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Florida Holidays - Are they really that good?
24

LadyCleathStuart · 17/10/2021 21:32

So after 2 years with only UK breaks we want to go abroad next year. It will be the first time for our DC (8 and 5).

I want to just do a week all inclusive at a nice family resort somewhere in Europe, spend days playing in the pool, go to the beach etc.

DH is set on Florida, he went there lots as a child and can't wait to take our DC which is fine but a few things niggle me for instance:

a 9 hour flight as their first time on a plane seems a bit much?

DH wants to go to a villa as it is better cost wise - so then we have to clean a kitchen etc. when on holiday, great.

Everything I read seems to suggest that you need to plan it like a military operation, this does not scream relaxing holiday to me.

Also he insists we need at least 10 days if not two whole weeks and that will seriously eat into our annual leave for the whole year (we usually tag team leave in the summer).

Then there is the cost....

BUT the parks look fun and are apparently great at catering for people with allergies (one child has a peanut allergy) and the kids would love it.

So is Florida really worth it?

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Kezzie200 · 17/10/2021 21:40

A Florida Park holiday cannot be compared to a European beach holiday at all. And, yes to two weeks.

Military operations mean you make the most of your stay there snd its fun planning and looking forward to it.

I can only imagine the cost might now be eye watering but, if its not, go for it.

We did a hotel with small lounge, kitchen and free breakfast which made it cheaper than a villa or a Disney hotel. Springhill Suites they were called. On vineland

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talkalarm · 17/10/2021 21:42

Florida holidays are some of my favourite memories as a child. We (as a family) still regularly talk about them 25 years later so I'm going to say yes but then we all loved everything it stood for. Sunshine, rides, fun, swimming, cheap shopping, cheap buffet food, American culture - you probably have to love all that but I feel envious at the thought of you going!

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ducksalive · 17/10/2021 21:45

My dc loved their theme park holiday aged 7.
It did take two weeks to do properly, it did have to be planned like a military operation, it is quite hard work at times for parents.
But for dc they are lifelong memories.

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TheLeadbetterLife · 17/10/2021 21:53

It would be a nightmare for me now and I’d have hated it as a child too. I’ve always loathed planned excursions, crowds, traipsing around on tarmac and being herded from Fun Activity to Fun Activity.

The thing is, I think people’s ideas of what makes a good holiday are very much formed when they are children, and it’s hard to like anything completely different as an adult.

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ZandraPlackett · 17/10/2021 21:57

You don’t have to do it like a military operation - everywhere will have pools. Look at resorts like Bahama Bay - apartments with great pool complexes. The planning can mean you do more but it’s not necessary. Disney has a ride booking system which means less queuing.

Disneyland Paris might be a good first step before committing to a huge holiday?

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OverByYer · 17/10/2021 21:58

We have been twice and yes they are busy holidays but you are together in the parks having fun together. I never thought it would be my thing at all but I loved every moment. We stayed in a Villa but ate out every night as so much choice.

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DampSquidGames · 17/10/2021 22:05

It wasn’t the magic for me, I preferred the three days I spent at the LA Disney and a four night trip to EuroDisney.

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KittenSmitten · 17/10/2021 22:06

Just to say with reference to the cleaning that we’ve rented villas, condos etc multiple times in the US and cleaning normally included. You might need to loads dishwasher up. So I wouldn’t let that stop you. It’s nice to have the extra space with kids compared to a hotel room.

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NigelSlatersXmasTaters · 17/10/2021 22:07

A villa is better than a Disney hotel anyway but if you're on a budget go for a motel! You're hardly in the room.

5 is too young to appreciate and remember. It's brilliant but I'd wait and yes, you need at least 2 weeks and to plan the itinerary properly if you want to see the very best of it.

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PairofPears · 17/10/2021 22:09

You’ve sussed out the pros and cons pretty accurately. If you’re looking for something that will blow the kids minds then Florida will do it, but it’s not relaxing for the adults in my opinion.

