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Booking Tips for a great family holiday in Orlando, Florida

 

 

 

Booking a once in a lifetime holiday to Orlando, Florida should be a fantastic occasion but with so much to do and fit in, it can quickly become over whelming. So here at Floribobs we have decided to give you the best suggestions possible to make your holiday planning a joy rather than a chore.

So here are out top tips for booking a holiday to Orlando.

 

1. Decide on the dates you wish to travel

First thing to do is decide on the dates you wish to travel, with flights from UK Airports throughout the year, and great weather year round in Florida, a family holiday to Orlando, Florida can be done throughout the year.

 

2. Ensure you have a valid passport

At www.floribobs.com we reccommend that you have at least 2 years remaining on your passport - although this isn't a legal requirement it will mean your ESTA will be valid for the entire 2 year duration from date of issue.

 

3. Apply for an ESTA

Before spending large amounts of money on flights, hotels and tickets, we would advise you to apply for an ESTA as soon as you decide on the dates of your trip. The ESTA is valid from the date of issue - normally immediatley once application is authorised.

Make sure you apply to the official ESTA site - https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/

The ESTA should only cost $14 per application but beware there are a number of sites offering ESTA that are unofficial and will charge far more than $14.

See our Guide to ESTA Here

 

4. Hotels and Villa booking

Now that you know your dates of travel, have your valid passport and valid ESTA - the fun part can begin.

We would reccommend that you now take several decisions regarding what you want to do on your Orlando holiday.

The most important decision in our view boils down to this,

What is more important for you and your family? Cost? or proximity of hotel or apartment to Theme Parks?

 This decision pretty much boils down to do you want to stay onsite at Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Resort or stay offsite.

The benefits of staying onsite are great for things like extra magic hours, no parking charges, free disney transportation, 60 day fastpass booking and at certain times of the year the Disney Dining Plan.

However, normally the cost of staying onsite is a way more expensive option than staying offsite.

Whilst staying offsite some things to take into consideration is if the hotel provides a shuttle service to and from the theme parks and if there is public transport to and from the themeparks?

If there is no shuttle service or you would  prefer to hire a car - bear in mind that the parking charges at the theme parks will come in at $25 per day.

Floribobs Hotel tips

It is important to remember that no matter what the cost of your hotel and how many or few facilities the hotel or villa has - The hotel or villa is just a base to rest your head and store your belongings - your not likley to stay there very often during the day.

For location - Floribobs recommends staying onsite at a Walt Disney World Resort Hotels due to the guest benefits and dining plan.

For Price - Floribobs.com recommends staying at International Drive area hotels.

For Amenities and things to do - Floribobs.com recommends staying at Lake Buena Vista area hotels due to the proximity of Walt Disney World, Disney Springs and shopping malls.

See our Guide to Orlando Hotels Here

 

5. Booking Flights

When it comes to booking flights for your holiday to Orlando, Florida there is a number of options and decisions to take into consideration.

These options and decisions will help determine who is the best airline and airport to fly from.

First you need to decide what is the most important part of your travel day arrangements, is it cost? locality of departure Airport? Overall experience? or speed of processing through arrival airport?

British Airways, Norwegian Airways, Thomas Cook Airlines, TUI and Virgin Atlantic all fly from various UK Airports.

If price is a major issue when it comes to booking flights then Floribobs.com reccommends using an app such as https://www.skyscanner.net/ for the best deals.

 

Floribobs Flight Tips

At the end of the day your flights are a means to an end - The plane takes you there and then sadly brings you home. The airlines all have the same travel times - there is no magical rocket plane thats going to get you there quicker than the others. Some airlines have the upper hand on convenience - due to locality of departure airport, some have better selection of inflight entertainment, some are cheaper, some have great customer service and lets face it, all of them have average food at best.

For local departure Airports - Floribobs.com would recommend TUI Airlines, TUI have the largest selection of departure airports in the UK. TUI Airlines fly from Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester, Newcastle, Doncaster / Sheffield, Birmingham, Bristol and London Gatwick.

*Please note, If staying at a Walt Disney World Resort Hotel Disney's Magical Express does not operate from Orlando Sanford Airport.

