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first timer planning holiday to orlando next easter

(34 Posts)
FoJo Mon 10-Aug-09 22:01:11

We've done disneyland paris to death and want to go to the real thing next easter (dc's wil be 8 & 11). Its all a bit daunting! I'm going to a travel agent next week just to see what they can offer, but havent done a travel agent holiday for years. We always do easyjet to paris/the med and book hotel seperately. A friend says pick a 'good' airline such as virgin for a comfortable flight. What other airlines are considered 'good' British airways presumably, after that i'm struggling! Any tips would be very welcome!

AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 11-Aug-09 02:30:09

Forget using the travel agent - book it all online and use www.tripadvisor.com to get up to date reviews and photos of hotels.

Also get a good guidebook and use the internet. "Dibb" is a good website and a good guidebook is the Brits Guide to WDW.

BA and Virgin are the only two UK carriers that fly directly into Orlando (others like Thomsonfly use Sanford which will add another hour or so onto your travel time). Having used both I prefer BA's service into Orlando. Virgin use older fleet aircraft particularly on the Orlando routes from both Manchester and Gatwick - its akin to a bus service for them and pax can be treated as such by the crews. Amenity bags for children on Virgin are very poor too - they're practically empty!!!.

Would suggest you look at both airlines websites directly for flight prices as there are often marked differences in pricing.

Your eldest is seen as an adult re admittance at Disney so will pay adult price to enter. Same at Universal.

Apart from each having a passport with six months validity on it from departure from the US you will need to complete an ESTA (electronic travel authorisation) for each passenger in your group before entering the US. This should only be done through the proper US Government based website once you have booked the flight and accomoodation - there are scammers out there who charge for such information to be processed. ESTA is free to use, avoid any site that charges you for the ESTA to be processed.

Book asap if you want to go next Easter; the flights can fill fast.

Virgin's once innovative airline has been superceded by other carriers.

claret1980 Tue 11-Aug-09 09:52:53

Look at www.thedibb.co.uk for invaluable information! It has helped me loads these last few years.

Easter does fill up fast so would book soon. Don't go to travel agent! They wil rip you off. Try www.travelrepublic.co.uk they have some great prices. You can get good prices if you book separate.

Disney are currently offering free dining if you go Aug - october 2010, not sure if your dates are flexible or not.

tiredemma Tue 11-Aug-09 09:54:39

look at LowCost Holidays for accom.

tiredemma Tue 11-Aug-09 09:55:23

We went at easter (2 years ago) and it was heaving- very crowded. Just to bear in mind how busy it is.

FoJo Tue 11-Aug-09 18:40:17

Thank you so much folks, thats a great start. Yes I know it'll be busy at Easter but as the children get older I'm not keen on taking them out of school for more than a few days tagged onto an official holiday. Maybe we should do next summer hols instead. Will have a think

Clayhead Tue 11-Aug-09 18:45:04

The Unofficial Guide is fab for planning your days (but not so much for the travel as it's an American book. The 2010 version is out soon.

There is also a podcast if you go to www.wdwtoday.com

willali Wed 12-Aug-09 13:12:45

We were there this Easter with identical age children - they will love it!

We did it all "off plan" - BA flights and rented a villa - far cheaper than hotel even with hire car cost on top and would thoroughly recommend it. We got a 7 dya Disney ticket which is the same price as 5 days and did one day at Seaworld in a week and even then did not "do" it all - don't underestimate the amount of things to do and see and experience

Booking off plan menas you can take advantage of exchange rate fluctuations - we are geting more bucks for the pound now...

Good Luck!

FoJo Wed 12-Aug-09 17:14:25

Thats very intersting Willali - how far ahead did you book? Can I be very ride and ask how much your flights cost? Prob not relevant as porces will have changed, an initial search on ba website gave me about £2800 for the for of us return from london. Cheers

catinthehat2 Wed 12-Aug-09 17:28:15

When you book flights hotesl car etc online, try to get at the sites via a cashback site like Quidco so you can shave another few % off your total cost

Milliways Wed 12-Aug-09 17:37:01

A second vote here for the "unofficial guide". We used it in 2000 and it was fab for suggesting what days to visit what park, routes around the park etc - and they were all right!

Hulababy Wed 12-Aug-09 21:48:49

I just got back from Orlando earlier today. Was our third trip over, but the first time we have stayed in a Disney hotel. Have done villas in past.

Have had an amazing trip.

Unless you fly from Heathrow with Virgin I didn't see any better flight TBH when we went with Virgin from Manchester (last time) compared to Thomson this time. Main difference though was the £1000 we saved for 3 of us from not using Virgin this time!

Easter can be very very busy at the parks. It is their most popular time, apart from Christmas Day. Some days parks will close temporarily during the day at that time of the year due to capacity. But IMO it is still not as busy as DLP.