If you all need some R & R then Europe might be the better choice this time.

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minipie · 17/10/2021 22:10

Really depends how you feel about theme parks and rides I think.

If you and your DC love them then the Florida ones will beat anything in Europe.

If you aren’t theme park enthusiasts and mainly want sunshine and beach/pool I’d definitely pick Europe. Shorter flight, less jet lag, more £ to spend on accommodation, better food.

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ducksalive · 17/10/2021 22:17

We stayed in the animal lodge and loved it.
DH and I sat out on the balcony drinking a complimentary beer from the club zone in the evening watching the safari animals.
It also had a nice pool for the dc.

If you badly need a break OP I would book a European villa holiday with access to a children's club.
If you want something for your dc I would do Florida.
Taking dc to Florida was the most expensive holiday we ever had but years later dc still chat about it.

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LadyCleathStuart · 17/10/2021 22:21

Thank you all, some food for thought here.

I have floated the idea of a Disneyland Paris weekend at easter so that the DC can do the whole Disney thing while they are still young then a week beach holiday in the summer but DH wants the whole American experience that he remembers so well.

I just think that both DC will complain so much on the flight then will be jet lagged and they are shit sleepers at the best of times and we will then spend two weeks shunting them from experience to experience where they will get tired and gumpy and I will get to pay £6k+ to listen to non stop moaning and fighting. I mean a day out more than an hour away can end up a hellish experience at times.

I think they will love Florida but it would be best for all of us to wait until they are a bit older.

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FellInLoveWithABanana · 17/10/2021 22:22

You can make a Florida holiday whatever you want.

Yes you can go mad at all the parks, or you can choose one company (Disney) and do those and relax in the villa.

A villa is lovely - you get a private pool, lots of lots of space to spread out and being able to make your breakfast saves a pretty penny over the trip. I’ve done everything from the most expensive Disney hotel or $30 a night hotels to a villa and the villas are my favourite.

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soupey1 · 17/10/2021 22:23

I would say the children will be too young to get the most from it as they will be too short for many attractions at the main parks. It is a great holiday but very full on and needs extensive planning and is very expensive. You also need to be very careful about the time of year that you go due to weather and crowds. A villa is best but you do need to factor in driving to and fro although if you budget to eat out for main meals there will be minimal kitchen cleaning.

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CPDubs · 17/10/2021 22:28

2 weeks minimum. We’ve been going every three years, the last time was 2019 with a 15 month old. I’ve not been on a plane since due to covid, although we’d normally go abroad at least twice a year. Timings weren’t the best and now things are lifting I’m 31 weeks pregnant. We’ve just booked our first abroad holiday and it’s in Florida 🤣 we will have a 5 month old and 4 year old. It’s not for everyone but it’s a fantastic, magic filled time away.

You need 2 weeks minimum we always do it as cheap as possible, stay off site etc. We’re planning on doing a big one in 2026 for three weeks. That will be the one off splurge whilst our girls are still young enough to appreciate it all.

Also, my 5 month old can go on 24 rides at magic kingdom so they will be old enough and tall enough to appreciate plenty!

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Quartz2208 · 17/10/2021 22:29

Florida is like marmite you either love or hate it!

I love it and have taken both of mine since they were 3 (yearly apart from last year obviously and heading out there at Christmas now borders are open).

Disney needs planning but the other places dont.

Price wise if done well isnt actually that bad next year though summer flights are not something you want to go near!

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Stopsnowing · 17/10/2021 22:36

I loved it as a teenager. If you want to do eurodisney do it before America as it is tame in comparison. I do think your children are a little young but I a couple of years think about it - Disney universal Kennedy space centre swamp tours! We stayed in cheap motels and we loved it.

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jackstini · 17/10/2021 22:58

It's incredible for kids and ours still say best holidays ever

Yes, you need min 2 weeks, yes, it takes a fair bit of planning, no, it's not relaxing (although you can fit some chill time in) - but it is magical!

