Saturday 15 December 2012

Our brilliant Orlando holiday

We are back from an exhausting two week holiday to Orlando in Florida. We had a brilliant time, and I thought that I would share some of our highlights. Before we went I did have some reservations about whether our children were too young for such a big and busy holiday. I was particularly worried about the long flight and the time difference. Given that we have poor sleepers anyway, I was sure that we were in for about a month of no sleep! In reality it wasn't nearly as bad as I expected. They both adjusted really well, and we tired them out so much during the day that they went straight to sleep at bedtime!

The main reason for our visit was to go to Disneyworld, so we bought 14 day passes which could be used across the four parks - Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingom and Hollywood Studios. We had timed our trip so that most of the New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom was open. Although the official opening was towards the end of our trip, in fact everything was already open for a soft launch. My biggest tip for a visit to Disneyworld is to arrive early so that you can enter the park as soon as it opens, you can get so many more rides done in the first couple of hours than you can later in the day. We were able to do all the rides in Fantasyland (which was the area most suited to our family) without much of a wait on several days.

Small children at Disneyworld

Harry and Mia loved Disney. We spent most of our time at Magic Kingdom, but there is so much to do across the four parks that there was no chance of running out of things to see. All the parks except Epcot also had a daytime parade and all the parks except Animal Kingdom had an evening parade/show/fireworks. Because it is a relatively quiet time of year to visit (after Thanksgiving and before Christmas) we found that we never had to queue for too long.

We tried to spread things out as much as possible, generally visiting for a morning then returning to our villa for lunch and a rest, then either going out for a meal or back to one of the parks later in the day. Although it was tempting to try and stay for a full day we did find that it was too much for the little ones.

We stayed in a villa a few miles away in the Emerald Island Resort, which actually wasn't as expensive as you might think. It even had a pool which Harry loved! We booked directly with the villa owners in the UK because this worked out cheaper than as part of package, and also meant that we knew the exact villa that we would be staying in. We stayed at the Just Reward Vacation Villa and it was lovely with everything that we needed.

Private swimming pool in Orlando Villa

We also fitted in a day trip to Seaworld and a visit to Universal's Islands of Adventure to visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter - I'll be writing more about those over next few days if you are interested!

We even made time for a bit of shopping - I have come back with some nice new clothes and some crafty bits.

Eating pizza at California Pizza Kitchen

And finally, it wouldn't be a holiday for me and Ram if it didn't involve pizza. We first discovered the Tostada pizza from California Pizza Kitchen on our first trip to the US a few years ago and we always make the effort to hunt a branch down on holiday. The Tostada has black beans, tortilla strips, lettuce, cheese and ranch dressing - it sounds strange but it's delicious, and I can't believe that this chain hasn't made it to the UK yet!

If you are thinking about planning a holiday to Orlando and have any questions please do get in touch, I'd love to help if I can!

You can read my other posts about our Orlando holiday here:

SeaWorld Orlando
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Islands of Adventure
Some tips for visiting DisneyWorld, Orlando with small children
Flying long haul with two small children


  1. Hi Jennifer. It sounds like you had a fantastic time in Orlando! I really enjoyed reading your post.

    Best wishes, Alex.

  2. No matter how many times you visit Disney World, it still amazes me as that is the only place where adults can be kids too.


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