- 1 Disneyland first time – Best time to visit Disneyland.
- 2 Package Holiday or plan it yourself?
- 3 Why Choose a Disney property Disneyland first time.
- 4 Where to buy your tickets for Disneyland Orlando?
- 5 Most Popular Rides in Disneyland.
- 6 Food and Drinks inside Disneyland.
- 7 A check list – Disneyland first time – Best time to visit Disneyland.
Visiting Disneyland Florida would be on most peoples bucket list and all the more if you have little ones. It is magical but it will be one of the most expensive holidays that you will ever take. Apart from that it is truly a holiday that everyone should experience once in your lifetime. I must admit planning a trip to Disneyland can be daunting especially if it’s your first visit to the mother ship in Florida. I decided to pen down a few tips for people like myself looking to make their maiden voyage to Disneyland – Disneyland first time – Best time to visit Disneyland
What was once just a single park – Magic Kingdom – has fast developed into 4 theme parks and 2 water parks making it the Disney World. To just give you a scale the total area covered by Disney World now is the same as San Francisco.
This is before you start taking into account the shopping areas, Disney Spring and the Universal Studio. It was quite difficult to plan our first trip so I thought of sharing some of my experiences and tips that could help someone visiting for the first time.
Disneyland first time – Best time to visit Disneyland.
What is the best time to visit Disneyland? – There are a few things that you would need to consider before you start planning when you want to visit. It is always a great time to visit Disneyland and experience the magic but Mid-September to November is generally the quietest periods. Another good time is Mid-January to Mid-March.
If you are bound by school holidays like we were (UK school holidays) the best time would be in the Easter break which is normally early April.
The weather is pleasant and not as hot as the summer (it can get very hot from June to August and very busy). The prices for tickets, airfare and accommodation all fluctuate depending on the time of the year you plan to visit. A good place to check peak periods would be the Official Disney Website.
Package Holiday or plan it yourself?
You can either get a package holiday or plan it yourself and I found it much more economical to book it yourself.
The average cost of a package holiday for a family of 4 including flights would cost you anything between £6,000 to £8,000 from the U.K. This would be for flights / 4 star accommodation and park tickets for roughly 7-10 days. This could be much higher during peak holiday periods and a little saving if you travelled in the shoulder season.
We decided to book it ourselves and yes it did save us some ££££.
We booked return flights to New York and then domestic flights internally. Being a major hub you can get some great deals on flights to New York. Internal flights are very affordable and there is plenty of choice when you flying from New York to Orlando. Benefit you get to spend time in New York as well.
Choose your hotel in Orlando and book it direct with the hotel.
If you want to spend more time is Disney stay on International Drive / Bonnet Creek. If you want to spend more time in Universal then stay more towards the airport and around Universal.
Universal Studios is closer to the airport and it is a roughly a 30 minutes’ drive between Disneyland and Universal Studios.
Our Hotel in Orlando was the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek – A Disney property. You can read all about this beautiful property which is a short distance from Magic Kingdom.
Why Choose a Disney property Disneyland first time.
Disney’s hotels are pricey – but you can get some good deals if you travel off peak season. You do get far more from them than just the accommodation. Some of the main benefits are round-the-clock shuttles to every Disney Park. Magic Hours – These get you access to the parks before the public can enter and some offer after hours as well.
Be mindful as there are dedicated days at dedicated park. It is a bit confusing but once you ask your hotel for details it makes it easier. However this means you will have to plan your visit to the parks depending on the days they offer magic hours.
Where to buy your tickets for Disneyland Orlando?
You can buy tickets from many websites but I would go with the official Disney site as these can be trusted and mostly offer similar deals.
You can either buy individual day tickets or get a 7 day or 14 days pass. If this is your first visit I would suggest go with a single day park and not a hopper. It is a long day so try and stick to one park a day and relax in the evening as you will start early again the next day.
A regular admission day ticket costs roughly $109 per person (ages 10+) but take three days and the price drops to $104 a day.
Use the official Disney site for all the information you need – Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando.
Hope these tips are helping you plan your Disneyland first time – Best time to visit Disneyland.
Disney Fast Pass – You do not have to pay extra for your fast pass at Disneyland unlike Universal but you will have to plan and book your rides 30 days in advance. If you live in a Disney property you get an advantage of booking fast pass rides 60 days in advance.
It all depends on the parks you want to visit. We had 6 days in total and split this between Universal and Disneyland.
How many parks are there in Disneyland Orlando?
In total Walt Disney World alone has 6 parks – The 4 main theme parks in Disneyland are – Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom along with 2 Water Parks – Disney’s Blizzard Beach and Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon.
Universal has 3 parks in Orlando – Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure and a water park – Volcano Bay.
Best way to travel in Orlando – Hire a car or not?
If this is your first visit to Orlando and you are not going to be travelling around my suggestion would be not to hire a car. Yes – Do not hire a car if you will visit the parks only. This did come as a surprise to many seasoned travellers as well when I gave them the reasons.
