Orlando, FL in the United States might as well be described as the happiest place on earth. It’s the perfect family vacation year-round giving you a myriad of options for every single day of your trip. It’s impossible to deny that everyone, no matter their age, loves going to Orlando. In just a small area you can experience the magic of movies, the thrill of roller coasters or just simply feel like a child again in front of the Cinderella castle. If you don’t believe you can still get excited about a woman dressed up as a Disney princess go to Disney World. This place is where Walt Disney himself made the magic in his movies come to life and let’s face it: Who doesn’t love a little fantasy? However, planning a trip to Orlando isn’t all pixie dust and sunshine. It can become tiring and overwhelming: the plane tickets, hotel, theme park admission tickets, and finding the best deals out there. I will guide you through this process in just five simple steps to make it a lot easier for you.
Step #1: Know your dates.
Is it going to be cold or hot? You don’t want to pick the wrong outfit and be suffering throughout your trip. It’s all about relaxation and fun, and nobody can be comfortable with the wrong clothes. Not only this, but the admission tickets for the parks also vary depending on the season. There are regular, value and peak seasons so make sure to look into that when working out your budget. You can find more information on pricing in the park’s official website.
Step #2: Know your parks.
I do recommend visiting one park per day as they are very large and have long wait times to get on the rides. The admission tickets are quite expensive on their own so make sure to make the most out of each.
Disney World Theme Parks include:
- The Magic Kingdom
- Animal Kingdom
- Hollywood Studios
- Typhoon Lagoon Water Park
- Blizzard Beach Water Park
Sea World has:
- Sea World
Universal Studios includes:
- Universal Studios
- Islands of Adventure
- Volcano Bay water park
Choosing which parks you are going to go to is probably the hardest part of them all. We know you want to go to all of them but unfortunately, time and energy are very important factors. It is essential to take into account that after a day of walking around in the sun you will be pretty tired and your feet are likely to be sore. Hence, if you can, it is better to have a rest day in between the theme park days. In my case, I went to the Magic Kingdom, Universal Studios and Legoland. I was traveling with my father and my little brother and this itinerary was going to satisfy all of us. Designed particularly for small kids Legoland was not quite what I expected: It was empty and small. My little brother, age 5, enjoyed this park quite a lot as he was able to get on most of the rides and enjoy the safety provided in this park. Universal Studios was very empty, with wait times ranging in between 5 to 20 minutes. Finally, Magic Kingdom was pretty full and the heat was quite intense. The wait times were ranging from 30 minutes to 2 hours so make sure to be patient and take a small foldable chair with you for extra comfort in line.
Step #3: Choosing your flights.
I particularly like using Skyscanner to look for cheap tickets. It’s a very easy-to-use web page that lets you select a whole month when looking for flights order to choose the cheapest dates. When you find your preferred flight you will be redirected to the airline’s official website. I usually look for the cheapest dates in Skyscanner and then I purchase a hotel, flight and rental car package in Expedia. If you want to go the extra mile go to Expedia through Ebates for some cash back.
Step #4: The Hotel.
Hotels in Lake Buena Vista are usually very booked year-round so if you want to stay here make sure to book well in advance. Another option is to stay at hotels 2 or 3 exits away from Lake Buena Vista where you can find better deals while still close to the parks. I stayed at CoCo Key Water Resort. It was a pretty good deal and the hotel is pretty nice. However, you can’t expect luxury for $120 the night. The Wifi connection was pretty bad and the rooms are not the nicest. Nevertheless, it was comfortable, the rooms were equipped with a mini fridge, microwave, coffee maker, hair dryer, ironing board, a large bathroom and two double beds. The nicest thing this hotel has to offer is definitely the water park. My little brother had a blast! The park has an indoor pool and several large waterslides. If you want to see more pictures go to their website right here. A good hotel option if you are planning this trip with a lot of time in advance and you are visiting Universal Studios is to try and book rooms at Universal’s Cabana Bay Resort. It is a great hotel for a budget and they give you early admission to the park.
Step #5: The Park Admission tickets.
Despite my efforts to find a good deal, I ended up buying them at the official website. Around town, there are a couple of kiosks that offer “Cheap Tickets”. However, don’t be fooled, I asked at a couple of kiosks and the prices didn’t beat the ones in the official website. Additionally, there are some kiosks that offer very cheap tickets if you are over 25 and traveling with your spouse. These timeshare deals haven’t worked for me in the past but if you meet the requirements be sure to ask and maybe you’ll save some money.
Now that you know how to plan your trip I wish you good luck and a great vacation!