. Your children are a great age to enjoy it all. Mine are 13 & 9 they preferred universal to Disney. There is so much to do. If you book Disney tickets its well worth getting memory maker as part of your package, there are photographers all around the parks where they take your photos so no-one is left out of the picture, if you ask for extra magic they put characters into the pictures, you also get photos and videos on some rides. We got some great photos.

Quartz2208 Wed 21-Feb-18 11:45:14

Adult and child prices are very much dependent on the fact that at 10 there is pretty much no ride that you would not reach the height limit for (and the difference I have to say is minimal).

So first off:

1) Entry Requirement: you will need an ESTA from the official site at $14 a person
2) Decide whether you want the security of a more expensive package or do it yourself
3) Decide whether you want a villa, an offsite hotel or onsite hotel.
4) Dependent on (3) decide if you need a car and make sure you get decent car insurance
5) Decide what parks you want to visit
6) Get yourself set up on the following:
mydisneyexperience (to book restaurants and fastpasses)
its orlando time on facebook

Finally Orlando is massive, the parks are huge you cannot possibly do everything in one visit (I have been multiple times and there are still lots of things I have not done). So decide what you do want to do

MissEliza Wed 21-Feb-18 11:47:50

Don't worry about driving. Cars are automatic there which makes driving on the other side a bit easier to get used to and roads in Florida are an absolute dream.

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