UBER is a great way to travel in and around Orlando. It is cheap and very effective. If you hire a car you have to pay parking at many of the hotels followed by a parking fee at the parks which is roughly $25. So before you start looking at car hire charges and fuel costs you are already paying anything around $50to $70 a day for just parking.
You will have to park a mile away from the main park and then use shuttle busses or trains to get to the main park itself vs UBER which drops you right at the entrance of the park. There are long queues to get on to the shuttle buses when the park close. Again you can call an UBER to pick you up and this will be right outside the exit of the park. Believe me after walking all day in the park this is a blessing.
Plus if you are living in a Disney property you will have access to free shuttle service to the parks.
Outlet Shopping in Orlando?
Keep a free day or 2 on your trip – This is just to break the daily routine of visiting the parks and relax by the poolside of your hotel or if you enjoy shopping – Orlando has some great deals on offer.
There are a few malls in Orlando but for the best deals visit the 2 main outlet shopping – Orlando Premium Outlets on International Drive and Lake Buena Vista. Both of these are easily accessible by public transport. One is near Universal Studio and the other a short drive from Disney Spring.
What is there in Disney Spring – Orlando?
After a long day at the park Disney Spring is a great way to relax stroll with family after dinner. Disney Springs is an outdoor shopping, dining, and entertainment complex on International Drive in Bay Lake.
It is free to enter and there is a lot going on here. From street entertainment to themed restaurants Disney Spring has it all. There are some great restaurants and pubs here which make it a perfect evening out. Parking is free at Disney Spring.
Disney Springs huge and is divided into four areas: Marketplace, The Landing, Town Centre, and West Side.
Visit the ginormous Coke store in Disney Spring.
There is a Disney Ticket Centre here as well where you can Purchase Disney park tickets, make upgrades and pick up your tickets as well.
Most Popular Rides in Disneyland.
The most popular rides in Disney are Avatar Flight of Passage (Animal Kingdom), Frozen Ever After (Epcot) or Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Magic Kingdom and have the longest queues so plan accordingly.
Parks don’t close when the sun goes down- there is plenty of activity after dark like Illuminations at Epcot and the fireworks at Magic Kingdom. All this is free and included within your park admission tickets.
The Disney specials.
- Fast Pass: A free reservations system that lets you book a time slot for rides and attractions. Allows you to book 3 experiences per day in one park. You can book more as you compete the rides.
- My Disney Experience: The online portal you will use to book and manage your Disney World vacation. Download the app to your phone to manage and book on site.
- PhotoPass: Get all your photo memory online and access to official Disney photographers in popular locations.
- MagicBand: A wristband where you can your park tickets, hotel room key, FastPass access. Can also be used to pay for things in Disney stores and park.
- Extra Magic Hours: Bonus hours where guests at Disney-affiliated hotels can enter the park before and after regular operating hours.
They are good to have but some you need to pay for some of these. However you can do without most of these.
Food and Drinks inside Disneyland.
As you can imagine food and drinks inside the park is generally expressive so try and carry a small back pack with some snacks and a refillable drinks bottle. Temperatures in this part of the world are high and humid so you will need a lot of liquid. You can still buy refillable drinks in the park but again this comes at a price. Dining with the starts is a great experience but comes at a cost.
I would rather choose a Disney Hotel and experience a meal with my favourite Disney characters in there. Most restaurants in the park provide water and ice to guests free of charge, even if you’re not purchasing food.
Hope these points have helped you plan your Disneyland first time – Best time to visit Disneyland.
A check list – Disneyland first time – Best time to visit Disneyland.
- Plan your trip so you make the best use of your time in Orlando.
- Do not buy park hopper tickets as you will only be able to do 1 park a day.
- Keep a park free day to give that break and rest.
- Expect long queues and prepare yourself for this.
- Use UBER as this is the fastest and most economical way to visit the parks.
- Spend an evening at Disney Springs and enjoy the many restaurants and cafes.
- Meet & greet lines are shortest in Disney’s Animal Kingdom and longest in Magic Kingdom.
- Meet and greet your favourite Disney characters but be mindful you will have to wait.
- Enjoy shopping at the Premium Outlet malls.
- Florida weather is unpredictable so pack accordingly – carry some waterproof for sure.
- Carry comfortable footwear as you will walk a lotttttt.
- Buy multi day passes as you get some free days. Do not by park hoppers.
- Try and avoid peak times at the park – Holidays, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, Spring Break.
- Enjoy the many free shows in the park including the illuminations and fireworks.
- Get deals on Disney Merchandise at the outlet store.
- Avoid the extras – Memory maker photo pass – you can click your own photos.
- Carry you water bottle and some snacks. A backpack will be handy.
- It is a headache to plan everything but you will benefit once you get there and experience it.
- Epcot has one of the best Illuminations at night – but get there early.
- Try and book a Disney hotel preferably not on property as the ones on property are expensive
- Make the most of the Magic hours – early entry and late night.
- Visit Universal Studio mid- Week and post lunch. You will get through a lot by closing time.
I must admit – A Disney Holiday is expensive but a holiday that you will remember for a lifetime.