Ours were 6 & 9, then 9 & 12 and it was different both times

You need to consider their heights and review which rides they will be able to do too - it's a killer if they are 1cm under a major height hurdle!

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Lentil63 · 17/10/2021 23:20

We took our boys to Florida many times when they were young. They are men now with families of their own and both really want to take their children. A Florida holiday is hard, hard work. It’s not really a ‘holiday’ for mum and dad BUT absolutely it’s worth it. I have so many wonderful, wonderful memories and so do my boys. If you’re going though throw yourself into it, one of my younger son’s friends was so looking forward to going and when he went his parents only visited parks 2 days in 2 weeks! 🤦🏼‍♀️🤷‍♀️
Ps don’t overlook Cape Canaveral. Have fun, go, go, go!

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NoYOUbekind · 17/10/2021 23:26

I love Florida, but I think the last time we went we only spent 3 days in the parks. DS would have been around 6 at the time. We had a villa and spent days in the pool and in the 'normal' park - which America does so well, the one we went to had a play park, petting zoo, woody bit, lake, bbq stations and picnic benches and we easily spent whole days there.

The one thing I would check very carefully is your DCs height! By which I mean, make sure they can both do the same rides. Otherwise you'll always be having to wait for one parent to queue with one child to do one ride.

It's not exactly a relaxing holiday, but if you insist on quieter days it's not so bad.

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HanSB · 17/10/2021 23:51

The first time you go if you want to try a fit all the Disney/Universal stuff in then it’s very full on because there is just SO much to do and the parks are massive! As it’s so busy you end up planning timings and details to not miss anything.
The subsequent times after have been much more relaxed for us as the focus was not the parks and we stayed further away in a residential Air BnB and got a feel got the local area rather than the Disney bubble.

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BiddyPop · 17/10/2021 23:52

We did 10 days, staying in an apartment in a complex with decent pool etc and next to an outlet mall, with a rented car so able to go places under our own steam. We did 6 days in Disney parks. But we also spent a day in Cape Canaveral looking at space rockets, and another doing a canoe trip through a beautiful river near Orlando. And shopping in between and some exploring around Orlando. And a couple of days quietly around the pool.

Being SC meant we could go out for some meals but also explore supermarkets and make some nice meals quite cheaply for ourselves (but we tend to enjoy relaxed cooking on holidays).

We got park tickets in advance that gave us flexibility, and also allowed us to go to a water park in the day but then into a main park for the evening parade or show on the same ticket - and we had access any 7 days out of the 10 days that we chose. And any park, so 1 day we were aiming for Epcot but it was too busy so we went to the animal safari one instead and went into Epcot at teatime that day as lots were leaving, and another visit a different day instead to get to all the rides we wanted to.

And we did a lot of planning in terms of knowing what was where, and how to cope with Disney. So i knew a few rides that dd was too short for so planned to avoid, had a fair idea of good ones to target in our visits etc, where we could find food that wasn't pre-booked and where to go to get maps (and we'd get maps for tomorrow's parks before we left today's park every evening to familiarise ourselves over dinner). But we didn't have a military style schedule. And didn't precook any dining. There are lots of good books and websites to research in advance.

We bought an autograph book for dd and a sharpie pen, which were very good to have done. And we let her buy 1 pin each day in the different gift shops, as part of a managing her whining for toys.

There's also a big Lego shop and some gift shops etc in the Disney town outside the parks that you don't need to have tickets for, and good restaurants.

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Empressofthemundane · 18/10/2021 00:05

You might consider a week at the parks and a week at the beach. The beeches on the Gulf Coast are the nicest.

I think staying on property is nicer than a villa. The villa will have a pool, but it will be no where as good as a pool at a mid level resort at Disney. If you stay on property, you won’t need a car that week.

Good website for Disney deals:
www.mousesavers.com/walt-disney-world-vacation-discounts-and-deals/disney-world-vacation-package-discounts/#uk

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