For 3 of us (me, DH and 7y DD) we paid just over £4000 for flights, Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge, car hire and Disney tickets for a fortnight. On top of this we paid just over £300 for car insurance and another $99 per person for Universal tickets. Whilst there we also paid for Space Centre tickets, but didn't do Sea World this year.

Hulababy Wed 12-Aug-09 21:49:58

BTW we did loads of research before the holiday and for the first time this year we actually found it cheaper, by over £1000, to go as a package holiday rather than booking deperately, even if we had stayed in a villa.

willali Thu 13-Aug-09 13:17:59

We booked about Oct / NOv for the following Easter and the flights were about £1800 (for 3)I think. Villa was $450 for the week and could sleep 10!!

oneplusone Thu 13-Aug-09 13:24:09

Am watching this thread as we are planning on going xmas 2010, long way off i know but am already looking forward to it. My DC's by then will be 4.5 and 7, is this a good age to take them or would it be better if they were a bit older?

mumoverseas Thu 13-Aug-09 18:29:25

agree with most of what Atilla says but would just mention that BA are not as generous with their baggage allowances. Although the weight is probably the same as Virgin and other airlines, they brought in a new rule last year that you are only allowed 1 bag per person and even if you have two small ones that are under the baggage weight, you get charged excess baggage on the 2nd bag. Friends of ours flew out before the new rule came in but got stung on their return flight.

wilali amazed you can book a villa for $450 for a week! where is that? I'd expect around $100 per night minimum for a 4 bed with a pool

We used to always go at Easter and the past 2 years have had to go during the summer hols. I far preferred easter as its so hot in the summer.

floatyjosmum Thu 13-Aug-09 19:38:42

we went to disney in america last year but to california and went with virgin.

flight was great but the kids food wasnt touched cos personally it was more adult type food. but the tv's did keep them entertained!

we booked the hotel and flights through virgin.
we bought the tickets when we got there and ofund they were cheaper than through virgin as the little disney stand in the hotel had 5 days for the price of 3, whereas virgin didnt have any special offers.

if you go to seaworld and can afford to do the dine with shamu, we did this in san diego and the esperience was def worth it.

Hulababy Thu 13-Aug-09 19:59:52

oneplusone - DD has been to Florida at 2y, 4y and 7y and has loved it every single time. Disney really does cater for all ages.

Hulababy Thu 13-Aug-09 20:04:50

Re. using Sanford. Don't rule it out. We used it this time and it took us 1.5 hours from leaving the plane to being in our room at a Disney hotel. This is including getting off the plane, going through customs, collecting our bags, getting out car and checking in. Was so fast. In that time at Orlando, which is a really big and busy airport, we hadn't managed to leave the airport!

It takes 45 minutes to drive from Animal Kingdom Lodge to Sanford airport. About 25m to Orlando airport; very little in it IMO.

Clayhead Thu 13-Aug-09 20:08:05

Yes, my two have been 2, 4 and 6 whilst there and both enjoyed every minute. My parents were 59 and 62 and loved it too!!

[slight hijack]

Hula, did you eat at Boma?

willali Fri 14-Aug-09 08:37:13

We found the Villa just through googling - there are zillions available hence the cheap prices...Actually thinking about it it may have been 450 POUNDS not dollars blush but even so for a house with pool that could sleep 10 that's not bad!! IT was in Davenport on a gated community with outdoor pool and play area etc altho we didn't use that because we had our own pool. I would advise paying a teeny bit extra to have the pool in a villa heated at Easter - we did not and it was ratehr bracing to say the least!

We bought our disney tickets from the Disney website before we went because I wanted to be sure we actually had tickets - we had heard loads of horror stories about fake disney vouchers or cheap tickets being linked to the dreaded timeshare ordeal, and to be honets I don't think we could have got them significantly cheaper over there anyway

oneplusone Fri 14-Aug-09 13:20:00

hula, thanks, am sure our trip in 2010 will not be our only one! Will be booking flights as soon as they are released in jan/feb i believe (?) and the villa when i find the perfect one. It seems there are loads of great villas around so i am confident we will find something having already booked our flghts.

Have done a bit of research already as at first we thought we'd go this xmas just for a week but then decided we'd go next xmas and go for longer as DH will have his full holiday allowance from work from next year.

Hulababy Fri 14-Aug-09 17:44:41

Clayhead - yes we did, was lovely.

mumoverseas Sat 15-Aug-09 08:44:23

willali, I'm very relieved you've clarified the price, I was starting to worry as I have a 4 bed with a pool and I can't match $450!

FoJo Sun 16-Aug-09 21:03:05

thank you all. will have to start looking at flights i think!

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