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I'm a Disney Orlando Veteran - Here's 7 Things I Wish I Had Known Before My First Trip

Holidaymaker Emma Woodward-Clarke shares her top tips for Brits planning a trip to Orlando.

Orlando, Florida, is one of the UK’s favourite holiday destinations for good reason. The "Theme Park Capital of the World" is home to a winning combination of diverse attractions, glorious weather, accessibility, and a family-friendly environment. It’s no wonder that searches for ‘Orlando flights’ have actually increased by 1,019% in the past 12 months.

For those planning a trip, AttractionTickets.com spoke with Disney fan Emma Woodward-Clark to discover 7 things she wishes she knew before visiting Orlando.

Emma is 43 from Ayr, Scotland and has visited Orlando eight times. She is married with two adult step-children and one grandson.

Her most recent trip in July 2023 was a family holiday with her husband, 10-year-old grandson, brother and sister-in-law and her two nieces (17 and 12). They stayed at Disney’s Caribbean Beach resort. On previous family holidays, they have stayed at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge and have also stayed at Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort for a few days. Other visits to Orlando trips have been adult-only trips and Emma and her husband even spent Christmas at Disney in 2011.

Emma shares her top tips for those planning a trip to Orlando:

1. It will rain most days- but don’t be put off

“Weather conditions vary depending on the time of year. We have visited April, May, July and August and all were very warm (hot!). The typical Florida daily downpour doesn’t usually last very long and is often a welcome break from the heat. The summer months of July and August can be very humid a lot of the time. September is known to be hurricane season and weather can be a lot more mixed then. Plan for plenty of breaks/time in the shade to break the day up.”

Oliver Brendon, CEO of AttractionTickets.com added “Whilst Orlando weather can be mixed, you can still enjoy most of the rides thanks to covered lines and indoor portions of the rides. At Magic Kingdom, the Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean and Mickey’s Philharmagic are all indoors. At EPCOT try the Land Pavilion and The Seas with Nemo and Friends. The Art of Disney Animation and Frozen Sing-Along are good wet-weather options at Disney’s Hollywood Studios too.”

2. Try to choose accommodation as near to the attractions as possible

“We stayed (many years ago) in a villa about 20 minutes from Walt Disney World and that was great, it had its own pool and was a lovely space. The only downside was that taking a break from the parks in the middle of the day was less convenient when you had a 20-minute drive to your accommodation. In subsequent trips we have always stayed on Disney property – we have stayed in Value, Moderate and Deluxe resorts and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend any of them.”

3. You don’t necessarily need a hire car

“We hired a car the year we stayed in the villa but in subsequent years have used a private transfer from airport to hotel and then used Disney transport – buses, boats or monorail to get around, and of course most recently the Skyliner. Depending on your preferred park, a resort with the Skyliner can be a great option for getting between accommodation and the park very quickly and efficiently.”

4. Have an itinerary in mind but be prepared to be flexible

“Once you get there you will want to see and do everything! We always do all four Disney parks and usually a waterpark too. We have done Seaworld and got Universal Orlando Resort tickets also although not on our most recent trips. I would also say that when travelling with kids it’s good to have plans or at least a solid idea of what you want to see/do so you don’t miss out. However, it’s also good to be able to be flexible if timings don’t work out or someone is too tired.”

5. Disney food is worth the splurge

“I find the food at Disney, in general, to be of good quality – even at the quick-serve restaurants. On adults-only trips, the dining is a big part of the experience for us so we would typically have several sit-down evening meals planned and would maybe go to the park a little later in the day and stay all day and well into the evening. For something really special try Victoria and Albert’s inside the Grand Floridian. California Grill is also very good. I’m a fan of Winnie the Pooh so enjoy a character meal at Crystal Palace.”

6. Pack essentials for all weather, everyday

“Due to the weather, make sure you pack and wear suncream, ponchos (though of course, you can buy them there) and most of all – comfortable shoes! A power bank for your phone and a water bottle are also essential.”

7. Breaks are essential when visiting Orlando with kids

“When going in a larger group with the kids we made sure we didn’t plan on as many sit-down meals and we planned for more resort time – often going back to our accommodation mid-afternoon to let the kids swim for a while and cool down before going back to a park in the evening. Obviously, people know their children best but we found that the heat was very draining and the break in the middle of the day revitalised us all enough to enjoy the evening then.”

If you’re ready to plan your own holiday to the “theme park capital of the world”, head to AttractionTickets.com to book tickets for Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando Resort, Discovery Cove and many other Orlando attractions.