florida

Booking A Holiday To Florida

My kids are at the age where I think a family trip to Florida would be a pretty good idea (they’re 9 and 3) and I was given some money unexpectedly last year which I’ve not yet done anything with.

My wife and I had always planned on taking a trip to Florida and hitting the theme parks but the time never really seemed right until now. So I’ve been looking into it all a little bit more recently working out how much it’s going to cost and actually whether we can do it at all.

I’ve written this post to help anyone else out who might be going through the same process. I wanted to find a post like this when I first started the process, and maybe there is one out there that isn’t backed by some holiday company. If there is, I didn’t find it though.

Hotel and Flights

From the research I’ve done so far, getting a decent hotel for two weeks and flights is looking at somewhere between £3,000 and £4,000. As ever the holiday companies more or less double the prices if you factor in the school holiday price increase (I’m still undecided about that one).

I’ve looked at villas and hotels so far. The price doesn’t seem to differ that much, Why do all the villas in Florida look like a granny’s house from 1982 though? Some part of me doesn’t feel like paying around £4k to stay in an old folks home. So that leaves me with hotels, and I have to say I’m not a hotel fan. I hate the feeling of being trapped. I don’t always want to eat out, or in a hotel restaurant. So I’m gunning for something with self catering facilities which is kind of a half way house.

Theme Park Tickets

Ok this is where it starts to get interesting. You can effectively double the price of your holiday with theme park tickets. What I’ve learned so far is that it’s a pretty big market, there’s a lot of places selling tickets which leads me to think that these guys are making a lot of money from a single purchase so is it better to go direct?

So far to get us in to Disney and Universal on a 14 day unlimited ticket it’s looking at around £1,600. This doesn’t include Sea World or Wet n Wild but I’m not too bothered about those as Disney includes 2 water parks and after a recent documentary about the terrible animal conditions at Sea World I don’t really want to give them my money. The only other one I’d probably look to book in advance would be Discovery Cove where it looks like the animals are kept in better conditions (don’t quote me on that though).

I’m of the opinion that booking the tickets direct is probably the way forward on this one. The 3rd parties that sell the tickets too they don’t look great (judging by their websites) and I’d hate to lose that kind of money to some cowboy company.

Car Hire

As yet I haven’t specifically looked at car hire as sometimes it comes bundled with the hotel and flights. I’ve heard it’s cheap but I better take a look at some point as I don’t want any nasty surprises late on.

Total Cost

All in, it’s looking like the total cost is going to be around £5,000 – £6,000. That’s probably around £1,000 more than I’d anticipated as I need to factor in some money to spend while we’re there and I’m guessing I’ll need quite a lot on that front.

I’ll probably keep adding to this post as I go through the process so if you’re in the same boat keep checking back and I’ll try and add more specifics to help people out.

One thought on “Booking A Holiday To Florida”

  1. Hi Dave,

    I’ve just read your post and couldn’t help think back to the times when we had this sort of trouble when trying to book a holiday to the states.

    What we came to realise is that staying in a hotel has quite a few downsides as appose to staying in a villa (the catering situation, non-private facilities etc).

    I have had relatives go to Florida and stay in our villa with their family who would now swear by this way of doing it – and not because of the price – but because of the freedom.

    Some days, to save some money, they told me they simply went to an all you can eat buffet before heading to the parks, taking away a packed lunch with them from the buffet itself. Eating inside of the parks costs a fortune (as you can probably imagine)

    An alternative to this is to pack your own lunch with stuff bought from the local supermarkets. Kissimmee itself is a fantastic place for this sort of thing as it is within driving distance of everywhere you will want to go. It’s also surrounded by restaurants that you can dine out at, should you choose to have a day chilling out. The cost is slightly less than you would pay if you were staying more central, but the fuel you’d spend getting to the centralised places wouldn’t outweigh what you’d save.

    My family are lucky enough to own our own a lovely villa on Cumbrian Drive in Kissimmee (http://www.floridavilladisney.co.uk/gallery.php) – A lovely little secluded cul-de-sac which surrounds a lake. Villa’s like ours are geared up towards renting and usually come complete with a games room and a private swimming pool.

    I would say (in a non-biased way) that renting a villa is definitely worth thinking about if you prefer the idea of having somewhere you can cater for yourself, are interested in saving money and could be enjoyed by yourselves and the children. Villas are usually private enough to properly relax in and are within driving distance of all the major parks and attractions.

    Obviously, there are many other wonderful ones other than our own – its just a case of separating the trash from the treasure, as they say over there :)

    Good luck.

    Adam

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