I feel like I talk about it a lot and I’m sure it’s annoying, but my trip to Florida in 2016 was amazing. It really was the trip of a lifetime and I enjoyed every minute. I spent my 27th birthday there and I enjoyed it so much that I’m hoping to go back next year for my 30th birthday! When we went, we stayed on one of the most expensive Disney resorts (Old Key West) and we had the Disney Dining plan. We also put our trust in a friend who made the booking, but unfortunately she wasn’t honest about the cost and we ended up out of pocket. If I get to go again next year, there are a few different ways in which I would save money.
Where you stay in Orlando isn’t really important as long as you are able to get to the theme parks. Our resort was really nice, but we spent so little time in the room (apart from the 24 hours we were made to stay inside because of Hurricane Matthew) that it wouldn’t have mattered if we’d been staying somewhere more budget friendly. Disneyworld have a lot of different hotels and I would definitely look into staying somewhere like Art of Animation next time. Another option is staying off site and renting a car. This wasn’t an option for us last time as neither myself or Kariss were able to drive in the US but if I go next year, I will be allowed to drive over there. Plus, if you’re renting a car it’s a lot easier to get between theme parks and visit malls and supermarkets.
As I mentioned before, we had the Disney Dining Plan which meant that most of our food was already paid for. If you’re spending a lot of time at Disney, then I highly recommend this. We had a lot of meals with character dining which usually costs a lot extra, however it was including with our DDP. We were also able to use the credits to grab a drink or a snack or a quick service (fast food) meal. The food in Disney is quite unhealthy as you’d expect, but there are plenty of fancier options if you head over to Disney Springs. The most expensive food we had was at Universal Studios – we were only there for two days though, so it wasn’t too bad. The first day we ate at a pizza place and the second day, we just waited until we were back in Disney to use our credits. We couldn’t leave without trying the Butterbeer though – I had the normal one and a frozen one. It was everything I thought it would be!
The most expensive part of your trip will be the tickets for Florida theme parks. If you’re not booking a package holiday, then you will need to buy them separately. It’s a good idea to do your research before you purchase anything. We only went to Universal Studios for two days, however we found that it worked out cheaper for us to buy a 14 day pass than two single day passes. This also gave us the option of going back later on in the holiday if we wanted to. There’s so many different rides at Universal, you don’t want to limit yourself to just one day. You could spend a whole day in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter!
As I mentioned earlier, Kariss and I weren’t able to drive while we were in the US as we hadn’t passed our tests three years before. Next time I go, I’ll be able to rent a car which will make things a whole lot easier. While we were there, we used Uber to get around – from Disney to Universal and to the Mall at Millennia and Walmart. Having our own car would have been a lot more convenient, but Uber wasn’t too expensive and was very reliable. The drivers were lovely too, one even had snacks and drinks in the back for his passengers!
Have you been to Florida? How did you keep the costs down?