It’s flying to Orlando day! Or it should have been. Like so many people my trip to Disney World had to be cancelled this year. In this series of The Walt Disney World Trip That Never Was blogs I will detail what my plans were for each day and how I came to plan my itinerary in the way I did. I hope this series of blogs will help you get some ideas and tips on how to create your own most magical trip!
Today should have been my travel day. I would have been flying to Orlando right now! We had an afternoon flight book so would leave in the morning to drive to Gatwick Airport. We always aim to get to the airport 3-4 hours early just to have time to get through security and then have some food before the flight and stock up on drinks, snacks and magazines to take onboard.
I also loved to check out the Harry Potter shop at Gatwick Airport! It has all official merchandise and is tax-free, as it is in the airport, so this is a fab place to pick up Harry Potter merchandise and items such a t-shirt, wands and accessories that you may want to use in Orlando. It will be a lot cheaper than buying in at Universal Studios!
There are lots of shops at the airport and if you are looking for a certain item or a present for someone buying it at the airport can be a great idea, (if you have the room in your bag!), as the prices are 20% cheaper as they are tax-free if you are flying outside of the EU.
I am a vegan so I always take plenty of snacks with me just in case my special diet meal isn’t loaded onto the plane. Anyone that has any dietary requirements and orders a special meal it is always advisable to take some snacks as a back-up!
For a long haul flight I like to take lots of entertainment, as for some reason on a plane I find it harder to concentrate on one thing for a long time! I always take my Kindle, iPod, some magazines and puzzle books to fill my time, as well as catching some of the in-flight movies! The excitement of going to Florida definitely helps this long-haul flight seem more enjoyable!
Arriving at MCO is so exciting and you may just get your first monorail ride of your trip! And you have arrived in Orlando!! The magic begins now!
I love to hire a car when visiting Orlando to have total freedom of where we would like to visit. We’ve always used Alamo Car Hire and had great experiences with them. They have a large range of cars available and you collect them right at the airport. Once you’ve checked-in you go to the row that fits the category you have hired, for example SUV, and then just take any car you like! It is really quick and simple!
I always take a photograph of the hire car and it's licence plates so that I can easily find it when in the massive Disney car parks! It can be very easy to forget where you have parked or exactly what make and model of car you have, so this makes it a fail safe way to never lose your hire car!
We hire a GPS from Ebay before going away and take it with us. It is a lot cheaper than hiring the car hire company’s GPS and it already pre-loaded with your destination which is handy!
Luckily the drive from MCO to Orlando is very easy and well signposted. If you are staying on-site at Disney it is possible to get there without needing a GPS and just using road signs.
Walmart Shopping For Supplies!
Before heading onto Disney property we like to stop off at the massive Walmart in Lake Buena Vista which is just minutes away from Disney. We like to stock up on water, drinks for the room, breakfast items like cereal bars for the days we aren’t eating in a restaurant for breakfast and snacks to take to the parks.
A great money saving tip is to get some drinks and snacks from a supermarket to save you spending money in the parks. Bottled drinks can be really expensive and this will save lots of money! As it is so hot in Florida oftentimes my appetite is suppressed so having 1 or 2 meals a day with some snacks in between is a great way to not feel super full whilst going on all the rides and save money in the process. Win win!
I love to look around Walmart because it is just so massive and the variety of options is huge! It is also a great place to pick up any toiletries or sunscreen that you didn’t bring with you to save your on luggage allowance. (Or for people like me who suffer from motion sickness I grab some meds whilst here!)
Dramamine is a great motion sickness medication and is the most highly recommended brand from other motion sickness sufferer. Go for the non-drowsy version to keep a pep in your step!
Animal Kingdom Lodge
And now it is finally time to head to the resort! This year we were due to stay at my dream resort, Animal Kingdom Lodge!
I am a massive animal lover so being able to look out over the Savannah whilst at your hotel was always a dream for me! Animal Kingdom lodge has so many amazing viewing areas that you have an amazing chances to get to see a variety of animals. Plus if you stay in a Savannah room your balcony will overlook the Savannah! What a great sight to wake up to!
I think Animal Kingdom Lodge is just such a beautiful resort. The lobby is stunning! So I could not wait to stay! I will finally make it to stay at Animal Kingdom Lodge one day!
The Package We Had Booked
We had booked a two week package staying on-site at Disney with a UK travel agency called Charter Travel. We have used them before and they are amazing, so quick to reply, really knowledgeable and always far cheaper than any other travel agents I look at or by booking the holiday myself, DIY-style.
We had a Virgin flight, upgraded to economy delight, Alamo car hire, a standard room at Animal Kingdom Lodge, 14 day Ultimate Disney park tickets which included Photopass and Magic Bands, a $200 gift card plus the free Disney Dining plan.
The free dining plan was such an incredible offer for UK Guests! (I hope it can come back one day in the future!) The last Disney World trip we did we also had the free dining plan and when I counted up all our receipts we had over $2000 of dining for free! Such a great deal! The dining was such a big part of our previous trip and was so amazing that I couldn’t wait for this trip and had the most amazing restaurants book. And we will soon get to find out which ones they were, and how I plan for dining at Disney, in the coming installments!
Tomorrows blog will focus on my plans for our first full day in the parks, how I choose where to go on our first day, a trip to Disney Springs for Labor Day sales and some delicious dining!
Most Magical Guides and Planners
If you are planning a Disney trip be sure to check out my range of Walt Disney World guides and planners that cover everything from dining, itineraries, packing, budgeting and much more! To see the full range click here!