Florida Planning Part 2 - Its Starting to Get Real!

As its now 2018 I can officially say that I am going to Florida THIS YEAR! Yay, there is finally a little light at the end of a very long tunnel. Since my last post announcing our holiday (which you can find here if you missed it) we have made a lot of progress in the planning and preparation department. We have now ticked quite a few things off of our list of things to do and my little holiday planner/journal is starting to fill up nicely.

1. Flights
In the past we have always flown Virgin Atlantic when flying to the USA, we collect flying miles and often use them to upgrade our flights from economy to premium economy. Its an airline we both like and trust and we have always had great service from them. At the point when we started looking the exact dates for our holiday hadn't been released but based on data that we found on line it was starting to look like Virgin was going to cost far more than we were wanting to pay. This came as quite a shock given that we were going out of high season and out of school holiday time. Hmmm, maybe now was the time to shake things up and try someone different?

We did some more searching and both liked the look of Norwegian and as the reviews were pretty good we were willing to give them a go, however as with VA the flights for our dates hadn't yet been released so we couldn't get an exact price. Next I decided to check British Airways and to be honest I was totally expecting their prices to be even higher than Virgin as in the past when we have compared them they have always been the most expensive. I did a search on-line and was shocked at the price that came up, I actually came right out of the website and when back in again to check as I though that maybe there was some sort of blip. I quickly called Tom to tell him and he said that he would ring them to double check as he was just as shocked as I was. Fifteen minutes later not only did we have our flights booked but we also had reserved PE seats and had car hire too. All for less than VA now want for flights alone, so glad we took the chance and booked when we did. Now the flights are booked the countdown can officially begin, as it stands today we are currently at 306 days!! I cannot wait to land at Orlando and have my picture taken in front of the famous Disney wall.
2. Park Tickets
After the cost of the villa and the flights the WDW park tickets were the next most expensive thing we had to pay for. Originally we had hoped that a 14 day ticket would suffice but as we have extended our holiday by a few days it became apparent that if we wanted to be able to go into the parks on our first and last days that this wouldn't suffice. In the end we had to opt for a 21 day pass which is more than we need but it was cheaper than buying a 14 day pass and adding on the extra days as we need them. The park tickets are expensive but when you work out what you get and split the cost up over the number of days you are there they don't work out too bad. As we have the Ultimate 21 day pass we have access to all 4 park's (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom). We also get unlimited access to the Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon water parks and we get one round of mini golf per person each day. Also now included in the cost of the ticket's is Memory Maker which is the Disney photo pass service where you can get your picture and sometimes videos taken in/on rides, attractions, locations and with character's free of charge. The images are linked to your MDE (My Disney Experience) app and they are then yours for you to download and keep forever. We did have this service last year in Disneyland California but it was something that we had to pay extra for. I will be taking full advantage of it this year and I plan to get as many pictures as I can all over the parks and rides.

3. Disney Hotel
This was by far one of the harder decisions we had to make. As we have decided to extend our holiday by a few days and as the villa we had booked wasn't available we needed to find a hotel. The original plan was to stay somewhere on I Drive but a friend pointed out the benefits of staying on site (90 FastPass reservations, free parking and free Magic Bands) so we decided to indulge ourselves and start the holiday with some Disney magic. There are loads of Disney hotels to choose from, starting with budget friendly value places right up to budget busting deluxe villas and lodges. We watched loads of You Tube videos to see what each resort and room type was like and we made a short list of the ones that we liked the best. Top of the list was a studio at Old Key West, however that room type wasn't available we decided to book a room at Port Orleans Riverside.
We are both really excited to be staying here, it looks like such a pretty resort and its close to Disney Springs which will suit us perfectly. The resort has loads of facilities like a gift shop, bar, restaurant and food court so it will be perfect place for us to begin our holiday.

We still have a ton of stuff to look into and book before we go, but for now the most important things are done. If you have been to Orlando I would love to know any hints or tips you may have - its always good to hear what other people suggest or recommend.

As always thanks for stopping by and for reading. I would love it if you could leave me a comment to let me know that you have been here.

Jane xx
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