 

For Overall experience - Floribobs.com recomend Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Atlantic have departures from London Gatwick, Manchester and Glasgow Airport.

 

For Speed of processing at arrival airport - Floribobs.com recommend TUI Airlines. TUI only fly into Orlando Sanford Airport rather than Orlando International. Sanford is a much quieter airport and the arrivals process is usually much quicket than the busier and bigger Orlando International Airport.

*Please note, If staying at a Walt Disney World Resort Hotel Disney's Magical Express does not operate from Orlando Sanford Airport.

 

For Best Customer Service - Floribobs.com recommends British Airways who depart from London Gatwick Airport.

 

For Best Price - Floribobs.com recommends Norwegian Air who depart from London Gatwick Airport.

See our guide to Orlando Flights Here

 

6. Car Hire or Not?

Car Hire on an Orlando holiday is often a hot topic on forums and message boards, some people think you can't possibly do an Orlando holiday without a car hire, others think the complete opposite.

One thing to bear in mind with a hire car is the additional charges, theme park parking is $25 a day, petrol, insurance, toll roads and some hotels may charge guests parking.

There is plenty of public transport, Hotel shuttles and taxis that can take you anywhere you need to go in Orlando, Florida at very affordable rates.

However if your planning on going further afield or staying in a villa then a hire car is perhaps the best option.

Floribobs.com would reccommend you decide on one of the bigger car rental companies with an Airport based pick up and drop off depending on your arrivals airport.

See our guide to Orlando Car Hire Companies Here

 

7. Theme Park Tickets

When it comes to Orlando Theme Park tickets there is often a debate on forums and message boards as to purchase theme park tickets on the gate once your on holiday or whilst here in the United Kingdom. As far as Floribobs.com is concerned - there is no debate, United Kingdom guests get much better deals purchasing tickets in advance than purchasing on the gate.

Walt Disney World tickets currently offer a 14 day for the price of 7 days ticket - this is for United Kingdom Guests. It is not available on the gate.

To purchase Walt Disney World tickets Floribobs.com recommends purchasing your tickets as soon as you book your flights and hotel to allow you to start planning your holiday. Walt Disney World restaurants can be booked 6 months in advance and restaurants such as Be our Guest and Cinderella's Royal Table do book up 6 months in advance.

 

Floribobs.com Theme Park Ticket Tips

 

If you have the money to purchase your Walt Disney World theme park tickets in one payment then Floribobs.com recommend you purchase your tickets directly from Walt Disney World at https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/en_GB/

 

If you have the money to purchase your Universal Resort theme park tickets in one payment then Floribobs.com recommend you purchase your tickets directly from Universal at https://www.universalorlando.com/web/en/us/tickets-packages/park-tickets/index.html

 

Other companies such as Travel Republic, Attraction Tickets Direct, Floridatix etc may offer flexible payment options.

See our Guide to Orlando Theme Park Tickets Here

 

8. Airport Hotel

Lots of people now decide to start their holiday a day early by traveling to the airport the day before travel day and to stay in an Airport Hotel. Once you have your flights booked and know your departure airport now is the time to book in your pre travel day accomodation at an UK Airport Hotel.

Floribobs.com recommend that you find an Airport Hotel that provides Airport Car parking as a package. This allows you to get to your hotel the night before travel and to relax and unwind knowing everything is taken care of.

See our guide to Airport Hotels HERE

 

9. Airport Parking

Although not as essential as your holiday, If you are traveling to the Airport using your own car you will likley need to book Airport Parking. Floribobs.com would recommend you book this online in advance to secure the best deal possible.

See our Guide to Airport Parking Here

 

10. Airport Transfers

Once you arrive at Orlando International Airport or Orlando Sanford Airport you will require transfers to and from your hotel if you decided not to hire a car.

I fyou are staying at a Walt Disney World Resort Hotel and your arrival Airport is Orlando International, then you will get free airport transfer by heading to Disney Magical Express in the main terminal building.

If you are staying offsite we would suggest seeing if your hotel offers a free airport shuttle service and booking this in advance.

If your Hotel does not offer a free shuttle service then Mears Taxi's are readily available at the main terminal entrance.

 

Have a great Floribob

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

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