In April 2015 myself and my boyfriend Vince went to Orlando, Florida for 11 days. We learned so much about organising a Disney holiday which we’re now putting to good use this year because we’re going again for 15 days in August. When we went two years ago, it was on a budget and definitely not as part of a package. We made a few mistakes when we were there that we won’t be making again. Hopefully this will help those of you thinking about your own Disney/Universal holiday.
Mistake #1: We Didn’t Make The Most Of Our Tickets
Disney tickets are confusing on purpose I think. When we were researching, we decided we wanted to go to all the parks but we didn’t need park hoppers (they allow you to visit more than one park in the same day). We also wanted to visit the water parks. We were there for 6 days, so we thought we’d buy the 7 Day Water Parks, Fun and More Tickets. We thought that this would mean we’d have 7 days to visit the 4 parks and the water parks. This was how our schedule went:
Day 1: Magic Kingdom
Day 2: Epcot
Day 3: Blizzard Beach
Day 4: Animal Kingdom
Day 5: Hollywood Studios
Day 6: Typhoon Lagoon
Day 7: Epcot (it’s our favourite)
This turned out to be a big mistake. When you buy this type of ticket, the water parks aren’t counted as “main parks”. Therefore, you could visit a water park AND THEN also visit a Disney Park in the same day, even though you don’t have park hopper. They aren’t main parks, so you’re not “hopping” between parks. Also, Disney Quest (a gaming experience), minigolf and actual golf are included in the ticket too! So our itinerary could have looked more like this:
Day 1: Magic Kingdom
Day 2: Epcot then Fantasia Gardens Minigolf
Day 3: Blizzard Beach then Magic Kingdom for fireworks
Day 4: Animal Kingdom and Disney Quest
Day 5: Hollywood Studios
Day 6: Animal Kingdom then Winter Summerland Minigolf
Day 7: Typhoon Lagoon then Epcot
We didn’t realise this until our second last day, which we used to go to Typhoon Lagoon and Magic Kingdom.
The other thing we didn’t realise is that even if you don’t have a magic band, you can still get fastpasses on the MyDisney App. Again, didn’t realise this till the last day.
Mistake #2: Foot Problems
We are both walkers and we still found our feet hurting after the first day. Disney is like going to a boot camp. You can walk up to 8 miles a day in blazing sunshine with shoes that are not suitable for exercise. Plus waiting in line does havoc on your hips and knees.
We made the mistake of bringing little sandshoes on the trip. We had painted them to look like scenes from Tangled and Lilo and Stitch and while they were beautiful, they were devil shoes. Only once have my feet ever hurt more and that was during The West Highland Way.
This year I have bought a pair of real and a pair of fake memory foam Skechers plus some Toms for wearing with a dress. I tried the Skechers on today and it’s like walking on a cloud. I also got them for £20 because I’m a size 5 so I could buy the Junior shoes.
Here they are:
Mistake #3: Picking The Wrong Universal Park To Do Twice
As a couple we are both young at heart and old farts. Therefore, we should have really anticipated that we might enjoy shows over big rollercoasters. To thine on self be true. But no, when we had to decide what Universal park to go back to we made the wrong choice.
We booked our tickets on undercovertourist.com and they were having a 3 for 2 offer. Buy 2 days, get one free. Bear in mind that these were not park hoppers. This of course led us to the dilemma – which park to do twice. For those not in the know, Universal has two parks: Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. The Studios has some rollercoasters but mainly focusses on special effects. Islands is full of huge rollecoasters and a giant Hogwarts castle. We decided that two days of rollercoasters was just what we’d want. On a rollercoaster holiday. After seven days of Disney Parks. By mid-day we were actually bored. We couldn’t be bothered to stand around in queues just to go on a 90 second ride. I thought mournfully of the cold movie theatres of Universal Studios and especially of Diagon Alley (the Harry Potter land in Studios) where I could have been exploring beautiful (SHADY) shops.
So if I had to pick a park to visit again I’d pick Universal Studios. Well, actually, we’re going one better in August: we’re buying a park hopper ticket so we can have a morning in Islands then take the Hogwarts Express (yes, a real train) over to Universal Studios. That way, we can have all the rollercoasters when it’s quiet then collapse into a plush movie theatre for an hour.