Back to Disney - The Experience
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A trip to Florida benefits from planning well in advance and
you can see how I did it from my previous
We chose not to tell our grandchildren, James aged 10 and
Jessie aged 7, where we were going until we got to Gatwick. Surprisingly they
hadn’t even asked, so when we met them at check in, I gave them both letters
with detailed itineraries to read while we waited. The surprise, excitement and
joy on their faces was a real treat.
British Airways provided efficient flights, if very busy,
and children these days are not such a problem as they are all plugged into
some device or other.
We stayed for our first 3 nights on Treasure Island in Tampa
Bay. I chose this due to being just 30 minutes drive from the airport and
alongside a huge stretch of sandy beach. Time to relax and unwind after the
excitement of the flight. Unfortunately the weather was variable, not unlike an
English summer but thankfully 30 degrees warmer. We did a bit of shopping
during the rain, grabbed some beach time when we could and looked forward to
our Orlando adventure.
We had a week staying in a private villa recommended by friends. It was ideally located just 20 minutes from most theme parks and close to the main highway I4.
It was spotlessly clean, had every amenity including a heated
private swimming pool, BBQ and indoor pool table (a great hit with James). WiFi
was good; there were large TV’s in all the rooms and lots of ‘boys toys’ such
as X Box and a selection of DVD’s. We couldn’t have asked for more – a real
home from home.
Using our invaluable ‘Guide to Orlando & Disney’ by
Simon & Susan Veness, we planned each day, and used our Fast Pass for preferred
rides, and noting others we would try for.
Day 1 - Disney’s Magic KingdomAs with everything in Orlando, it pays to arrive early and
then remember where you park the car. A mobile phone comes in handy to
photograph your parking spot. First stop was It’s a Small World as it’s the
only ride I remembered from our previous visit 30 years ago, and a gentle start
for my young granddaughter who was a bit apprehensive about everything. From
then on it was fun all the way as we worked our way around the park. We chose
not to take the Disney dining plan, it is only good value if you intend to eat
more than one meal in the park. We existed on snacks and plenty of drinks. The
old magic is still there and I defy anyone not to have fun.
Day 2- Universal Orlando
You can read
my separate feature for all the information on this amazing park.
Day 3 – The Space CoastWe were overawed by NASA
and the Space Centre. Jaw dropping
exhibits and experiences, which everyone enjoyed. Try and take the tour bus
early on in the day, before it gets too crowded and you get a good overview of
this vast complex.
Day 4 – Disney’s Animal KingdomLots of rides – Highlights were the Kilimanjaro Safari and
the amazing Festival of the Lion King.
Day 5 – Typhoon Lagoon Water ParkA break from the theme parks and a chance to relax and cool
down. I didn’t expect to enjoy this so much as crowds and heat are not my
thing, but we paid a supplement of US$ 58 and secured loungers in a reserved
shady area. This was money well spent as the free loungers are mostly in full
sun and very packed in. OK if you spend most of the time in the water but I prefer
to watch rather than participate. I did float along the lazy river and had to
admit it was very relaxing! The huge wave pool had everyone swept off their
feet and my grandson loved the Shark Encounter.
Day 6 – Disney’s Hollywood Studios
All things Frozen was top of the bill for my granddaughter
and a Frozen sing-along her favourite experience of the entire week! James was
more interested in the Star Wars activities and we understand that plans are
afoot to create a Star Wars Park in 2016.
Day 7 – Sanibel IslandWe left the magic of Orlando to head for quieter times by
the sea on Sanibel Island. I visit
Sanibel whenever I can and you can read
all about it here.
(But don’t tell too many people, Sanibel is one of America’s best kept secrets).
Finally back home with some amazing memories, which I hope
Flights and car hire arranged by friendly and helpful staff
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