THE best first timer advice for visiting Orlando…

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There are so many people out there that I know are first timers or want to visit Orlando but think it’s totally unaffordable because they would want to do anything and everything…. I’ve been there; my husband still thinks like that now!  He can’t go to Florida without doing Disney….. I totally get it but just stop and think about it logically for a second.

You might think that being as fortunate as we are to have visited Florida 6 times in 11 years it’s so easy for me to say this but keep reading and let me explain why I say to people to really do your research and only book and buy the park tickets you are actually physically going to be able to use.

If you are coming from the UK then chances are you will be staying for around 14 nights (hopefully more; but not less especially if it’s your first trip!).

There are 4 Disney theme parks; some if not all of which, particularly if you are first timers, you will need at least two days at. There are 2 Disney water parks which are an ideal to class as ‘rest’ days but it’s still two days out of your 2 weeks; so far we have 10 days already occupied with theme park activities out of your whole 14. I think you probably understand where I am coming from already don’t you….?

Obviously if, like us, you are avid Orlando visitors you will know the rides you want to do in each park, which ride is worth the 60 minute wait time and which isn’t, you will be able to understand the size of Disney and realise the fact it could take you upto half an hour just to get back to your car from the parks entrance so being able to jump from one park to another is not as easier as it may seem….. it’s a given, no matter how many youtube videos you have watched, that first timers don’t or at least won’t be as familiar as someone who has already been.

There are tons of tour operators out there selling you all sorts of deals and offers you think are a must.  Tour operators will just try and sell you everything available; they’ll not explain to you the rivalry between Universal and Disney and that not one ticket will get you into all theme parks within Orlando; they’ll not tell you that you are 45 minutes away from Universal or that Busch Gardens is even further away they just want your ?something you will probably end up giving them because it’s a ‘once in a lifetime trip’ but answer me this…..

Do you seriously think you can fit in the following in 14 nights….

  1. Universal Studios
  2. Islands of Adventure
  3. Volcano Bay water park (when it opens)
  4. Seaworld
  5. Discovery Cove
  6. Aquatics water park
  7. Busch Gardens
  8. Legoland
  9. Magic Kingdom
  10. Animal Kingdom
  11. Hollywood Studios
  12. Epcot
  13. Blizzard Beach
  14. Typhoon Lagoon
  15. Disney Springs
  16. PLUS any days chilling around the pool, shopping days at outlets or Malls and/or restaurant/attraction visits to places outside of the theme park ‘bubble’?

Not including the ‘plus’ things and to be fair i’m sure i’ve forgotten something; but that’s 15 days!  15 solid (& probably long) days without being in any position to have a rest day or a spare day to go back to something twice because you enjoyed it so much or because something had broken down, or because someone was a little under the weather that day and you ended up missing out a park completely??

You’ve probably said it’s maybe the only time you will ever get to Florida so you are wanting to make the most of it…. I get it completely; for some it is a once in a lifetime holiday only you can decide that but for the majority it really isn’t.

If you go all out the first time you visit you will have raised the bar for every trip after that.. that’s what I think we have done and why Alex would struggle to visit Orlando without visiting Disney.  I however could easily not visit any of the theme parks nowadays; i don’t dislike them don’t get me wrong I truly love them but not only do want to see more of what Orlando and Florida has to offer but because my life is already quite scheduled and structured at home (my fault entirely because i can’t cope if not!) I also want to get away from the timed fast passes, from having to set the alarm clock to get up for an opening ceremony or when a park opens to get on everything want in that first hour (i wouldn’t not do that however because i too hate queuing!) but i would like to just take it easy. Maybe do half a day or so at a park, meander around a little more, just relax and take it all in instead of rushing around to meet characters or to be at rides for a certain time; but on the flip side of that we have paid a hell of a lot of money to be in those parks so yes we really ought to make the most of it and get as much ‘bang for your buck’ so to speak!

Another tip for first timers (and regulars to be honest!) I read on twitter from another fellow Disney vlogger tonight that today they chose to book their theme park tickets for a 2018 trip they haven’t even booked yet!!  It really got me thinking and feel its maybe something that we too should consider doing.  We know we are going to probably be visiting Orlando next fall and we know that because we have a placeholder on a Disney Cruise we will be cruising with Disney again next year too SOOO its extremely unlikely we will be visiting the Walt Disney World theme parks next year and if the Disney Cruise Transatlantic chooses to go into Port Canaveral (or Miami) we would head on over to the Orlando area for a few days after the cruise to just do Universal.

I LOVED this idea of pre booking your theme park tickets so far in advance… I really don’t know why we haven’t done it before!!  Price increases are happening ALL the time and chances are before we go again next Fall there will be at least two between now and then; but FloridaTix allow you to book your tickets at the ‘now price’ with just a £10 deposit and you don’t have to pay the remaining balance until 5 weeks before your trip !!  You are protecting yourself from future price increases; the price you pay now is the price you will pay 5 weeks before you go.

I hope this helps and wasn’t too brutal but i just hate to see people say they think visiting Florida is far from affordable because they have been quoted by a travel agent that on top of their already ridiculous £10k quote for a family of 4 they are having to also fork out £3k on park tickets….. no you do not (and please don’t ever pay £10k for a family of 4 to Florida… promise me!) !!!!!

Would love to hear your views and how you manage your trips to Orlando on deciding where to visit or if you haven’t been yet…. then why the hell not!!?? 😉

Speak soon





  1. Kirsty
    30th March 2017 / 19:32

    Hi im a single mum and really want to take my two girls who are 5 and 6 i have been about 15 times last time i went was 18 and im now nearly 28 and desperate to go back me and mum always add it up to 10 grand. I need to start saving my pennies !!

    • themoneysavingmum
      10th April 2017 / 06:34

      Check out our new blog post might make you feel a bit better about the calculations 🙂

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