Florida – Disneyland, what and how to plan
Disneyland Florida is a dream place to visit not just for kids but for all age groups.
Direct flights between Europe and Orlando are available for Disneyland, and when we looked they were about $1000 each return. We saw that some flights were available for nearer $550 if we had a change at New York.
We booked these, but then got phoned by the travel agent to say they were no longer available, and would we accept a 3-leg journey instead, going via Brussels and Toronto. It added on another 3 or 4 hours to our journey, but was still getting us there the same day, so we said yes.
In the end we feel it was a bit much with 3 flights, so when we next do long haul we will stick with either direct or just 2 legs. Saved us a packet though…! We used websites gaarlic.com and skyscanner.co.uk.
This is where it gets interesting…. You can do everything from cheap and cheerful self-catering away from the Disneyland Resort through to the 5-star hotels right next to the Magic Kingdom ($6500/wk for 1 family room).
There are loads out there; we plumped for the Double Tree Hilton hotel near Seaworld (nothing to do with Disneyland) as there was a good deal online, and it was also on a public bus route which took us to the Disney World Resort.
The hotel also offered a shuttle service to Disney, but the shuttle times were only 3 or 4 a day. Bus would have been slower, but ran every half an hour.
OK, just have something like $800 allocated for this to eat out for the week, unless you do self-cater.
Buying your own food and cooking it etc is likely to eat chunks out of your day when you really want to be enjoying the parks.
Disneyland food (which we did for lunches) is a bit basic, expensive and pants, but we tried carrying sandwiches around one day and even I didn’t want them after they were warmed up and squashed in the bag 😃
We had breakfasts either at the hotel or at a diner across the road, and had our evening meals mainly in the diner again (well, they did good burgers…)
This also can be a complicated one…! They’re is plenty of transportation around, but it does take time.
Unless you stay on the Disney Resort in one of the 5-star hotels, you should allow something like 1 – 1.5 hours (door to park entrance) to get to the parks. It’s just so big and vast out there. I think like with commuting you should factor this into your day. E.g.
Our bus route to Disney was about 40 mins. Add walking to bus stop, waiting a bit, then getting the monorail at the other end to Magic Kingdom and the fastest we did was an hour.
Driving would probably be quicker from outside the Disney Resort, but again it’s likely to be half an hour drive, then parking etc before getting the same monorail.
Within the Disney Resort itself, there are loads of free Disney buses linking the hotels with the parks, and going from one park to another, but again it takes time for transfers. There are maps available on the net which we found useful when we did want to get to different parks.
Again there are loads of options here, and plenty of web information available. We plumped for a 7-day .”all Disney parks” pass for just under £300 per person. The l offer available at the time was 14 days for the price of 7, and the FastPass and MemoryMaker included. All sorts of websites sell these but we got ours from AmericanAttractons.com.
Visiting the parks:
Most ticket packages include a FastPass facility which allows you to queue-jump a bit on the day; basically join a shorter queue. You can do 3 of these per person per day, and our saved us a fair amount of queuing time.
They are limited though, so get in quick for the popular rides for the time slots you want. You can book your FastPasses either via the Disney World app, or at kiosks at the parks.
We got a taxi between the airport and the hotel since we did not hire a car, and that was cheaper than the hotel-provided transfer. Some hotels provide free transfers.
What we would do differently if we went again?
I might try hiring a car and driving to and from the parks to see if that made any appreciable difference to the day. It may, it may not, we would have to see. Plus the extra cost of car hire plus the daily parking charge of $20.
It was perhaps the only part of the holiday where things dragged a bit, but then again the whole place is massive, so it takes a while to get around whichever way you choose.