A few years we made a family pact to visit Disneyworld, Florida, as Richard’s parents have always wanted to take us all there to experience this trip of a lifetime together (how lucky we are). We’re eternally grateful for their generosity and we already knew before we came that we wanted soak up every last drop of this whole experience as we weren’t sure when we’d visit this magical place again.
Our boys are growing so fast that we want to share as many experiences with them as we can. We’re also very aware that both our parents are growing older each year too and we want to make as many memories as we can with them. This desire to create memories has always been something we’ve tried to do all our lives and for me this was passed down to me from my late Father. He’s always been an adventurer and has always wanted to create as many memories as he could and when he passed I realised that memories are all we’ve got in the end so I’m on a mission to seek out new adventures and travel as much as I can.
Visiting the parks every day was so exciting and we looked forward to going on the rides and getting fully immersed in the Disney magic. The whole holiday was such a special experience and sharing it with loved ones made all the difference, it was truly amazing!
We visited all of the following parks during our time there and each park and experience was truly magical in its own way. We visited; Universal, Hollywood Studios, Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Gatorland and then we visited two water parks: Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon.
Each and every park was different and we enjoyed different things about different parks. A friend of mine is visiting Orlando later this year, and she asked for my thoughts on the parks, so I thought I’d share them with you too.
This park was filled with roller coasters and simulator rides. We were a little unsure about how realistic the simulators would be, but my word, they were amazing! Our favourites were Transformers, Spiderman, Despicable Me and Harry Potter. Who knew you could experience something as magical as this through a simulation ride? These were our favourite rides of all and if you visit the park then these ones are a must. The boys loved them but, as adults we loved them too!
The only downside about this park is that you have to pay for fast passes and they’re not cheap at £70 per day. So we decided against it and entered the park as early as we could to visit as many rides as we could early on and it worked well.
This park was a little smaller than the others and we felt there wasn’t as much to do here. But we loved the rides we did we go on! ToyStory Mania and The Tower of Terror were our favourites. I didn’t want to go on the Tower of Terror but I’m so pleased I did as it was the best ride there and we loved riding this together as a family. We laughed, screamed and cried with laughter!We saw the Indiana Jones show and that was worth watching. We also visited the night show, ‘Fantasmic’ and this was magical and so cleverly put together – it’s definitely worth a watch.
Getting out of the park at night wasn’t too bad either and there was plenty of transport available too to get you back to your car.
This is the most magical place of them all, as it’s home to the Disney characters. This park has all the traditional rides including; Winne the Pooh, Peter Pan etc., but it also has some really good roller coasters too including Thunder Mountain and Space Mountain.The real magic in this park are the Disney parades and the night time fireworks. The parade is held daily at different times throughout the day and the fireworks are at 9pm every evening. I wasn’t sure if the boys would like it but, they loved it. The fireworks are the best – it’s just so magical sitting with your children watching the Disney projections on the castle and the fireworks in the sky. I shed a few tears of happiness – it was one of my favourite moments of the entire holiday.
That said, getting out of the park afterwards isn’t easy. It’s so busy and there are long queues to get the monorail back to your car, but the queues are well-managed and it took us about 45 mins to get back to the car. As long as you’re patient you’ll be fine, just stay together and arrange to meet somewhere in case you get split up.
The other thing to mention is the traffic. I’m sure Florida never sleeps, every time we were on the road, no matter what time of day, there was traffic. It does move along quite quickly, however due to the thousands of visitors exiting the park, things can get pretty busy.
This was one of my favourite parks, as it was so different to the others. We enjoyed a boat ride, a Safari ride through nature and we saw so many amazing animals including elephants, giraffes, hippos, wild birds, zebras and so much more. The safari was the best part for me and the boys loved it.The whole park is made up of different parts of the world and as you wander through the streets, you get to experience the music, costume and culture from each country.
This is a park Richard’s mum chose to visit for her birthday and we spent the afternoon feeding alligators. We all decided to take part in the zip line adventure too. We were able to zip wire above the forest and the alligator swamps and we all took part, including Richard’s parents and our boys. I must admit, taking the first step off the high rise platform was a bit scary, but we all faced our fears and just went for it!It was so good to experience this with the boys and they loved being able to face their fears too. The sense of achievement for us all was amazing!
Typhoon Lagoon (waterpark)
This park was great and the boys went on most of the slides here. They loved the main pool and rode on the waves, it was good fun and the park was clean and tidy.There were a few slides where you could ride together as a family or in twos and I always enjoy these slides the best as I get to see the boys faces as they ride.
Blizzard Beach (waterpark)
This was the best water park we visited during our trip. There were lots of slides the boys could go on and there weren’t too many queues here either. There was a cable car too that took you to the top of the hill where some of the slides are and we loved riding on this.During both of our visits to water parks there was thunder and lightning so we had to take cover. The life guards are very proactive at all of the parks and provide warnings when lightning is on its way.During the months of July to September, the weather in Florida is hot one minute and then rain the next, but it soon passes. My advice to you would be to find sun beds under cover and there are plenty of them around, there are wooden huts situated near the main pool where you can take cover.
When visiting any parks there are a few tips I would recommend:
- Arrive as early as possible and visit the rides you want to first. Queues are little less earlier on in the day so do your research before you visit and fit in as many rides/slides within the first 90 minutes, as queues only get longer throughout the day.
- Take full advantage of the fast pass system. You can each get 3 fast passes a day and for every person, it’s free with a 14 day pass. The only park you can’t do this for is Universal. Sadly for this park you have to pay for the fast passes – we didn’t as it was expensive. We just arrived early and went on as many rides as we could first thing.
- Take plenty of supplies. We took sandwiches, water and snacks with us every day to keep the costs down as the park prices are very expensive. We also took two cool bags and froze bottles of water the night before and used them to keep sandwiches cool in the cool bag, the drinks were so refreshing too! We drank plenty to ensure we all kept hydrated.
- Buy good shoes for all the family. I bought Clarks sandals and they were a godsend – I wore them daily. The boys had sandals and trainers and rotated them on different days. You will walk miles every day so you need to be comfortable. On average we walked 5 miles per day.
- Be organised. We saw so many families wandering around aimlessly, and I know that’s what you do on some holidays but not this type of trip. Being organised and using fast passes is a must, otherwise you’ll end up hot and bothered and won’t get to ride on much as some rides have an 80 minute waiting time.
- Hire or take a stroller with you. All parks have this facility and they are $15 per day, so if you have the foresight that you’ll need one then bring one from home. We hired one and the boys shared it as they were tired by the end of the day.
This is the most magical holiday I’ve ever experienced with my family and I’d go again in a heartbeat. However, it’s a full-on holiday so don’t underestimate the energy you’ll need to do it all in two weeks. We had early nights, lived for the daytime, took a picnic everyday and dined out at tea time. There is plenty of choice, but make sure you use Trip Advisor to provide you with an insight (it’s our go-to guide for most things).
It’s a truly magical place, so if you’re thinking of visiting there with your family then definitely do. It will be one of the best holidays you’ll ever experience together!
I hope this has helped. If anyone else has visited Disneyworld and wants to add more insights and tips, then please feel free to do so in the comments below.